Theater Close-Up


The Gabriels: Hungry | Part one

Tony Award-winner Richard Nelson’s three-play cycle follows one year in the life of an American family in Rhinebeck, NY, during the 2016 presidential election. "Hungry" is part one. The trilogy was filmed at The Public Theater in March 2017 and stars Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, and Amy Warren. THIRTEEN areas viewers may stream the episodes.

AIRED: December 03, 2017 | 1:43:30

>> You are about to see a play

as it was written

and performed onstage.

Some may find the language

or content objectionable.

Viewer discretion is advised.

Next, on "Theater Close-Up"...

>> Don't you feel like something

really bad is about to happen?

>> It's 2016, election year

in the life of one family...

>> We're all Gabriels.

>> ...the Gabriels of Rhinebeck,

New York,

where election anxiety...

>> She watches both MSNBC

and Fox News.

>> ... takes a backseat

to what's for dinner...

>> Ratatouille.

>> ...and their own lives.

>> I don't need help.

>> Join us when The Public

Theater production

of Richard Nelson's "Gabriels

Trilogy" begins with "Hungry"...

>> I want to vote

for Larry David.

>> ...on "Theater Close-Up."

>> What if our side were

to fall apart for some reason?

It could.


[ Cheers and applause ]

>> Support for

"Theater Close-Up"

is provided by...

>> Welcome.

I'm Oskar Eustis, the artistic

director of The Public Theater.

I'm sitting tonight

in the Public's restaurant,

called The Library,

named in recognition

of the origins of this building.

First, a little about what has

come before us here.

The New York Times,

March 2, 1852 --

"One of the crowning features

of our City will be the Library,

now soon to be opened.

It was what she most needed.

It will tend to pour an element

of literature into our marts."

Built as the Astor Library near

Astor Place in Lower Manhattan

and opened in 1854,

our building

was one of the earliest

and largest free libraries

in America.

Its first president was

the author of "Rip Van Winkle,"

Washington Irving.

He felt so at home here,

he had his last

will and testament witnessed

in these alcoves.

Thackeray spent time here,

perched on a ladder.

The Prince of Wales visited.

Presidents Van Buren,

Fillmore, Pierce,

and Buchanan were guests.

Chester A. Arthur researched the

protocols of previous inaugural

ceremonies to prepare for his


One month, and for several hours

every day,

a man whiled away his time

in these hospitable

reading rooms.

There was nothing in his

appearance to distinguish him,

when, suddenly,

the man disappeared,

and the next heard of him

was that he had become forever

infamous as the assassin

of President Garfield.

Louisa May Alcott, Walt Whitman,

Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain,

Henry James, Edith Wharton,

Henry Adams no doubt

passed through our front door.

On April 2, 1879,

Alexander Graham Bell

wrote to his wife, Mabel,

"I have been hard at work

at the Astor Library all day."

Just a stone's throw away is

Astor Place, the site

of the Astor Place Riots

in 1849, which were ignited

when the great English actor

William Charles Macready

and the great American actor

Edwin Forrest both chose to play

the same play,

"Macbeth," on the same night.

24 people died, and over

100 people were wounded.

By the mid- and late

19th century,

Astor Place was also the home

of the Cooper Institute,

where Lincoln gave his famous

Cooper Union Address,

bringing him to the attention

of the fledgling

Republican Party,

the speech in which he declared,

"Right makes might."

And it was the home

of the American Bible Society

and its giant printing presses,

which were to crank out

some 77 million Bibles.

Here where I now

sit became a center

for publishing and journalism,

for literature and study

in America,

a center for bookmaking,

book-buying, and book-reading

throughout the second

half of our 19th century,

here in what we, at the Public

Theater, today call home.

It is a rich and proud story,

and over the next two nights,

I will continue to share

snapshots of the history

of this extraordinary building

as it changed its uses

but never, ever its purpose --

to try and serve the very best

instincts of our citizens.

Tonight, you will find yourself

in our LuEsther Hall,

which was carved

out of the upper balcony stacks

of the original Reading Room.

You will be watching the first

play of Richard Nelson's

powerful trilogy

"The Gabriels,"

subtitled "Election Year

in the Life of One Family,"

performed by a company of some

of New York's finest actors

and designed by a team of

our most preeminent designers.

Tonight's play is called


and like all three plays,

it is set in the kitchen

of the Gabriel family

on South Street

in the village of Rhinebeck,

New York, which is 100 miles

due north of New York City,

a place The New York Times

once called

"The Town That Time Forgot."

Each of the plays opened

on the day it is set,

and none have been changed

since their openings.

"Hungry" takes place on Friday,

March 6, 2016.

So, we're in the middle

of primary season.

Super Tuesday was just earlier

this week,

after which, unsurprisingly,

Hillary Clinton

and, very surprisingly,

Donald Trump

solidified their status

as front-runners

for their respective parties'

nomination for President

of the United States.

It's been an oddly warm winter,

with very little snow.

Last night, Megyn Kelly,

still at Fox News,

conducted a debate among

the Republican contestants.

Bernie Sanders is hanging on,

having won the Colorado primary.

And, perhaps, a general anxiety

was just beginning to get a grip

on some of us.

And now..."Hungry."


>> ♪ Her eyes are light and

clear ♪

♪ And fearless like Chicago

winds in winter ♪

♪ And her hair is never quite in

place ♪

♪ And the knees in her jeans

have seen better days ♪

♪ And she's no beauty queen,

but you love her, anyway ♪

♪ She's a wildewoman


♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she's ripping out the

pages ♪

♪ Ripping out the pages in your

book ♪

♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things she

chooses ♪

♪ Her smile is sneaky like a

fiery fox ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh

♪ It's that look that tells you

she's up to no good at all ♪

♪ Ah-ooh

♪ And she'll say whatever's on

her mind ♪

♪ Ah-ooh-ooh

♪ They're unspeakable things,

and she'll speak them in vain ♪

♪ And you can't help but wish

you had bolder things to say ♪

♪ She's a wildewoman


♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she's ripping out the

pages ♪

♪ Ripping out the pages in your

book ♪

♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things she

chooses ♪

♪ Yeah, she'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things she

chooses ♪

>> [ Clears throat ]

>> ♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Oh, we're gonna find anoth--

[ Clock ticking ]

>> They're back, Mary?

>> What?

G-- I'm sorry.

I forgot you were here.

I'm sorry.

What did you say?

>> They just got back.

You asked me to tell you.

>> Oh.

Did you find something?

What did you find?

Oh, you found t-this.

They just published this.

It's mostly his old plays.

>> I remember him writing one

or two of those.

>> You do?

>> Mm-hmm.

>> In our apartment

on Cranberry.

>> Yeah, Karin,

we have a whole box of these.

We -- We don't even know

what to do with them.

You take it...

if you want.

Thomas would want you

to have one.

A memento.

>> You're still here, Karin?

I thought you had to go.

>> I do.

I-I have to go soon.

Thank you, Mary.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Thank you.

>> You all were gone

a long time.

>> Yeah.

>> Take off your coat.

>> No.

Now we're going to take a walk.

Joyce needs to get some air.

She's had it with her mom.

You want to come?

>> Nah.

>> She wants us to sneak

out the back.

George is coming.

>> So, how is the all-new,

remodeled Roosevelt Museum?

>> It's what it now is.

>> What does that mean?

>> What has Karin been doing?

I'm surprised she's still here.

>> She's been looking through

the bookshelves.


She's been doing it for hours

in the living room.

It's fine, Hannah.

>> You're baking bread.

>> I-I felt

like making something.

>> Karin's still here.

>> We were just talking

about that.

>> Is she staying for dinner?

>> No.

>> She's not?

>> No, she's not staying

for dinner.

I did not

ask her to stay for dinner.

>> Good.

So you can say "no."

>> I know how to say "no,"


>> I think you've done enough

for Karin today.


just said she was about to go.

>> I've hardly said five words

to her.

>> She didn't come to see you.

Where's my husband?

>> He's coming.

He's getting Mom comfortable

for her nap.

He's prying himself loose.

We're going for a walk.

Have you been out?

>> She doesn't want to go.

>> To the Stop & Shop.

How was the museum?

No, I want to know.

>> I wasn't as bothered

as Joyce and George.

>> They've really been

fucked up, Mary.

>> She's slightly exaggerating.

>> Only slightly.

I'm not even saying I was that

bothered by it...

[ Timer rings ]

...or even surprised.

Why should we be surprised


Your timer went off.

>> I know.

>> It's not what it had been.

That's what I'm trying to say.

It's very different, and Thomas

would have really hated it.

He loved the Roosevelt Museum.

He loved the way it was,

but this

is the world we now live in.

>> Well, I'm happy

I didn't go, then.

I would like to remember

that museum

the way Thomas liked it.

>> Do you want any help?

>> Mnh-mnh.

What did they do to it?

>> The museum?

>> Yeah.

>> Everything.

You feel that they are pushing

things on you now,

like you can't think

for yourself anymore.

I'll bet that's what the Bush

libraries are like in Texas.

>> I bet the Bush libraries

are even worse, Joyce.

>> Mom seemed to

enjoy herself, though.

>> Did -- Yeah, good.

>> There's my husband.

>> Good. Let's go. Come on.

Let's -- Let's get some air.

>> Why is Karin still here?

>> She's not staying for dinner.

>> Let's go.

>> No, you go.

I'm gonna stay.

>> What?

Why? Mom in bed?

>> Not yet.

>> She taking her nap?

Are you kidding me, George?

>> Well, Joyce, she decided.

>> What has Mom decided?

>> She decided

she doesn't need a nap.

She says she wants to stay up.

>> No, I knew

this was gonna happen.

>> Joyce.

>> She's tired.

That's all that I mean.

I'm thinking of her -- I am.

>> I'm sure she is.

>> She looked exhausted.

She should be in bed.

Or am I wrong?

Tell me I'm wrong.

I had to help her up

the porch steps.

>> I think she just

lets us do that, Joyce.

>> She does let you do that.

>> I don't think so.

>> You want to tell her

to take a nap?

Go ahead and tell her.

I told her.

She's right in there,

in her chair.

>> I guess, then, we're not

taking a walk.

If Mom doesn't take her nap now,

she's gonna --

>> What? She'll --

Joyce, she -- she'll be fine.

>> Give me your coat.

I'll hang it up.

>> Mom looks

absolutely exhausted.

That's all I'm saying.

>> Well, I'm sure

today wore her out.

>> She had to see everything --

I mean, everything.

And we sat down on

every goddamn bench.

We must have been in there

for five hours.

>> She's old.

>> Thanks for that news.

Haven't been here like you,

so I --

>> No, I'm sure every time,

there's a bit of a surprise.

>> Got to come for Christmas,


>> She's just been here.

>> I have just been here.

Hang up your own coat.

She's not your servant.

>> Oh.

>> Don't put it there.

That's a chair.

There are hooks, the same hooks

that have been out

in that hallway forever.

>> Yeah, I know --

I know where the hooks are.

>> Give me the coat.

I'll hang it up.

>> Don't spoil him, Hannah.

>> Joyce.

>> The other night,

we're watching a film.

>> What?

>> Japanese.

>> No, I was joking.

>> And this guy

comes onto the film, and he

slips off his shoes, and his

wife hurries to get his robe,

and as he takes off his jacket,

he just drops it on the floor --

drops it.

>> I was teasing.

>> And the wife is standing

right there, so she has

to lean down and pick it up.

And George turns to me

and says, "See?"

>> Oh, for Christ's sake,

that's disgusting.

>> He was kidding.

>> Your wife's not your slave.

>> Then why tell the story?

>> Because it's funny.

>> Have you had any lunch?

>> Oh, we...

>> I think there are

still cold cuts.

>> ...ate at the Eveready.

>> Oh.

>> Even got a ta--

a booth right away.

>> Wow. Geez.

>> Yeah.

My brother loved

that Roosevelt Museum.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Thomas did some research

in that library, didn't he,

or am I wrong?

