Barefoot in the Park

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for Barefoot in the Park. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

When faced with the prospect of divorce, Paul loses control by becoming intoxicated. As an illustration of his resolve to change, he acts on Corie’s whimsy—regardless of its foolishness.

Main Character Growth

In order to have a happy marriage, Paul realizes he must stop his controlling behavior.

Main Character Approach

Paul prefers to adapt himself to his environment:

Mother: I worry about you two. You’re so impulsive. You jump into life. Paul is like me. He looks first.

Corie scathingly remarks to Paul:

Corie: Do you know what you are? You’re a watcher. There are Watchers in this world and there are Do-ers. And the Watchers sit around watching the Do-ers do. Well, tonight you watched and I did.

Main Character Mental Sex

Paul solves problems by taking steps, for example, he comes to the realization that his controlling behavior is responsible for his imminent divorce. He decides to lose control by getting “Lousy, stinkin’ drunk!” and taking on Corie’s madcap ideas:

Paul: Hey, Corie….Let’s do that thing you said before….Let’s wake up the police and see if all the rooms come out of the crazy neighbors…I want to be a nut like everyone else in this building.

Story Driver

Corie’s decision to take an apartment on the sixth floor leads to conflict with Paul:

Paul: (Breathing with great difficulty, looks back down the stairs.) It’s six flights…Did you know it’s six flights?

Corie: It isn’t. It’s five.

Paul: (Staggers up the step into the room, and collapses on the suitcase.) What about that big thing hanging outside the building?

Corie: That’s not a flight. It’s a stoop.

Mrs. Banks’ decision to drop in unexpectedly on the newlyweds increases the tension between Paul and Corie:

Mother: Well, I really had no intention of coming up, but I had a luncheon in Westchester and I thought, since it’s on my way home, I might as well drop in for a few minutes…

...I know you must be busy.

Paul: Well, as a matter of fact—

Corie: (Stopping him.) No, we’re not, are we, Paul?

(He kills her with a glance.)

Corie makes the decision to set her mother up with Victor Velasco—without Mrs. Bank’s knowledge—thus creating conflict:

Corie: Well, if I told you it was a blind date with Mr. Velasco upstairs, I couldn’t have blasted you out of the house.

Mother: A blind date…(Doesn’t quite get it yet.) With Mr. Velasco…(Then the dawn.) The one that…? (She points up, then panics.) Good God! (Takes a big gulp of her martini.)

Story Limit

There are only so many ways to forestall divorce and restore marital bliss.

Story Outcome

The objective characters attain love and happiness; Paul and Corie’s marriage-as well as Ethel and Victor’s imminent courtship-are marked for success.

Story Judgment

Paul changes his conservative ways and his happy marriage is restored.

Overall Story Throughline

"Happily Ever After?"

Overall Story Throughline

“Barefoot in the Park” is a study of why and how fixed attitudes (especially in a marriage) create conflict.

Overall Story Concern

All the objective characters have the fundamental desire to love and be loved.

Overall Story Issue

Neil Simon characterizes Corie as “Lovely, young, and full of hope for the future.” In describing the apartment, the author observes: “Someone with taste, imagination and personality can make this that perfect love nest we all dream about.” Corie exemplifies hope vs. dream: she dreams thinking she is hoping, and not until the last act does she realize the difference.

The Telephone Man states: “Yeah, it’s always nice to see two young kids getting started. With all the trouble today, you see a couple of newlyweds, you figure there’s still hope for the world.”

Overall Story Counterpoint

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Hope vs.Dream

Overall Story Problem

“Control” as the source of the objective story’s problems is illustrated in several ways. Paul has an expectation that Corie will control herself in public places, and makes his disapproval clear when she does not:

Paul: (Corie jumps on him and flings her arms around his neck. He winces in pain.) Do you have to carry on—a whole personal conversation with me—on the stairs?

Corie: Well, there’s so much I wanted to tell you…and I haven’t seen you all day…and it takes you so long to get up.

Paul: Everyone knows the intimate details of our life…I ring the bell and suddenly we’re on the air.

Ethel Banks controls herself to the extent of sleeping on a board; Victor Velasco’s lack of control over his personal finances causes him to employ creative methods to sustain his lifestyle, one of which is to insinuate himself into his new neighbor’s lives. This causes tension between Corie, whom he charms, and Paul, who caustically refers to him as the “Count of Monte Cristo.”

