Madame Morrible is throwing a kind of poetry slam/tea party. Weird combo.
Boys and girls are in attendance, as well as Amas and professors, which puts a damper on things.
Madame Morrible reads some "Quells." A Quell is "a brief poem, uplifting in nature...The reward of the poem is in the revealing contrast between rhyming argument and concluding remark" (22.214.171.124).
So Morrible performs two poems which start out really preachy and end with very risqué political statements: "Bear down on the rod and foil the child" (126.96.36.199) and "Animals should be seen and not heard" (188.8.131.52). The last one in particular angers guests like Dr. Dillamond.
Elphaba comes over to talk to Galinda about the political implications of the poems.
Galinda is horrified and worries someone will see Elphaba speaking to her in public.
Madame Morrible finally finishes her poetry slam, without a beret or bongo in sight. Lame.
The audience is uneasy after Morrible's political performance and everyone goes to sit at the tables for refreshments.
Galinda tries to escape Elphaba, but Elphaba comes to sit at her table anyway.
A boy named Boq comes to sit with them.
Boq is a Munchkinlander, and he recognizes "Miss Elphie," since they used to play together as children. Blast from the past.
Elphaba is freaked and is very rude to Boq. She also refuses to talk much about her childhood.
Galinda finds all this intriguing.
Boq is confused that Elphaba wants nothing to do with him. Elphaba finally leaves, and Boq and Galinda have tea.
A week later Dr. Dillamond interrupts his biology lecture to talk to the girls about the political situation. Dillamond only teaches classes at the girls' college. This implies that he's not seen as an equal among his scientific colleagues, who get to teach at the more prestigious boys' college.
The girls don't really understand what the big deal is and why Dr. Dillamond is so upset about the Wizard stomping on civil liberties. But Elphaba goes up to speak to Dillamond privately after class.
More time passes. Morrible gives a lecture on Early Hymns and Elphaba boldly stands up and questions her about the scandalous Quells from the party.
Elphaba wants to know what Morrible meant by her statement about Animals.
Morrible shuts Elphaba down harshly and Elphaba is upset and embarrassed.