>> For his Roosevelt play.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> The last thing you're faced

with just before you leave --

There's a movie, and guess

whose voice is on it, Mary.

>> Uh...

>> Bill Clinton's.

>> You didn't let her guess.

>> Well, that's not FDR.

>> No.

>> It was a president.

>> I was gonna guess Hillary.

>> Not Trump?

>> You used to walk in there,

and you felt you were

in the presence of that man.

>> You should go,

see for yourself.

>> It's about what they want you

to believe, to think.

They feel they need to tell you

what to think, so, like,

you'll --

you'll vote for us Democrat.

It's not history anymore.

It's now just politics.

What the hell

happened to history?

>> So, if Mom didn't go upstairs

to take her nap,

where'd you leave her?

You know, she's probably

sick of us, too.

>> I doubt if your mother

is sick of you.

>> I mean --

>> Joyce.

>> Mom can't hear.

She can't hear if she's sitting

right next to you.

>> She was in her chair,

still in the living room.

>> Yeah, I peeked in.

She's talking to Karin.

>> At Karin is more like it.

So poor Karin got trapped.

>> It sounded like she was

telling Karin

about her voting for Roosevelt.

>> Is that even possible?

>> Who knows?

And why Karin?

'Cause she's polite

and still listens.

>> Hannah was telling us

at lunch you don't remember

actually inviting her.

>> I-I must have.

>> I don't think I've seen her

in decades.

>> She was at Thomas'

memorial in the city.

>> Well, I wasn't looking

for her then.

>> She was here in October.

Thomas asked Mary

to get in touch.

>> Did he?

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Oh. Maybe I knew that.

Are you okay with that?

>> She seemed really pleased

to be there this morning,

so we all did a nice thing.

>> I just -- I just felt

like making something.

>> Makes sense.

>> I wake up like that, too,

sometimes, but, then,

I don't make anything, do I?

>> Yes, you do.

>> I-I should put on

a fresh pot, Joyce.

>> No.

This one's still sort of warm.

I'm gonna buy

this house a coffeemaker.

They cost like 10 bucks.

>> Are you gonna stay

in my room tonight?

Your old room's full of crap.

>> I made up a bed

in George and Thomas' old room.

>> I don't care where I sleep.

Ooh, look.

She's escaped.

Good for you.

Good for Karin.

>> I wasn't escaping.

>> My sister's always joking.

>> Patricia wonders

if she could get a cup of tea.

I could do that, just tell me

where you keep the tea, Mary.

>> Karin, our mother means,

go and get her children and

make them come back in there.

That's what she means

by "cup of tea."

It's code, isn't it?

>> That is what

our mother means.

>> Sit down.

Join us.

>> You're safe in here.

>> What do you mean?

>> So, their mom voted

for Roosevelt.

>> At least five times.

>> I'm gonna make a new pot.

This isn't even hot.

>> Mary was surprised we got

a table

right away at the Eveready.

>> Unlike last night.

>> What happened last night?

>> We wanted to go

out to dinner.

>> Oh, no.

>> How rare is that?

>> Oh, I probably

should be going soon.

>> Well, do you have

to go already?

>> Well, I guess not,

but I-I'm not in the way?

>> No, no, no.

Of course not.

And, uh, Karin, all --

all those books there,

those were Thomas', too --

research for something.

I just thought they belonged

in here,

and, um, you'll see why.

Take a look.

>> Every place in

Rhinebeck Village packed

to the gills on Thursday night.

One place even laughed at me.

"Oh, we're usually booked out

from Wednesday."

>> In Rhinebeck?

>> Yeah.

>> When did that happen?

>> It happened.


We don't know.

We never go out.

>> Yeah.

>> Joyce, Mom's

in there all by herself.

>> I'm almost done.

>> How much should I make?

Who's gonna want coffee?

>> Mnh-mnh.

>> Then what am I making it for?

>> Leave it.

We'll want it later.

>> Oh, Mary, I almost forgot.

Here. This is for you.

>> What? Oh, what?

What is it?

>> Presents.

>> A present? For me?

>> It cost like $2.

>> George.

>> We all chipped in.

>> Read it.

Read the title.

>> "Cookies for Eleanor."

>> They had a pile of them

at the Val-Kill gift shop.

>> I didn't know Eleanor

made cookies.

>> I don't think she did.

I think those are the cookies

she just liked to eat.

>> Joyce, Mom sees me every day.

>> Okay.

I'm feeling guilty.

Ugh. I'm ready.

Oh, give me strength.

>> Patricia said

she wanted a cup of tea.

>> Our mother, Karin,

never says what she means.

>> No, she doesn't.

>> Come on.

You're coming, too.

>> Uh, daughters-in-law

have been excused.

>> Who the hell excused you?

>> I think we did, didn't we?

>> Yeah, I think so.

>> Even ex-daughters-in-law,

Karin, stay with us.

Stay in here.

You won't regret it.

>> That doesn't seem fair.

>> Does to us.

We don't want to be in there.

>> No.

And we speak from experience.

>> What are you making

for dinner?

>> I probably shouldn't stay.

I don't know.

>> I-I was thinking ratatouille.

It's easy enough.

With pasta?

>> They've rented out

all of Wilderstein.

>> How --

How much does that cost?

>> Just rich people.

>> Hannah works for a caterer

in Rhinebeck, Karin.

>> When there's work --


>> What's Wilderstein?

>> Well, it's this big,

old beautiful mansion.

It's a park now in Rhinebeck.

A lot of people here worked

really hard to restore it.

There's a lot of local

history there.

Mary, my boss said she heard

they first tried

to rent out the Roosevelt home.

They said they really wanted

to party in there.

What can I do?

>> How can I help?

I think it'll be fine.

I think I can do

what I was gonna do later --

tomorrow, even.

I just -- I can't stay too late.

Uh, when do you think you'll


>> Oh, an hour and a half

or something like that.

Is that too late?

>> No. No, that'd be fine --

perfect, even.

>> Good. That's good.

>> So, what can I do?

And it's all right?

You're sure?

>> Yes. Yes. Of course.

You'll need an apron.

Hannah, she'll need an apron.

You don't want to stain

that lovely blouse.

And, um,

we'll get you things to cut up.

>> I think I overdressed.

I thought maybe there'd be more

of a ceremony,

I guess, but it was perfect.

And I'd never been to something

like that before.

Hannah, thank you for the boots.

I left them in the mudroom.


I like this.

I just hadn't realized

what a dope I am --

that there'd be a real walk

to the water.

I don't know what I would

have done without those boots.

>> Well, we had to get

to the water.

That was sort of the whole

point, wasn't it?

>> Mm-hmm.

>> What he wanted?

Thomas loved that river.

>> Mary, thank you

for letting me tag along.

It meant a lot.

>> So, uh, what needs

to be cut up?

Um, oh, Karin, I keep the onions

and the mushrooms

out in the mudroom.

And I just started doing that.

>> It's cool out there.

I should do that.

>> The refrigerator was

just getting too crowded.

>> Mine's a mess.

>> You wouldn't mind?

Just -- Just bring back

whatever you can carry.

That should be enough.

And, oh, they're in little


and, also, tomatoes --

three or four tomatoes.

God only knows how good they are

this time of year

or where they're from.

There is enough food.

It's fine, Hannah.

>> Joyce said it was snowing

this morning

when she left the city.

>> We got nothing up here.

This is a crazy winter.

[ Piano playing ]

>> That's not my husband


>> You can tell that --

that it's Joyce.

>> Patricia's making her play.

>> Does she really need

to be made?

She never seemed

to need to be made.

>> See?

>> See?


>> That it's your sister

playing the piano.

>> Oh. I'm sure I'm next.

Has Karin gone?

>> She's in the mudroom.

>> All right.

Mom wants her little, uh,

sherry glass.

She says you're always

hiding it, Mary.

>> I wash it, and I put it away

in the dining room.

It worked, too.

She took one to the home.

Top shelf, corner cabinet.

It's with the sherry.

>> Patricia's got her kids

waiting on her.

That always makes her happy.

>> Do I make coffee or not?

>> Who's gonna drink it?

So, all of Wilderstein?

>> Yeah.

>> How rich is that guy?

And who has their wedding

in early March?

'Cause there are other aprons.

>> This is fine.

I saw two tents,

a truck just to heat the tents.

All of us were guessing it

must be like his fifth wedding.

>> He's worse than Thomas.

So, what -- what are you serving

at this fancy wedding?

>> They're New Yorkers,

so they have their own food,

their own caterer --

New York food.

We just serve it.

Oh, I saw their chef.

He's wearing jeans

and cowboy boots.

It's fucking Dutchess County,

not "Deadwood."

New Yorkers.

>> Joyce is showing off now.

She said she hasn't touched

a piano in six months.

Right, Joyce, right.

>> Karin can stay for dinner.

>> Oh, good.


The more, the merrier.

>> How's this?

Is this enough?

>> Oh, God.

How many of us are we now?

It keeps growing.

Do you think

Patricia's gonna eat?

>> Yeah.

>> Mary, why all the apples

out there?

You must have like a bushel.

>> Well, I was, uh,

all set to make my apple crisp,

and then Joyce phoned up.

I think we should have a cake --

treat the day like

it's his birthday or something.

It's not Thomas' birthday.

It's sort of just the opposite.

And Joyce says,

"I'll pay for the cake."

>> Yeah, and has she paid

for the cake?

>> Sit down.

Sit, Karin.

>> You can still make your apple

crisp, Mary.

These look good.

Stop & Shop?

>> Adams -- Kingston.

>> Mary's apple crisp, Karin,

was always

Thomas' favorite dessert.

I can tell her that, right?

>> I-I didn't know that.

I never made it.

>> Mary's apple crisp --

only hers.

>> Of course.

>> Oh, oh, talk about

rich people, Hannah.

When Thomas was rehearsing

one of his plays in London,

um, there was this party,

and, um, I-I just remember

that -- I just keep

remembering stories and --

>> Of course you do.

That's normal.

>> And that party, it was hosted

by the Lord Mayor of London.

It was for the theater company

that was gonna do Thomas' play.

And, oh, here, we can put

the peelings in there.

>> You don't compost?

>> Mnh-mnh. No, we don't.

>> I thought everyone

in the country --

>> And, so,

Thomas went to this party.

It was a fundraiser

in the theater's lobby

after one of the shows,

and the Lord Mayor,

Thomas said, was drunk,

and he had this funny chain

kind of thing,

a-across his chest.

He wrote me

about that in the letter.

I just came across it last week.

I keep re-reading

a lot of his letters.

And, oh, oh, and the people

in charge of this party --

Get this.

>> Yeah.

>> They had asked the theater

if they could have some of

their younger members, by which,

I'm sure they meant "sexier."

>> Right.

>> You know, maybe they even

came right out and said that,

but members of their

acting company or actresses...

>> Of course.

>> ...if they could wear the

costumes from the show they'd

been doing that night at this

party for potential patrons.

Ask me what the show was.

>> What was the show?

>> "The Beggar's Opera."

Rich people --

It's another planet.

It's a whole other universe.

[ Piano playing up-tempo ]

>> Now, that's George.

He, too, has been practicing.

He knew they'd both

be asked to play.

>> How thin do you want me to --

>> Oh, just whatever.

I usually --

>> What? Tell me.

>> Any way.

>> Tell her.

She'd like to do it

as you'd like.

>> I will do it

any way you want, Mary.

>> A quarter inch?

>> Quarter inch it is.

>> Like that?

Like that.

Was that so hard?

>> So, some actors did wear

their costumes at this party,

and he wrote about it

in this letter.

And I just read it

again last week.

>> You said.

>> Oh, did I?

>> So, they come in these

19th-century beggar clothes,

their faces dirtied,

and all these drunks

from the city just looking down

the girls' dresses.

>> Grow up, men.

>> My boss,

she introduced me to...

