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"The Last Utopian (A Fourier Fantasy)" Part 8

"The Last Utopian (A Fourier Fantasy)," by local playwright Sue Reynoldson
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"The Last Utopian (A Fourier Fantasy)," by local playwright Sue Reynoldson

This play is being published in serial weekly. Reproduction or production are encouraged with permission from the author. PDF of entire paly available upon request. Site search for "Fourier" shows previous installments

PLOT SYNOPSIS: The famous French Utopian is living with his three orphaned nieces at the family homestead in the countryside. He is in love with his youngest niece, but is beginning to realize she is not the paragon of virtue he had once supposed. In fact, as we learned in Scene 7, Charles himself is not totally blameless.

Scene 1: Flashforward to a later scene
Scene 2: Charles' nieces entertain clients
Scene 3: Simultaneously, Charles approaches
Scene 4: Charles intrudes
Scene 5: Charles pursues Hortense
Scene 6: Promises are extracted
Scene 7: Charles and Hortense are caught
Scene 8: Fanny is dressed for a client

SCENE 8
In the parlor, CLARISSE and HORTENSE are dressing FANNY as a bride to please an important client.

FANNY
He’ll never believe I’m a virgin.

CLARISSE
He has to. He only pays for virgins. Just hold tight and think of Paris.

FANNY
I wish we were at Harmony.

CLARISSE
Uncle Charles’ grand conveyor-belt to Sadean dungeons?

FANNY
It's not like that, Clarisse. At Harmony sexual philanthropy will be a respected profession. We will procure for each other those most in need of our favors

CLARISSE
I’ve procured someone in need of your favors tonight.

FANNY
Everyone will be encouraged to develop as many passions as possible and we will try to satisfy them all.

CLARISSE
You will satisfy them all tonight.

FANNY
We will take care of those who are feeling lonely and left out. The community will reward us well.

CLARISSE
You will be rewarded well tonight.

FANNY
All work will be the wonderful fulfillment it was meant to be.

CLARISSE
Oh, I'm sure. Cherries jubilee and chocolate truffles every day.

FANNY
[Drifting into a reverie]
‘And just before sunset, when everything is bathed in golden light, our voices rise in song praising all the day has brought. We praise nature, the earth, the sky, the sea. Then we praise each other. Our faces radiate the joy of earth before the Fall. We overwhelm each other with caresses until our love reaches a state of communion with the whole universe! We look forward to that moment of joy as though it was in our hearts the whole day long.’

CLARISSE
You’ve been reading that Russian pervert again.

HORTENSE
And then, when the children are asleep, the conch sounds and the games begin. The flowers assume their favorite positions opening to the setting sun, spreading their little stamens with luminous oils. When the stamens are all erect and all iridescent orifices pulsing in hot anticipation, the bumble bees fly in, buzzing against them, tickling and teasing them and drinking in their nectars.

CLARISSE
You speak of that part of ourselves we shudder at. That part which all the religions of the world were formed to eradicate.

HORTENSE
Then, drunk with love, the bumblebees fly to the nearest flower and stick their stinger deep down into the bright, soft, velvet orifice. And on to the next and the next and the next… until the whole body quivers in transcendent ecstasy!

CLARISSE

Nonsense. The bumble bees should pay for sex.

FANNY
I just want to hear someone call me mummy.

HORTENSE
That would make me feel like a swaddled corpse. Why does every women think life is not worthwhile until she pushes an eight-pound screaming larva out of her lower abdomen that attaches itself to her like a barnacle for the next twenty years until it marches off to war to die!

CLARISSE
Spare us your Lysistrada flumadiddle.

HORTENSE
When a woman has a baby she becomes a captive of society for the rest of her life!

CLARISSE
You sound just like Uncle Charles. Can’t you see he’s a pervert?

HORTENSE
Well, you’ve always got to put up with something, don’t you?

CLARISSE
He’s just a skinny little limp-noodled old pervert!

HORTENSE
He’s corresponding with Frederic Engels, you know.

CLARISSE
Great! Now he’s corresponding with the German pervert!

HORTENSE
Engels says his manuscript is very French and witty. He’ll go down in history.

FANNY
History is just a pack of dirty tricks played on us by madmen.

CLARISSE
He’ll end up living in the woods with nothing to eat. Why do you flirt with him?

HORTENSE
What do you want me to do? Fart a lot and run around in curling rags?

CLARISSE
Just don't sit on his lap.

HORTENSE
Nieces always sit on their uncles' laps.

CLARISSE
Not at your age! When he pulled me down on him, I told him. ‘Touch me again and I’m telling Aunt Sophie!'
[Spanning her wasp waist with her hands]
‘Small is beautiful,’ he said. Then I felt ‘Newton’ come up under me.

HORTENSE
Limp or hard. Make up your mind.

FANNY
He calls it Newton?

CLARISSE
He calls everything Newton! He’s disgusting!

[A knock sounds at the front door]

CLARISSE, Continued
Fanny, your ticket to Paris has arrived!

[FANNY runs upstairs. CLARISSE answers the door. HORTENSE eavesdrops from the kitchen]

TALBOT
[Following Clarisse into the parlor]
I thought he should know Gerard DeVil has been telling everyone he caught them in a passionate kiss. Right here on this very chaise longue!
[He sits on the chaise]

CLARISSE
I’m sure there’s not truth in it, but I will give him your message.

TALBOT
[Digressing]
I smell fresh, hot tarts!

CLARISSE
That’s impossible. No one has baked for months.

TALBOT
[Flashing money]
One tart. Any flavor. (Scarlet Harlot)

CLARISSE
There are no tarts!

TALBOT
All right. Have it your way.
[He rises to leave]
(Treacherous trollop!)

[He exits. Hortense returns to the Parlor]

CLARISSE
Is that true, Hortense? Did Gerard really catch you kissing Charles on the Chaise?

HORTENSE
I told you about that. He was having a heart attack. He had stopped breathing.

CLARISSE
We've got to get rid of him. He’s ruining our business. Peeking at us from the trees outside our windows, eavesdropping from the parlor…

HORTENSE
[Interrupting]
But he has promised to be out of the parlor by midnight from now on! He will never eavesdrop on us again.


CLARISSE
Ha! He’ll be sleeping in the parlor again within a week. I'm going to write Aunt Sophie about him. I can think of thirty instances where he has been absolutely vile!

HORTENSE
Don’t write Aunt Sophie. Look, if I catch him in the parlor after midnight, I will make him leave.

CLARISSE
Only Aunt Sophie could make him leave.

HORTENSE
But I could make him want to leave.

CLARISSE
All right, it's a deal then.

[HORTENSE and CLARISSE shake hands. A knock is heard at the front door]

CLARISSE
FANNY, GET DOWN HERE! YOUR TICKET TO PARIS HAS ARRIVED!

END OF SCENE 8
 
 


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