The Dark Things – Ursula Rani Sarma

busstop

First per­formed on Octo­ber 6, 2009 at the Tra­verse The­atre in Edinburgh.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Daniel (20s, artist)                           Brian Fer­gu­son
LJ (20s, for­mer exotic dancer)      Suzanne Don­ald­son
Steph (early 20s)                             Nicola Jo Cully
Gerry (late 50s, psy­chi­a­trist)         David Acton
Karl (late 20s)                                  Keith Flem­ing

Direc­tor:  Dominic Hill
Designer:  Neil Warm­ing­ton
Light­ing Designer:  Lizzie Pow­ell
Sound Designer:  John Har­ris
Stage Man­ager:  Gemma Smith

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Sarma, Ursula Rani. The Dark Things. Oberon Mod­ern Plays, 2009. Drama Library PR6119.A76 D37 2009.

Set­ting:  The play takes place in London.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

LJ

Tell that to my legs if you see them… maybe I’ll have them stuffed… put them on the liv­ing room wall beside the telly (DANIEL looks at her hor­ri­fied.) Jesus… relax… I’m only fuck­ing about… face of you… you’d swear they were your legs I was on about…

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   Daniel is the only unin­jured sur­vivor of a bus crash in Lon­don.  LJ also sur­vived, but lost both legs in the acci­dent.  Daniel turns his expe­ri­ence into art, but suf­fers from sur­vivors’ guilt and is falling apart inside.  In his des­per­a­tion, he goes to Gerry, a psy­chi­a­trist who is see­ing things and deal­ing with his own issues about death and sur­vival.  Daniel’s half-sister, Steph, is try­ing to find her way in the world, but falls afoul of Karl, a some­what seedy older guy who’s just as lost.

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.17–18:  Daniel recount­ing the moment of the explo­sion.  A very long mono­logue which can be edited down. 

DANIEL                

Dark­ness (Beat.) Total and com­plete dark­ness. (Beat.) Oceanic dark­ness. (Beat.) Like being at the bot­tom of a lake, on your back, stuck fast in the mud and sink­ing (Beat.) Try­ing to breathe, try­ing to decide if I am alive or dead, try telling myself it’s a dream and will myself to wake up and see… and see… my bed­side table… yel­low lamp… flo­ral sheets

[Lines cut]

The sound of bones break­ing is… inhu­man. I curl up… in a ball… pull my knees up duck my head down and pray… please God get me out of this… please God… Please fuck­ing God… I don’t care… I don’t care if every­one else is crushed to death and I’m…  I’m the only one left

p.107–108:  Steph, drunk, talks to Gerry who has come to a party Daniel is hold­ing before he kills him­self.  Steph has seen Karl and LJ leave together and is try­ing to make her­self feel good about her messed-up life and lack of con­nec­tions. Long mono­logue, can be edited.

STEPH

Oh… I remem­ber… sure (She siles, beat.) You still remind me of Danny’s dad though. You know Danny’s dad and my dad were dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but they both died, and then my mum met some­one else and then he died… so it’s like I had two d ads and Danny had three… and they all died… so I guess we kind of gave up on the idea of hav­ing a dad.

[Lines cut]

Why do peo­ple use peo­ple? Just to make them­selves feel bet­ter? Is that it? How can mak­ing     some­one feel like shit make you feel better?

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 19–23:  Daniel tries to deal with his half-sister Steph who has  been liv­ing with him, not work­ing, mak­ing a mess, and gen­er­ally being a pain in the ass.  He’s try­ing to get her to move out, but in the end, she man­ages to wran­gle a per­ma­nent invi­ta­tion out of him.  Starts with

STEPH

(Lis­ten­ing, then presses pause.) Today is the first day of the rest of my life. (Presses play lis­tens then presses pause.) Today is a gift and not a bur­den [Lines cut] did you get mugged by Jimmy Nail?

and ends with

STEPH

(Smiles.) Good… I’m glad (He exits, she looks about.) I am the cap­tain of my own ship of moti­va­tion (She picks up the paper.) I am. (She puts the paper down and picks up the remote con­trol.) I…

p.73–77:  Daniel is vis­it­ing LJ in her flat.  While LJ is try­ing to advance their one-sided rela­tion­ship and get him to move in with her, he tries to get her to let Steph move in with her.  Nei­ther one is really con­nect­ing with the other.   Starts with

LJ

I can see your build­ing from my bed­room win­dow, just the roof, can see pretty much every­thing from up here (Daniel nods, beat) and it’s quiet… a bit too quiet some­times… catch myself feel­ing lonely have to snap myself out of it…

and ends with

LJ

I know a place. (Beat.) I’ll show you. (Beat, Daniel goes to push her chair.) I can do it… I can do it on my own.

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Cooper, N.  (2009, Oct 12). Artist’s brush with death; sur­viv­ing a crash acts as one man’s wake-up call in a self-absorbed world; The­atre.  The Her­ald, pp. 18.

Fisher, M. (2009, Oct 16). Reviews:  The­atre:  The dark things tra­verse, edin­burgh 4/5. The Guardian,  pp.42.

McMil­lan, J. (2009, Oct 15). Joyce mcmil­lan on the­atre:  Integrity to fore as nts cel­e­brates one man and his music. The Scots­man, pp. 36.

Scot, R. D. (2009, Oct 14). The dark things; arts first night the­atre. The Times (Lon­don), pp. 16, 17.

McMil­lan, J. (2011, Aug 11). Review:  2401 objects/what remains. The Scots­man, pp. 13.