Overall Story Solution

Uncontrolled as the Objective story’s solution is illustrated as follows:

Mrs. Banks is surprised to discover she can relinquish any control:

Mother: I just realized. I slept without a board…For the first time in years I slept without a board…You don’t suppose Uzu is a Greek miracle drug, do you? (Flips grape back and forth and pops it into her mouth like knichi.); Mrs. Banks loses control by fainting and falling down the front stairs. Victor takes care of her, which leads to her change of heart; While Victor is carrying Mrs. Banks, his beret slips over his eyes and he falls down the stairs, breaking his big toe. He makes a trip to the doctor’s where he undergoes a complete medical examination that indicates he must modify his outrageous lifestyle; When faced with the prospect of divorce, Paul loses control by getting intoxicated. To prove his resolve to change—he acts on Corie’s whimsy—regardless of its foolishness:

Paul: What do you think I’ve been doing? I’ve been walking barefoot in the goddamn park.

Overall Story Symptom

Corie does not appreciate Paul’s logical outlook when it interferes with her fun:

Paul: That’s ridiculous.

Corie: And you’re not. That’s just the trouble. Like Thursday night. You wouldn’t walk barefoot with me in Washington Square Park. Why not?

Paul: Very simple answer. It was seventeen degrees.

Corie: Exactly. That’s very sensible and logical. Except it isn’t any fun.

Victor Velasco’s wacky logic is illustrated in Act II when they all prepare to go out to dinner:

Mother: (Putting on coat.) Mr. Velasco, don’t you wear a coat?

Velasco: Only in winter.

Mother: It’s thirty-five.

Velasco: For 25 I wear a coat…For 35…(Puts beret on. Crosses to door taking scarf out of pocket with great flair.)

Although Ethel Banks lives a fair distance from the newlyweds, the logic she uses to explain the route she takes to their apartment makes it sound like a hop, skip, and a jump away. The implication is she will make many more trips to her daughter’s home in the future, thus avoiding a new beginning in her own life:

Mother: I just came over the Whitestone Bridge and down the Major Deegan Highway and now I’ll cut across town and on to the Henry Hudson Parkway and up to the George Washington Bridge. It’s no extra trouble.

Overall Story Response

The objective characters’ emotional feelings direct the objective story:

Paul reprimands Corie after the infamous dinner at Four Winds:

Corie: What’s the matter darling…? Don’t you feel well?

Paul: What a rotten thing to do…To your own mother.

Corie: What?

Paul: Do you have any idea how she felt just now? Do you know what kind of night this was for her?...Well, she was miserable? Her face was longer than that trip we took tonight.

Mrs. Banks comforts Corie who is emotionally distraught over the outcome of the previous night’s mishaps:

Mother: It couldn’t have been all your fault.

Corie: No…? No? Because of me you’re running around without your clothes and Paul is out there on the streets with a cold looking for a place to sleep. Whose fault is that?

Mother: Yours!...But do you want to know something that may shock you…? I still love you.

Corie: You do…?

Mother: Yes, and Paul loves you too.

After Victor and Ethel discuss the previous evening and share a “warm, hearty laugh,” his headache is cured:

Corie: Here’s the aspirins.

Velasco: Thank you, but I’m feeling better now.

Overall Story Catalyst

“Dreams” serve to accelerate conflict:

Paul dreams of a successful law career which entails preparation at home, thus creating conflict with Corie:

Paul: Oh, Corie, baby, I’m going to be a lawyer….I guess I’m pretty excited. You want me to be rich and famous don’t you?

Corie: During the day. At night I want you to be here and sexy.

Mrs. Banks dreams of being a grandmother instead of exploring her new-found independence:

Mother: (Considers.) I’d like to be a grandmother. I think that would be nice.

Corie: A grandmother??...What’s your rush? You know, underneath that Army uniform, you’re still a young, vital woman…

Overall Story Inhibitor

The furniture, which to Corie symbolizes the beginning of their new life together, is delayed; Corie and Paul’s fight is drawn out overnight, delaying the inevitable kiss and make-up; Paul disconnects the phone, causing the telephone repair man to make another trip to the apartment, further delaying the time alone Paul and Corie need to resolve their quarrel; Victor Velasco’s broken toe and subsequent trip to the doctor’s office delays his reunion with Mrs. Banks when he can then relieve her anxieties about what happened during her black-out the previous evening.