[ Telephone ringing ]

George will get it. the client, the groom.

And she told him

I worked Chelsea's wedding.

He was so impressed.

>> Did you really?

>> I just served.

>> That's how it would be.

>> So, he wanted to know

what kind of --

[ Ringing stops ]

George got it -- what kind of

wines Chelsea served.

>> What were they?

>> There's a winery

in Clinton Corners,

Clinton Winery, their wine.

Chelsea must

have thought it was cute.

>> Clinton Corners

is just down the road a bit.

>> So, the guy says,

"Do you think it's too late

for us

to get our wine from them, too?"

Now, I don't know what that

conjured up -- "The Clintons."

>> "I want what they want."

>> So, I get him

to order 30 cases,

and I call my friend

down at Clinton Corners

and tell her to charge the fools

three times

what they usually get.

>> No, good!

>> That's what they paid?

>> New Yorkers, Karin --

They don't know

what anything's worth anymore.

>> Mary, your daughter's

on the phone.

>> Oh, she called?

>> Yeah.

>> Give her our love.

>> I did.

>> Yeah, I will.

>> Tell her we missed her today,

but we understand.

She called.

[ Piano playing slowly ]

>> We just had lunch.

>> So, you're not going

to get hungry.


I think Mary is going to make

Thomas' apple crisp.

>> Ah, good!

>> That was one

of his favorites.

>> I know.

>> I just learned that.

From an earlier marriage,

her daughter?

I-I didn't know

Mary had a daughter.

>> She lives in Pittsburgh.

>> Yeah, from an earlier


Joyce told Mom she hadn't

touched a piano in six months.

>> Did Patricia criticize

her playing?

What did she say?

I sometimes think your mother

doesn't hear.

Well, that was quick.

>> Yeah, she was busy.

She's gonna send an e-card.

I told her she didn't have

to do that.

>> There's some great e-cards


What's her name --

Jacquie something?

>> How am I doing?

>> Good. Is that knife okay?

>> It's fine.

>> Yeah.

>> I'm glad she thought to call.

She's so busy.

It's nice to hear her voice.

You're not gonna be missed?

>> In there?

"Cookies for Eleanor."

>> A cookbook about

what Eleanor Roosevelt

just liked to eat.

Mary, there was a neat

display of everything

out of Eleanor's purse from,

I think -- was it the 1950s,

or was it when she died?

>> I don't know.

It was a clever idea --

inside the woman's purse.

>> Don't say anything

you'll regret.

Makeup, nail scissors,

Eleanor's handgun license.

>> What?

>> Yeah, who knew?

Eleanor Roosevelt packed heat.

>> She had a gun license?

>> Did you tell her

about finding the hair?

>> Mnh-mnh.

>> You said you wanted to tell

your daughter about that.

>> She was rushing

off somewhere.

>> She has a baby.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> I remember when I had Paulie,

I couldn't think

of anything else.

I missed birthdays.

Young mothers.

>> What hair?

I don't --

I don't think I know about this.

>> Should I tell him?

>> Mary found one of Thomas'

gray hairs inside a book.

It was

one of those on the bench there.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> She was trying to go

through his boxes.

What do you do

with something like that?

>> What do you mean?

>> A hair.

Well, Mary told me she first

almost threw it

in the wastebasket,

and then she thought

better of that and set it aside

on top of an unopened box.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> And then you got a phone call

or something

or had to go to the bathroom.

>> God.

>> Well, she comes back,

and she

opens up a few more boxes,

and about an hour later,

she remembers the hair.

She looks all around.

Can't find it anywhere.

She's opening the books.

She says to herself,

"It's just a hair.

Why am I crying about a hair?"

Happy ending, right?

When she's getting ready

for bed, on the shoulder

of her sweater, the hair.

So, now she's scotch-taped it

to an index card,

and she keeps it in her purse.

Is it still in your purse?

>> Yes.

>> A woman's purse.

>> It sounds like your sister

has stopped entertaining

your mother.

>> I'm not sure that's something

she knows how to stop.

Here it is.

>> Oh.

>> It doesn't smell.

>> May I see it?

Thomas' hair.

>> Where'd you go?

A phone rings, and you run away?

Your turn.

What are you doing?

>> Making ratatouille.

>> So, where is she now?

Where -- Where is Mom now?

>> Still in her chair, no doubt

still criticizing me.

>> But, Joyce, she hasn't been

criticizing you.

>> "Is that how you're going to

play it?

Is that how

you're going to play it?"

>> Grow up, Joyce.

>> Fuck you.

>> I thought

you sounded great, Joyce.

>> Yeah.

>> I've been practicing.

Don't tell my brother.

>> Karin can stay for dinner.

>> Good.

What is that?

>> One of Thomas' hairs.

Mary keeps it taped

to an index card in her purse.

>> Why?

>> I know your mother

really appreciates

your coming up today, Joyce.

>> Has she said that?

Has she actually said that?

>> I-I think so.

[ Piano playing slowly ]

>> "Tell me, Dear Reader,

do you often say to yourself,

in bitterness of spirit,

that it is a mistake

to educate girls into a love

of science and literature

and then condemn them to the

routine of a domestic drudge?"

>> When was this written?

>> 1884.

>> You think it's a woman?

>> It has to be a woman.

>> Marion Harland, a woman.

>> I think I'm cutting

these too thick.

>> Nope, that's great.

You're doing fine.

>> This was one

of Thomas' favorites.

>> It's what Mom wants.

That's what she's asking for,


Thomas used to play for her.

"A talk, as woman to woman --"

"Woman to woman."

There you go.

"An informal preface

to what I mean

shall be an informal book."

A woman talking to women

who's listened to other women.

>> God.

>> Ooh, Hannah,

I heard a joke this week.

>> Oh.

>> A girl tells her mother

about her new boyfriend.

The mom asks what he does.

And the mom is shocked --

"How can you go out with him,

someone who works for the NSA?"

And the girl just looks

at her mom, eyes wide open,

"But, Mom, he listens."

[ Laughter ]

>> That's funny.

>> My married friend

told me that.

>> Keep reading.

I don't think we read this part.

>> Mnh-mnh.

>> "My dear fellow housekeeper

and reader..."

>> That's us.

>> Yeah.

>> "...I have before me now a

picture of a wife and mother

in slatternly morning gown

at 4:00 in the afternoon,

leaning back in the laziest

and most ragged

of rocking chairs,

dust on the carpet,

on the open piano --"

Ah, I love that touch.

Her reader's home, all alone,

playing her piano.

I've been there.

Who hasn't been there?

"Dust on the mantel,

the mirrors,

even on her own hair."

>> No way.

>> "She rubbed the soft palm

of one hand with the grimy

fingers of the other

and with a sickly sweet smile

whines out, 'I have no talent

for housework!'"

These were all Thomas'?

>> Yeah, we were surprised, too.

>> Well, it must have been

research for something.

>> Yeah, I don't know what.

That whole pile there,

and I just thought they belonged

in the kitchen.

>> Mary found them in

a plastic box in Thomas' office.

>> All of them about cooking.

Why would my brother --

>> Did he start cooking?

>> No.

>> Thomas never cooked

when we were married.

>> No, he didn't cook anything.

Maybe pasta -- maybe.

That's what he always said

he could cook, if I hadn't made

anything or if I was busy.

"Oh, I-I can cook pasta."

>> Did he mean it?

>> I don't know.

I don't know.

>> You should have --

>> Tested him?

>> That would have been fun.

>> It would have been.

Oh, oh, boy, these onions,


>> He's written notes, like,

quotes from things

in the backs of some of them.

>> Thomas.

>> In the margins.

Come through.

One of them --

I think it's this one --

something about

how it is the one thing

everyone lies about.

>> What is?

>> What you eat

when you're alone.

>> Yeah, this is what he wrote.

"Everyone lies about what

they eat when they're alone."

Do you lie about that --

what you eat when you're alone?

I lie about that.

Mary thinks he just jotted

down things he'd find,

like something he'd heard

or said or remembered.

Oh, this -- "Human beings are

the only animals that transform

their food, that cook."

>> He underlines "cook."

>> "So it is one of the things

that makes us human beings."

>> Yeah, some birds --

don't they regurgitate

what they eat for their babies?

>> That's not cooking.

>> No, I guess not.

>> Well, you haven't tried

my cooking.

>> The first time

George wanted to cook for me,

he forgot to wash the lettuce.

>> Oh, God.

>> So you could hear the crunch

of the dirt as you ate.

Like, little bits of gravel.

I didn't say anything.

>> Do you think he even noticed?

I know my brother.

>> Next time, I offered

to wash the lettuce.

>> That was a very nice way

to handle that -- very generous.

>> I thought so.

>> I don't think

I'm that generous.

>> Listen to this --

"When I took --"

>> Thomas?

>> No, Marion Harland.

"When I took possession

of my first real home,

the prettily furnished cottage

to which I came as a bride,

so full of hope and courage,

after one day's investigation,

I knew

my lately hired servants..."

>> Mm.

>> She had servants.

"...knew no more about cookery

than I did,

or perhaps affected stupidity

to determine my capabilities."

>> That sounds like a nightmare.

That's why

I don't have servants.

>> "And I was too proud

to let them suspect the truth.

I shut myself up with my

'Complete Housewives.'"

I guess that's some book.

>> Hm.

>> It's not this book.

"I do not like to remember

that time!"

>> Poor thing.

>> "My wrestling begat nothing

but pitiable confusion,

hopeless distress,

and a three-day sick headache,

during which season I am

not sure that I did not

darkly contemplate suicide...

as the only sure escape from

the meshes that strangle me"?

>> I didn't read that far.


>> This is Marion?

>> It's the author.

It's the introduction.

"Familiar Talk With My Reader."

>> I just read m-mostly

the recipes a-and his notes.

>> "At the height -- or depth --

of my despondency, a friend,

one with a great heart

and steady brain,

came to my rescue."

>> How --

>> "Her cheerful laugh

over my dilemma rings

down to me now,

through all these years.

'Bless your innocent

little heart!' she cried.

'99 out of a hundred cookbooks

are written by people

who never kept house

and the hundredth by a good cook

who doesn't know

how to express herself.'"

Rule number one --

"Compile a recipe book

for yourself."

>> Okay.

>> "And take your time."

That's good advice.

"Learn one thing at a time,

and when you have mastered it,

make a note on it,

never losing sight of

this principle,

you only learn by doing.'"

>> Wow.

>> Good.

>> Why wasn't she my mother?

>> There is nothing wrong

with your mother.

>> When I was like 13 or

something -- Did I ever tell

you this?

>> I don't know

what you're gonna --

>> It's Christmas morning,

and I unwrap

the fucking "Joy of Cooking."

>> Yeah.

>> "That's all you need,

dear heart," Mom says to me,

smiling her smile.

"All you need in life."

Well, thank you, Mom.

Thank you very much.

I'm ready for life now.

Bring it on!

>> Well, wasn't she

just trying to --

>> Mother.

>> I know.

>> I like "The Joy of Cooking."

>> I know what she means.

>> As if it were the gift

of life, Hannah,

and the way she hands it over,

like passing some torch

or an heirloom, my dowry.

>> Was it her copy?

>> No.

No, no.

Brand-fucking-new, like it was

the goddamn "Joy of Sex."

He stopped.

>> My mom gave me

"The Joy of Sex."

>> Oh, she didn't. No!

>> She sort of did.

She left her and Dad's copy

lying around.

>> On purpose?

>> That's what I think now.

>> At least she didn't hand it

to you, like it was something

incredibly valuable,

a mother-daughter event.

I don't think I even

opened it up.

>> Well, that must

have hurt her.

>> Well, I was 13.

She should know better.

>> Oh, 13 -- I hated that age.

My skin was like...

>> Another time.

I think I was like 17, trying

like hell to get out of here.

>> 17 wasn't much better.

>> I come into this very --

>> I thought that you and Thomas

got married

when you were like 19.