2401 Objects-Written by Hannah Barker, Lewis Hetherington & Liam Jarvis. Devised by Analogue.

hippocampusFirst per­formed at the Old­en­bur­gis­ches Staat­sthe­ater, Ger­many on June 17, 2011.  UK pre­miere was at Pleas­ance Court­yard, Edin­burgh on August 3, 2011.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Dr. Jacopo Annese/Henry Molai­son                       Sebastien Law­son
Patient HM/Father                                                     Pieter Law­man
Nurse/Lauren/Mother                                               Melody Grove

Direc­tors:  Liam Jarvis and Han­nah Barker
Set Designer:  Anike Sedello
Light­ing Designer:  Alexan­der Fleis­cher
Sound Designer:  Alexan­der Gar­fath
Mul­ti­me­dia Designer:  Thor Hay­ton
Stage Man­ager:  Helen Mugridge

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Barker, Han­nah.   2401 Objects.  Oberon Mod­ern Plays, 2011.  Drama Library PR6102.A76335 A615 2011.

 

Set­ting:  The play takes place in Hart­ford, Con­necti­cut, 1953; the Bick­ford Health Cen­tre, Con­necti­cut from 1988–2008; and at The Brain Obser­va­tory, San Diego, 2011.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

FATHER

No.  No Henry.  No.  Fine.  We’ll do noth­ing.  That’s right.  We’ll sit here and do noth­ing as we always do.  Sit here and do noth­ing and and just… Just qui­etly dis­ap­point each other for the rest of our lives.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   In 1953, Henry Molai­son, an epilep­tic, wakes up from an exper­i­men­tal surgery in which his hip­pocam­pus has been removed, with­out any rec­ol­lec­tion of the last two years of his life or the abil­ity to form new mem­o­ries.  In 2009, Dr. Jacopo Annese dis­sects his brain live on the inter­net and cuts it into 2401 slices.  The play explores his life before and after the surgery.

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

The only char­ac­ter who has any mono­logues in 2401 Objects is Dr. Annese, who also plays Henry as a young man.

p.42–43:  Dr. Annese explain­ing how Dr. Scov­ille per­formed the exper­i­men­tal surgery on Henry.  Comes from a much longer mono­logue. 

DR. ANNESE

First he had to pull down the skin from Henry’s fore­head. Then, he uses a hole saw—the type you wind by hand—to cut through the skull.  Just above one of the eye sock­ets, he grinds through the bone and removes a disc of about three cen­time­ters in diam­e­ter. He repeats this pro­ce­dure above the other eye. Two holes. Now he can see the brain.

 [Lines cut]

He snaps a few tiny metal clips onto the frayed lesion to seal it, and then does as good a job as he can putting Henry’s head back as it was.   

p.60–61:  Dr. Annese explain­ing what the hip­pocampii do. Long mono­logue, can be edited.

DR. ANNESE

Your thumbs rest just on top of your ears, and the heel of your hand is sort of on your fore­head. There you’ve got the idea.

And you can feel bone case under­neath your hands.  And under that, your brain. [Lines cut] And about five cen­time­ters trav­el­ling straight in from where your thumbs are, is where your hip­pocampii live.

[Lines cut]

You see Henry, Patient HM. There is a mem­ory there. And then, that mem­ory, is gone.

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 24–27:  Henry meets Lau­ren, who lives next door and is home from col­lege for the sum­mer. Henry, because of his con­di­tion, can’t live on his own or work or go to school any­more. Starts with

LAUREN

Hello.

and ends with

HENRY

Yes. Yeah. Bye. Yes.

p.38–40:  HM is watch­ing To Have and Have Not in the hos­pi­tal when the Nurse arrives to see what he wants for break­fast.  Since HM can’t make new mem­o­ries, they con­tin­u­ally have the same exchanges over and over again through­out the scene.  Starts with

NURSE

Really?

and ends with

NURSE

That’s lovely. Now. I’ll get you your breakfast.

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Bar­nett, L. (2011, Aug 19). Sci­en­tific odyssey in mem­ory of an amne­siac. The Daily Tele­graph, pp. 32.

Hutera, D. (2011, July 29). The­atre. The Times (Lon­don), pp. 13.

Jones, A. (2011, Aug 25). Amnesiac’s story lingers in the mem­ory. Inde­pen­dent Extra, pp. 16.

McMil­lan, J. (2011, Aug 11). Review:  2401 objects/what remains. The Scots­man, pp. 13.

 

Aalst – Duncan McLean from original texts by Pol Heyvaert and Dimitri Verhulst

aalst

New Scot­tish ver­sion first per­formed at Tramway, Glas­gow, on Wednes­day March 21, 2007.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Cathy Delaney                 Kate Dickie
Michael Delaney
             David McKay
Voice (off­stage)                Gary Lewis

Direc­tor:  Pol Hey­vaert
Assis­tant Direc­tor:  David Over­rend
Sound Engi­neer:  Matthew Pad­den
Stage Man­ager:  Paul Claydon

Pub­li­ca­tion:  McLean, Dun­can. Aalst. Methuen Drama, 2007. Drama Library PR6063.A2486 A64 2007.

Set­ting:  The play is per­formed on a bare stage with the two actors seated in chairs with micro­phones in front of them.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

CATHY

He slapped me in the face, burnt me with cig­a­rettes, with a razor he… carved my legs up. And as well, in my pubic hair, he wrote the let­ter M.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   In Jan­u­ary 1999, a Bel­gian cou­ple checked into a motel with their two chil­dren, aged seven and three months.  A week later, the chil­dren were found dead in the room.  The three-month-old girl had been suf­fo­cated and the seven-year-old boy had been stabbed with a pair of scis­sors.  The par­ents were arrested and a Bel­gian judge sen­tenced them to life in prison.  The play, trans­planted to Scot­land, is a fic­tion­al­ized exam­i­na­tion of the par­ents, now named Cathy and Michael Delaney, which moves beyond the bare facts of the case in order to try to under­stand how two young peo­ple who appear to be, on the sur­face, non-violent losers could mur­der their own chil­dren. The play refuses to see them as vic­tims, despite their his­tory of child­hood abuse, but it doesn’t out­right con­demn them for their heinous actions.

