the associate richard: curator of surio's exhibit. in his 30s, casual and very comfortably dressed, very earthy. he has been aware for some time his wife, catherine, has become infatuated by a younger colleague at work catherine: richard's wife. she is attractive and dressed extremely smart. she has become very much attracted to a younger colleague. the associate setting: a gallery opening before an imaginary large red painting. at rise: richard, curator of the exhibit, addresses the audience. his mind is elsewhere. richard hi. i’m indeed grateful to bring the work of bernard surio to our gallery, the first stop in an eight-city tour. i’m richard stewart. (slight pause) mr. surio, who is spanish by birth, has lived in new york for many years. (pause) i first saw his work in a vienna gallery about two years ago at the insistence of carl hammond. i thought it very exceptional; and of course i was quite taken aback that his work was unfamiliar to me. though i’m sure you’re aware that until recently the works of monochrome artists have received far more acclaim in europe ... that is changing. (pause) mr. surio’s work is sometimes grouped with the so-called “radical painting.” i don’t know that surio would agree. monochrome work has been said to delineate the least information and yet offers the most sensation of painting and is anything but sameness. though our eyes might perceive a million shades of red ... each different ... language does not allow us to differentiate ... we call it red.
(pause) to call it red is an inadequate assumption, as poor an observation as to think of the people about us as monotonous and without their passions and desires and sins. if a stranger passes us along the street, can see beyond their somber expression. (catherine enters) richard (cont’d) perhaps you'll find tonight amusing. some patron will stand here ... a glass of wine in one hand ... the other hand in his pants pocket jingling change. and he'll look at the paintings. of course he doesn't see them ... he hasn't really seen the first painting all evening. he's merely posing ... momentarily poised. he hesitates inanely an acceptable length of time ... before going on from frame to frame to frame. he feels inadequate because he doesn't understand and that angers him. but it doesn't matter, years ago he learned he simply needs to look interestingly appreciative ... and comment agreeably what's expected ... imitate an understanding. (pause) but finally ... when he's confident he's made a sufficient appearance ... and he's become annoyed, angered his money goes to support this, a red painting ... he whispers quietly but sternly to his wife he wants to leave. he wants the comfort and the familiarity of his home ... safe, isolated, insular, same. (pause) "it's all red," he thinks, "nothing more. how can that be art?" (pause) he can't see beyond the obvious ... the singleness of color ... the sameness ... the bland blurring of the countless faces rushing past us each day ... we don't look ... we don't bother. our lives are so full ... with our own joys and sorrows ... passions and problems ... there's so little time for anything else. we pose, momentarily poised in life. (pause) the painting in itself is nothing ... it only lets us begin to understand something of ourselves if we want to look. we see people, like these paintings, and want to think of them without the eloquence of passion ... without meaning. (richard and catherine address the audience) catherine i asked richard earlier today if anything had changed. we haven’t had time to talk about last night. richard i’m trying to be understanding ... catherine it was months ago ... we had gone out for dinner with friends and i invited a new colleague of mine from work ... i wanted richard
to meet him. richard they were friends from the start. she began talking about him ... she’d bring home little stories of something he did or said ... was she thinking if she weren’t married. they were together a lot ... maybe it was completely innocent ... i didn’t know. catherine i was attracted to this man. richard catherine and i’ve always had that kind of relationship, we try to talk about things. catherine i didn’t want to think of it as anything more than a good friendship. richard i understand being married doesn’t mean i can be everything to her ... be her total world. catherine i have a wonderful life. my life, mine and richard’s, our life together is about anything but him. richard he begins calling the house ... he comes by to pick her up for work or she picks him up. (then) he met a girl he liked and he comes to our house asking about the kind of wine and flowers and cologne ... suit or no suit ... what restaurant ... the two go back and forth. he likes a short skirt and the next day catherine wears a short skirt to work ... they’re out for drinks that night and he knows the wine she likes ... the cologne to wear. you can see what i was thinking. catherine so many couples hide so much from one another ... how we think and feel ... little secrets ... desires ... i don’t like that. richard about two years ago i was working with an intern, a young woman, on an installation. we were working together and i was absolutely infatuated with her. catherine i know it was there between us, i just didn’t want to think about it ... we’re together a lot ... we work together. richard she was a lot different from catherine. i just liked being with
her. nothing ever happened. i never told catherine. catherine last week richard asked about him ... about the two of us. richard asked if i had slept with him. my god, where did that come from! i hadn’t, but richard asked if i wanted that. richard i saw the same thing happening to catherine with this man. i wanted to clear the air. catherine that night i kept asking myself if i wanted to be with him. richard do you think people meet ... and they think, "wouldn't it be great to take a sick day from marriage?" you meet someone and find you're falling in love. you discover once more ... feelings are fresh ... arousing. you can tell all about yourself again, your dreams and hopes ... and you can escape from the failures ... the responsibilities. catherine has richard ever met anyone ... has he had these feelings ... did he feel he couldn’t talk to me about something like this? i’d want him to. richard if we weren't married we'd be friends. we were before we dated. that attracted me to her, that we could talk, about anything. if we weren't married she could tell me how wonderful it felt falling in love with this guy. i'd be her friend. i wanted her to know i could understand how she felt. catherine richard said he understood. richard only what you can confide to a friend isn't that easy to a husband. catherine then all this week it’s been emotional for me. yesterday, i stood in the hallway at work and i cried. i don’t know why. a friend of mine, deborah, and her husband had been trying for years to have a baby. she is two months pregnant. they're so happy. i'd been working on an important project in my career that’s going so well. (then) standing in the hallway at work my friend came up and asked if i wanted a cup of coffee. i looked at him and said yes.
richard yesterday i called catherine ... there was something in her voice. catherine last night we went out with friends from the office for drinks. my friend and i. our knees were touching under the table. all evening our knees were touching. of course, no one else could know our thoughts. then finally some people got up to leave and we walked out with them. richard when i called her office yesterday ... maybe there was something in her voice ... i don’t know ... but i knew. catherine i asked richard if he wanted to join us. richard i called to tell her i would be here late getting the opening ready. catherine we left and went to his apartment. richard i got home last night and she was still out. catherine it was awkward at first. we listened to music, something contemporary, later jazz. there wasn’t a feeling anything had to be rushed. i’m glad of that. we talked and ... richard i can understand. with the girl ... i knew we could have been lovers and i would have left her and come home and i know it would have nothing to do with catherine and me ... maybe a little guilt ... maybe not. catherine i wanted to be with him. richard we do things, good things bad things but the world doesn’t come to an end. catherine we worry so much about the kind of person we are. about trying to be a certain way ... how we think everyone expects us to be ... but that’s not the way life is ... richard
emotions are a crazy thing ... catherine everything about life is an attempt at order ... the order of law, traffic order, church order ... rules and regulations ... only running crazy through it all is passion ... that’s what life is about. i don't want to talk about this with richard, i just want him to understand. (catherine exits abruptly) richard call them red, green, blue whatever ... they’re anything but monochromatic ... and they are insignificant. (blackout) end of scene 1