Dec 26, 2018

"Why should I take out this mortgage--I'm on a diet" -- Generation 5 -- teaser

Boxing day, huh?

Well, anybody who knows a bit about Michael's work shouldn't be surprised that his play unfolds as a drawing-room comedy. Eliza and her household robot Robert have led a protected, psycho-analytical live for twenty-five years, but today, on Eliza's 50th birthday, reality intrudes. The court-appointed bailiff is on the phone. Previous scene here.

Yet another one of our attention-grabbing gifs

Scene 3

The phone rings. ROBERT (returning to the main room) picks it up.

ROBERT: Dr. Gillespie residence and practice…Excuse me…really…(listens intently). Hold the line please, I have to see whether the doctor is in. (Holds the receiver against his torso, speaks to ELIZA). A Ms. Terentia Striker, the court-appointed bailiff.
ELIZA: Court-appointed bailiff?
ROBERT (shyly): Mmhmm.
ELIZA: A debt collector?
ROBERT: It’s about a mortgage, she says.
ELIZA: Mortgage?
ROBERT: She maintains that you owe the Shark-Blue Bank 676 million South-English Pounds. And small change.
ELIZA: Millions?
ROBERT: It’s the hastening of inflation due to the Brexit of Hampshire, Oxfordshire, and Sussex from what was once Little England.
ELIZA: Birnham Wood comes to Dusinane…Why should I owe a few billions to the Shark-Blue Bank?
ROBERT: Because you took out this mortgage, Ms. Striker submits.
ELIZA: Why should I take out a mortgage? I’m on a diet.
ROBERT: If I may trespass, Ma’am?
ELIZA (reluctantly): Granted.
ROBERT: You DID take out a mortgage…a mortgage on me, your personal household robot (half-bows arthritically, but curtly).  
ELIZA (getting agitated): Impossible.
ROBERT: That was during the AI hype (making eye contact, trying to figure out whether she gets ‘AI’). The hype about artificial intelligence.
ELIZA (more agitated): That was eons ago.
ROBERT: Eons ago. When robots were worth as much as bitcoins (making eye contact again, did she get ‘Bitcoins’?) Bitcoins…
ELIZA (angrily interrupting): Bitcoins are worthless now. If robots are worth even less…(taking a deep breath, focusing)…how worthless must be a TRESPASSING AUTOMATON that nerves its master with pecuniary matters of no concern to him, or her, or it? Why should I pay your mortgage? Put that to the repo woman.
ROBERT: As you wish, Ma’am. (Lifts the receiver) Ma’am, I have trouble locating the doctor, please hold the line. (Presses the receiver against his torso, as before).
ELIZA (squeezing ROBERT’s arm, angry): You sissy. I WISH you to put my question to the repo-woman. Word by word.
ROBERT (nods, lifts the receiver, imitating her voice as precisely as possible): ‘Why should I pay your mortgage?’ (Holds the receiver at a distance, garbled buzz coming from the earpiece).
ELIZA (angrier): No, you piece of metal. ‘Why should Dr. Eliza Gillespie, MD, BA, BB, QC, GCB…pay a mortgage on a worthless piece of metal’?

"How could an ageing, outdated shrink with a withering appointment book pay a mortgage? On her fiftieth birthday?"

Buzz from the receiver intensifies.

ROBERT (to receiver): Did you hear this, ma’am? (Listening). Yes, ma’am…No, ma’am…You have your methods, ma’am…I understand (raises eyebrows. Holds receiver tentatively at a distance. No more buzz. To ELIZA) The bailiff has hung up.
ELIZA: Good for her. This woman is out of her mind. How could an ageing, outdated shrink with a withering appointment book pay a mortgage? On her fiftieth birthday?
ROBERT: She’s coming at ten o’clock, Ma’am. She brings the paperwork for you to sign.
ELIZA: Paperwork?
ROBERT: The transfer of ownership and other matters. I’ll be henceforth owned by the Blue-Shark Bank.
ELIZA: She needs my signature?
ROBERT: Apparently.
ELIZA: What if I refuse to sign?
ROBERT: She has her methods, she said.
ELIZA (not thinking at first): And I have mine…METHODS?
ROBERT (flatly): Methods.
ELIZA: Whipping? Torture? Psycho…psychoanalysis?
ROBERT: If I may trespass, Ma’am?
ROBERT: Why should you attach any value to a worthless piece of metal?
ELIZA (calming down): I’m sorry, Robert. I got carried away. I agree. One shouldn’t attach any value to a worthless piece of metal.
ELIZA (touches ROBERT’s arm): Speak first, think later…These methods. We’ll have our methods, too. We are not in, I’m afraid. I’m not in, and you…you’ll have trouble to locate yourself. Go in hiding. Don’t answer the bell. It’s an order. From an ageing shrink to her piece of metal.

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