Overall Story Benchmark

Although Corie is angry and has asked Paul for a divorce, her memory of how his clothes smell indicate she still loves him:

Paul: And you can have the furniture and the wedding gifts. I’d just like to keep my clothes…You’re always wearing my pajamas and slippers.

Corie: Only after you go to work.

Paul: Why?

Corie: Because I like the way they sm-never mind, it’s stupid. (She begins to sob, gets up and crosses up steps to bedroom.) I’ll sign over your pajamas and slippers.

Ethel Banks must rely on the memory of Victor taking care of her in order to feel comfortable with him; Victor must remember that he had a good time with Ethel for him to want to pursue a relationship with her:

Mother: I did a lot of fainting.

Velasco: Yes…As a matter of fact, we both did….If you remember…(Remembering, he begins to laugh.)

Mother: Yes…(She joins in. It is a warm, hearty laugh shared by two friends.

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

All the objective characters are concerned with love and romantic relationships. The conflict that must be resolved is caused by control and solved by decisions that are uncontrolled.

Main Character Throughline

Paul Bratter — Husband

Main Character Throughline

Paul does not think he can juggle being an ambitious attorney and a happy-go-lucky husband at the same time:

Paul: I guess I’m pretty excited. You want me to be rich and famous, don’t you?

Corie: During the day. At night I want you to be here and sexy.

Paul: I will. Just as soon as “Birnbaum versus Gump” is over…”

Main Character Concern

Paul is concerned with becoming a successful attorney.

Main Character Issue

Paul’s attention to his responsibilities as a lawyer comes into conflict with his commitment to marriage.

Main Character Counterpoint

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Responsibility vs.Commitment

Main Character Problem

Control as the source of the main character’s problem is illustrated in several ways:

After Corie tricks Paul into believing outrageous stories about her mother, he states:

Paul: It’s a lie?

Corie: The whole thing.

Paul: I’m going to control myself.

In Act II, Corie angrily points out Paul’s controlling ways to him:

Corie: What I’m really concerned about is you!

Paul: Me? Me?

Corie: ...You won’t let your hair down for a minute. You couldn’t even relax for one night. Boy, Paul, sometimes you act like a… a…

Paul: What…? A stuffed shirt?

Corie: I didn’t say that.

Paul: That’s what you’re implying.

Corie: That’s what you’re anticipating. I didn’t say you’re a stuffed shirt. But you are extremely proper and dignified.

Paul: I’m proper and dignified? When…? When was I proper and dignified?

Corie: All right. The other night. At Delfino’s…You were drunk, right?

Paul: Right. I was stoned.

Corie: There you are. I didn’t know it until you told me in the morning…

Paul: When else? When else was I proper and dignified?

Corie: Always. You’re always dressed right, you always look right, you always say the right things.

Main Character Solution

When faced with the prospect of divorce, Paul loses control by getting intoxicated. To prove his resolve to change—he acts on Corie’s whimsy—regardless of its foolishness:

Paul: What do you think I’ve been doing? I’ve been walking barefoot in the goddamn park.

Main Character Symptom

Paul believes it is more important to concentrate on preparing for a law case than paying attention to his new bride. He intends to forego the pleasure of spending time with his wife (and mother-in-law) to avoid being unprepared in court.

Paul: I’ve got my first case!

Corie: What about tonight?

Paul: I’ll have to go over the briefs…we’ll spend tomorrow night together.


Paul: Corie, you’ve got to get rid of her. I’ve got a case in court tomorrow…How am I going to work tonight?...Just promise me one thing. Don’t let her stay to long because I’ve got a—

Corie: (With him.)—case in court in the morning…I know, I know…

Main Character Response

Corie serves as a temptation to Paul that he reluctantly surrenders to:

Corie: (Goes to him and puts her arms around him.)

I’ll keep you warm…And there’s no charge for electricity…(Kisses him.)

Paul: I can see I haven’t much of a law career ahead of me.

Corie: Good. I hope we starve. And they find us up here dead in each other’s arms.

Paul: “Frozen skinny lovers found on 48th Street.” (They kiss.)

Corie: Are we in love again?

Paul: We’re in love again. (They kiss again, a long passionate embrace.)

Main Character Unique Ability

Although Corie wants Paul to lighten up, she also wants him to remain responsible:

Corie: I want the old Paul back…He’s dependable and he’s strong and he takes care of me and tells me how much I can spend…

Main Character Critical Flaw

Paul’s interest in developing his career as an attorney undermines his commitment to the marriage.

