The Bald Soprano
by Eugene Ionesco
The Bald Soprano Time Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used Donald M. Allen's translation.
This stage direction comes before the first conversation between the Smiths and Martins. It's interesting that Ionesco says that "the clock underlines the speeches." This seems to indicate that the clock is in some ways taking its cue from the people in the room. We wonder what this says about time in general. Is it really something that exits out side of humankind? Or is it all a figment of our imagination? Is it just another absurd thing that humanity has created in order to try and explain the unexplainable?
Fire Chief: "It depends on what time it is."
Mrs. Smith: "We don't have the time here." (412-413)
Well, well, well. No time, huh? This little interchange seems to support the idea our theory that time just doesn't exist in the world of The Bald Soprano. Of course, what the play makes us wonder is whether it exists in our world either.
Mrs. Smith: "It [the clock] runs badly. It is contradictory, and always indicates the opposite of what the hour really is." (415)
Wow, we're surprised Mrs. Smith even realizes that this is true. This is the one and only time in the play that somebody recognizes that the Smiths' clock has a few screws loose. We shouldn't be too hard on the clock, though. It's probably kind of tough when your job is to tell the time in a world where time may or may not exist.
Fire Chief: "Since you don't have the time here, I must tell you that in exactly three-quarters of an hour and sixteen minutes, I'm having a fire at the other end of the city." (466)