ACT TWOThe Dream.
Bill arrives home to his beloved blue-doored Apartment 5A, an eerily quiet and bright (for four in the morning, at least) apartment, which makes you wonder if anybody really sleeps around there, with all the streetlight that gets in due to the drawn curtains. Hmm. Helena seems to sleep well in her blue room. Maybe the only man that is asleep is the one who thinks he is awake. Wide awake. Bill hides his costume, locks it away, even, and goes to the bedroom, where Alice makes little sex noises in her sleep, and then comes with more of her insane, mocking laughter which she taunted Bill with in the pot scene. Bill wakes her up and she calls the dream "the worst nightmare [she's] ever had. It was so weird." She tells Bill that they were in a deserted city and they were naked. She was scared and felt ashamed at her nudity. She was angry at Bill because she thought that it was his fault. He ran away to find clothes for them, but when he left, Alice began to feel better that he was gone. The next thing she knew, she was lying naked in a garden, when a man came out from the surrounding woods. It was the Naval Officer. He began to stare at her and laugh. "It's only a dream," Bill says. The Naval Officer began kissing Alice and then they began "making love," as she put it, "and then there were people all around us, and they were all fucking." Then she tells Bill that she "fucked so many men. . ." and she knew Bill could see her, and she wanted to make fun of him, so she laughed as loud as she could. By this point Alice is completely drained and puffy, and she grabs Bill and embraces him, though he has a completely brooding and almost disgusted face on. It seems to be a reflection (yuk yuk) of the mirror scene from the beginning, in which Alice was the one who wasn't feeling the passion her husband felt for her, and she received his emotion as she glared at herself in the mirror.
Yeesh. This is thick. Here we go. The deserted city could be their marriage. The nudity is exposure to each other, the conversation from the beginning, perhaps, in which they laid their souls bare. But it was Bill's fault because he was the one who started the argument with her; he was the one who was flirting with "those two girls," and he was the one who said that the only reason men talked to her was because they wanted sex. Bill's obsequious nature made him run away for clothes (to cover his emotion back up, denying that he is the jealous type) and as soon as he was gone, as soon as his jealousy and duplicity and denial was gone, Alice felt a lot better. Thus she became comfortable with her bared soul, in a world free of worry about the fidelity of marriage. She was worried that people would laugh at her true sexual nature -- craving sex like men do -- yet soon the Officer came around and understood her humanity. Thus they began to enjoy each other, just like in Bill's visions. And then she imagined a world of people "fucking," ironically the world Bill just escaped from, and then she laughs at Bill's simplicity and shame. The whole scene is fraught with Edenic images: the garden, the nudity and the characters' awareness of it, shame, exile.
Yikes! That was really important and I hope I'm at least halfway right. Moving on. That ends Act 2.