A C T    T W O 


(MUSIC CUE #5: Sonia’s theme.  Interlude.) 

LOVECRAFT 

(Writing a letter again) What can I say about being married — or whether one should be married? I was married for a while, as astonishing as that may seem to my friends. I can scarcely believe it myself. 

Matrimony can be a very helpful and pleasing permanent arrangement when both parties share the same mental and imaginative habits. The trouble is that not even a psychiatrist could tell if two people are suitable for one another. It takes two to three years of living together to determine if you should live together. Fortunately for myself — and for Mrs. H.P. Lovecraft — divorce laws are now progressive enough to allow rational adjustments.  

The Mrs. and I were very fond of one another... (muses).  

(Lovecraft moves off the center of the stage. Sonia steps forward from the Chorus for the following section:)  

LOVECRAFT 

(Facing Sonia) How could any woman love a face like mine?  

SONIA 

(Facing Lovecraft) A mother could...and some who are not mothers would not have to try very hard. 

LOVECRAFT 

(Facing audience, but maintaining an awareness of her presence.) We met through the circles of amateur journalism. She was everywhere, bringing all of us scattered correspondents and writers together for tea and excursions.  

SONIA 

(Turning to audience, but giving Lovecraft sidelong glances at appropriate points.) I invited Lovecraft and several other writers to be my guests at my apartment in Brooklyn. It was a very daring thing in those days, and I surprised myself by inviting these men into my home. But I was determined to go ahead. (Pauses) Actually, I am rather inclined toward the lean, ascetic type, and I was puzzled that Howard regarded himself as such an ugly duckling. Besides, I realized his genius and felt that all he needed was encouragement and help. He could have been very successful in New York. When we were married, he looked starved.  

LOVECRAFT 

After a few months of domestic life I grew rather stout. Thank God I was able to lose all those pounds in a matter of weeks after returning to Rhode Island. For a while, I rather resembled an Antarctic penguin. 

SONIA 

Annie and Lillian were supposed to send him fifteen dollars a week — his allowance of the proceeds of the family estate. Howard and his two aunts had twenty thousand dollars, which had to last them the rest of their natural lives. They only sent him five dollars a week and in some weeks nothing at all. As I was making more than ten thousand a year as a buyer, it hardly mattered. I looked after Howard’s needs and he never lacked for pocket money when our friends were in town. I even bought him new clothes —

LOVECRAFT 

She even dragged me into a haberdashery and insisted on my getting a new overcoat. And then I had to have a suit, and then new trousers. My old clothes from 1918 were still quite fine.  

(A momentary blackout. When the lights come on, Sonia and Lovecraft are entering through the back stage door.) 

SONIA 

(Rushing in.) Oh dear God, no! 

LOVECRAFT 

(Sleepily) What is it my dear, what’s wrong? 

SONIA 

Just look around you. The room’s a shambles. The window is open. We’ve been burglarized! 

LOVECRAFT 

(Searching about the borders of the room.) I knew it. I knew it was bound to happen the moment you told me the landlady permitted...foreigners to board here. (Alarmed at last.) They’ve taken the radio — the radio! 

SONIA 

(Tearing through clothes in a closet.) Oh Howard, they’ve taken your suit! All your new clothes are gone! 

LOVECRAFT 

(Turned away from Sonia, he smiles faintly.) How very unfortunate. 

(Black out. Sonia and Lovecraft return to their previous positions before the lights come up again.) 

LOVECRAFT 

I was actually a little relieved to lose the new apparel. Nowadays I can even wear some of my father’s finely cut suits. The collars look a little strange. Obnoxious children sometimes assume I’m a gentleman of the theater and annoy me. 

 But I dress in keeping with the Lovecraft and Phillips honor. I’d prefer a periwig and an eighteenth century waistcoat, but that would disturb the neighbors a trifle. 

 Ultimately it wasn’t beauty that killed the beast — it was New York itself. Trying to live there drove me close to madness. I found the daily contact with the rat-faced mongrel hordes in Manhattan abhorrent. 