>> Oh, those were two completely

different universes, 17 and 19.

I mean, they were for me --


and totally different planets.

>> We come into this

very kitchen,

and Mom is standing

right where you are, Karin.

She's holding a bowl,

mixing something.

She looks like a witch

mixing a potion.

>> I like your mom.

>> I like her, too.

>> No, I like her a lot.

>> For Christ's sake,

I'm telling a story.

Let me tell my story.

>> Okay. So, what happened?

>> She looks up at me from her

stirring -- gets that look.

We all know that look.

>> What's the look?

>> "What's wrong, Mom?"

I say.

I think I sounded concerned.

I tried.

I remember trying.

"I'm making my birthday cake,

dear heart."

It was the "dear heart."

>> Well, that's cute.

>> She's not your mother.

>> Her own cake --

you can't win that.

>> It was her birthday.

"Come on, Mom,"

I say, in my most perky way.

"I really don't think you should

be making your own birthday cake

on your own birthday."

>> You actually said that?

>> Yeah.

>> You know, you walked

right into it.

>> She's 17.

>> "Then who's gonna make it?"

Mom asks.

And -- And suddenly,

she's not crying anymore,

but she's all bubbly

and smiley and perky, too.

>> Joyce.

>> I'm being fair.

I'm not being unfair.

So, I start to see where

this is all headed.

>> Mm.

>> "Come on, Mom.

Can't we just buy a cake?

I'll go to that bakery

in Kingston

you like so much, okay?"

And she stops being bubbly

and smiley and perky.

And I'm standing right next

to your chair, Hannah,

right over there.

Both of my brothers

sit right there.

"Maybe they will make it."

>> So?

You make your mother a cake.

Good for you.

>> I have two brothers.

I'm with you.

>> Yeah, I make her

the goddamn birthday cake.

As I get going, I start

convincing myself that this

is really a special -- what? --

honor, my chance to shine,

maybe, to --

to show up my brothers.

So I work really hard

on that damn cake

right at this table, here.

I worked really, really,

really hard on it.

And when I'm finally done,

when she sees my great

effort, you know,

I present my cake to her,

wipe the sweaty hair out of my

eyes and wipe the sweat

off my goddamn zitty face,

Mom says to me, "Dear heart,

you worked so hard."

>> Oh, boy.

>> I know what she meant.

>> It's not how

she would have made it.

>> "Dear heart" is cute.

It's old-fashioned.

>> She didn't say that.

>> But that's what she heard.

>> Thanks, Karin.

>> The cake you asked Mary

to buy for today

was store-bought.

>> From Deisings.

You got it at Deisings?

>> It's from Deisings.

>> Thomas always

loved their cakes.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> At least I thought of that.

At least I did

something right today.

Should I keep reading?

>> Yeah, please.

>> Um...

"These notes were the first

of practical wisdom

and receipts I now

offer for your inspection."

She calls recipes "receipts."

"Never forget that you are

mistress of yourself."

>> Ah.

>> "Have faith

in your own abilities.

I take it for granted that you,

Dear Reader, are too intelligent

to share in the vulgar prejudice

against labor-saving machines."

She'd have a microwave.

I have a microwave!

>> I couldn't live without mine.

>> Mom knows they don't

kill you, right?

>> Your mother liked

what she had.

>> You don't have to keep

explaining my mother to me.

"Many excellent --"

You know, when I told Mom

that I had actually bought

a microwave for my tiny

Brooklyn apartment kitchen,

it was as if I'd robbed someone

or kicked a dog

or denied global warming.

"It's -- It's not wrong, Mom."

"It's wrong!"

Not in this century

or the last one.


"Many excellent housewives have

a fashion of of saying loftily,

'I carry all my receipts...'"

>> Recipes.

>> "' my head.

I never wrote out

one in my life.'

And so, you, if timid

and self-distrustful,

are smitten with shame --"

>> I have an aunt who does that,

my mother's little sister.

She says, "It's all in my head."

My mom told me not to believe

anything she said.

>> "My advice is just keep

the recipe book out of sight."

What a battle she's preparing us

for -- suiting us up

for some sort of a battle.

>> Yeah.

>> So we're not,

what, intimidated?

>> Times have changed,

thank God.

Haven't they?

>> Yeah, Thomas has the --

or had these friends.

>> Who?

>> Oh, he met them

with me later.

You probably wouldn't know them.

But you go to their apartment.

First, it's always incredibly


>> Then they have a cleaner.

>> Gosh, you're right.

>> And the kitchen --

a stove that just intimidates.

>> I hate those.

I really hate those.

>> She cooks while she talks.

She can do that.

While -- While cooking and --

and sipping wine,

she tells these funny and,

often, self-deprecating stories.

How does she do that?

Doesn't she have

to fucking measure?

And -- And she cleans pots

while cooking

and telling the stories

and sipping

the goddamn wonderful wine.

And almost every time,

she's in her goddamn bare feet.

>> Oh!

>> And I hated going there

for dinner.

>> It's the bare feet

that take it over the edge.

>> Yeah.

"Here I lay it down --

a few safe and imperative

rules for your kitchen."

>> Yes.

>> [ Laughs ]

>> What?

>> "Never stand when you can

do your work

as well while sitting."

>> We knew that.

>> Yay!

>> "It will sometimes happen

that, when you

have heated your pitch..."

>> What does that mean?

>> "... swabbed

your deck, or made your pudding,

the result is failure."

>> Uh-huh.

>> "No part of the culinary

education is more useful.

You have learned

how not to do it right, which is

the next thing to success."

I guess I'm closer

to success than I thought.


"However, should any such

mishaps occur,

do not vex or amuse your husband

and your guests

with the narration..."

In other words, don't tell them.

>> Hm.

>> Wait. I'm interested in this.

>> "...with the narration,

still less with visible proof

of the calamity."

So, hide it.

"Many a partial failure would

pass unobserved

but for the clouded brow

and earnest apologies

of the hostess."

>> This is about a lot

more than cooking.

>> Mm.

>> "Do not apologize!" --

exclamation mark.

"You will be astonished to find,

if you keep your wits about you,

how often even your husband

will remain

in blissful ignorance

that nothing has gone wrong,

if you do not tell him."

>> Do not tell him --

I've done that.

Any of you ever done that?

Ever happen to you?

>> Well...

>> I bet we've all done that.

Now we know there's nothing

wrong with doing that.

Can I see that book?

>> Someone penned in their

little recipes in the front.

>> Receipts.

>> Receipts, with pins,

like keepsakes.

>> Sweet.

>> "Common Sense In

The Household: A Manual

Of Practical Housewife-ery."

>> No, "wifery."

>> Wifery.

>> Yeah.

>> 1884?

This sat in someone's kitchen

for years and years.

>> Yeah, maybe generations.

>> Family cookbook.

>> Or like the family Bible,

or -- or maybe more revealing,

what goes on in the kitchen.

>> Mm.

>> This is Thomas' handwriting.

>> What?

>> "The discovery of a new dish

does more for mankind than

the discovery of a new star."

>> Hm.

That's lovely.

>> I like that.

>> Well, this is someone else's

handwriting, maybe the person

who gave the woman the book.

It's old-fashioned handwriting.

"Improve each shining hour."

>> I'll try.

>> Okay.

>> He was gonna write a story

about cooking.

>> Never --

>> Maybe a play.

>> "Never try experiments --"

more advice --

"when you have invited guests

for dinner."

>> Oh, well.

>> Sorry.

"Never risk the success

of a meal on a new dish.

So, introduce your experiments


to your husband as by-play."

>> "By-play"?

It says that -- "by-play"?

>> "And never be too shy

of innovations."

>> What?!

>> "Variety is not only

pleasant, but healthy."

>> God.

>> "The pampered palate

will weary

of the same bill of fare."

This is about a lot more

than cooking.

>> Is there any wine, Mary?

I'd love a glass of wine.

>> Yeah, there's a half a bottle

in the door.

Smell it first.

>> Mom's asleep.

She fell asleep in her chair.

I couldn't get her

to go upstairs, Joyce.

I tried.

All right.

Yeah, it's fine.


Anyone else?

>> No, thanks.

>> No.

>> Not yet.

>> She insisted on looking


a couple of photo albums.

They're the ones just of Thomas.

>> I keep that album out.

>> It's a long day for her.

>> She was crying.

>> I thought your mom did great

this morning.

When you asked if she wanted

to help you scoop out

any of the ashes, I thought

she was going to lose it then.

>> It's good Mom's asleep.

She needs that.

>> These two big guys

knock on your mom's door.

She's alone.

>> I was out at the store.

>> It's not your fault.

>> Well, I should've been there.

>> She thinks it's her fault.

[ Timer rings ]

And these guys tell your mother,

right, that they're putting down

new asphalt on another driveway

just up the street.

>> How her driveway looks

dangerous and a lot of other


>> Yeah, someone could fall

and so forth -- lawsuits.

>> Yeah.

>> They say that?

>> To scare you, yeah.

>> Oh, and, by the way...

>> And, by the way, she is so

lucky because they are, right

now, just down South Street,

so that'll save Mom

a whole lot of money.

And, normally, they wouldn't

even be doing

this kind of work in December,

but it's been bizarrely warm.

>> Your timer.

>> They took advantage

of an old woman.

>> Shit.

She wrote a check?

>> Mom wrote the check.

They needed it right away.

Probably ran to the bank

to cash it.

>> And by the time Mary's back

from the store --

>> I was gone maybe 40,

45 minutes.

>> They're already

pouring the asphalt.

>> George thinks it won't last.

>> It won't.

You don't -- You don't do this

kind of work in the winter.

Even if it's warm for a few

days, it's just gonna crumble.

>> $7,400.

>> Shit!

Well, shit.

Does she have

that kind of money to just...

>> Check didn't bounce.

We were hoping it would bounce.

>> I didn't know anything

about this.

>> Well, you know, Joyce,

you haven't been here.

>> I have a phone.

A whole brand-new driveway

for $7,000?

I didn't even notice

a difference.

>> Ever since Thomas died,

Mom has seemed sad.

I mean, something happened.

>> Even before.

>> I suppose you always think

you're -- you're not gonna

live longer than your kids.

>> Do you need any help there?

>> Well, maybe in a minute.

>> We should thank Mary.

>> Why?

>> Why?

>> For this morning.

That was really

nice this morning.

I didn't think it would be

that nice, did I?

>> No.

>> I was telling Hannah

in the car, "I now think I want

my ashes to be thrown

in the Hudson, too."

No rush, please.

Though maybe next time,

Joyce, we could pick a season

when we don't have to chop

away at the goddamn ice?

>> There was no ice.

>> It was cold.

Mom got cold.

>> Well, we thought

we were waiting for spring.

>> Yeah, but Joyce is so busy,

unlike us country

folk who have nothing --

>> It's a business trip.

>> Oh, to Europe.

Well, twist my arm.

>> Karin, could you just

watch that for a minute?

All right, who wants to help

peel apples?

>> You're going to make

your apple crisp?

>> I also have peelers.

>> I will get the peelers.

She's going to make her

apple crisp.

That was Thomas'

favorite dessert.

>> I know.

>> We can also have cake.

We can have both.

>> Oh, Joyce, last month, Mom --

>> Oh, God.

>> No. Do you want to tell her?

>> What?

>> This is embarrassing.

>> Last month, Hannah drops

by here just as Mary and Mom

are running off

to the bank to send --

how much -- $600, right --

to our Paulie.

>> Why?

Where was Paulie?

>> We thought he was

in Washington

on his senior class trip, but --

No, you tell her.

You were here.

>> "There you are,"

your mom says

the moment I walk in.

"We've been trying to call you.

We're on our way to the bank

and then the post office.

Paulie's not on his senior

class trip.

He's in some trouble in Canada."

>> Canada.

>> Canada?

What are you talking about?


>> Somehow, they knew our son,

her grandson, was on a trip.

>> Who?