Main Character Benchmark

Paul thinks that in order to be carefree like Corie, he must implement her crazy notions like walking barefoot in the park.

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

Paul is 26 going on 56. He is a conservative young lawyer.

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

Paul is a conservative young man embarking on a career as a lawyer. He is also a newlywed, married to a young woman whose ideas of fun and frolic are more than he bargained for.

Influence Character Throughline

Corie Bratter — Wife

Influence Character Throughline

Corie’s natural enthusiasm keeps her constantly active. She paints and decorates the apartment; she bounds up the five-flight walk-up. She makes social arrangements for her husband, mother, and upstairs neighbor.

Influence Character Concern

Corie wants to obtain Paul’s undivided attention. This is illustrated when the author describes how Corie has decorated the apartment: “Since Corie’s greatest aim in life is to spend as much time as possible alone with Paul, she has designed a room to suit this purpose.”

Influence Character Issue

Corie puts Paul’s interests before her own:

Corie: And I just want him to know how much I love him…And that I’m going to make everything here exactly the way he wants it…I’m going to fix the hole in the skylight…and the leak in the closet…And I’m going to put in a bathtub and if he wants I’ll even carry him up the stairs every night…

Influence Character Counterpoint

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Morality vs.Self-Interest

Influence Character Problem

At the slightest provocation, real or imagined, Corie’s insecurity about her marriage leads her to consider divorce:

Act I:

Corie: The whole marriage is over.

Act II:

Corie: Oh , you’re grouchy. I want a divorce.

Act III:

Corie: Of course I’m serious. I want a divorce!

Act IV:

Corie: When do I get my divorce?

And again in Act III:

Corie: You don’t consider this a crisis? Our whole marriage hangs in balance.

Paul: It does? When did this happen?

Influence Character Solution

After Paul walks out, Corie realizes the havoc she has caused:

Corie: I should have listened to him…It’s all my fault…I thought we’d have a nice sociable evening, that’s all…Paul was right. He was right about so many things.

Corie explains Paul’s absence to her mother, realizing she made a mistake:

Corie: He had a perfectly good reason. I told him to get out. I did it. Me and my big stupid mouth.

Influence Character Symptom

Corie’s illogical way of looking at life confuses and angers Paul:

Paul: I want to know why you want a divorce.

Corie: I told you why. Because you and I have absolutely nothing in common.

Paul: What about those six days at the Plaza?

Corie: (Sagely.) Six days does not a week make.

Paul: (Taken aback.) What does that mean?

Corie: I don’t know what it means. I just want a divorce.

At the end of Act II, Paul, angry and barred from the bedroom, reiterates Corie’s illogic:

Paul: (Seething, Paul throws the bedding on the end table, and begins to try to make up the sofa with the sheet and blanket, all the while mumbling through the whole argument they have just had. As he puts the blanket over the sofa, he suddenly bursts out) Six days does not a week make.

Influence Character Response

Corie’s perception of her relationship with Paul is emotionally based, which tends to make her overreact in certain situations. The more emotional Corie becomes, the more Paul controls himself. This characteristic is illustrated in Act II:

Corie: Where are you going?

Paul: To sleep.

Corie: Now? How can you sleep now?...You can’t sleep now. We’re having a fight.

Paul: You have the fight. When you’re through, turn off the lights.

Corie: Ooh, that gets me insane. You can even control your emotions.

Paul: (Storms out to head of stairs.) Look, I’m just as upset as you are…(Controls himself.) But when I get hungry I eat. And when I get tired I sleep.

Influence Character Unique Ability

Corie will always do what is best for Paul; her selflessness influences Paul’s change.

Influence Character Critical Flaw

Because of Corie’s commitment to the marriage, Paul may not believe her when she asks for a divorce, and therefore not change his controlling behavior.

Influence Character Benchmark

Corie is interested in obtaining Paul’s love and attention. After asking her mother for advice, Corie understands a way to make Paul happy:

Corie: And I love him…Only I don’t know what he wants. I don’t know how to make him happy…Oh, Mom, what am I going to do?

Mother: That’s the first time you’ve asked my advice since you were ten. It’s very simple. You’ve just got to give up a little of you for him. Don’t make everything a game. Just late at night in that little room upstairs. But take care of him. And make him feel important. And if you can do that, you’ll have a happy and wonderful marriage.