SONIA 

I think Howard hated humanity in the abstract. When he learned that our apartment neighbor was Syrian, he recoiled like someone who had found a rattlesnake in his bathtub. 

LOVECRAFT 

New York is a pest hole. 
Rats — millions of them — 
wharf rats with tails 
longer than a Chinaman’s queue. 
And cockroaches, my God, a living carpet of them. 
But for vermin nothing can match the people: 

One cannot describe the noxious miasma 
of a subway car at rush hour, 
or the heterogeneous horde 
that shuffles through lower Manhattan 
on weekends, 
snuffling for bargains 
among the seedy sidewalk vendors. 

There are beggars so noxious and dirty 
that raindrops fall sideways to avoid them. 
It makes one wish that a portion of the globe 
would neatly pass through a cloud of cyanogen gas. 


SONIA 

And yet as soon as Howard came to know someone personally, their background became irrelevant. I had to remind him that I was a Russian Jew, and he would assure me that of course I was exceptional. Well, I managed to show him lots of exceptions to his unthinking prejudices. I don’t think there was one friend of his who wasn’t a social outsider in some way. James Morton, possibly Howard’s fastest friend, is a free-thinking atheist who was kind enough to forgive Howard’s racist mutterings. A remarkable man, and a vigorous pamphleteer. Frank Long is strangled by his mother’s apron strings and doesn’t know how to boil water. And Howard never seemed to figure out how close to Oscar Wilde many of his friends were, even after Samuel Loveman dragged us to a low place with Hart Crane, a bunch of drunken sailors, and some pretty seedy cross-dressers. What was actually going on just seemed to fly over Howard’s head. The mind was all that mattered to Howard. 

He was utterly unfamiliar with how other people lived. When we went to an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, Howard admitted that he — a man in his third decade of life — had never had spaghetti with sauce and cheese. He absolutely detested seafood and connected the produce of the sea with decay and things utterly sinister. 

(Turning to Howard) Howard, things are going to be difficult unless you receive some kind of employment. New York is a very expensive place to live. 

LOVECRAFT 

I know, my dear. I am working on it. While you were out today I typed ten copies of a letter soliciting employment. 

SONIA 

That’s wonderful, Howard. And to whom will you apply? 

LOVECRAFT 

To the publishers, naturally. With my talents and background— 

SONIA 

— and your fine new suit— 

LOVECRAFT 

That, too. One of the companies should, as the phrase goes, snap me up. 

SONIA 

I’m so proud of you. 

LOVECRAFT 

But my dear, I should not expect to be a full-fledged editor at the start. One has to establish one’s reputation for discernment, good judgment and superior taste. 

SONIA 

They will know all that from just looking at you. 

LOVECRAFT 

That is your wifely prejudice, my dear. To the rest of the city I’m a loping, long-jawed alien. Mirrors crack when I pass them. 

SONIA 

(Protesting) Howard, really! 

LOVECRAFT 

Babies cry out in terror. Dogs bristle with suspicion. 

SONIA 

Don’t go on that way. 

LOVECRAFT 

I see them closing the shutters of the upper windows when I first turn the corner. I hear the mothers calling their children in. 

(Suddenly, seized by inspiration, Lovecraft leaps to center stage and recites the last paragraph of “The Outsider” in the most exaggerated, Barrymore-esque manner:) 

For although nepenthe has calmed me, 
I know now that I am an outsider, 
a stranger in this century 
and among those who are still men. 

This I have known 
ever since I stretched out my fingers 
to the ABOMINATION 
within the great gilded frame; 
STRETCHED OUT MY FINGERS 
AND TOUCHED 
A COLD, UNYIELDING SURFACE 
OF POLISHED GLASS. 

SONIA 

Howard, stop that! You know I detest that story! (Trying to get him off the track.) Read me your letter, Howard. 

LOVECRAFT 

(Fumbles for one of the copies on the desk.) Here it is. (Reads) If an unprovoked application for employment seems somewhat unusual in these days of system, agencies and advertising, I trust the circumstances surrounding this one may help to mitigate what would otherwise be obtrusive forwardness. (Takes a breath.) 