 

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.26–27:  Cathy tells the Voice what hap­pened the night her son, Matthew, was killed.  Very long mono­logue, can be edited. 

CATHY

I went down­stairs for a packet of cig­a­rettes, and then I lay on the bed… I woke up. I heard noises in the street out­side— traf­fic, singing— and then I thought:  it’s true, I’m not at home, we’re in a hotel room.

[Lines cut]

My father always used to light a cig­a­rette just after he had come inside me. And I’d look at him, lying on his back, slowly blow­ing smoke at the ceil­ing. Smok­ing is a form of sigh­ing. I was twelve when I started smok­ing, and I smoked my first cig­a­rettes exactly like my dad did. I blew the smoke out just like him.

If our Matthew gets a bit older, he’ll end up a smoker too.’ That’s what I was think­ing then.

p.27–28:  Michael tries to explain why they killed their kids. Long mono­logue, can be edited.

MICHAEL

What were we sup­posed to do? Every par­ent wants the best for their kid. When I was a wee boy, my mother used to slap me in the face, and straight after she’d say, ‘That’s cos I love you.’ I’m telling you, every par­ent wants the best for their kid.

[Lines cut]

There aren’t many things I know for sure, but one thing I do know is: no one will ever put any of my kids in a home. Over my dead body.

What were we sup­posed to do? We wiped out our kids. Don’t tell me we didn’t want the best for them.

 

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 18–22:  The Voice inter­ro­gates Michael about the death of his infant daugh­ter, Ellie. Starts with

VOICE

Was she asleep, or was she cry­ing, or…?

and ends with

MICHAEL

Yes, and then I told her she was a child murderer!

p.46–48:  Cathy and Michael offer up last defenses for their actions.  Starts with

CATHY

I’ve been hurt too! It’s strange, isn’t it, sir, we were never taught any­thing about ‘life’ at school. Never. All you got was: ‘What’s the cap­i­tal of Peru?’

and ends with

CATHY

I would like to say that I miss my chil­dren very much and that I’m very sorry about what hap­pened. And that I wish I could turn the clock back, because what we did was not exactly brilliant.

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Brown, M. (2007, Mar 26). Stac­cato descent into mur­der. The Daily Tele­graph, pp. 029.

Cooper, N. (2007, Mar 26). The­atre aalst, tramway, gal­way 4/5. The Her­ald, pp. 18. R

Gard­ner, L. (2007, Mar 17). The guide: The­atre: Aalst glas­gow. The Guardian, pp. 39.

Gough, S. (2008, Feb 2). Mon­ster cou­ple a pro­found act. The Courier Mail (Aus­tralia), pp. 50.

Hal­lett, B. (2008, Jan 1). How to remake a killing; the­atre. Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, pp. 27.

Har­row­ing look at human cru­elty. (2008, Jan 24). Can­berra Times, pp. 8.

Koenig, R. (2007, Apr 23). A mur­der mys­tery with­out moti­va­tion ; the­atre ++ AALST ++ soho the­atre LONDON. The Inde­pen­dent, pp. 1.

Mar­lowe, S. (2007, Apr 23). Aalst. The Times, pp. 17.

McMil­lan, J. (2007, Mar 30). The death of inno­cence:  Is there such a thing as out­right evil? This infan­ti­cide drama doesn’t pro­vide an answer, but it is cer­tainly a highly com­pelling way of ask­ing the ques­tion. The Scots­man, pp. 14.

Smith, G. (2007, Dec 21). Shed­ding light on dark crime:  Syd­ney fes­ti­val 2008. The Daily Tele­graph (Aus­tralia), pp.72.

Turpin, A. (2007, Mar 18). When the under­class kills chil­dren. The Sun­day Times, pp. 7.

Ditch – Beth Steel

ditch

Lon­don open­ing at The Old Vic Tun­nels on May 13, 2010.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Mrs. Peel (58-years old)            Dear­blha Mol­loy
Megan (20-years old)                 Matti Houghton
Burns (early 50s)                        Danny Webb
Bug (Late 30s)                            Paul Rat­tray
Turner (Late 30s)                       Craig Con­way
James (20-years old)                  Gethin Anthony

Direc­tor:  Richard Twyman
Design:  takis
Light­ing:  Matt Pren­tice
Sound:
  Christo­pher Shutt
Music:  Tom Mills

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Steel, Beth. Ditch. Methuen Drama, 2010. Drama Library PR6119. T437 S74 2010.

Set­ting:  The Peak Dis­trict (cen­tral and north­ern Eng­land); the future.

Lan­guage:  Some regional dialect and lingo

TURNER

They hole up in ‘em before makin’ their way just north a’ there to the Pen­nine Way, leads all the way up to the Scot­tish bor­der. Most a’ the time that’s where the cunts a’ headin’, Scotland.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   In the future, most of Britain is under­wa­ter; civ­i­liza­tion is on its last legs before a global war;  the British gov­ern­ment has become a fas­cist regime already at war in Venezuela; women’s repro­duc­tive  rights are non-existent; and bands of Secu­rity men patrol the coun­try­side look­ing for Illegals—mostly preg­nant women—since preg­nancy is illegal—who are try­ing to escape the coun­try. Against this back­drop, Megan and James meet at a rural out­post she helps an older woman main­tain for the men sta­tioned there.  Although the out­look for the future is bleak—and details about the present a bit murky in the script—the peo­ple of the out­post fight to restore some sem­blance of a soci­ety and con­nect with one another on a basic human level.  The play works best in those inti­mate moments between two peo­ple:  two sol­diers try­ing to plan a bet­ter future, two young lovers con­nect­ing for the first time, two older per­sons try­ing to find hap­pi­ness in a world gone mad.