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

“Lovely, young and full of hope for the future.”

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Corie Bratter is a young bride, dedicated to the pursuit of fun. Conflict is inevitable with her conservative husband—Corie forces him to realize he can also have fun without losing his sense of responsibility.

Relationship Story Throughline

"The Newlywed Game"

Relationship Story Throughline

Barefoot in the Park examines the institution of marriage, focusing on the joys and heartaches that are an inevitable part of it.

Relationship Story Concern

Paul and Corie come into conflict as they quarrel over the future of their marriage:

Paul: What crisis? We’re just yelling a little.

Corie: You don’t consider this a crisis? Our whole marriage hangs in the balance.

Relationship Story Issue

Corie demands an immediate divorce from Paul and asks him to find other living space. Even though Paul thinks she is serious, he delays honoring her requests.

Corie: Are you going to stay here again tonight?

Paul: I haven’t found a room yet.

Corie: You’ve had all day to look.

Paul: I’ve been very busy. I work during the day, you know.

Corie: You could look during your lunch hour.

Paul: I eat during my lunch hour. I’ll look during my looking hour.

Corie: You could look tonight.

Paul: I intended to. But I’m coming down with a cold. I thought I’d just take a couple of aspirins and get right into the sofa.

And later:

Corie: When do I get it?

Paul: Get what?

Corie: My divorce. When do I get my divorce?

Paul: How should I know? They didn’t even send us our marriage license yet.

Relationship Story Counterpoint

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Delay vs.Choice

Relationship Story Problem

As an example of how foregoing an immediate pleasure because of future consequences, conflict is created when Paul decides to listen to his conscience and prepare for his upcoming law case, thus foregoing the delight of spending time with Corie.

Relationship Story Solution

The problems between Paul and Corie are solved when Paul succumbs to the temptation to put Corie and his marriage first, despite any consequences.

Relationship Story Symptom

At the height of their argument, Paul and Corie attempt to look at the institution of marriage in a logical (if not satirical) way:

Paul: And now I will say something I will soon regret…Okay, Corie, maybe you’re right. Maybe we have nothing in common. Maybe we rushed into this marriage a little too fast. Maybe love isn’t enough. Maybe two people should have to take more than a blood test. Maybe they should be checked for common sense, understanding, and emotional maturity.

Corie: All right… Why don’t you get it passed in the Supreme Court? Only those couples bearing a letter from their psychiatrists proving they’re well adjusted will be permitted to be married.

Relationship Story Response

The efforts in the subjective story are directed toward how Paul and Corie feel about each other.

Relationship Story Catalyst

As an example of how choice acts as the catalyst to move the subjective story forward, Corie’s decision to take a tiny apartment on the sixth floor leads to conflict with Paul:

Paul: Where’s the bathtub?

Corie: There is no bathtub.

Paul: No bathtub?

Corie: There’s a shower.

Paul: How am I going to take a bath?

Corie: You won’t take a bath. You’ll take a shower.

Paul: I don’t like showers. I like baths. Corie, how am I going to take a bath?

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Paul’s hope that Corie will change her mind motivates him to explore ways to save the marriage.

Relationship Story Benchmark

Paul and Corie compare the current status of their marriage to the “six wonderful days” at the Plaza hotel:

Paul: I want to know why you want a divorce.

Corie: I told you why. Because you and I have nothing in common.

Paul: What about those six days at the Plaza?

Corie: Six days does not a week make.

Paul: What does that mean?

Corie: I don’t know what it means. I just want a divorce.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

Paul and Corie Bratter are newlyweds who are very much in love, but must work through their personal issues concerning Paul’s controlling behavior and Corie’s flighty nature.

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

All the objective characters are concerned with Paul and Corie’s happiness.

Overall Story Consequence

If Paul and Corie don’t patch up their differences, their marriage will dissolve, and with it the chance for marital bliss and many offspring:

Mother: I’d like to be a grandmother.

Telephone Man: Have a nice marriage…And may you soon have many extensions.

If Ethel Banks doesn’t take a chance on opening herself up to a man (Victor) and new adventures, her future will be lonely and bleak:

Corie: The point is, you’ve got to start living for yourself now…Mother, the whole world has just opened up to you. Why don’t you travel? You’ve got the time, the luggage. All you need are the shots.

Mother: Travel!...You think it’s so easy for a woman of my age to travel alone?

Corie: You’ll meet people.