SONIA 

That’s very stuffy. 

LOVECRAFT 

One has to establish a tone of politeness. And such an opener demonstrates the complexity of my thought processes. I am not going to say — as those brutes over in Red Hook might — “Ay-yoo! Gimme a job, huh?” 

SONIA 

I wasn’t suggesting that. But it’s too indirect. 

LOVECRAFT 

But I get to the point. (Reads again) Certain definitely marketable aptitudes must be put forward in an unconventional manner if they are to override the current fetish which demands prior commercial experience.... Since commencing two months ago, a quest for work for which I am naturally and scholastically well fitted, I have answered nearly a hundred advertisements without gaining so much as one chance for satisfactory hearing — 

SONIA 

That will never do. You’re telling the reader that a hundred others have rejected you. 

LOVECRAFT 

A hundred fools, O Matron of My Hearth. I am flattering my reader that he is the exceptional one. It’s a matter of rhetoric. 

 

SONIA 

Do you tell them what kind of position you want? 

LOVECRAFT 

Naturally, it’s here on page two. (Turning the letter over and running his hand down the page, then reads) ...author, reviser, re-writer, critic, reviewer, correspondent, proofreader, typist or anything else even remotely of the sort. 

SONIA 

(Looking over Howard’s shoulder). And what are all those other paragraphs? 

LOVECRAFT 

Just elaboration. 

SONIA 

(Impatiently.) Let me see. (Takes letter and speed reads, frowning. Then she reads aloud.) “My education, while not including the university or a professional translator’s knowledge of modern language, is that of a gentleman....” Oh, Howard, this just won’t do. 

LOVECRAFT 

It will have to “do.” It is my best. I cannot lie about myself. 

SONIA 

So embellish a little. 

LOVECRAFT 

I am a gentleman. I do not have a commercial nature. It is not in my ancestry. 

SONIA 

Your grandfather was a businessman. He had interests all over the country. 

LOVECRAFT 

He invested. He did not go on the subway to an office. He worked in his library, or he traveled to the Northwest where his dams were being constructed. The bankers called on him. The neighbors hardly knew he was in business. 

SONIA 

(To clinch the argument) Your father worked. He was a silver salesman. A salesman, no better than those street peddlers you so despise. 

LOVECRAFT 

(Becoming haughty.) He conducted his business in distant cities. No one in Providence was aware of it. He had the air of a gentleman. 

SONIA 

It was very damaging for you to be brought up with these expectations … living with aunts who hadn’t the faintest idea how the world makes its living. They encouraged these 18th Century notions. 

LOVECRAFT 

Don’t criticize the aunties. They admire you. 

SONIA 

Because I took them to lunch. And because I sent them hats. 

LOVECRAFT 

That’s unkind. 


SONIA 

Annie stayed here for weeks at my apartment. We took her out every night. I never even received a thank you note. And I know they are keeping some of your share of your little income. They admire me because they think you’ve snagged a rich woman — and a foolish one. 


LOVECRAFT 

How could you suggest such a thing? 

SONIA 

(Going on, ignoring Howard’s rage.) Well I am not a fool and I am NOT rich. I work for every penny. Everyone works today, Howard. Absolutely everyone. 

LOVECRAFT 

(With an air of finality, but sullenly.) A gentleman need not. An artist …  ought not. 

SONIA 

(To herself) And a husband? 

The stage is bathed in complete darkness. Howard and Sonia’s voices are heard close to one another. 

SONIA 

It’s three o’clock, Howard. I thought you’d never come to bed. 

LOVECRAFT 

I was revising a story. I — I thought you’d be asleep by now. 

SONIA 

I’m wide awake. Don’t you know what tonight is? 

LOVECRAFT 

Tonight? I’m not sure. Wednesday — 

SONIA 

It’s our anniversary. A year since our wedding night. 

LOVECRAFT 

Don’t. That tickles. 

SONIA 

It didn’t tickle then. You liked it. 

LOVECRAFT 

It was novel then. I was not accustomed to being touched. It is not always desirable. 

