For reference, see character thumbnails.
[inside Abbott estate; NELL, WILL, REESE, RODGER, ELIZA, NORAH, and CYNTHIA are playing a heated game of charades; RODGER is miming reeling in a huge fish]
REESE: Oh, that movie you love so much with Ewan McGregor…
NORAH: The one where he works at the circus?
WILL: BIG FISH!
[everyone but WILL and RODGER groan]
CYNTHIA: Okay Norah, you’re up next.
[NORAH takes center stage; she holds out one finger]
REESE: One word.
[NORAH frames her face]
RODGER: A person.
WILL: A name.
[NORAH produces a letter from her pocket and imitates REESE reading it, pinching the bridge of her nose, jumping at RODGER coming home, and hiding the bill behind her back; no one gets it except REESE, who is frozen; NORAH acts out the charade again]
ELIZA: That makes no sense, Norah. Just tell us who you are.
NORAH: [groaning] I’m mom! Obviously.
[pregnant pause; then RODGER gets up to take the letter from NORAH; he reads it]
RODGER: Reese, what is this?
REESE: Our bank statement, honey.
RODGER: But why is it in the negative? And why were you hiding it from me?
REESE: Can we talk about this in private, Rodger?
RODGER: Answer the question, Reese.
ELIZA: Look what you did, Norah! Why couldn’t you just do some stupid circus trick like you usually do? Why do you always have to mess everything up?
NORAH: Me? You’re the one who messed everything up! You’re the reason I can’t go to camp this year! You and your stupid leg!
ELIZA: What? What do you mean I’m the reason?
REESE: You’re not, Eliza. I mismanaged some things. It’s not your fault.
CYNTHIA: Don’t you worry, Eliza. Your mother just can’t handle her own affairs. But I will make sure you always have a place here.
NELL: A place here? Her place is with her own parents. What’s your place in all this anyway? You were never a mother to us, much less a wife!
CYNTHIA: Nell, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You never have.
NELL: Yes, I do. You always tried to make me think that because I was different, I didn’t understand. But I saw you kissing Mr. Dover. And daddy’s golf partner, Ralph. And the gardener.
[a few people gasp and turn to WILL]
WILL: Don’t look at me!
NELL: Michael, the gardener when I was in still in high school.
CYNTHIA: So what if I did? Your father was never around. I know you thought very highly of the senator. But he had his string of secretaries. And I had nothing but my hobbies and an empty house from the time Reese started driving.
REESE: I think maybe we should all take a breather.
CYNTHIA: No, I want to explain. Because you don’t understand it ALL. Yes, I married your father because he was senator and he could take care of me. But he married me because I looked good on his arm during campaign season. And how do you think I felt trailing after him at all those congressmen’s parties? I was trying to keep track of the conversation, but I was always surrounded by wives with PhDs in philosophy of art or neuroscience or what-have-you. So I stopped trying to keep up. I had a couple babies and retired to the role of housewife. Then my babies grew up and became lawyers and linguists. And I was proud of them, but I was sad too. Because they left me here alone, just like their father. And I couldn’t keep up with them anymore.
WILL: What’s that, hun?
NELL: It means “a conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening.” But I’m listening, mom. I’m listening now.
[CYNTHIA and NELL embrace; RODGER turns to REESE]
RODGER: So am I. Tell me what we need to fix and we’ll figure it out. Together.
[lights go down]