>> How did they know?

>> I still think

it was just a lucky guess.

>> So, your mother

gets a phone call.

"Your grandson has crossed

the border and bought

an expensive computer,

and now he doesn't have enough

money to pay the duty,"

so the border people

are going to confiscate

this expensive computer

Paulie's bought unless we send,

right away, $600.

>> $600.

>> And Mary's saying --

As I walk in, Mary's saying,

"We're sending the money."

>> What was I thinking?

>> No, of course.

>> You were worried

about our son.

>> Paulie had called Mom?

>> No, sort of.

>> I don't understand.

>> Then I think to ask Mary,

"Did you actually talk to

Paulie yourself?"

No. No.

But your mother had,

and Patricia was like,

"Oh, Paulie's so upset."

So the three of us rush

to the bank to get the money

and then the post office

to wire a money order.

Meanwhile, I've called George

down at the shop.

He's trying to call Paulie

on his cell.

But you tell.

He leaves a message.

>> And I call the number.

>> In Canada that

we're supposed to call

after we've sent the money.

>> And a woman answers.

>> To tell them it's on its way.

>> And I -- And I ask to talk to

Paulie, tell her I'm his father.

And then,

I hear Paulie come on the line,

but the connection

is not real good --

a lot of static.

>> Yeah.

>> But I hear him say, "Hi, Dad!


I'm okay.

I have a cold.

Are you sending the money?

Please send the money.

I need money."


>> What?

>> When my cellphone rings.

And I'm still on the other line,

on the landline, with Paulie.

But on my cell, calling me back,

is Paulie.

He's in Washington with his


on his senior class trip.

>> I don't understand

the other --

>> The other one in Canada

was someone else.

>> Someone who happens to sound

like Paulie.

>> Well, with a cold

and a lot of static.

>> Yeah.

>> So, I asked that person,

"Who the --

Who the hell are you?"

He hangs up.

>> And then George calls me,

and we're still in line

at the post office.

Thank God there was a line.

>> Oh.

>> And says,

"Don't send the money.

It's a scam."

>> It's a popular scam,

we learned

from the state police.

They couldn't do anything.

And they -- they --

We figured Mom

had her picture in the paper.

>> Yeah, at the library.

>> As a -- As a volunteer

at the library, and they --

we figure they -- they saw that.

They look for old people.

Old people to them are like fish

in a fucking barrel.

It was the cop's word.

>> When you're scared,

you're vulnerable.

>> She is.

God, we are.

Now, Karin, I-I can do that now.

Thank you.

>> How's Paulie doing?

>> Well, he's applied

to 14 colleges,

so we're waiting.

>> It's like Chinese

water torture.

>> Yeah, every morning,

you wake up.

You watch your son ask himself,

"So, what am I worth?"

Parents shouldn't be forced

to watch that.

>> From Adams?

Those must be from Adams.

They look really good.

>> No, from the farmers' market.

>> Farmers' market?

>> They have it in the winter

now, too, in the town hall.

>> What's the name of the guy

on the news hour

that does the business?

>> Oh, Paul something.

>> Oh, yeah, I watch him.

>> I don't know.

>> The other day,

he's interviewing

some hedge-fund guy

who's a little defensive,

like, "Come on.

Are we really bad guys?"

And then, the guy

tries to explain.

He's like, "Look at those hyenas

and the vultures out there

on the savanna.

Are they bad guys?

You know, just because

there happens to be

a sudden boom in carcasses,

is that really their fault?

They're just taking advantage

of opportunities.

They're just hungry."

>> All of a sudden, Mom gets on

all these lists.

And now that she's in her --

her new place,

Mary gets all these phone calls.

We had no idea.

"I'm calling about

your credit-card accounts."

No, they're not.

"It's the IRS."

No, you're not.

>> "Congratulations.

You've just won something

or other."

No, you haven't.

"We're calling with very

important information

about your Medicare coverage."

No, they're not.

>> They want to pick over her

fucking bones.

And she won't show us

her checkbook, so we don't know

what she's been doing.

>> Yeah, well, Mary throws away

most of the solicitations

that come in the mail.

>> She still gets her mail here,

so I bring in a few things

so she doesn't

get too suspicious.

>> Well, you hear stories about

families and their parents,

and they fight like hell

with their kids about

moving into one of these places.

>> My father was like that.

>> She's made it so easy on us.

Bless her.

Bless her.

>> No, she -- she has friends


people she's known forever.

>> Good for your mom.

You're lucky.

>> It's a nice place.

>> Yeah.

>> Very nice.

>> I know your mom's really

looking forward to showing you

her new apartment, Joyce.

>> You should go.

>> Of course I'm gonna go.

You don't have to tell me to go.

I'm gonna go after dinner.

>> Good.

>> I'm looking forward

to seeing it --

Mom's new life.

>> Good.

>> I know I should go.

You don't have to make me.

>> It's just a room,

so be prepared.

It's a nice room,

but it's not a house.

>> Yeah.

>> But she took stuff with her.

The -- The desk, some --

some rugs.

>> The love seat.

>> Oh, love -- the love seat

from the bedroom.

>> Mm.

>> Not much more would fit,

but she's trying

to make it a home.

It's just up East Market.

>> I must admit to being

very surprised

when you called to tell me.

I thought you must

have somehow made her.

Mom seemed to have an accident

at the diner at lunch, or am I


>> No, it happened.

>> Yeah, we try not to make

a big deal about it,

'cause it embarrasses her,

but it happens.

>> Maybe she should

wear those adult --

>> She doesn't like

how she looks in them, Joyce.

She says they make her look fat.

>> Well, maybe we should insist,

just for her own sake.

>> She wears them

sometimes, Joyce.

She didn't today, 'cause she --

she wanted to look her best.

>> Is that Mom's car

still out in the drive?

I thought we were selling that.

When I was here in November, you

said you were gonna sell that.

>> Not yet.

>> It's just wasting money.

You're still paying

for the sticker, the insurance.

What --

Mom's not still driving, is she?

>> No, she's not really driving.

>> But she drove here

this morning, but we drive

her back at night, in the dark.

She doesn't drive in the dark.

She can't see, but we take

two cars, so...

>> George.

>> Joyce, you're right.

We agreed.

Mom just didn't agree.

>> What?

>> She said no.

We -- We thought the place

wouldn't allow it, didn't we?

We thought that would settle it,

but, hey, they do.

"It's independent living,"

they said.

"That's not our job."

>> She can barely turn her head.

She can't see

out the back window.

>> She can turn her head.

Can't she?

>> She's gonna kill someone.

She's gonna run over

some little kid.

I mean, you said you were

gonna do this.

You promised.

>> Mary, tell her -- Your mother

hardly drives anywhere.

>> To the Stop & Shop,

the library, to here.

>> There are trucks on Route 9

and school buses.

Mary, do you have any red wine?

>> Yeah, in the mudroom.

I keep the red out there.

>> Any particular --

>> They're all basically the

same, Joyce -- cheap.

>> So, Karin, you didn't have

to teach today?

>> Those are for the apple

crisp, George.

>> Not on Fridays --

no theater class on Fridays.

I don't know why.

>> Mary, quartered

and then halved again?

>> Yeah, sure.

>> Quartered and

then halved again.

Do it as she says.

>> So, long weekend, huh?

That's not bad.

Do you go back to the city?

>> Sublet my apartment.

>> I'm subletting mine

for the three months I'm away.

You have to.

Anyone else?

>> No, thanks.

>> I don't know how I had

the nerve to say

I could teach playwriting.

I could just hear Thomas --

"You're teaching playwriting."

>> "So, kids, make it up."

>> Is that clean?

>> It was in the dish rack.

>> I had no idea what to expect.

>> Well, I hope you expected

rich kids, Hotchkiss.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Some teacher got ill

all of a sudden, right?

Is that what happened?

That's what Mary said.

>> Uh, needed a body right away.

I am that body.

I was free, didn't have a job.

Probably the

10th actor they tried.

>> Karin's been teaching

at a school in New York.

>> Oh, I didn't know that.

>> Well, it's not

completely out of the --

>> Well, teaching acting.

It's not really a school.

I really don't know

what I'm doing.

>> Thomas used to tell

his students -- uh, when -- when

Thomas taught the --

>> When did Thomas teach?

I didn't know he ever --

>> He hated it.

>> No.

>> He hated it.

>> The school, not the kids.

>> He always told me

he would never teach.

>> He lasted maybe two years.

>> What about a salad, Mary?

Don't we need a salad?

>> Look in the fridge.

Check the lettuce.

It's been there a while.

Uh, let me get this right.

I heard him tell this

to a bunch of students when they

came to our house in New Haven.

There -- There are two questions

a playwright needs to answer --

two -- why did you write it?

And then, why should

we watch it?

That was it.

So, what does that mean?

>> Make it personal,

and make it matter.

I think I understand that.

>> Uh, is -- How's the lettuce?

>> I'll pull off

the brown leaves.

>> Yeah, I don't think

that's even been washed.

>> I'll wash it and pull off

the bad leaves.

>> Oh, and, Karin,

I just remembered this.

There was this little, um,

sign that he'd made

for himself that I just --

I keep remembering things,

all day.

[ Timer rings ]

>> Mm-hmm.

>> This was over his desk

in his office.

"Don't write words, Thomas.

Just try and write people."

>> So, tell them that,

whatever that means.

>> Actors love hearing

that kind of stuff.

Thomas loved actors.

>> He married one.

>> Mary, your bread.

>> Yeah.

>> "Cookies for Eleanor."

>> I liked going there today.

Let me see that.

>> Oh.

>> Oh!

That smells good.

I'm getting hungry.

>> Mmm.

>> It's a reflex.

>> Are you done?

>> I'm taking a break.

>> Just what Eleanor

liked to eat.

Good for her.

>> I think Eleanor Roosevelt was

the first woman I ever admired.

>> Really?

I didn't know that.

>> I think I was maybe in first

grade, and we all had to draw

a picture of someone we admired,

and everyone drew their father

or grandfather,

maybe their mother.

I drew Eleanor Roosevelt.

Of course,

I put her in a wedding dress.

>> Of course.

Women come from all over.

>> You mean to Val-Kill?

>> Oh, I know women

in the theater that have come up

just to Hyde Park,

just to see Eleanor's house.

>> I'm not surprised.

>> There's

a little wooden bridge.

>> Yeah, we saw that today.

>> Did the guard tell you

anything about this bridge?

>> No, she didn't, did she?

>> What -- What bridge?

>> I've been two or three times.

It's just before you get

to the house, and

it was made of wood on purpose.

>> What do you mean?

>> So, any automobile crossing

it would make a lot of noise --

thump, thump, thump!

Well, a friend of mine

told me this.

The guard there told her.

Thump, thump, thump!

So, all the women who lived

there with Eleanor,

the ones who made furniture,

would be warned that someone was

coming and so could stop doing

whatever they were doing.

>> Ah.

[ Laughs ]

>> It seemed to be a very

different group

that went to Val-Kill than to --

>> Than to Franklin's?

>> Did you notice that today?

>> Yeah.

>> Yeah, this one woman

was telling her woman friends --

>> I don't know what you're

talking about --

a woman trying to speak.

>> She was musing

that Val-Kill might be

the only real monument...

>> Oh, that.

>> ...if that's the right word.

>> No, that's not.

>> Official something to a woman

in all of the United States.

>> Betsy Ross in Philadelphia.

>> Yeah, that's what I was gonna


>> That's for the flag,

not for the woman.

>> Maybe it's not true, but,

still, it feels like it's true.

>> Years ago, when we first

moved here,

Thomas and I went together.

>> What, to the Roosevelt home?

>> And he asked the guard

if he could take his wheelchair

up in the little elevator

that FDR

would pull himself up in.

>> Did they let him?

>> Oh, no, no.

>> Mary, anything

you don't want me to use?

>> Mnh-mnh.

>> You gonna keep the ramps

up outside?