 

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.40–41:  James tells Megan how he and his father used to attend protest meet­ings after things fell apart, but that grad­u­ally they stopped going for fear of Secu­rity men break­ing up the meet­ings;  and now, he’s Secu­rity, and he’s been break­ing up meet­ings like that. 

JAMES

Sat there lis­tenin’ mostly s’what I done.  Reminded me a’ when I used to go meetin’s with my dad. It been after the Break­down that. There’d be about fifty a’ us, standin’ or sit­tin’ in  pokey ter­race. I just been a kid, been there lis­tenin’.  [Lines cut] This past year I been the one who’s breakin’ up meetin’s… they still have ‘em in ter­races, but they younger who go to ‘em… aint been any less a’ ‘em each time we went back… I’m talkin’ again… shouldn’t get used to it.

p.41:  Megan tells James about the time Mrs. Peel planted rhubarb and made rhubarb juice out of it, and the les­son Megan learned about enjoy­ing things while they last and not cry­ing when they’re gone.

MEGAN

When I planted the rhubarb Mrs Peel told me she was gonna make a rhubarb juice with it when it was ready. I never had rhubarb juice before but she told me it’s like apple juice but bet­ter and I really like apple juice.  [Lines cut] Rhubarb’s gonna be ready next month and Mrs Peel promised me she gonna make juice with it. When it’s gone it’s gone. I know that now. I just have to enjoy it whilst its there.

p.91:  Megan recalls a time when Mrs. Peel killed and cooked a hare that still seemed to be alive. Short monologue.

MEGAN

There been a time when you and me were out here workin’, and you spot­ted a hair munchin’   away at your salad leaves. You snuck up behind and grabbed hold a’ it. [Lines cut] I couldn’t stop lookin’ at them chunks cause they were movin’. Jit­terin’, like they were cold or some­thing’. You put the heat on ‘em and I say to you: them chunks are still alive! You say: they dead they just don’t know it yet.

Beat.

I feel like I’m alive and I just don’t know it yet.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 26–29:  Megan and James hang out in the sta­bles get­ting to know one another.  This is part of a longer scene and can be either length­ened or short­ened.  Burns’ and Megan’s and James’ lines near the end can be cut.  Starts with

MEGAN

How much schoolin’ you had?

[BURNS

(Off­stage.) James?

JAMES

I gotta go.

MEGAN

He’s just callin’ he aint comin’ here.

BURNS

(Off­stage.) James?]

and ends with

MEGAN

S’all same to me.

p.51–54:  James and Megan deal with the news that he’s being sent to the front in Argentina.  Starts with

JAMES

Dint know if you were gonna come.

and ends with

MEGAN

Ssshh. Want you to make love to me.

 

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Brown, G. (2010, May 30). No lights at the end of this tun­nel. Mail on Sun­day, pp. 23.

Clapp, S. (2010, May 23). Review:  Crit­ics:  The­atre:  A seri­ous exam­ple of tun­nel vision:  Life in post-apocalypse britain is being played out under water­loo sta­tion:  Ditch the old vic tun­nels , Lon­don SE1: Marine Parade The Old Mar­ket, Brighton. The Observer, pp. 39.

Gard­ner, L. (2010, Jun 2). Review:  The­atre:  Ditch old vic tun­nels, Lon­don 3/5. The Guardian, pp. 34.

Hart, C. (2010, May 23). The old vic’s ditch has a splen­didly gloomy set­ting, but the apoc­a­lyp­tic vision fails to thrill. The Sun­day Times, pp. 21.

Hem­ming, S. (2010, May 21). Ditch. Finan­cial Times, pp. 13.

Lukowski, A. (2010, May 27). The­atre:  Reviews:  Ditch. Time Out, pp. 116.

Mar­lowe, S. (2010, May 24). Ditch; The­atre. The Times, pp. 52.

Spencer, C. (2010, May 21). A chill­ing vision of the future. The Daily Tele­graph, pp. 33.

Tay­lor, P. (2010, May 28). The­atre:  Ditch old vic tun­nels, Lon­don. Inde­pen­dent Extra, pp. 16.

 

Decky Does a Bronco – Douglas Maxwell

Decky

The site-specific play was first per­formed at Brodie Park on July 28, 2000.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Decky (9-year-old boy)          David Ire­land
David (Adult)                          Keith Macpher­son
Young Chrissy                      Andy Clark
Adult Chrissy 
                       Craig Smith
Young Barry  
                        Ross Suther­land
Adult Barry
                            Paul Cun­ning­ham
Young O’Neil
                        Jimmy Har­ri­son
Adult O’Neil 
                          Muz Mur­ray

Note:  All parts are played by adult males.

Direc­tor:  Ben Har­ri­son
Sculptor/Set Designer:  Allan Ross
Cos­tume Design:  Alice Bee
Light­ing Design:  George Tar­buck
Com­poser:   Philip Pin­sky
Stunt Coor­di­na­tor:  Jonothan Camp­bell
Stage Man­ager:  Amy Shapcott

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Maxwell, Dou­glas. Decky Does a Bronco. Oberon Books, 2001. Drama Library PR6113. A85 D43 2001.

Set­ting:  A play­ground in the small town of Gir­van, on the west coast of Scotland.