SONIA 

Aren’t you too warm in those pajamas. Let me — 

LOVECRAFT 

It’s a cool night. Please stop that. 

SONIA 

You are my husband. (Then, obviously snuggling up to him, in Russian) Moi moozh, moi moozh. Ya vass abazhayoo. (A beat of silence) Well, Howard? 

LOVECRAFT 

Hmm? 

SONIA 

Aren’t you going to...do something? 

LOVECRAFT 

Do something? 

SONIA 

The way we did then.   

LOVECRAFT 

I think it would be better not to. I — I think I have a migraine coming. 

(For a beat of silence we hear Sonia move across the room. A door opens and closes, and, from the other side of the door, Sonia’s voice, sobbing.) 

LOVECRAFT 

At the end we could live neither there nor here. Trying to think of living in Rhode Island drove the late missus equally close to despair. She proposed to come up and open a millinery shop here, but my aunts determined— 

SONIA 

— determined that neither they nor Howard could afford to have a wife in Providence who worked.  

LOVECRAFT 

Sonia accepted a position with a company in the mid-West. Although I protested that we could remain married and meet now and then, she insisted on a divorce, which I was finally persuaded to consent to. 

(Sonia returns to the Chorus and Lovecraft goes back to writing his letter) 

I think the chances for a successful marriage for a strongly individuated, opinionated and imaginative person are damn slender. It’s wiser to lay off after venture Number One. I remain a proud, lone entity face to face with the cosmos. A haughty celibacy is not a terrible price to pay for cerebral integrity. 

(Pauses, turns to a copy of WEIRD TALES.)  

Farnsworth Wright has bought a few of my stories for Weird Tales, and Amazing Stories has taken some of the others. Sometimes it seems scarcely worth the trouble of typing — I hate typing. At a half a cent a word, you learn to live on canned beans and saltines. As it is, I manage to eat on a budget of two dollars and ten cents a week: doughnuts, coffee with four lumps of C12H22O11, a slice of cheese, two slices of Bond Bread, a can of chili or vegetable soup or corned beef hash, and a quadrant of pie. 

(Puts down pen. Pauses. Picks up pen again to add:) Lately, though, I’ve been obliged to make that an octant of pie. 

 The other problem with being published in the pulps is that before you even get your copy the pages have started to turn yellow. As for a book — I’ve had a small book, riddled with errors, titled “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” A slovenly job. Who knows if I will ever be treated to a more elegant tombstone? Ultimately I think that only books count. If the pulp magazines pull writers down in one way, the slick magazines do so too. No one who has gone that route ever comes back to his true genius. 

 A fellow once offered to do “The Shunned House” as a little book. It got as far as the printing press, but never to the bindery. The unbound sheets have been drifting from pillar to post since 1928! 

(Lovecraft winces in pain and goes to the chair, where he nearly collapses.)  

It’s nothing...really nothing. Perhaps a relapse of the digestive ills that plagued my youth...or some kind of grippe coming on. I really must get back to my stories. Suggestion is the highest form of horror presentation. The basis of all true cosmic horror is violation of the order of nature. The mob will never realize this — they want Grand Guignol and horror shows. 

 I have dabbled in both, of course. I wrote a pot-boiler of the most obvious sort for a little magazine called Home Brew. It was “Herbert West — Reanimator.” In just a few pages it had grave robbing — 

MALE VOICE #1 

We followed the local death notices like ghouls.... 

MALE VOICE #3 

Accident victims were our best hope.

FEMALE VOICE #1 

The process of unearthing was slow and sordid. 

FEMALE VOICE #2 

The affair made us rather nervous... 

MALE VOICE #3 

 ...especially the stiff form and vacant face of our first trophy... 

LOVECRAFT 

 ...revival of the dead with West’s reanimating fluid... 

FEMALE VOICE #1 

The awful event was very sudden... 

MALE VOICE #1 

 ...the most appalling and demonaic succession of cries... 

FEMALE VOICE #2 

Human it could not have been. 

MALE VOICE #2 

It is not in man to make such sounds. 