I was surprised

to see the ramps are still up.

George built them.

>> Hm.

>> I'm, uh --

I'm ready to take them down.

I agree they're in the way.

>> Mm.

>> George is a carpenter.

>> I know.

>> That's been washed.

>> Why don't you let George

take those ramps away, Mary?

He could do it this weekend.

>> Oh, what if your mom, uh,

breaks her leg or something?

>> She doesn't live here now.

>> Well, when she visits.


there's no rush, is there?

>> No. Just tell me when.

I think

I'm gonna go check on Mom.

Mary just reminded me

that she's still here.

I almost forgot.

>> George,

you're just gonna wake her up.

She'll --

She'll call us if she needs us.

Why cause problems?

>> Those ramps are ugly.

Why don't you let George

get them out of your way?

That's not how Thomas would

want us to remember him, Mary.

>> So, how's your business?

How's work?

I haven't even asked.

>> Oh, he's been working on a --

a really -- a big job --

um, a whole dining-room

set, a table, and sideboard?

>> Some old tree fell

on a client's property.

>> What do you mean?

>> An ash -- 100-year-old ash,

at least, beautiful wood,

so they wanted everything

made out of their tree.

I've been drying all of it.

My whole shop is full of ash.

>> The client told George

how much they love that tree.

>> George makes

beautiful furniture.

>> I remember.

>> Yeah, you should peek

into his shop sometime.

>> I would love to.

>> He's already made

some of the furniture.

>> I have.

>> What?

>> George just finally met

the client

with the ash last week.

Up until then, they'd done

everything over the phone.

The client

closes his house in the winter,

but he's up here for something.

And he meets George at the shop,

and George has

worked out, finally,

you know, what he'll charge.

>> You didn't already have

a deal?

>> I talked to him.

>> Right away, the client's


But the price George has given

is exactly what George wants.

You know, he's worked

all that out -- what seems fair,

what makes sense,

what you can live with.

But the client just cuts

20% off, just like that.

I tell him, but that's

what he's used to doing.

Today, everybody assumes


negotiating about everything.

Isn't that true?

>> Yeah, I suppose so.

>> Yeah, that's true,

even this job at the school.

>> I told him I'd take 5% off.

>> He'd already begun.

And the guy, of course,

sees this.

He's in the shop.

So the guy says to George,

"Okay, if you won't negotiate,

then fuck you.

Truck the wood

back to my house."

He'll get someone else

to make his fucking furniture.

George has been working

for months.

He's dried the wood,

cut the wood,

designed two tables,

proudly, you know,

built this coffee table

and showed it to the guy

when he arrived.

>> I'm sure it'll all work out.

This asshole just enjoys

negotiating, you know?

They do that instinctively now.

>> The guy's lawyer called.

"We want the wood."

>> Any of you guys

been up to Hudson recently?

>> Oh, my God.

>> Oh, my God.

>> I haven't been to Hudson.

>> What is happening to us?

Where do we belong?

>> My boss has a weekend place

up in Hudson.

She's always talking about

parties up there.

You know, when we were

growing up, that place was poor.

>> No one can afford

to live there anymore.

>> I know.

>> No one.

>> Saugerties.

Who'd have believed that?

>> Not me.

>> George has started

calling us --

the people who grew up here --

he calls us

the People of Brigadoon.

>> That sounds about right.

>> Do you watch the Channel 4

news and weather?

There, on the weather map,

most nights, Rhinebeck --

little bitty Rhinebeck

on the New York City news,

I guess so the weekenders know

what the hell to pack.

>> I'm sure that's why.

>> Oh, and this you'll enjoy.

Did I see a cucumber?

>> Yeah, in the back

of the fridge.

>> Next door.

>> Oh, God.

>> Well, that was a long time


>> What are you talking about?

>> You didn't grow

up here, Mary.

>> Yeah, so, one of these little

free weekly papers

that are around now.

>> Yeah, we had a decent local

paper here once upon a time.

>> Well, they just reprinted

last week an article.

It, back in the '70s,

printed excerpts.

I guess they found it amusing.

It had been

inThe Times Magazine.

Do you still have your copy?

>> Oh, if I do, it's on, uh,

top of the pile

to recycle in the dining room.

>> Your mother actually


the person who wrote it.

She lived next door

for about a year.

>> Who?


>> Oh, you're too young.

>> She lived in --

Karin, in that house next door,

up the hill,

and she, oh, saw herself

as some sort of writer,

and she wrote about her year

in Rhinebeck

as a transplanted New Yorker.

I will show you.

>> Yeah, I think

I remember her, too.

>> What did she write?

>> A whole lot of crap.

>> Condescending shit.

How -- How cute we are,

how cute this --

this town is, its cute people,

how -- how unreal --

or like Brigadoon.

But she's from gritty,

real Manhattan,

and she comes here,

and it's quiet and still

and so scary!

>> Rhinebeck?

>> Why scary?

>> It's too clean!

It's too pretty!

>> "Like we're living on

the cover

of a 25-cent Christmas card --

the smooth whiteness of it all."

>> Whiteness.

>> Was she African-American?

>> No, she was a New Yorker.

>> And then she thinks

to herself --

oh, she's figured us out.

And read --

read that part to Karin.

>> Anything I can --

>> Mnh-mnh.

>> Read that to her.

>> No, she doesn't care.

>> No, I'm interested. I am.

>> I'll tell you where they are.

"The blotches and blemishes,

they're stashed away in their



>> You want to read.

>> No, what the hell

is she talking about?

>> She --

Home -- "In their 'homes.'"

"Homes" is in quotes,

so I guess they're not real.

"Things are taken care of

in small towns

out of the 'goodness'

of people's hearts --"

"Goodness" in quotes, too.

>> Not real.

>> So, that's not real, either.

I guess that's fake goodness.

"Moves are made so that little

that's ambiguous remains

to taunt the intellect."

She's talking about Rhinebeck.

>> Why would they

republish something --

>> "It's a working man's town --

or was."

>> It still is, at least

on the weekdays in the winter.

>> "Good, solid, working-class

prosperity -- dinner at 5:00,

church on Sunday,

and bed before 9:30.

At school, the kids sing songs

from 'Mary Poppins'..."

>> We did not.

>> " voices sweet as


And while discipline's assumed

and the walls are graffiti-free,

the children are taught

in the old-fashioned way,

as if nothing had happened

in the field of education

in the last 20 years."

>> God.

>> "Yet -- Yet, 25% who enter

Rhinebeck High don't finish.

Instead, they marry young."

Oh, oh, "In seven months,

I haven't seen one cripple,


Puerto Rican --

nothing to mar

the bland homogeneity of it all.

There are no visible poor."

>> Let me see.

>> Show Karin.

Karin, IBM had just closed

in Kingston, in Poughkeepsie --

three huge plants.

This town was dirt poor.

And this lady gets to live up in

that big house

on the hill for next to nothing.

>> $200 a month.

>> Dripping condescension of it.

Do they even hear themselves?

>> Are we just going to bitch

in front of Karin?

>> Oh, it's fine, really.

Go ahead and bitch.

I bitch all the time.

>> We work their land or --

or mow it.

We --

We keep up their properties.

We fix their houses

to make life comfortable

for them on their weekends

or their summer vacations.

>> Mm.

>> We build their furniture.

[ Laughs ]

>> My friend was

telling me the other day --

>> Oh, wait, wait, wait.

I can't hear.

What did you say?

>> A friend of mine was say--

Karin, I think he might teach

at the Atlantic

Theater School, too -- Henry.

>> Karin teaches there?

>> What's his last name?

I can't -- I forget.

>> But Henry...

>> Whatever my good friend's

name is,

he was telling me the other day

that friends of his, these days,

instead of having the ambition

to, say, open up a restaurant,

with all the banks and loans

and overhead, stuff like that,

he said, these days,

they're just going out and

getting themselves a food truck.

Like, that is the height

of their ambition now --

a food truck.

>> That kind of thing is getting

more and more popular.

>> For kids.

>> No, no, no, no.

>> Maybe Rhinebeck

needs a food truck.

Maybe you and Hannah

should start one up, you know?

Driving around

to the rich people's houses,

ring a little bell.

>> Beep, beep.

>> Make them a nice latte.

>> We're laughing now.

>> Cute little costumes,

both of you.

>> We went to an art show

at Bard last fall --

Thomas and me.

I think maybe it was one

of the last times

he ever went anywhere.

>> What was the art show?

>> It was very contemporary.

Didn't I tell you about this?

>> I don't think so.

>> That stuff on the floor,

videos, things that didn't make

a lot of sense to me?

We were being hip.

We were in this one room

when an elderly African-American

man comes in,

and he's wearing sunglasses,

and he has a white cane.

>> So, blind?

>> Yeah.

>> And leading him along or,

like, guiding him, I guess,

are these two very attractive

young white women,

18, 19 years old,

in very short skirts.

And it was an odd sight.

And Thomas, right away,

is curious.

And the three of them,

they just go from

art piece to art piece.

And the girls take turns

describing to the blind man

what they see --

the colors and shapes

and so forth.

And you -- you can't help

but hear

what they're telling him,

because they're speaking

just a little bit louder

than normal voices.

So everyone there hears them.

Oh, oh.

And you -- you can't help

but notice that,

sometimes, the women --

or most of the time,

the women would not really be

describing the art piece.

>> What?

>> Well, if, say, something were

yellow, they'd say it was red.

And they'd also add things

that weren't even there.

>> They were part of the show.

>> Yep.

>> Yeah, that's right.

George is right.

>> They're a piece of art.

>> That's what we figured out.

Who -- Who sees and who doesn't?

Who deceives,

and who is deceived?

Who is dependent on whom

and for what?

>> Mm.

>> Thomas loved it.

It was his favorite thing

in the show.

And, you know, he said that,

whenever he'd meet people,

you know, from Wall Street,

with a lot of money,

it was always like --

>> Who would Thomas meet?

>> I don't -- board members

of the theater that were gonna

do his show or --

I don't -- even just

like George's client,

just rich people,

really rich people.

You know, up here, some days,

you trip over them.

T-Thomas said that it's like

talking to someone who speaks

a whole other language

but uses the same words.

>> Yeah. Yeah.

>> I remember he said --

say one of these people

tells you that the sky is green.

But you look at the sky,

and it's blue.

What you see with your own eyes

is that it's blue.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> So, you say, "Well, what are

you talking about?

It's blue."

And when you finally get their


which is not always so easy,

he said, "It comes out

that they have just changed

the meaning of the sky,

and they think

it's their right to do that.

And you see," Thomas said,

"that is what

you're gonna be up against."

>> So, they're the young,

sexy girls in miniskirts,

and we're the old blind guy

being led around,

having everything

explained to us.


That sounds about right.

I think Thomas got that right.

>> Yeah.

>> Like, I can hear him

saying that, too.

>> Mary told me she didn't want

to go to the Roosevelt Museum

today, Joyce,

because that had been

one of Thomas' favorite places.

>> Isn't that why we went?

I thought that was why we went.

Am I wrong?

>> Because -- Is it okay?

Do you mind?

Can I tell them?

Mary's angry at Thomas now,


Really angry.

When we were walking back up

the hill at the Mills Mansion

back to our cars,

Mary told me this --

how angry she is at him.

>> Because he's not here?

>> I think so.

>> It's not rational.

>> What is?

>> I can understand that.

I suppose I'm angry

at Thomas, too.

>> Left behind --

what it feels like!

But you would -- you'd think,

being a doctor,

I'd be a little bit

more rational.

So, could --

can we please talk

about something else?

No, I would really like to talk

about something else.

And, uh, George, I think --

yeah, I think I'd like a glass

of wine now, too, please.

>> Yeah.

And I'll join Mary,

but I want a nice glass, George,

a stem glass, a real wine glass.

>> I-I'm just using the --

>> I know what you use.

>> Yeah, me, too --

a nice glass.