 Lan­guage:  Con­tem­po­rary with lots of Scot­tish lingo

CHRISSY

And we’d still be tak­ing the mickey out of him. Just ’cause he’s—just ’cause he’s no here peo­ple are going to be all ‘Aw wee Decky was ace, man I was best pals with him’ but they wer­e­nae. I’m no even going to the funeral.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Adult David remem­bers the events of a sum­mer when he was nine and he and his friends hung out at the play­ground bron­co­ing swings and teas­ing Decky, the small­est of them who was never able to bronco.  David recounts the tragic event that shat­tered their inno­cent child­hoods and haunts them even as adults.  The play was orig­i­nally pro­duced on a play­ground and toured to play­grounds around Scotland.

 

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.  Since David is the nar­ra­tor in the play, he has a lot of monologues.

p.36–37:  David elu­ci­dates the dan­gers of satire, sar­casm, and irony. 

DAVID

Ah, happy, peace­ful days. I’m a patho­log­i­cal rem­i­nis­cer. I was rem­i­nisc­ing about lost days of youth when I was still a child, really. We’d some­times come up here and sit at the swings late at night after a com­mu­nity cen­ter teenage disco.  [Lines cut] I admit it, I enjoyed it. It was excit­ing. Things turned nasty when I needed to be sar­cas­tic first thing in the morn­ing. Then came irony. Before I knew it, I was lying alone in an empty ware­house on a stained mat­tress, main­lin­ing satire. Just say no.

p.53–54:  David tells what hap­pens when he and Chrissy went to Decky’s house the day Decky dis­ap­peared. Long mono­logue

DAVID

I remem­ber what hap­pened next very clearly. We walked along with Barry till we got to my bit. Barry pad­locked his bike to the inside of our fence and went in. Me and Chrissy walked on to Decky’s house, very, very slowly. [Lines cut] There was total silence in the liv­ing room, apart from Decky’s dad. He was sit­ting for­ward in his chair with his head in his hands. His hands were huge and bat­tered from years of work­ing out­side. The tears were stream­ing between his fin­gers as if his entire face was made from water.

p.62–63:  David explains what he does when he now sees a story on tele­vi­sion about a child hav­ing been abducted.  Very long mono­logue.

DAVID

You know when you watch the news and you see the daily child abduc­tion story; the smil­ing school photo in the cor­ner of the screen and the stern-faced news­reader, unable to believe that they are say­ing yet again the phrase ‘was last seen alive’; do you know when you see that, you always say ‘I can’t imag­ine what the par­ents are going through’, do you feel that you’re telling a lie?  [Lines cut] You see when the news comes on and I close my eyes, when every­one else is try­ing their hard­est not to see the truth, I have a pic­ture in my mind. It’s the most beau­ti­ful, free, child-like, fun, impor­tant thing in the world. Because it’s then, in that blink, in that instant…  Decky does a bronco.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  This play has a lot of char­ac­ters and there are very few sec­tions that involve just two people.

p. 55–57:  Barry and David talk about Decky’s death.  Starts with

DAVID

What did my mum want?

and ends with

BARRY

I’m wait­ing till I get back to Gran’s, till I cry. I won­der if she knows? She never even met Decky though. Think about it. Think about all the peo­ple who never met him, who he would have met, the things he would have done. He never even Bron­coed a swing.

 

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Clapp, S. (2000, Aug 13). Arts: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL:THEATRE: Child’s play for adults: When the emo­tions of a gang of boys are por­trayed by adults, the results are dis­turb­ing. The Observer, pp. 8.

Hal­libur­ton, R. (2001, Jun 22). More than child’s play. Evening Stan­dard, pp. 50.

Hick­ling, A. (2001, Jun 09). Reviews: The­atre: Swings and round­abouts in man­ches­ter: Decky does a bronco: Whit­worth park, man­ches­ter (3/5 stars). The Guardian, pp. 1.25.

Kingston, J. (2001, Jun 25). Decky does a bronco. The Times, pp. 2, 24.

McMil­lan, J. (2010, Jul 08). The­atre reviews: Life’s swings and round­abouts. The Scots­man, pp. 36.

Spencer, C. (2001, Jun 25). A haunt­ing look at the leap from inno­cence. The Daily Tele­graph, pp. 15.

 

Moonfleece – Philip Ridley

moonfleecePro­fes­sional world pre­miere at Rich Mix in Lon­don, Wednes­day, March 3, 2010.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Link (15-year-old boy)              Reece Noi
Tommy (18-year-old boy)          Bradley Tay­lor
Gavin (17-year-old boy)            Ash­ley George
Cur­tis (18-year-old boy)            Sean Verey
Alex (18-year-old girl)                Krupa Pat­tani
Jez (17-year-old boy)                David Ames
Sarah (17-year-old girl)             Emily Plumtree
Nina (20-year-old woman)        Sian Robins-Grace
Zak (22-year-old man)               Beru Tessema
Wayne (21-year-old man)          Reeda Har­ris
Stacey (20-year-old woman)     Ali­cia Davies

Direc­tor:  David Mer­catali
Set and Light­ing Design:  William Reynolds
Cos­tume Design:
  Ellan Parry
Sound Design:   Ed Borg­nis
Stage Man­ager:  Heather Doole

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Rid­ley, Philip. Moon­fleece. Methuen Drama, 2010. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 M66 2010.

Set­ting:  A derelict coun­cil flat on the top floor of a tower block in East Lon­don; the present.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

NINA

Lis­ten, sweetie! I’ve just made my way up an Ever­est of Dog Turds to get here. I did that because I thought you wanted a séance.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Cur­tis, a young right-wing, British National Party (BNP) activist, arranges a séance because he has been see­ing the ghost of his brother, Jason, who sup­pos­edly died while explor­ing the Colom­bian jun­gle.  The polit­i­cal meets the per­sonal as Cur­tis con­fronts the truth about what really hap­pened to his brother and why.  Not every­thing in the play works:  some of the char­ac­ters feel super­flu­ous and you ques­tion whether such a group of peo­ple would ever inter­act with one another given the extremes they inhabit on the social-political spec­trum.  Since Moon­fleece was writ­ten for young the­atre prac­ti­tion­ers and the­ater­go­ers, there are many parts for col­lege age actors.  A pro­duc­tion of the play in the West Mid­lands was banned after it was sched­uled to run because some felt that the play’s themes of homo­pho­bia, fas­cism and the BNP were not “suit­able for a com­mu­nity setting”.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.19–20:  Cur­tis explains to Link why the derelict flat will always be his place, even if Link cur­rently squats there. Long monologue.