MALE VOICE #3 

We leaped to the nearest windows — 

FEMALE VOICE #1 

 — vaulting madly into the starred abyss of the rural night. 

LOVECRAFT 

The home with the reanimated corpse luckily burned to the ground. West and his friend continued their work on smaller subjects — 

MALE VOICE #1 

The scientific slaughter of uncounted small animals... 

LOVECRAFT 

Then tried the fluid on a fresher corpse — 

MALE VOICE #2 

The thing actually opened its eyes, but only stared at the ceiling with a look of soul-petrifying horror before collapsing. 

MALE VOICE #3 

West said it was not fresh enough — the hot summer air does not favour corpses. 

LOVECRAFT 

Herbert West’s nemesis was Dean Halsey of Arkham Medical School. After the good dean died, Herbert could not resist reviving the old fellow to prove to him once and for all that reanimation works...But the ungrateful dean misbehaves.... 

MALE VOICE #1 

A terrible killing... 

MALE VOICE #2 

 ...a watchman clawed to death. 

FEMALE VOICE #1 

Eight houses were entered by a nameless thing which strewed red death in its wake... 

MALE VOICE #3 

It had not left behind quite all that it had attacked... 

FEMALE VOICE #2 

 ...for sometimes it had been hungry.... 

LOVECRAFT 

(Smiling, but waving back the speakers) Enough! It had more carnage than King Lear. Later I learned how to be more suggestive, to create suspense and dread. Sometimes I withheld the horror until the FINAL PARAGRAPH. 

MALE VOICE #1 

The caller had on one of Edward’s overcoats  —  its bottom almost touching the ground, and its sleeves rolled back yet still covering the hands. On the head was a slouch hat pulled low, while a black silk muffler concealed the face. As I stepped unsteadily forward, the figure made a semi-liquid sound...glub...glub — and thrust at me a large, closely written paper impaled on the end of a pencil. 

FEMALE VOICE #1 

You know how damned life-like Pickman’s paintings were — how we all wondered where he got those faces. Well — that paper wasn’t a photograph of just a background, after all. What it showed was simply the monstrous being he was painting on that awful canvas. By God, it was a photograph from life. 

FEMALE VOICE #2 

It grew fast and big for the same reason that Wilbur grew fast and big — but it beat him because it had a greater share of the outsideness in it. You needn’t ask how Wilbur called it out of the air — 

MALE VOICE #1 

(Interrupting, with a rustic accent) Bigger’n a barn...all made o’ squirmin’ ropes...dozens o’ legs...great bulgin’ eyes all over it...ten or twenty mouths or trunks big as stovepipes, an’ all a- tossin’ an’ openin’ an’ shuttin’— 

FEMALE VOICE #2 

He didn’t call it out. It was his twin brother, but it looked more like the father than he did. 

(Turns to a paper on the desk.) Ah, now here’s a letter from a young fellow who’s just read “The Rats in the Walls”... (Reads quietly with a smile.)  

(MUSIC CUE #6. Drumbeats and bass instruments play the main Overture theme.) 

MALE VOICE #3 (MADMAN) 

It was a twilit grotto of enormous height, 
stretching away farther than any eye could see; 
a subterraneous world of limitless mystery 
and horrible suggestion. 

There were buildings 
and other architectural remains — 
in one terrified glance 
I saw a weird pattern of tumuli, 
a savage circle of monoliths, 
a low-domed Roman ruin, 
a sprawling Saxon pile, 
and an early English edifice of wood — 
but all these were dwarfed 
by the ghoulish spectacle 
presented by the general surface of the ground. 

For yards about the steps 
extended an insane tangle of human bones, 
or bones at least as human 
as those on the steps. 

Like a foamy sea they stretched, 
some fallen apart, 
but others wholly 
or partly 
articulated as skeletons; 

these latter invariably 
in postures of demoniac frenzy, 
either fighting off some menace 
or clutching other forms with cannibal intent... 

all the bones were gnawed, mostly by rats, 
but somewhat by others 
of the half-human drove. 

Mixed with them 
were many tiny bones of rats— 
fallen members of the lethal army... 
It was the antechamber of hell... 

