We meet Mattie and Jack in the living room of an empty rental apartment which Mattie believes belonged to someone famous, giving it, to her, an aura of intrigue. Jack is unimpressed and can’t see the attraction. She finds an old chair she thinks may have been “his” and therefore, special. She feels his spirit moving around in the room, sensing a presence.
Mattie becomes more and more involved in the “presence” of this late, great, departed man. She “senses” what it must have felt like to be a part of the life he lived, the parties, the honors. Jack is less and less impressed as he begins to think of his own life and what he could have become.
Will Mattie’s obsession with fame drive a wedge into her relationship with Jack? Or will they find a way back to the rest of their lives.
Her husband begins to reflect on his own life, wondering what has been special for him. Together, they move to a new place.
From the Play
MATTIE, a woman of Irish Catholic background, in her sixties.
JACKSON, her husband, in his sixties.
The living room of an empty apartment for rent. Doors lead to the main hall and the rest of the apartment.
TIME: The present.
Script Extract :
JACK: It seems to me, Matt, that these are the inclinations of an adolescent mind at work: “This is it. This is the very place of fame.” And you talk of museums and you talk of mementos. If you were to look around and you could tell me, word for word, what’s so spectacular about this place, now, what would you say? Word for word?
MATTIE: Not spectacular, Jack. I never said spectacular. I’d expect just the opposite if I expected anything at all. A quiet dignity, Jack.
JACK: Oh, yes, very quiet.
MATTIE: That’d be my expectation.
JACK: Very hidden. Into the walls, it is.
MATTIE: Well, I feel it.
JACK: What do you have here? Some famous man’s rooms looking for all their life just like your ordinary set of rooms’d look to any bystander. I see nothing famous looking about this room.
MATTIE: (Hushed of voice again.) It’s the feeling you get.
JACK: The feeling, is it?
MATTIE: Of the presence.
JACK: Oh, the presence you’re talking about.
MATTIE: It’s the spirit, too, wafting about in the air of him being here.
JACK: A draft, is that it?
MATTIE: There’s a certain number of vibrations pitching forward here and there.
JACK: Ho no, ho no no no, Mattie. Hold up a minute.
MATTIE: Yes. Vibrations.