Melissa’s Choice

The play begins as Melissa and her lover Tad, an ecologist on a low rung of the academic ladder, set up a campsite in the Oregon woods. She tells him that she is pregnant by him and, contrary to her fierce advocacy for population control and women’s rights, that she has a strong desire to have the baby.  Tad, for his own reasons, wants her to have an abortion.  Before they can begin to discuss the issue he has to return to Chicago for a work related exigency.  They make a deal: he will consider raising a child with her, in return she will stay in the campsite, holding the place, until he returns.

But Melissa, certain he will not change his mind, calls a previous lover, Duffle (Duncan), a politically ambitious lawyer and asks him to meet her at the campsite; he does.  Duffle doesn’t believe in abortion and is willing to raise a child fathered by another.  Still in love with her and, having proposed marriage before, he soon proposes again.

Hence Melissa’s dilemma: Tad and an abortion, or marriage to a man who doesn’t share her politics and a baby; or neither suitor and single-motherhood.  The sifting of each option provokes ever more bewildering fantasies in Melissa’s fertile imagination. In the end she makes the choice that is, for her, inevitable.