Shows "I"

become palpable. Michael has become very self-involved and self-important about his work and success as a novelist. He treats her as a lowly domestic as he lectures the audience on writers and writing, themes and works. She interrupts him in the middle of his diatribe and calls his work dull. He corrects her grammar, criticizes her cooking and habitual lateness, insisting that she accompany him to literary parties at which she feels uncomfortable. She counters that she also has a list of irritating habits (Nobody’s Perfect). They return from the party and argue bitterly. He admits to having an ongoing affair with a younger woman. He blames Agnes for driving him away. He also points out that everyone knows that men get better with age and women get worse (A Well Known Fact). Agnes exits in disgust, and Michael finishes the song, making a fast, showy exit, a matinee idol in all his glory. In response to Michael having criticized her shopping habits, Agnes starts parading the extravagant items on her dressing table. She fantasizes about what her life would be like if she were a saucy, single divorcee, partying the night away (Flaming Agnes). Michael reappears to finish their discussion. She tells him to get out; he refuses, since, he claims, it is his house and his mortgage. She resolves to leave, taking the checkbook with her. He begins throwing her things into a suitcase: her alarm clock, her nightgown, her cold cream and the God Is Love pillow. Their eyes are now wide open about each other... and it isn’t pleasant (The Honeymoon Is Over). She stalks out, with her ermine thrown over her nightgown, and the Flaming Agnes hat set determinedly on her head. He waits for a moment, certain of her return. When she doesn’t come back, he rushes after her. We hear a struggle and he reappears, dragging her into the room. They fight and he throws her on the bed. His anger dissipates. Looking at her pleadingly, he tells her of his loneliness and regret. Her eyes fill with tears and she acknowledges that no one is perfect (Finale – Act I). They lie together and embrace. Act Two Agnes and Michael are in bed, celebrating New Year’s Eve. The God Is Love pillow is gone, as is the gaudy chandelier. Time has passed; their children are teenagers now, celebrating at New Year’s Eve parties of their own. Agnes and Michael are getting older (Where Are the Snows?). Michael is angry that their son hasn’t returned and goes downstairs to wait for him. He storms back into the room, having found bourbon in his son’s room. They argue about parenting, and Michael takes a swig from the bottle, only to discover that their son has filled the bottle with the cod liver oil that his mother thought she was administering for three years. We hear that, offstage, Michael has confronted his son at the door with the razor strap, only to discover that his boy is a man, dressed in his father’s tuxedo. Michael and Agnes reflect on the dreams and regrets of their early married years. Agnes asks Michael if he is disappointed. He is not (My Cup Runneth Over). They fantasize about their children growing up and moving out. They make plans for their middle age and retirement: he’ll finally finish his Collected Tolstoy; she’ll cruise to Tahiti and learn to do the hootchi-koo; he’ll play the saxophone, she the violin (When the Kids Get Married). Later, Michael is dressing with little success for his daughter’s wedding. He is not pleased with his little girl’s choice of husband (The Father of the Bride). Agnes enters, crying. The stained glass window appears again, and Michael and Agnes watch the ceremony. They wave to the departing couple and go home to face an empty nest. Agnes faces her transition to middle age. She doesn’t know what to be now that her children no longer need her as much (What Is a Woman?). Michael enters the scene with two packages, but Agnes announces that she’s going away; she doesn’t love Michael anymore. She feels that he neither understands nor appreciates her, and reveals her infatuation with a young poet. Michael confesses his love and concern for his wife. He shows her that he loves her, and she breaks down, laughing and crying at once. He gives her a charm bracelet with a charm for each of them, one for each of their children and room for many grandchildren. She feels much better. They dance together and multi-colored ribbons cascade from above (Someone Needs Me).