WHITE BITING DOG
Sonny 'Cape' Race
Glidden, his father
Lomia, his mother
Pascal, her lover (Tim Abell)
The White Biting Dog
Written by Judith Thompson.
Before the play opens our hero Cape was about to jump off a bridge, when he was stopped by a white dog that spoke to him and told him that to save himself he must first save his father who is dying. 'Cape' was originally called Sonny by his mother but he changed his own name so he could be called after the place, Cape Race.
Our hero has a failed marriage and has faked a breakdown to get time off from the law firm where he is a lawyer. His wife Janis has divorced him and he has gone home to live with his father, Glidden. Cape doesn't know how to save his father and so calls to the white dog to see if she will help him again. As he does so and plays the drums to help himself, a girl, Pony, walks past singing. Cape interrupts her song believing she could be some sort of incarnation of the dog. The mysterious Pony claims to be a psychic and tells Cape of her own white dog, Queenie, who has died. Cape enlists Pony's help to find out what will save his father. Pony makes a connection with Cape and they both experience her trance.
As a result Cape becomes convinced that the only way to save his father is to reunite him and his mother, who have been separated for some time. Cape doesn't know how to achieve that and in any event he hates his mother because she cuckolded his father numerous times.
Pony and Cape's conversation is interrupted by a knock at the door. It is Lomia, Cape's mother and her latest beau, Pascal. The apartment they shared has been burnt down, the subject of an arson attack. Neither Pascal or Lomia have anything other than the clothes they stand up in. The two need a roof over their head and money. They ask Glidden and he agrees to help them. Cape informs his father that his mother is going to return to him, Glidden. His father is exultant but Cape has not spoken of this with his mother and when he does she refuses. Lomia protests that she can't return to Glidden and she tries to profess her love for Pascal but has to admit that she feels nothing for him, that she cannot feel anything. She turns to Cape for understanding and they kiss.
The next morning, dressed in a tux, Glidden sets the table having prepared cake and champagne. He is still overjoyed at the thought of the reunion and when he announces it to all present at breakfast Lomia tells him he is wrong.
Over night Cape and Pony have become close. They have fallen in love and have slept together. Cape tells her Pony she is perfect. She denies that and to show him tells him of a horrid prank she and her friends played on a young Jewish girl. Pony feels that since the two of them made love, she has started to change; to become a new Pony, different, evil
Glidden has been badly shaken by Lomia's rejection but offers Pascal and her a place to stay for as long as they like and gives Lomia a cheque. Meanwhile Cape is still trying to effect the reconciliation. He tells his mother that Pascal has been calling her the whore of Babylon behind her back. It doesn't work. He decides to do something drastic to save both himself and his father, something to Pascal. Before he can, Pascal and Lomia go off together to hunt for an new apartment.
Pony tries to go into another trance but instead faints. When she comes to she tells Cape that she loves him and she wants to marry him. Cape kisses her and promises that when all this is settled he will take her to Cape Race. She apparently exits. Glidden confronts Cape accusing him of lying about Lomia. He hits Cape.
Pascal returns without Lomia and Cape plays a dangerous game. Throwing balls at Pascal to antagonise him, they eventually fight but Pascal surrenders. Cape tells Pascal that he knows that Pascal loves him, Cape. They kiss and Cape tells Pascal to go into the bedroom, take his clothes off and wait for him face down on the bed. Pascal admits that he has bad mouthed Lomia behind her back but does as Cape has told him. Cape goes to Pascal and Pony watches the two men unseen.
When Lomia returns Pascal announces that he is leaving her and she in despair asks Glidden if she can stay with him after all. Cape and Pony are happy with each other but not happy at what has happened. Cape is disgusted by what he has had to do to save his father and Pony blames herself too. But Cape's parents have been reunited and Pony now expects that they will go away together. Cape tells Pony he cannot go with her. She does not want to accept his rejection saying that now she has a mission to save him. She has a sudden revelation; she knows what will save him.
Having accepted Lomia back, Glidden then works out that she only came back to him because Pascal rejected her. He cannot accept this, collapses and dies.
Meanwhile Pony has hung herself. Cape finds her body and carries her inside the house. Rising apparently from the dead she gives a final soliloquy to her own father. She explains that she needs to give the old Pony to Cape whom she now considers her husband as he needs her like he needs "a blood transfusion". Cape watches her soliloquy and goes to her. He realises she is dead and collapses onto the floor with Pony in his arms. Lomia is cradling Glidden's body and the two couples mirror each other.
In the final moments of the play Lomia and Cape look at each other both of them finally starting to feel something. They are not sure what it is, guilt maybe, but at least they are feeling.