Mother: I read a story in the Times. A middle-aged woman traveling alone fell off the deck of a ship. They never discovered it until they got to France.

Corie: Do you know what I think you really need?

Mother: Yes, and I don’t want to hear it.

Corie: Because you’re afraid to hear the truth.

Mother: It’s not the truth I’m afraid to hear. It’s the word you’re going to use.

Corie: You’re darn right I’m going to use that word…It’s love!

Overall Story Cost

After Paul and Corie’s argument, Paul sleeps in the living room and catches cold from the snow blowing through the hole in the skylight:

“Paul gets into his makeshift bed and finally settles down…And then it begins to snow. Through the hole in the skylight it falls and down onto Paul’s exposed head. He feels it, and after a quick moment, he rises up on his knees and looks up at the hole. Soundlessly, he crumples in a heap…The following day…He looks haggard and drawn, not just from the stairs, but from lack of sleep and peace of mind. Also he has a cold, and as he leans there, he wearily blows his nose.”

Ethel Banks passes out and has nightmares after drinking “scotch, martinis, coffee, black bean soup, and Uzus…”

Mother: And I had horrible nightmares. I dreamt my fingers were falling off because I couldn’t make a fist.

Velasco obtains a broken toe and an ulcer:

Mother: A broken toe….Isn’t that awful!

Velasco: That’s not the worst of it. I just had a complete examination. Guess what else I have?

Mother: What?

Velasco: An ulcer! From all the rich food…I have to take little pink pills like you.

Victor and Ethel suffer from headaches caused by last night’s revelries:

Velasco: Corie, could I please have about three hundred aspirins?

Mother: (Takes aspirin and sip of water.)

Overall Story Dividend

Paul becomes carefree without becoming irresponsible; Corie becomes mature without becoming too serious; Ethel Banks becomes happy without being dependent on her daughter; Victor becomes sensible without losing his charm:

Velasco: You know something, Ethel….I don’t think I’m as young as I think I am.

Mother: Why do you say that?

Velasco: Isn’t is obvious? Last night I couldn’t carry you up the stairs. I can’t eat rich foods any more…(Very confidentially.) and I dye my hair.

Mother: Oh…Well, it looks very nice.

Overall Story Requirements

Paul and Corie must use the memory of their passionate honeymoon to work through their marital problems; Ethel Banks must rely on the memory of Victor taking care of her to feel comfortable with him; Victor must remember that he had a good time with Ethel for him to want to pursue a relationship with her:

Velasco: Well, I took a long look at you last night…I took a long, close look at you…Do you know what you are, Ethel?

Mother: What?

Velasco: A good sport.

Mother: Oh…A good sport.

Velasco: To have gone through all you did last night. The trip to Staten Island, the strange food, the drinks, being carried up to the apartment like that. And you didn’t say a word about it.

Mother: Well, I didn’t have much chance to…I did a lot of fainting.

Velasco: Yes…As a matter of fact, we both did….If you remember…(Remembering, he begins to laugh.)

Mother: Yes…(She joins in. It is a warm, hearty laugh shared by two friends.)

Overall Story Prerequisites

Paul and Corie’s past is the “six wonderful days” at the Plaza hotel. Their honeymoon created an enchanted memory for the both of them, a requirement for their future happiness; Victor prepares the hors d’oeuvre, knichi, from a two thousand year old recipe:

Victor: When you eat this, you take a bite into history.

This exotic appetizer, and the eating ritual that accompanies it, exemplifies a new way of experiencing life for Mrs. Banks.

Victor and Mrs. Banks create their own past when they spend time alone together, creating a warm memory required to precipitate their relationship.

Overall Story Preconditions

Paul must understand that his past with Corie and the memories it has created, demonstrate the paramount importance of his marriage; Corie must come to the understanding that Paul’s career ambitions are important and necessary for him to attend to in order to take care of her:

Corie: I want the old Paul back.

Paul: That fuddy duddy?

Corie: He’s not a fuddy duddy. He’s dependable and he’s strong and he takes care of me…

Ethel Banks must learn to accept Victor’s eccentricities and appreciate his kindness; Victor must understand that modifying his behavior does not mean he has to lose his sense of humor:

Velasco: Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?

Mother: Me?

Velasco: If you don’t mind eating plain food.

Mother: I love plain food.

Velasco: Good…I’ll call the New York Hospital for a reservation…Pick me up in a few minutes…We’ll have a glass of buttermilk before we go.

