David Mamet, Walter Cronkite and Betty Friedan in the living room of a typical Chicago Bungalow. It is 1968. The Democrats are holding their convention downtown at the Chicago Amphitheater. Fold out table are in front of each of them. They are unwrapping their burgers, Speedy on the wrapper, and watching the television.
Mamet: So you are Walter Cronkite?
Cronkite: That’s right. You trust me?
Mamet: Of course, I do. What about you, Betty?
Friedan: Well, I think I’d trust Walter more if he were a woman.
Cronkite: I dress as a woman, but only on Friday’s, after the news.
Mamet: (youthful excitement) That is so righteous of you, to identify that way.
Cronkite: (chuckles in that Uncle Walter way) I thought so, too. I love the feel of chiffon.
Mamet: (confused): Should I know something here?
Cronkite: (clears throat): No, son. Nothing that we don’t want you to know.
Friedan: (points at TV): Look, they are rioting in Grant Park.
Mamet: (jumps up to adjust the rabbit ear antennae, but Walter Cronkite beats him to it, showing surprising seed an agility for an older man)
Cronkite: (twists ariels and pats TV): David, David. You’ve got to leave this to a television professional.
Friedan: When do you think we will have a “Most Trusted Woman” in America reading the news.
Cronkite: (huffs): We do not just read the news. We interpret the news. We filter the news. We tell you what you need to know.
Mamet: (timid voice): What do you think is going to happen when the Internet is invented, Uncle Walter?
Cronkite (chucking as only old Walter can –i.e., in a most condescending way) Oh, my boy, that’s a ways off. Al Gore is working on it as we speak.
Friedan: (interjecting): And he is working on making more Global Warming, because Time Magazine has just warned us about the new Ice Age.
Cronkite: Yes, he is. He’ll make a good near President some day. Say, anybody still hungry? How about a TV Dinner?
Mamet: I am!
Friedan: I’m not.
Cronkite: Watching that girlish figure?
Friedan (snarling): Women are not girls. Girls are not girls. Boys will be girls, and so will the men in this country, if I get my way.
Attention turns to the black and white television, and the Chicago Police having some fun pounding away on the skanky, dirty hippies.
Cronkite (sighs): This is so horrible. I wish we could skip Nixon being President, and even Bill Clinton, so we can go right to Barrack Obama.
Friedan: Me, too, Wally. Even though I will be long dead.
Mamet (writing on a yellow legal pad): Barrack Obama. I’m going to remember that name.
Cronkite: Why, son?
Mamet: Well, because Barrack Obama will be working on some ducky variations of why he is attending a militant and racist black church for 20 years all the while pretending that he is not paying attention.
Cronkite: Barrack appeals to many people, across racial lines. Rumor has it he is Jesus.
Friedan: Jesus is a woman.
Mamet (writing furiously): Hillary is a woman.
Cronkite: Are you sure?
Friedan: I’m sure. (Friedan smiles, licks lips)
Gradually they all go to bed. Walter Cronkite stands first, yawns, scratches his privates, and heads upstairs. Betty Friedan soon follows, but not before applying a layer of white face cream. David Mamet begins to write the second act of this play.
It is now 2008, the same Chicago American Bungalow. David Mamet is alone in the living room now. He stands and turns off the plasma TV set and tosses the remote on the couch.
Mamet (exhaling, sighs, says to no one): They were wrong.
(Walks across and turns on the radio. Dennis Miller’s syndicated talk show is on. Mamet listens, then goes up the stairs to bed. He is alone, almost.)