So the play. Bloody awful mess. It's called Quare Medicine by Paul Green. Mr. Green received a Pulitzer Prize for something he wrote. I sure hope it was better than this.
This play was written in some kind of dialect for the most part. When characters want say "are" it is spelled "air" to help give the reader and or actor a sense of how they speak. This is very hard to read and part of why this took so long. Every time I looked at the book the idea of trying to decipher the text made me not want to pick it up.
Even the title is infected with this nonsense. "Quare" is how some of these characters say the word Queer. So "Queer Medicine". Oh, the thing is awful. The play takes place in "The Country", some rural american kind of place where most people talk in some rube-ish, rural way. Henry Jerrigan lives with his father and his wife, Mattie in a farmhouse. I guess he's a hard working farmer. There is unrest in the household because Mattie has recently found religion and forbade the use of chewing tobacco in the house and demands that the men keep it clean. She has women over regularly to sew old clothes to send to "the heathen." Both Father and Henry dislike this state of affairs but neither has the guts to tell Mattie.
Father regularly buys some snake oil medicine from a Dr. Immanuel. He shows up while Mattie is gone and gives Henry some medicine that will restore the male dominance in the house. It does. Wa hoo. This play is just awful. Sexist and stupid. I had a feeling where it was headed and I just didn't want to go there which is another reason why I found it hard to finish. It is unclear why the medicine works. Henry takes the vial intended for Mattie, one that will make her weak and submissive (or him if he took it, presumably) and he forces her physically to drink the medicine intended for him. This being true one wonders what the moral was. Henry also say that the medicine was just water. He goes on a howling rampage after taking it and chases Mattie's church women in to a mud hole. This seemingly important bit of action happens offstage.
Oh, it just terrible. Dr Immanuel talks in phony poetry. Mattie ends up a cowering mess clutching Henry's knees as he and Father chew tobacco and tramp mud all over the kitchen. I don't honestly know what the point is. I think it is meant to be a comedy, but it isn't funny. This is the second play from this 1963 publication in which women are put in their place and thus order and happiness is restored. Ugh.
I hope the next one is better.