Once my foot slipped 
near a horribly yawning brink, 
and I had a moment of ecstatic fear. 
I must have been musing a long time, 
for I could not see any of the party 
but the plump Captain Norrys. 

Then there came a sound 
from that inky, boundless, farther distance 
that I thought I knew; 
and I saw my old black cat 
dart past me 
like a winged Egyptian god, 
straight into the illimitable gulf 
of the unknown. 

But I was not far behind, 
for there was no doubt after another second. 
It was the eldritch scurrying 
of those fiend-born rats, 
always questing for new horrors, 
and determined to lead me on 
even unto those grinning caverns 
of earth’s center 

where Nyarlathotep, 
the mad faceless god, 
howls blindly in the darkness 
to the piping 
of two amorphous idiot flute-players... 

Something bumped into me — 
something soft and plump. 
It must have been the rats; 
the viscous, gelatinous, 
ravenous army 
that feast on the dead and the living... 


They found me in the blackness 
after three hours; 
found me crouching in the blackness 
over the plump, half-eaten body 
of Captain Norrys, 
with my own cat leaping and tearing at my throat... 

When I speak of poor Norrys 
they accuse me of a hideous thing, 
but they must know that I did not do it. 
They must know 
it was the rats; 
the slithering, scurrying rats 
whose scampering will never let me sleep; 

the daemon rats 
that race behind the padding in this room 
and beckon me down 
to greater horrors 
than I have ever known; 

the rats they can never hear;  
the rats, 
THE RATS IN THE WALLS... 

LOVECRAFT 

(Goes to window and looks out over the Providence skyline with a pair of opera glasses.) Life in Providence is never dull. They had a riot over at Brown on Memorial Day. Poor Dean Mason had to go through the motions of expelling some of the lads for their rough-and-tumble. Bet he was damn sorry to do so — just Nordic high spirits. Here’s hoping the boys do better next year. 

(Raising coffee cup in a toast.) I’d love to crack skulls in the name of free individualism. They could plow up the airport, burn the Rotary club, and duck the mill owners in the most oil-polluted spot in the Providence River! (Looks about on the desk for something to emphasize the gesture and, finally, raises a saltine cracker from the bowl on the table and cracks it defiantly in half.) 

Sing ho for simplicity, strength, lusty freedom, gentlemen’s privilege, agriculture, leisure and the square-rigged India trade. Narragansett cheese and pacers, Cumberland copper, Newport spermaceti, and Cranston iron. Rum, Negroes and molasses. God save the King! 

MUSIC CUE #7: (Lovecraft stands at attention as a lugubriously slow setting of “God Save the King” plays on harpsichord. Then he pours some coffee.)  

FEMALE GOSSIP #1 

Have you seen Howard Lovecraft lately  — that writer who lives on College Street? 

FEMALE GOSSIP #2 

Why, yes, just yesterday. He looked dreadful. So pale— 

FEMALE GOSSIP #1 

He’s always pale. 

FEMALE GOSSIP #2 

No, paler than before. And thin. He staggered and leaned against a telephone pole. Papers fell on the sidewalk. It took him the longest time to pick them up. 

FEMALE GOSSIP #1 

His aunt should get him to a doctor. Maybe we should call her. 

FEMALE GOSSIP #2 

I think not, dear. It’s none of our concern. 

MALE VOICE #3 (BANKER) 

Who’s that you’re going on about? 

FEMALE GOSSIP #1 

Howard Lovecraft, dear, just a little gossip. 

MALE VOICE #3 (BANKER) 

Howard Lovecraft, you say? Odd, he came into the bank today. Signed off on the last note from his estate. Only five hundred dollars left to his name. You say he’s ill? 

FEMALE GOSSIP #2 

Millie was just saying he looks ill. 

MALE VOICE #3 (BANKER) 

That’s the way some of these funny old families go. Little by little they dip into their principal. Then it’s gone. If they’re lucky, they die. 

FEMALE GOSSIP #1 

Well, maybe he has something hidden away! He’s a writer. He probably gets royalties... 

