Whose Idea of Who?

The Edward Curtis Project: A Modern Picture Story. Marie Clements and Rita Leistner.

In the play by Marie Clements there is a moment when two women are conversing. They are sisters from a mixed marriage; one is brown skinned and the other looks white. The two characters are looking at a family portrait of one of the sister's children and her estranged husband.

Dr. Clara
I'm finally going to ask him for a divorce.

I'm sorry ...

She backs away slightly and looks at her children.

Dr. Clara
It's time ... we haven't lived together in years ...

You still love him? ... Or just the idea of him?

She looks at Angenline

Dr Clara
Maybe I still love the idea of us.

Pause. They both look out into the darkness.
I like the ambiguity of reference - she backs away. Angeline? or Clara? Context would in a realist reading ascribe the action to Clara. But the "idea of us" complicates theatrical realism. "Us" could refer to one family unit (husband and children), another (the two sisters) or both. In all cases a certain solidarity is tested.

And so for day 994