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard any­thing I’ve said, you bloody stu­pid—? Lis­ten! My gran was the first per­son to move into this tower block. They were still lay­ing cement. If you go to the base­ment there’s hand­prints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dyna­mite the place—and it’s noth­ing but rubble—the rub­ble that makes up this flat will have my name run­ning through it!

p.23–24:  Alex tells Cur­tis the rea­son Sarah stopped talk­ing to him was because they saw him at a fas­cist rally.

ALEX

No rea­son? You want the full essay or just the bul­let points? You lied! You’re full of hate! You preach hate! Your views stink! You’re a pig! You’ll breed pigs! You want me to carry on? [Lines cut] Then what hap­pens? A fam­ily day out with smi­ley grannies and tod­dlers chant­ing, ‘Eng­land for the white!’ I was stand­ing next to her when she heard you speak. Her world fell apart.

p.85–86:  Stacey talks about the trou­bles she encoun­tered try­ing to bury her sausage dog, Banger, and how Cur­tis’ step­fa­ther, Mr. Avalon, came to her aid. Long monologue.

STACEY

It’s like when my sausage dog died. I loved that sausage dog. Banger its name was. And one day I looked in its lit­tle bas­ket and Banger was as stiff as a board. I cried and cried. Dad wasn’t much help. He said we should use it as a draught excluder. I got no sym­pa­thy at all. [Lines cut] And that’s when this man comes out the shop next door. A white man! This man pays the lovely Pak­istani gen­tle­man the money I owe him and takes me into his own shop. And who’s answer­ing the phone? Wayne. Cos the man who paid for my drink was none other than Mr. Avalon. So you see, sweet­heart, if it weren’t for my dead Banger I’d never have met Wayne.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  This play has a lot of char­ac­ters and no scene breaks but there are a few sec­tions of the play where only two peo­ple inter­act that could be done as a scene.

p. 17–20:  Link ques­tions Cur­tis about his fam­ily after learn­ing that Cur­tis and his fam­ily used to live in the flat Link now squats in with Zak.  Starts with

LINK

So … why’s ex-girlfriend Sarah com­ing here?

and ends with

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard any­thing I’ve said, you bloody stu­pid—? Lis­ten! My gran was the first per­son to move into this tower block. They were still lay­ing cement. If you go to the base­ment there’s hand­prints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dyna­mite the place—and it’s noth­ing but rubble—the rub­ble that makes up this flat will have my name run­ning through it!

p.74–77:  Zak tells a frac­tured fairy­tale about Cur­tis’ brother, Jason, which exposes the truth about why Jason dis­ap­peared and later died.  A long scene. Starts with

ZAK

The King’s death sent the Queen mad. She started to bring wolves into the cas­tle. She cried, ‘My pre­cious wolves. They are all I need.’

and ends with

ZAK

 …‘Yes.’

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

All­free, C. (2010, Mar 09). Putting the BNP on stage. The Inde­pen­dent, pp. 14.

Akbar, A. (2010, Mar 30). Banned, the play that took on the BNP; Dud­ley coun­cil accused of cav­ing in to far right after pulling plug on ‘moon­fleece’. The Inde­pen­dent, pp. 2.

Blacker, T. (2010, Mar 31). Nobody has the right to be spared offence. The Inde­pen­dent, pp. 38.

Edgar, D. (2010, Apr 10). Com­ment: Panic and folly: A farce: The ban of moon­fleece is the lat­est exam­ple of an ill-founded cen­so­ri­ous atti­tude stalk­ing britain. The Guardian, pp. 36.

Iqbal, N. (2010, Mar 30). Mis­guided moon­fleece ban is an affront to the­atre. guardian.co.uk

Mar­lowe, S. (2010, Mar 05). Moon­fleece. The Times, pp. 68.

Mar­tin, D. (2010, Mar 04). Moon­fleece. [open access] The Stage.co.uk

Orr. J. (2010, Mar 08). Review:  Moon­fleece. [open access] A Younger Theatre.com

Philip rid­ley jmoves beyond shock tac­tics in moon­fleece. [open access] (2010, Mar 01) metro.co.uk

Tay­lor, P. (2010, Mar 04). Under the skin of the racists; The­atre moon­fleece rich mix, Lon­don. Inde­pen­dent Life, pp. 16.

Cock – Mike Bartlett

cock

First per­formed at the Royal Court Jer­wood The­atre Upstairs, Lon­don, on Novem­ber 13, 2009.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

John                      Ben Whishaw
M                            Andrew Scott
W                            Kather­ine Parkin­son
F                             Paul Jesson

Direc­tor:  James Mac­don­ald
Designer:  Miriam Buether
Light­ing:  Peter mum­ford
Sound:  David McSeveney

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Bartlett, Mike. Cock. Methuen Drama, 2009. Drama Library PR6102.A7838 C63 2009b

Set­ting:  The present.

Lan­guage:  Con­tem­po­rary; lots of run-on thoughts, long pauses, breaks in character’s lines, and moments when they say nothing

M

What are you? Most peo­ple seem to come together pretty well, their atoms hold, and you can look at them and go oh, that’s my mate Steve, that’s the queen, but you, you don’t seem to have grown coherently

You’re a col­lec­tion of things that don’t amount

You’re a sprawl

A mob.

