COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Argentina
translated by Prof. Charles Philip Thomas
CAST: 2 Female, 1 Male, 3 Total.
SCENIC REQUIREMENTS Living Room of an apartment.
GENRE: One Act Comedy (75 minutes)
Oswald returns home, revealing that, upset by a tense day at work, he left early for a walk in the park. His wife, Ana is disturbed when he describes a woman on another park bench, smiling at him and striking up a conversation. Feeling like ``we had known each other all our lives,'' the two quickly became acquainted, walking hand-in-hand by the lake. Distraught, Ana pleads with him to keep his affairs to himself, even as Oswald describes going out for coffee and stopping at a hotel. Furiously, Ana throws his clothes from the bedroom as Oswald struggles to explain the need to share this companionship with her. Ana is horrified to find that Oswald wants to bring the woman home to keep them both company, and runs to the door to scream, but finds the other woman, Magda, standing in the hall. Resisting Magda's friendly approach, Ana grabs a needle from her knitting machine to hold her at bay. Disarmed by Oswald, Ana screams for the police and they are forced to gag her and tie her to a chair. Magda consoles her, explaining her hopes to share in the knitting that Ana does, and has Oswald read poetry while they listen to a tango and flip through a photo album. Magda massages Ana, who seems to relax, and they untie her, though she quickly grabs the knitting needle again. Magda insists that, moved by Oswald's stories of Ana, she slept with him in order to be closer to them both. Oswald disarms Ana once more and, disturbed by their intimacy during the massage, threatens to leave by himself. Magda decides to leave the two of them together, but not before complaining of Ana having taken advantage of her role as the lady of the house, insisting that they are ``things'' to each other, and that ``neither of you has any idea of who the other is!'' Alone again, Oswald and Ana reconcile tenderly but, realizing that Magda has no one with whom to celebrate her birthday, they call her back, lighting the candles on the cake and inviting her to make three wishes.
Company starts out like an absurd comedy, with husband ludicrously attempting to get wife to accept a new lover to share their life together. Rather than exploding with silliness, however, the play gets us to take the situation seriously, and raises penetrating questions about the nature of the relationship that is so closed to an outsider or, as Magda asks of Oswald's poetry, ``If someone has something beautiful, why not share it?'' It develops into an interesting study of solitude and the need for companionship, with a particularly effective analysis of a couple who is no longer anything more to each other than the external roles they play.
Works in Translation by
Prof. Charles Philip Thomas