>> Yeah, Mary, too.

>> I would like a damn nice

wine glass, George.

>> Our good glasses

are in the dining room.

>> Karin, wine?

>> No, thank you.

I'm driving, and I'm sure

the last thing you need is to

have to put me up for the night.

>> Well, we have room, don't we?

>> No, no, no, no.

>> There's plenty of room.

>> I always make too much pasta.

>> Well, you know, my mother

taught me how to measure it.

She had this trick.

It really works.

>> What trick?

>> What about a salad dressing?

>> Oh, can't we just have

some Paul Newman's?

>> Oh, no, no.

Uh, Hannah makes a very nice

salad dressing.

So, my mother had this trick.

>> Okay.

>> So, say pasta for two people.

So, you imagine that your hand

is wrapped around

a man's erect penis.

It looked like this.

That's how much pasta for two.

How much pasta?

>> Yeah, she showed me this.

It works.

I do it all the time.

>> Your mother taught me this.

>> Do what all the time?

>> So, if it's for five or six,

you just do it three times.

>> Your mother taught you that.

>> Yeah.

>> It works.

>> What?

>> Nothing, George.

>> Once I was measuring

the pasta out, just as my mother

had taught me, you know?

And she was there

in the kitchen,

and she looks over my shoulder,

and she says, very


I thought, "Who have

you been going out with?"

[ Laughter ]

>> I don't under-- understand.

>> Mothers.

>> Oh!

>> The girl talk, George.

Never mind.

>> We went with Mom

to Bread Alone last week.

>> Oh, yeah, you told me this.

>> And Peter -- what's his

name? -- he's there.

Come on. What's his name?

You went to school with him.

So did you.

>> Peter --

>> What's Bread Alone?

>> It's a little coffee shop

on East Market.

>> It hasn't changed yet.

>> He paints houses now.

What's his name?

Why the fuck can't I remember

names anymore?

>> I can't, either.

>> Anyway, he starts telling us,

anyone in earshot,

his "History of Our Times."

That's what he called it.

>> It is funny.

>> What does that mean?

>> "Everything," he says --

"Everything can be traced back

to just one act."

>> And they weren't speaking in


more than a non-whisper.

Everyone hears it

at Bread Alone.

>> Well, that's why everyone

goes there, Karin.

You really have to watch

what you say there.

>> Were you in the front?

>> We were in the front.

>> Peter what's-his-name is

telling us how,

"So much of what we now are

and what we have become

and what is happening to us

can be traced back

to just one act

during one pizza night

in a small kitchen area

right next to the Oval Office."

>> Bill and Monica.

>> We know this.

Do we want to hear about this?

>> "All of recent

American history,"

he says, "is traceable

to that one act of..."

>> Are we still fascinated

by this?

>> And he lowers his voice

so it's even deeper now --

"One act of fellatio?"

>> And Mom is

sitting right there.

>> And Peter what's-his-name

says it like it's a musical

note -- "Fel-lat-io."

>> George.

>> "Let us now see just what

directly results

from this late night of pizza

and -- and so forth

so many, many years ago."

>> And Peter what's-his-name


listing every terrible thing

from the last 20 years.

>> So, he lets the "fellatio"


and then he begins his list --


>> Well, obviously.

>> Okay, no argument there.

Ending --

That law that kept the banks

from becoming casinos.

What was that called?

>> Glass something.

>> Oh, glass.

>> It's, um, Steagall.

>> Glass-Steagall.


>> What does that have

to do with...

>> That's what we all asked.

>> He explained --

Bill and Hillary were so worried

about going broke personally --

after all, didn't she say

they were dead broke? --

that's what they thought the

Republicans were really after.

>> And they were, they were.

>> Completely bankrupt them.

>> Of course they were.

>> So that's why, according to


Bill felt he sure as hell was

gonna need some rich friends,

so, at almost the last second of

one of his last days of office,

with a stroke of his pen...

>> Banks can become casinos.

It's one explanation.

>> Then, that really rich guy,


>> Rich.

>> That is his name.

>> Now, I should have remembered

that -- Marc Rich.

Bill helped out this

billionaire friend.

>> Hey, didn't Hillary

know his wife?

>> So, then, maybe later,

if Bill needed help...

>> Right.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Then, Gore lost.

>> God damn it, he won.

>> Well, now, he should have

won easily, but that's --

and look what we got --


>> Right.

>> The Great Recession, or,

as Peter calls it --

"The Casino Goes Bust

is all directly related,"

according to Peter,

"to some of those same changes

that Bill made for his new

Wall Street buddies."

So, Peter what's-his-name

begins to add it all up,

'cause there's the loss

of something like hundreds

of thousands of lives,

$3 trillion

or $4 trillion of treasure,

millions of homes underwater,

foreclosures, bankruptcies,

so forth, so on,

"all directly traced back

to that one night

of pizza and..."

>> Yeah.

>> " know what."

>> Did Mom understand

what he was trying to say?

>> You mean does your mother

know what the word "fellatio"


>> I guess

that's what I'm asking.

No, I don't want to know.

>> Mom just kept

eating her salad, so I

don't know what she understood.

But Mrs. Howard -- she was

my fifth-grade teacher --

she must be 90 now.

She was a really mean teacher.

>> No.

>> At least, to me.

She was there, too.

>> Oh, I didn't tell you this.

>> She's still alive.

So, Peter what's-his-name

finishes that "one night

of pizza and fellatio,"

and for, like, a minute,

all of Bread Alone

is completely silent.

You just hear some guy behind

the counter grinding coffee.

And then, that's when

Mrs. Howard takes a sip of her

tea, wipes her lips,

and says, out loud,

to the whole silent room,

"Well, I just hope those two

got some pleasure out of it."

>> No, that's not

really funny, George.

Mrs. Howard is not well, George.

>> I didn't know.

Hey, Mrs. Howard

knows what it means.

>> Oh, and, Karin,

Peter what's-his-name --

he always puts up his own

hand-painted lawn signs

all over his front yard

about three months

before every election --

not for candidates, just for...

>> Ideas.

>> ...ideas.

>> Ideas.

>> You know, he's really

pissed off.

And I suppose it makes him

feel better.

>> It must not have been

a weekend at Bread Alone.

>> No.

>> Why? I don't understand.

>> Mary, what can I do?

>> We don't talk that way

in front of weekenders.

>> Could you stir the pasta?

>> Yeah.

>> Oh.

You know, Thomas said to me

once that --

I just remembered this.

I just keep remembering things.

>> What did he say?

>> What did Thomas say?

>> Thomas told me that,

years ago -- this is way

before the Civil War --

slaves were known to do shows,

sort of plays,

behind the cabins,

and just for the other slaves,

making fun of the masters.

It made them feel

not alone, he said.

It made them feel better.

I just thought of that.

This reminded me of that.

>> Yesterday, I was talking to

this sweet young math teacher --

23, 24.

She's new, too, this semester.

No one talks to her, either.

And she said she goes home

each night and watches both

MSNBC and Fox News,

just switches back and forth.

>> Oh, God. Don't do that.

Tell her not to do that.

>> And we found ourselves

asking each other,

"Who is supporting him?

Who are they?

Does any of this make sense?"

>> What are you --

>> The election.

>> We're just sitting in

the teachers' lounge,

and we both found ourselves

saying the same thing.

We're so damn

confused right now.

I want to feel better.

>> Our son keeps saying,

"Mom, feel the Bern!"

>> Yeah, I want

to be young again.

>> Paulie says he can still win.

>> He won Colorado.

>> I want to be young again.

>> This other teacher

was saying,

"What if our side were

to fall apart for some reason?"

I mean, think about that.

It's possible,

maybe very possible.


What would we be left with?

It's hard to fathom.

>> I don't want

to think about that.

>> I can't think about that.

Wait. I just realized

what you're saying.

Paulie can now vote?

>> Yeah.

>> Oh, my God.

I'm so fucking old!


>> What if our side were to fall

apart for some reason?

It could.

>> No, no, no.

>> No, I know women --

women of a certain age

who really dislike Hillary.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> I have at least two friends

who say they would never,

ever vote for her.

>> I want to vote

for Larry David.

>> Why didn't Warren run?

>> Last week, I-I went on a date

to this art show.

This relates to...

>> Hillary?

>> Well, I thought

it was a date,

and then it wasn't a date.

I'm always making that mistake.

It's so goddamn confusing.

>> Is it for you, too?

>> Can be, sometimes.

>> It was a folk-art show

in some little gallery.

He knew the owner.

Oh, and this isn't what I was

gonna tell you,

but I just remembered.

There was this big, wooden,

carved sign from,

I think, the early 1800s.

It was hanging from the ceiling,

a -- a sign for some old inn

of the Angel Gabriel.

With his horn.

And we're all Gabriels.

I kept the name --

certainly is a better stage name

than "Smith."

>> Is that why you kept it?

>> Sort of.

But what I wanted to say was,

a needlepoint caught my eye

of Lady Liberty.

It was over 200 years old.

It was made just after

the Revolution.

And what was so surprising

is that, in this needlepoint,

Lady Liberty, she wasn't

pictured as some ideal woman,

you know, on a cloud...

>> Yeah, right.

>> ...holding a flag with young

and firm, pointy breasts.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Shapely legs,

the way she usually is.

>> The way men paint her.


>> I am not a Neanderthal.

>> As some idealized goddess.

No, this Lady Liberty --

She's just kind of normal.

>> What do you mean?

>> Real.

She looked sort of like us,

you know?

She had a little weight on her.

The dress wasn't sexy.

It was practical.

And she even -- get this --

was of a certain age.

>> Wow.

>> A woman made

that Lady Liberty.

>> Obviously.

>> I thought, "How interesting.

Just after the Revolution,

all that had just happened,

and liberty,

for this artist, was, what,

not some abstract ideal,

but instead, perhaps,

just a self-portrait.

>> Right.

>> Or maybe a sister or a friend

modeled for it.

I really would like to see a

woman president in my lifetime.

>> Amen.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> See what that feels like,

see if that makes any difference

whatsoever -- you know,

someone who looked like us.

>> But is she that woman?

>> I understand.

Fair question.

>> Maybe it's no longer right

to ask that question.

Maybe we

should stop asking that.

>> Sometimes, I look at Hillary,

and I see just a fraud.

>> I know. I know.

>> When I'm catering,

I listen to the people,

the guests, talk to each other

about their causes

and doing good things,

and I think they really mean it.

I think they want to do good.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> You know?

But then you hear them

talk about...

>> What?

>> You just get the feeling,

like, listening to them talk

to each other,

that they really believe

they deserve all they've got --

you know, somehow earned it.

So, they want to do good,

and they deserve to be rich.

Is she like them?

>> Chelsea's in a $10 million


>> But, no.

>> I think it's a house.

Why does she laugh so much?

>> Hillary?

>> It just doesn't

sound real when she laughs.

>> Well, maybe that isn't

put on.

That might be her.

>> I know someone

with a laugh like that.

It can be real.

>> Fucking Zephyr Teachout.

>> What?

>> She's running up here

for Congress.

>> I voted for Zephyr Teachout

against Cuomo.

I thought she seemed real.

>> Mm-hmm. What?

>> Karin, she's rented a house

in our district,

and she's running

to be our congresswoman.

She's lived here for like

six months on the weekends.

I thought she was a good woman.

>> She still could be.

>> One more weekender, Joyce.

They not only want to take

our land

and get us working for them,

now they think

we should make them our voice.

Can't we speak

for ourselves anymore?

Aren't we allowed

even that anymore?

>> Still, Hillary is a woman.

>> But is that enough --

to be a symbol?

>> Obama.

>> No.

>> He's been more than a symbol,

hasn't he?

>> After last night,

I would vote for Megyn Kelly.

>> If she were not a Republican.

>> If she were not a Republican.

>> Did you watch that?

How could you watch that?

>> Well, it was Hannah's fault.

>> I went to bed.