You don’t add up.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   John, who has been in a long-term gay rela­tion­ship with M, meets and falls in love with a woman, W, and has to decide who he is and who he wants to be with.  The play is staged with­out fur­ni­ture or props so that all of the audience’s focus is on the action of the drama unfold­ing in front of them.  Most of the scenes in the play are short and sparse, leav­ing a lot of room for an actor’s inter­pre­ta­tion.  The only scene that feels a lit­tle unreal in the play is the Who’s Afraid of Vir­ginia Woolfish din­ner party attended by John, M, W, and F, M’s father.  It seems highly unlikely that John would agree to have his two lovers meet face-to-face to hear his deci­sion over din­ner.  Add to that M’s father, and the scene threat­ens to tip the play from real­ism to near farce.  Also, even though the other char­ac­ters allude to their befud­dle­ment as to why they want him so much, I’m not quite con­vinced that John is worth all of the soul-searching, heartache, and tur­moil that he causes his two lovers.  In a play where char­ac­ters fight not to be defined by their sex­u­al­ity, but their iden­tity, there is very lit­tle on view in John’s case.  We never even find out what he does.  A lot of his charm would have to depend on the actor por­tray­ing him because, as writ­ten, he appears child­ish, inde­ci­sive, com­pletely self-absorbed, and a bit of a cipher. Of course, both M and W have some unpleas­ant char­ac­ter traits as well.  W comes across as com­bat­ive, defen­sive, and overly solic­i­tous of John, who doesn’t seem wor­thy of her fierce loy­alty; M is con­trol­ling, belit­tling of John, and fights dirty by invit­ing his dad to din­ner, but he’s also gen­uinely hurt by John’s betrayal and seems to hon­estly love him.

 

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.33–34:  W explains why she hates week­ends. John’s line can be cut.

W

It’s week­ends that are the prob­lem. Weeks are fine, they’re great. Friday-night par­ties, after-work drinks this is when you’re in your ele­ment, you can do what you want, but it gets to Sat­ur­day after­noon.… [Lines cut] What would it be like, could we spend our whole lives togtehr , and look­ing I’m going to be hon­est shit—Jesus I’m really talk­ing here.

[JOHN

It’s fine.]

W

I mean I’m so jeal­ous of the ones that I think are really in love. [Lines cut] …I’ll never do it again I would rather be on my own that do that how­ever fuck­ing lonely I get. Ha!

p.87–88:  John talks about com­ing out and being defined by words and how it’s not about the sex of the per­son you love but who they are.  M’s lines can be cut.

JOHN

You want to know what I am okay okay I don’t know okay.

When I was at uni and I finally decided I’d do it and come out, all these peo­ple hugged me and were proud of me and said how brave I was and sud­denly peo­ple were touch­ing me… [Lines cut] Gay straight, words from the six­ties made by our par­ents, sound so old, only invented to get rights, and we’ve got rights now so

[M

Some rights, not enough and…how did we get on to this?]

JOHN

They’re hor­ri­ble hor­ri­ble words what they do how they stop you

[M

 / ‘hor­ri­ble words’]

JOHN

and I can see now I can see tht it’s about who the per­son is. Not man or woman but What they’re like. What they do. [Lines cut] So why are you telling me that what I sleep with is more impor­tant tha[n] who I sleep with?

p.90–91:  M tries one last time to keep John.

M

So the dessert was cheese­cake here it is:  cheese­cake. I made your favourite John your favourite in all the world, a nice cheese­cake I think it was going to be a tac­tic a final ges­ture in case things   hadn’t gone well…[Lines cut] There’s your cheese­cake, if you feel like stay­ing with me for a bit you could have some we culd share a piece if you like but you’re going with her aren’t you so you should prob­a­bly fuck off now, and me and Dad’ll eat it instead. Bye.

p.93–94:  W tries one last time to con­vince John to leave with her.  John’s line can be cut.

W

So I’ll go for ever, and me wear­ing your shirt, in a hotel in Paris, walk­ing around glimpses of what’s between my legs,

[JOHN

/ Fuck]

W

all of that and every­thing else in the future, all leav­ing, all going, me preg­nant eat­ing bis­cuits and then the hos­pi­tal bed, every­thing you described to me, every­thing we imag­ined, you hold­ing my hand, and Jack’s born and grows up there he is…[Lines cut] …and you’ll be left with him. Just him.

[Lines cut]

Bye.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  All of the scenes in the play before the din­ner party at the end are two-person scenes, either M-M or M-F, so there are a lot to choose from.

p. 14–17:  John has returned home with a gift of teddy bears after hav­ing left M.   M is sus­pi­cious and John finally con­fesses that he’s slept with some­one else, a woman.  Starts with

M

So what have you done?

and ends with

JOHN

I am.

It was a week ago.

p.43–47:  John meets W to tell her they can’t see each other any­more because M knows.  Starts with

JOHN

I don’t know how to explain this but the thing is you have to stop fol­low­ing me.

and ends with

W

So?

Sugar.

What are you going to do?

 

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Bene­dict, D. (2009). COCK. Vari­ety, 417(3), 40.

Billing­ton, M. (2009, Nov 19). Reviews: The­atre: Cock: Royal court, lon­don 3/5. The Guardian, pp. 38.

Hem­ming, S. (2009, Nov 21). Cock. Finan­cial Times, pp. 14.

Letts, Q. (2009, Nov 19). Quentin letts first night review [edi­tion 2]. Daily Mail, pp. 30.

Sierz, A. (2009). A com­pelling com­bi­na­tion of sharp writ­ing and act­ing tal­ent. Stage, (6709), 19.

