Box & Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung - Two Inter-related Plays
Published by Dramatists Play Service
During the recital, the stage is empty except for a wooden framework of a large cube; the recital over, the cube is seen to contain a portion of a ship's deck, some deck chairs, and four people
One is Mao, who spends the rest of the evening wandering about the stage and the adjacent boxes and aisles, quoting his own deadly political clichés
Another is a raddled-looking old lady, who recites in a whining Middle Western singsong Will Carleton's celebrated ballad "Over the Hill to the Poorhouse."
In one of the deck chairs sits a minister, book in hand and blanket tucked cozily about his legs; never uttering a word, he listens with sympathy to a middle-aged lady's nonstop monologue about her dead husband, her ungrateful daughter, and her narrow escape from drowning
Mao and the raddled-looking old lady have nothing to do with the minister or the middle-aged lady, nor have they anything to do with each other. They may or may not exist in the same place and the same time. Nothing that anyone says has the slightest effect on anyone else. Time passes. Words accumulate
Eventually, Mao stops quoting himself, the old lady finishes the last stanza of the ballad, and the middle-aged lady brings her monologue to a close. The play is over, and we have had a delightful evening ... Mr. Albee allowed us to share with him the joy of creation" - The New Yorker