>> It sort of feels

to me like we --

we're all just about

to jump off some

crazy high cliff, doesn't it?

>> Yeah, it does.

>> Jump or be pushed.

>> Shouting, "What about us?

What about us?!"

>> It's like a movie.

We're just watching this movie.

>> Are we in it?

>> Like a dream, a dream

where there are recognizable

pieces of things

but put together in ways

that seem so strange.

>> Mm.

>> Don't you feel

like something really bad

is about to happen?

>> To us?

>> God, it's gonna be a really

long eight months.

>> Well, but don't give up.

>> Why are you smiling?

>> Please, don't give up.

That's what Thomas would say

to me.

I remember, after one

especially bad day --

and I was feeling hopeless --

and by now, he was

pretty hard to understand,

but this time,

or this day, he speaks really,

really clearly.

And he sits right here

in his chair.

>> Oh, this was Thomas' chair.

>> And he says to me,

"Don't give up.

Just don't give up.

Things do happen.

They do, Mary."

So, do we believe him or not?

[ Indistinct singing ]

I mean, hard to watch and, uh,

yeah, frustrating.

Sometimes, I-I do mostly think

of myself

as a pretty good person.

Believe me, sometimes, I had

thoughts, not pretty thoughts.

Maybe I even said

things to Thomas

sometimes out of frustration.

I won't tell you what they were.

But I am sorry that I did.

But then, one day,

Thomas is making his way

from his chair to the desk,

just from there to there,

just right in here.

And when he's gone maybe

two feet in like five minutes,

I just can't watch anymore,

so I put on some music.

It was something my daughter

had sent me.

>> You know about this?

>> I'd had music on before,

but nothing had ever happened --

no miracle.

But this time, Thomas,

all of a sudden,

begins to just walk

across the kitchen like normal,

like, in normal time.

And he picks up something from

the desk, and he just --

he begins to walk back.

I stop the music.

He --

So I put on another CD

and another and another,

and some work, and some don't.

We have no idea why.

No one knows why.

I don't know why.

There -- There are these

theories about Parkinson's.

Anyway, I just kept adding

to this list of Thomas' music,

and that is...

[ Timer rings ]

...all that's on that iPod now.

It is just the music we found

that Thomas somehow,

for some reason, could walk to.

>> ♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey

>> Why?

>> ♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

>> George.

>> Oh, yeah.

Um, Mary, let me --

>> What?

>> I can...

>> Oh, thank you.

>> ♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

>> Bowls or plates, Mary?

>> I think plates.

>> ♪ the things we

choose ♪

>> Karin, you want to help me?

>> Where?

>> I'll show you.

The cabinet next to the highboy

in the dining room --

the white set, right?

>> Mm-hmm.

There are, um,

some lovely napkins,

and we haven't used them

for a while,

not since your mother moved.

I was thinking we'd use them


It's a special night, and -- and

they're just out in the cabinet.

I just happened to see them.

>> You think Mom's gonna be

joining us?

How many does that make us,


>> We better wake her up.

If we don't try and wake her up,

she'll be very upset.

When does she get to see you,


>> So, that's six of us, right?

Do we have enough silverware

that matches?

>> Does it matter?

>> We used to.

>> These are nice.

They're old.

>> What?

>> Yeah, your mother found them

down in the basement when

we were packing up her things.

>> I don't even remember these.

>> Oh, she thinks they're from

Austria, from relatives.

>> Uh, Thomas' postcards.

His bookmarks --

>> Yeah, what is that one?

>> The one of a --

a woman hanging laundry?

>> Oh, yeah.

He -- He always loved pictures

of people doing simple things.

You know, I remember a woman

with a broom and another --

someone writing a letter,

you know, Hammershoi.

Do you know him?

His "Women With Their Backs

to Us."

Chardin -- those two

were his favorites.

Don't know why.

>> The blue tablecloth, Mary,

that's special, right?

>> That -- That's good.

>> I took that one out.

>> Mary was just saying today

is special.

>> So, we'll put the blue

one on.

Do you want me to do that?

I can do that?

What else can I take?

>> Salad dressing.

>> Mary.

>> Yeah.

>> I was looking out your

dining-room window at your --

at your backyard just now.

>> In the dark.

>> You can't see much now.

You're right.

But I remember coming up here

and visiting

so many years ago, and --

and seeing that stream.

>> Landsman Kill.

>> Crystal Lake.

Thomas always used to say to me,

after one of our visits back

here, how lucky he was to grow

up in Rhinebeck.

>> You know, she's been

just fine, hasn't she?

No problem at all, Hannah.

She seems a little lonely.

>> She's thinking

of staying the night.

>> I don't think so, no.

>> No. She said she had to get

right back.

>> She just told me -- She said

she's thinking about it.

She said she's very tempted.

She thinks you invited her,


>> Did I do that?

>> Mary.

>> Did I?

>> I'm gonna go wake up Mom,

unless you'd rather, Joyce.

>> Fuck you.

>> Yeah.

Maybe she's not even hungry.

>> Oh. Oh, Hannah, I know that

you got -- or maybe it was

George -- but that you got my --

reminded my daughter

to call me today.

Yeah, what did you do?

Did you call her?

Did you text her?

Thank you.

I appreciate it.

And don't tell George

that I know.

You -- I'm -- I'll --

I'll put the apple crisp

in while we eat.

>> That was really --

I would really like to sit down

with Mom sometime

and just ask her things.

>> What things?

>> Maybe when I get back.

You know, when I'm back

from London, I'll spend

more time up here with Mom.

>> I think your mother

would really like that, Joyce.

Don't you, Mary?

>> I know she would.

>> Today at the museum --

please don't hate me

for saying this, and don't tell

George this, either --

she kept touching me,

and I know she so wanted me

to touch her back.

But I find that really

hard to do.

I don't like touching her.

I know that's awful.

>> What would you want

to ask her?

>> All kinds of things.

Some of them are just so stupid.

>> What?

>> It was, like, one time,

she lost her wedding ring,

and she told us she found it

because she dreamed it was

outside next to the stream,

under the weeping willow.

So, the next morning, you know,

still in her nightgown,

she put on boots

and went out into the rain,

and -- and there was her ring,

right where she had dreamed it.

Did she make that up?

But she always knows, moments

before any of us calls, who's


>> That's what she says.

>> I feel like I'm 14 years old

when I'm in this house.

You're awake.

She's awake.

>> Mom was just telling me

a story about

when Thomas was a little kid.

I'd never heard that.

>> I just remembered it.

I don't know why.

>> Because of today, Mom --

what we did this morning.

Thomas' ashes.

>> Maybe.

>> What story, Patricia?

>> You're cooking.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> You should have let me help.

>> It's all ready, Patricia.

>> What plates are you using?

>> The white ones.

>> What story, Mom?

>> You want to sit down?

She just woke up, so...

>> I thought we were eating...

>> We are, Mom.

>> ...dinner in the dining room.

>> Yes, where else?

>> Karin, Patricia, Thomas'

first wife.

She came for today.

We invited her, our guest.

>> Been here all day.

>> And she might stay the night.

>> You told me about voting

for Roosevelt, Patricia.

>> I just woke up.

What can I do?

>> I think we have everything

under control, Patricia.

I think dinner's ready.

>> And you two like each other?

>> I-I was the third wife,


There's one in between us,

and we both hate her.

>> What -- What can I take in?

>> What story, Mom?

What story?

>> Give me something.

>> What can she take?

>> I think we're fine.

>> No, Thomas -- Thomas was

about 2 years old

and still in diapers, and Mom

was alone for some reason.

And she's -- you're taking

some-- taking him

somewhere on an airplane, right,

but you don't remember where?

And this was the '50s,

so a propeller plane.

>> Where's the good silverware?

>> What's the good silverware,


This is the only silverware

I ever remember you using.

>> Patricia, that is our good


>> Is it?

>> And they're up in the air,

and Mom smells that Thomas

has pooped in his diaper,

so she goes to pick him up off

the seat to take him down

to the bathroom to change him.

And Thomas pulls his hand away,

gets in the aisle, and somehow

rips off his shit-filled diaper

and begins running down

the aisle, swinging it.

>> Oh, my God!

>> Thomas' shit

flying everywhere.

>> I could have killed him,

and for one minute,

I opened up my magazine

and pretended he wasn't mine.

That didn't last long.

You soon realize you don't have

any choice.

We don't have another good

set of silverware?

>> I think we got rid of

those years ago, Mom.

>> Well, I thought,

because of today.

>> I know.

It's gone.

It's gone.

>> Everybody, take something.

I'm finishing up Thomas'

apple crisp.

>> Well, what can I do?

I want to do something.

>> Mary, maybe I could

stay the night.

Let me think.

>> Here, Patricia.

You can take this in.

Wait. Let me wipe it off.


>> What time

is your train tomorrow?

>> Early.

>> I got the wine

and the water pitcher.

I don't think I had any lunch.

I forgot to have lunch.

>> I haven't even asked.

What is the show

you're designing in London?

>> I'm not the designer.

I'm the associate.

My boss is busy.

"Die Fledermaus."

>> She's just the assistant,


>> Thanks, Mom.

>> The costumes for that

would be fun.

Yeah, you'll have fun.

London is always fun.

>> Here, Patricia.

You can carry this in.

I have your arm.

>> I don't need you

to hold my arm.

I don't need help.

>> Mary, salt and pepper.

>> I'll get it.

>> Patricia.

>> You know what I like to do

when I travel?

>> Here. Let me help you.

That is a lot to carry.

>> When do you travel now, Mom?

>> To foreign countries.

I like to visit

their grocery stores.

I find that so interesting.

You should try that.

What do they have that we don't?

What's the same?

>> I'm not sure, Mom,

I'll have time

for grocery stores.

>> Here, Patricia.

Let me help you.

>> Joyce can help me.

Joyce, take my arm.

>> Mary, I've got the pasta.

>> How long will you be gone?

>> Oh, not that long.

George and Hannah are here

and Mary.

>> Mary is going to move

to Pittsburgh.

>> I know.

>> Her daughter lives there.

>> I know.

>> She has no one left

to take care of here.

>> Mom.

I'll bet you'll hardly

even notice I was gone.

>> I doubt that.

>> Okay, Mom.

I got you.

I got you.

Hold on to me.

I am coming back, you know?

I will be back.

Are you hungry, Mom?

>> Your apple crisp.


>> ♪ Her eyes are light and

clear ♪

♪ And fearless like Chicago

winds in winter ♪

♪ And her hair is never quite in

place ♪

♪ And the knees in her jeans

have seen better days ♪

♪ And she's no beauty queen,

but you love her, anyway ♪

♪ She's a wildewoman

♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she's ripping out the

pages ♪

♪ Ripping out the pages in your

book ♪

♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things she

chooses ♪

♪ Her smile is sneaky like a

fiery fox ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh

♪ It's that look that tells you

she's up to no good at all ♪

♪ Ah-ooh

♪ And she'll say whatever's on

her mind ♪

♪ Ah-ooh-ooh

♪ They're unspeakable things,

and she'll speak them in vain ♪

♪ And you can't help but wish

you had bolder things to say ♪

♪ She's a wildewoman

♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she's ripping out the

pages ♪

♪ Ripping out the pages in your

book ♪

♪ Oh, she's gonna find another

way back home ♪

♪ It's written in her blood

♪ Oh, it's written in her

bones ♪

♪ Yeah, she'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things she

chooses ♪

♪ Yeah, she'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things she

chooses ♪

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey.

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Yeah, we'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things we

choose ♪

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey.

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ Hey-ey

♪ Yeah, we'll only be bound

♪ Be bound by the things we

choose ♪

♪ Hey-ey, hey-ey-ey-ey

♪ We will only be bound

♪ By the things we choose

>> I hope you enjoyed tonight's


You can also watch this and

other plays on

I'm Neal Shapiro.

See you next time.


[ Cheers and applause ]

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"Theater Close-Up"

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