In this absurdist play, six as yet unwritten characters gatecrash a theatre rehearsal and approach the stage manager with the request that an author be found for them so that they may ‘live’. The six characters are bound to each other in the terrible circumstances of their unwritten tragedy. In this speech, the step-daughter, who hates the Father and despises the Son, tries to explain the concept of theatre to the child, who she adores, but who is destined to drown…

The Step-Daughter [stops, bends over the CHILD and takes the latter’s face between her hands]. My little darling! You’re frightened, aren’t you? You don’t know where we are, do you? [Pretending to reply to a question of the CHILD.] What is the stage? It’s a place, baby, you know, where people play at being serious, a place where they act comedies. We’ve got to act a comedy now, dead serious, you know; and you’re in it also, little one. [Embraces her, pressing the little head to her breast, and rocking the CHILD for a moment.] Oh darling, darling, what a horrid comedy you’ve got to play! What a wretched part they’ve found for you! A garden . . . a fountain . . . look . . . just suppose, kiddie, it’s here. Where, you say? Why, right here in the middle. It’s all pretence you know. That’s the trouble, my pet: it’s all make-belive here. It’s better to imagine it though, because if they fix it up for you, it’ll only be painted cardboard, painted cardboard for the rockery, the water, the plants . . . Ah, but I think a baby like this one would sooner have a make-believe fountain than a real one, so she could play with it. What a joke it’ll be for the others! But for you, alas! not quite such a joke: you who are real, baby dear, and really play by a real fountain that is big and green and beautiful, with ever so many bamboos around it that are reflected in the water, and a whole lot of little ducks swimming about . . . No, Rosetta, no, your mother doesn’t bother about you on account of that wretch of a son there. I’m in the devil of a temper, and as for that lad . . . [Seizes BOY by the arm to force him to take one of his hands out of his pockets.] What have you got there? What are you hiding? [Pulls his hand out of his pocket, looks into it and catches the glint of a revolver.] Ah! where did you get this? [The BOY, very pale in the face, looks at her, but does not answer]. Idiot! If I’d been in your place, instead of killing myself, I’d have shot one of those two, or both of them: father and son.