Overall Story Forewarnings

Ethel Banks conceptualizes her life in the future as alone, and contrary to her words, she can imagine her loneliness:

Mother: Aunt Harriet was with me when I picked it out. (Laughs.) She thinks I’m over here every day now.

Corie: You know you’re welcome, Mother.

Mother: I said, “Why, Harriet? Just because I’m alone now,” I said. “I’m not afraid to live alone. In some ways it’s better to live alone,” I said. But you can’t tell her that. She thinks a woman living alone, way out in New Jersey is the worst thing in the world…“It’s not,” I told her. “It’s not the worst thing…”

Corie’s concept of her home is a far cry from the reality: “The furniture didn’t get here quite yet and the paint didn’t come out exactly right, but I think it’s going to be beautiful.”

Paul visualizes Corie on her own:

Paul: Let’s see how you like living alone…A dog…Ha! That’s a laugh…Wait till she tries to take him out for a walk…He’ll get one look at those stairs and he’ll go right for her throat.

Victor conceptualizes his future with a handicapped foot:

Velasco: (Sitting on sofa and putting foot up on coffee table.) It took me forty minutes to walk up the stairs…I’ll have to hire someone to pull me up the ladder.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

Everyone expresses their immediate reactions to the location and size of the apartment.

Without thinking, Paul plans to prepare for a law case at home without first consulting Corie’s feelings:

Paul: (Into phone.) Frank?...Yeah!...Yes, I’ll go over everything tonight. (Corie reacts to “tonight” and slowly moves down the ladder.)

Corie: What about tonight?

Paul: I’ve got to be in court tomorrow morning…I’ve got my first case!

Corie: What about tonight?

Paul: I’ll have to go over the briefs.

Corie’s immediate response is one of frustration when Mother stops in unexpectedly and uninvited:

Female voice: (From below.) Surprise!

Corie: Oh, God…She couldn’t wait. Just one more day.

Mrs. Banks’ immediate reaction to Corie and Paul’s apartment is one of shock:

Mother: (Gets up, looks and stops cold.) Don’t worry. I’ve got a marvelous imagination.

Corie: Well…?

Mother: (Stunned.) Oh, Corie…it’s…beautiful.

Corie: You hate it…

Corie is startled as Victor enters the Bratter’s apartment without an invitation:

Velasco: I beg your pardon. I hope I’m not disturbing you. I don’t usually do this sort of thing but I find myself in a rather embarrassing position and I could use your help. My name is Velasco…Victor Velasco.

Overall Story Signpost 2

Corie, Paul, and Mrs. Banks toast to their future happiness:

Corie: (Making toast.) To the wonderful new life that’s ahead of us all.

Overall Story Signpost 3

Corie and Paul consider divorcing, even though it is a poor course of action to take after only one night of marital squabbling:

Paul: You’re serious.

Corie: Dead serious.

Paul: You mean the whole thing? With signing papers and going to court, shaking hands, goodby, finished, forever, divorced?

Corie: That’s what I mean…

Paul: I see…Well…I guess there’s nothing left to be said.

Velasco intends to escort Mrs. Banks home without considering the return trip:

Velasco: I’m driving Mrs. Banks home.

Mother: Oh, no! I mean, oh, no, it’s too late.

Velasco: Too late for what?

Mother: The buses. They stop running at two. How will you get home?

Velasco: Why worry about it now? I’ll meet that problem in New Jersey.

Overall Story Signpost 4

The telephone man remembers (without enthusiasm) that not too long ago he had to climb up the six flights to the Bratter’s:

“Harry Pepper, our old friend, the Telephone Man, appears at the door. He is breathing as hard as ever.”

Telephone Man: (Not too thrilled.) Hello, again.

Corie: How have you been?

Telephone Man: Fine. Fine, thanks.

Corie: Good. The telephone’s out of order.

Telephone Man: I know. I wouldn’t be here for a social call.

Ethel can’t remember what happened to the clothes she was wearing the night before:

Corie: Then where are your clothes?

Mother: That I can’t tell you…I just don’t know where they are….

Victor helps Ethel with her memory loss:

Mother: Mr. Velasco….Where are my clothes?

Velasco: Your clothes…? Oh, yes…(Takes piece of paper out of pocket.) Here. (Gives it to her.)

Mother: I’m sure I wore more than that.

Velasco: It’s a cleaning ticket. They’re sending them up at six o’clock.

