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The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand SCENE OPENS IN A PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE. TWO MEN FACE EACH OTHER IN COMFORTABLE-LOOKING ARMCHAIRS.Dr Williams (DrW): Howard, I want you to understand that even though you were acquitted for destroying the Courtlandt housing project, the court has ordered you to these sessions because they are concerned you may be a danger to the public. Some of your colleagues think you may be insane.Howard Roark (HR): Insane? Pffft- they wish! They just can't handle my genius. If they possessed my knowledge of architecture, their faces would melt off like droopy-armed children.DrW: But why did you blow up those apartment buildings?HR: I only agreed to design those apartments if Keating promised to build them exactly the way I specified. He changed my design, so (flourish with his hand) ....boom.DrW: Generally, when somebody is in breach of a contract, one seeks resolution in court, not with high-grade explosives.HR: Look, I gave him a brilliant design. What did he do? He let Toohey mess with it, making compromises here and there, cheapening it with bad taste, until it was a grotesque eyesore. I couldn't be associated with such a thing ...So I blew it up.DrW: Ah, I see... You did it to protect your professional reputation.HR: No, no, no... I don't care what others think. (dismissive flip of the hand) I only care about being true to myself. All the other architects in this town hate me, and I say let 'em! I know I'm great, and that's all that matters. I'm on a drug; it's called "Howard Roark"!DrW: But if it's good enough to know you're great, why do you care that Toohey ruined your work? You know your original design was wonderful. If others made a mess of it, isn't that their problem?(silence, as Howard mulls this)DrW: Look, Howard, I'm not taking sides here. You feel strongly about your art, and I respect that. It's like Michelangelo. He suffered for his art too, but you didn't see him blowing up the Sistine Chapel when things didn't go his way. HR: Well, maybe he should have! If you can't make art that is superlative, it's better not to make any at all. Don't you see? All I want to do is create buildings which inspire people with their form and function. What's wrong with that?DrW: Nothing. I admire that, Howard, but you‘ve made it really difficult for yourself. How many people will want to hire you, given your imprudent history with munitions? HR: Professor Wright seems to like my work.(door opens, and a distinguished-looking academic type pokes his head in)Professor Wright (FLW): Did I just hear my name mentioned? (to Dr W): Is he fixed yet? Can I take him back to the Academy?DrW: (pleading) Frank, give the boy some time! He's got a lot of issues he's working through. You can't just push him.FLW: (angry) FINE! Have it your way! (pointing an accusing finger at DrW): But there's only six other people in the world who can even begin to comprehend how mind-blowingly brilliant his Stoddard Temple was. Do you hear me?!?? SIX PEOPLE!!!!(slams door loudly)DrW: I'm sorry you had to see that. We have a tense and complicated relationship. We used to be college roommates, and then he got, like, the Nobel Prize or something.HR: Um, okay.DrW: Howard, this is kind of unconventional, but I think I know what part of the problem is. With your permission, I'd like to invite your girlfriend into our discussion...(goes to the door, and calls Dominique Francon [DF] from the waiting area)(Dominique enters)DF: (seductively, to Howard) Hey, Lover... Doctor Man here isn't messin' with your head, is he?DrW: Well, Ms. Francon, we were just exploring the question of why an accomplished architect would suddenly demolish a structure he'd been working on for six months.DF: Why!? ...Because they don't deserve to live in one of his magnificent apartments, that's why!DrW: "They" who?DF: You know, the "little people"... (with disgust) the insignificant and inconsequential little nobodies who make up the bulk of society! They don't deserve to shine Howie's shoes here, let alone live in his beautiful building.HR: They couldn't take it. "Winning."DrW: Howard here just told me the building sucked. Maybe it would have been perfect for "little nobodies", as you call them. DF: Well...I...um...DrW: And how do you know what sort of people would have lived there? Maybe great people you look up to would have moved in.DF: NO! Not after Toohey ruined it! It became an abomination- it was a monument to mediocrity, an appeal to the lowest common denominator...the hive mentality, with their collectivist ideals. That's not Howard. (walking behind Howard, she begins to run her fingers sensually through Howard's hair. Howard looks somewhat uncomfortable) My Howie is a GREAT man! (playfully, to Howard): Aren't ya?(serious, to DrW):That's why people are paying top dollar for his work now. Do you know how much they're paying him to do the Wynand Building?(smiling to herself, she messes up his hair and then says, more to herself than anybody else):My little frickin' rock star from Mars!DrW: Er- yeah. Well, so you find it very significant that Wynand is paying Howard well for his newest building?DF: Hell, yeah! The free market doesn't lie! Money talks, bullshit walks!DrW: Then why dynamite the Courtlandt buildings? Wouldn't it have been more of a vindication to allow them to be constructed, and then watch them go bankrupt? That seems more consistent with your philosophy. Blowing things up just seems desperate.DF: Hey! You're twisting my words! You're just trying to split Howie and me up! It's not gonna work! We're the Bonnie and Clyde of architecture! (turns to Howard)Come on, Howie! Let's get outta here.HR: (slowly shaking his head "no") Bonnie and Clyde? That's not a very good comparison. I don't want to be a gangster; I just want to build buildings.DF: Screw you, Howard! I'm leaving!(slams door)DrW: Sorry, I didn't think she'd break up with you.HR: It's okay. I actually think she's been cheating on me with John Galt.DrW: Who is John Galt?HR: Some guy... it doesn't matter. (looking dejected)I guess I acted kind of irrationally. It's just, (voice cracking) this is a very competitive field...(sniff)There's a lot of pressure, you know?(sniff)DrW: (softly) Hey, Howard, it's okay... it's not your fault.HR: I know. (sniff)(pause)DrW: No, Howard.It's not your fault.HR: (pause) Yeah, I get it. (sniff) I know. (wipes eye)DrW: (solemn) It's not your fault.HR: (tearing up) Don't mess with me, Man! Not you!DrW: (more gentle) It's not your fault.HR: (starts crying)DrW: (embraces Howard)(long, cathartic sobbing gradually comes under control)HR: How embarrassing. (sniff) I must seem pretty crazy. (sniff)DrW: No, Howard, you aren't crazy.HR: (wipes away a tear) So I'm not bipolar?DrW: (smiles and puts his hand on Howard's shoulder) Howard, you're bi-WINNING.