Marlene has been promoted to managing director of a London employment agency and is celebrating. The symbolic luncheon is attended by women in legend or history who offer perspectives on maternity and ambition. In a time warp, these ladies are also her co-workers, clients, and relatives. Marlene, like her famous guests, has had to pay a price to ascend from proletarian roots to the executive suite: she has become, figuratively speaking, a male oppressor, and even coaches female clients on adopting odious male traits. Marlene has also abandoned her illegitimate and dull-witted daughter. Her emotional and sexual life has become as barren as Lady Macbeth's.