(MUSIC CUE #8: An eerie trio for three pan flutes plays while the stage is darkened. Lovecraft seats himself on the chair, covered with a comforter and surrounding his head with pillows.) 

LOVECRAFT 

(Writing a letter) I am surely sorry to hear of your poor health, which is surely paralleled by my own. My persistent touch of grippe keeps my digestion in very bad shape, and I have no strength at all....Brief afternoon walks when it is warm enough...  

Am now acutely ill with intestinal trouble following grippe... 

No strength — constant pain....Bloated with gas and have to sit and sleep constantly in chair with pillows...Doctor is going to call in a stomach specialist Tuesday.... 

MALE VOICE #1 (DOCTOR) 

(Leaving the Chorus and standing next to Lovecraft.) The time to operate would have been a year ago — a year and a half ago. I’m afraid it’s hopeless. (Shakes head and returns to Chorus.) 

LOVECRAFT 

I can read and write only a few minutes at a time...taking three medicines at once.

MALE VOICE #2  (PRIEST) 

(Leaves Chorus and stands next to Lovecraft.) I’m Father Delaney. The nurse told me you might like to chat. 

LOVECRAFT 

(Coldly) The nurse was mistaken, Father. Besides, I’m an atheist 

—a pagan. 

MALE VOICE #2 (PRIEST) 

They’ve told me you’re gravely ill. Don’t you fear for your immortal soul?  

LOVECRAFT 

The notion of immortality is...untenable. 

MALE VOICE #2 (PRIEST) 

You do not believe in a divine creation? 

LOVECRAFT 

(Disconnectedly) Cause and effect....a vast number of wholly unrelated causes. The universe just IS. No hocus-pocus.... 

MALE VOICE #2 (PRIEST) 

I would like to pray for you. 

LOVECRAFT 

To whom? To WHAT? I am a priest, too. I MAKE GODS. Gods that would eat yours as a cat eats a mouse...Cthulhu...Yog-Sothoth.... 

Nyarlathotep....The Goat with a Thousand Young...(Makes goat horns with his hands.)  

(The priest runs off in terror and returns to the Chorus.) 

FEMALE VOICE #2 (NURSE) 

(Leaves Chorus and stands next to Lovecraft.) Mr. Lovecraft! Look what you’ve done — you’ve driven the Father off. 

LOVECRAFT 

Father....Father....Yog-Sothoth! (laughs feebly) I suppose I’m dying. It all seems so trivial. It’s not the way I imagined it. It doesn’t come out of a great Eye and snatch you away. You don’t get the thrill of feeling your heart pound with delectable terror. It’s just pain and nurses and drugs... 

FEMALE VOICE #2 (NURSE) 

(Remains by Lovecraft’s side and speaks to other Female Voice in Chorus) He’s so brave...so stoic. He knows he’s dying. He won’t see the priest.  

FEMALE VOICE #1 

(Coming to Lovecraft’s side) And he seems so grateful for everything we do for him. He’s a real gentleman...the way they used to be. 

LOVECRAFT 

I want to dream in an atmosphere of my childhood...to sit on Prospect Terrace with an old book or a pad and pencil in my hands... 

MALE VOICE #1 

(Coming to Lovecraft’s side.) The train sped on, and I experienced silent convulsions of joy in returning...New Haven...New London and then quaint Mystic...Then at last a still subtler magic filled the air — nobler roofs and steeples — Westerly — in His Majesty’s RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS! GOD SAVE THE KING! 

MALE VOICE #2 

(Coming to Lovecraft’s side.) I fumble with the bags and wraps in a desperate effort to appear calm — then — a delirious marble dome outside the window — 

FEMALE VOICE #1 

A hissing of air brakes —- 

FEMALE VOICE #2 

A slackening of speed — 

LOVECRAFT 

HOME— 

UNION STATION — 

PROVIDENCE!!! 

There is no other place for me. My world is Providence. I am Providence, and Providence is myself — together, indivisible as one .... 

Black out.  

F I N I S  

 


 

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[Last correction/ revision December 2009]