The act begins with Public lying on the bed and Private on a seat beside him. Gar is trying to keep busy to stop his mind from focusing on Katie Doogan and leaving for America.
He thinks about becoming the President of America but when he realises that he can’t he thinks about becoming the Chairman of General Motors or going to Hollywood. All of these thoughts are little jokes between Private and Public, which show Gar’s childish side.
Gar goes through his checklist of things that he needs when he sees the letter that his aunt Lizzy has sent about him about going to America. Gar starts to think about Anut Lizzy’s visit on the 8th September and Gar starts to read the invitation to Kate’s wedding, which was on the same day. In an attempt to get Gar to forget about Kate, Private talks about the visit and Gar begins to have another flashback, which begins to take place on stage.
The stage is filled with Aunt Lizzy, her husband Con, their friend Ben Burton, Gar Public and Gar Private. Aunt Lizzy is telling a story about the day that S.B. and Gar’s mother got married but goes wildly off topic at times, telling stories about when they first went to America. Con disagrees with a lot of the details but Aunt Lizzy is not deterred and keeps on talking. Gar, eager to hear a story about his mother urges her to continue with the story.
She tells Gar that S.B. treated Maire well but is angry that he is not there to meet with her today. Gar tells them that he couldn’t be there because he’s at the wedding of ‘Senator Doogan’s daughter.’
Madge comes in but doesn’t look at the visitors and it is clear that there is an issue between her and Aunt Lizzy. Aunt Lizzy behaves in a condescending manner towards Madge when she says, ‘Doing big deals out there honey?’
It is at this point that Con brings up the issue of Gar going to America and Lizzy tells him not to pressurise him but then begins to put pressure on him herself by asking what he is waiting for. She then lists all the things that she and her husband have in America, like a ground floor apartment, a car with air conditioning and 15,000 dollars in federal bonds. The atmosphere changes when she talks about how sad it is because they have no one to share it with.
Lizzy tells the audience that they have spent money on doctors in the hope of having children but that it’s no good. So now they’ve decided to offer this opportunity to Gar and “and offer him everything we have.”
Lizzy continues to talk about the situation and Private tells Gar not to do anything stupid but out of nowhere Gar Public announces, “I want to go to America-if you’ll have me.” Lizzy is so overwhelmed that she goes to hug Gar, who is extremely uncomfortable with human contact.
The flashback ends with a happy Gar and Lizzy thinking about going to America. The stage goes dark and when the lights come on again, it is Gar in the present with Public and Private on stage.
Private questions Public about any possible regrets that he might have and Public says that he has no regrets. Private delves further and tells Public, “She got you soft on the account of the day it was, didn’t she? And because she said you were an O’Donnell-cold-like”
Public tries to get rid of Private by repeating his Queen of France phrase, with Private taunting him, calling him a “poor little orphan boy.” And Private finished the taunting with, “you don’t want to go laddybuck. Admit it. You don’t want to go.”
- Why was Gar so interested in the story about his parents’ marriage?
- What type of person is Aunt Lizzy? Explain your answer with reference to the text.
- Why does Aunt Lizzy want Gar to go to America so badly? Explain.
- Why do you think that Gar announced that he wants to go to America? Explain.
- Did the wedding contribute to his decision? Explain your answer.