Mother: Oh, they’re at the cleaners…When did I take them off?

Velasco: You didn’t….You were drenched and out cold. Gonzales took them off.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Paul is concerned with becoming a lawyer:

Paul: Marshall has to be in Washington tomorrow and he wants me to take over…with Frank…but it’s really my case. Oh, Corie, baby, I’m going to be a lawyer.

Main Character Signpost 2

Although Paul does not approve of Corie’s schemes, he does not interfere with her dinner party plans and plays the role of “good sport” (though rather reluctantly).

Main Character Signpost 3

Paul cannot conceive that Corie wants a divorce:

Corie: Well, you certainly don’t think we’re going to live here together, do you? After tonight?

Paul: Are you serious?

Corie: Of course I’m serious. I want a divorce!

Paul: (Shocked, he jumps up.) A divorce? What?

Main Character Signpost 4

Paul envisions a way to let loose:

Paul: Hey, Corie….Let’s do that thing you said before….Let’s wake up the police and see if all the rooms come out of the crazy neighbors…I want to be a nut like everyone else in this building.

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

Corie is concerned with obtaining the utilities and furniture necessary to start her new life as a grown married woman:

Corie: My very own phone…Gives you a sense of power, doesn’t it? Can I make a call yet?

(The doorbell buzzes. Corie puts down the phone, and rushes to the door.)

Corie: Oh, please let that be the furniture and not Paul so Paul can see the apartment with furniture.

Influence Character Signpost 2

Corie is open to new experiences, and encourages Paul (who is not) to do the same:

Corie: Well, here goes. (Tosses it back and forth, then pops it perfectly.) How about that?

Velasco: Perfect. You’re the prettiest epicurean I’ve ever seen…(Offers knichi to Paul.) Paul?

Paul: Er, no thank you. I have a bad arm.

Corie: You can try it. You should try everything, right, Mr. Velasco?

Velasco: As the French say, “At least once”...

Influence Character Signpost 3

Corie understands that Paul’s reserved ways conflict with her happy-go-lucky outlook on life.

Corie: You’re always dressed right, you always look right, you always say the right things. You’re very close to being perfect…I have never seen you without a jacket.. I always feel like such a slob compared to you.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Corie is concerned with finding her mother after finding out she has been missing all night:

Paul: Where are you going?

Corie: Upstairs to find out what happened to my mother.

Corie is concerned with finding Paul once she realizes that she loves him and does not want a divorce after all:

(Corie thinks a moment, wipes her eyes, and then rushes to the closet for her coat. Without stopping to put it on, she rushes to the door and opens it…)

Corie: Paul…! Paul, are you all right…? I was just going out to look for you.

Paul: Oh…? Where were you going to look…?

Corie: I don’t know. I was just going to look.

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Paul and Corie’s past is their honeymoon. On the first day in their new home, Paul and Corie’s conflict about Corie’s wish to return to the recent past is lighthearted, yet indicative of Corie’s free-spirited nature and Paul’s logical way of looking at situations:

Corie: Oh, boy. Let’s take a cab back to the Plaza. We still have an hour before check-out time.

Paul: We can’t. We took a towel and two ash trays. We’re hot. (He kisses her.)

Relationship Story Signpost 2

Paul and Corie come into conflict over the progress of turning their apartment into a home:

Corie: Oh, you’re grouchy. I want a divorce.

Paul: I’m not grouchy…I’m tired…I had a rotten day today…I’m a little irritable…and cold…and grouchy.

Corie: Okay, grouch. I’ll fix you a drink.

Paul: I just couldn’t think today. Couldn’t think…Moving furniture until three o’clock in the morning.

Corie: Mr. Velasco moved. You complained.

Paul: Mr. Velasco pointed! I moved!...He came in here, drank my liquor, made three telephone calls, and ordered me around like I was one of the Santini Brothers.

Relationship Story Signpost 3

Paul and Corie come into conflict when Corie wants to settle their fight immediately, and Paul wants delay it until the morning:

Paul: Corie, it’s two-fifteen. If I can fall asleep in about half-an-hour, I can get about five hours’ sleep. I’ll call you from court tomorrow and we can fight over the phone.

Corie: You will not go to sleep. You will stay here and fight to save our marriage.

Relationship Story Signpost 4

With the future of Paul and Corie’s marriage at stake, Paul resolves to change his controlling behavior in favor of marital bliss.

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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