Creating the Self in the Contemporary American Theatre

By Robert J. Andreach | Go to book overview

7
Reconciling Selves

Toward the end of Craig Lucas's Blue Window, one of the characters, Tom, who has been struggling all day to discover the song pressing on the perimeter of his consciousness, finally seizes it. According to the stage directions, the music he plays is the "same song"1 another character, his partner Emily, sang earlier. Since the action froze while she sang it and since no one subsequently alludes to it, the song manifests the unconscious; it is everyone's unspoken desire. Unspoken until play's end, that is. As Tom plays the music, the other characters who, like Tom and Emily, have been struggling all day to express themselves to their partners reveal the desire welling from each one's unconscious. "The music becomes rhapsodic" (71) as the different voices entering contrapuntally from different locations interweave a shared feeling.

In the idiom of the song Emily sings, everyone wants the "'same thing'" (48-50). Everyone is searching for love. And although each one speaks the desire from his/her own perspective, together they express it in a common image. They want to float through a glass-window-television screen into the blue, hence the play's title.

Watching television, Emily gives a whimsical expression to the desire. "I wish everybody had a little window," she muses as Tom struggles to discover the song. "Right in front like a TV screen?... Like just a little window where you could see in and see what they were feeling and thinking about" (68). At first simply satisfying curiosity about another person, the image then affords entry into another, enabling the lover to know the partner better. Once able to know the other, he wants to experience the beloved so totally that he loses the sense of himself. He wants to enter--float in--the unconscious, from which loss of old self he will be reborn in a new, loving, self. As Alice says to her lesbian

-159-

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