CLOSE WINDOW

NOTES and INSIGHTS FROM CAROL:

“As for man, his days are as grass/As a flower of the field, so he flourishes/The wind passes over, it is gone/And the place shall know it no more.”

That could be a quote from Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, or maybe even something from the Old Testament. In fact, in the title piece of the collection of one-acts called The Days Are As Grass, a pair of May/December former lovers engage in vigorous argument about the source of the line as they reunite in a romance of literary quotations.

In Vacation, a married couple enjoying a relaxing weekend becomes obsessed with two fellow travelers who are clearly having an illicit affair—an infidelity the seemingly happily married pair appears to enjoy far more than the adulterers.

In Last Will and Testament, a well-meaning socialite tries to write such a document so that all her friends and loved ones can receive a “small memento” from her life. But this turns out to be even more difficult than arranging the perfect dinner party. As she finally observes, “The details of your own mortality can be exhausting. And I’m sure death is no picnic either.”

In the touching Life Time, two elderly farm people look back at their lives together with bittersweet mix of regret and abiding affection.

In Sensations, a bickering couple sit in twin rockers, in matching robes and slippers, and wait for the pills they’ve saved up to take effect and end their lives—but did they do it correctly? Well, at least they’re having a great conversation in the meantime. As the man says approvingly to his wife while they’re presumably waiting to die, “You are talking a great deal. We haven’t talked like this in years.”

In the wistfully comical The River Jordan Lamp, a lonely woman in a trailer park makes an unusual connection with a young migrant worker — and eventually sees the light, or the absence of one, as she pays for what she calls her “sin of the flesh.”

In Jack and Jill, a fortysomething brother and sister hilariously try to come to terms with a new turn of events in the lives of their parents, divorced for 35 years.

In The Days Are As Grass, a reunion between a woman and her younger lover who haven’t seen each other for 20 years, causes them to discover that their affair of the mind lives on, even though the years have affected each of them in different ways.

And finally, in The Last Word, a talkative husband chatters away as he pushes the wheelchair of his mute and paralyzed wife, while we are able to hear everything she’s thinking.