Soloski, A. (2012, May 23). Cock: Fight club. [open access] The Vil­lage Voice, pp. 1.

Spencer, C. (2009, Nov 19). First night cock royal court tame tale whim­pers to the end. The Daily Tele­graph, pp. 35.

Tay­lor, P. (2009, Nov 23). A bril­liant study in bisex­u­al­ity. The Inde­pen­dent, pp. 16.

Goldfish – John Kolvenbach

goldfish

World pre­miere at South Coast Reper­tory in Costa Mesa, Cal­i­for­nia in March, 2009.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Albert (19-years old)                     Tasso Feld­man
Leo (Albert’s father)                       Conor O’Farrell
Lucy                                               Kate Rylie
Mar­garet (Lucy’s mother)            Joan McMurtrey

Direc­tor:  Loretta Greco
Set Design:  Myung Hee Cho
Light­ing Design:  Lon­nie Rafael Alcaraz
Sound Design:  Michael Hooker
Cos­tume Design:  Alex Jaeger
Dra­maturg:  John Glore
Stage Man­ager:  Julie Haber

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Kol­ven­bach, John. Gold­fish. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, 2010. Drama Library PS3611.O583 G65 2010.

Set­ting:  North­east­ern United States; the present.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

MARGARET

Go away. I will make do. I’ll drink quickly to min­i­mize my suf­fer­ing. (She sips.) Look at you. I am flab­ber­gasted by how beau­ti­ful I used to be. You are the pic­ture of Youth and Ripeness; I could kill you.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Albert, a 19-year-old boy, grows up tak­ing care of his father, Leo, who has a gam­bling prob­lem.  Trou­ble ensues when Albert leaves home to attend a lib­eral arts col­lege and Leo has to man­age on his own.  A poor, intel­li­gent out­sider in a col­lege full of wealthy kids, Albert meets Lucy, who has prob­lems of her own deal­ing with her drunken mother, Mar­garet.  Through these two, the play explores the dynam­ics of fam­ily and falling in love.  While some of the early scenes between Lucy and Albert feel a lit­tle too cute, the scenes at home with Albert and Leo seem heart­break­ingly real; even when the plot veers into poten­tially melo­dra­matic ter­ri­tory, and despite a too pat end­ing, the authen­tic­ity of that par­tic­u­lar father-son rela­tion­ship keeps the play on track.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.34:  Albert tells his father about the Dean call­ing him into his office after Leo called him to explain that Albert wouldn’t be return­ing to school.  The Dean thinks there’s been some calamity in the fam­ily; in real­ity, Leon gam­bled the money away.

ALBERT

She lets me into his office. I sit down. He’s sort of a wal­rus. He asks me if I watch base­ball. I tell him it’s win­ter. There’s silence for a while. He says, “Your pugna­cious father called this morn­ing.” OK. So you’re alive. [Lines cut] I told him no, things were fine. He said you “con­curred.” Then he asked me how I would define “fine” and I said that if I had a base­ball bat I would bash his fuck­ing head in for him.

p.35:  Albert explains to Leo what it was like being in col­lege, being the poor, smart kid in the mid­dle of all the rich, not-so-smart kids.

ALBERT

I thought I’d be obvi­ous. You know? I thought I’d have a big arrow over my head, point­ing me    out. This is the kid. A big orange arrow. It wasn’t like that. They don’t care. They don’t notice you.  You sit in the back and keep a low pro­file, the teacher doesn’t know you exist. [Lines cut] The fuzzy old bas­tard hands you the exam and gives you a look. A look like, it’s you and me, Albert Ledger. You and me and a bunch of stone morons.

p.51:  Albert tells Leo about he rides the train pre­tend­ing to have a job when, in real­ity, he was fired a month ago.

ALBERT

I ride the train. I don’t have a job. I pre­tend I do. I put this on. (Beat.) I went in that first morn­ing. A month ago. I made it ’til lunch. The guy looks at me like I’m another ass­hole he has to deal with, like I’m the kid who gets his cof­fee and screws up the pur­chase orders. [Lines cut] Lucy thinks I’m Albert Ledger. I con­vinced her. I insisted. That I’m unbound. That I’m just about to be. (Beat.) I don’t wanna talk to her. I don’t want to talk to her anymore.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 15–17:  Albert and Lucy meet for the first time in the library on a Fri­day night.   Starts with

LUCY

(Pause.) Can I ask you a question?

and ends with

ALBERT

I know your name.

p.29–32:  Albert and Lucy are in bed in his dorm room when he gets a call about his father. Starts with

LUCY

(Into her pil­low.) Oh my God what are you doing you sociopath what time is it, if you’re study­ing I’m going to kick you in the head, why do you let me smoke so much my mouth is a dead ani­mal, whose shirt is this, what time is it? Who drank my water, the fucker.

and ends with

ALBERT

(Into the phone.) Answer the ques­tion. Is he alright?

p.45–47:  Lucy tries to con­vince Albert to marry her.  Starts with

LUCY

Is he alright?

and ends with

ALBERT

For how long?

 

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Boehm, M. (2009, Mar 20). THEATER; the mid­dle class rises once again; john kol­ven­bach plots it all out in ‘gold­fish,’ his play at south coast reper­tory about a dream of tri­umph. Los Ange­les Times, p.D16.

D’Souza, K. (2009, Oct 15). Review: ‘gold­fish’ fam­ily drama at magic the­atre in san fran­cisco. San Jose Mer­cury News.

Far­rell, J. (2009, Mar 27). ‘Gold­fish’ swims through blos­som­ing romance. Press – Telegram.

Hod­gins, P. (2009, Mar 20). Review // new play ‘gold­fish’ is not so odd. Orange County Reg­is­ter.

Hod­gins, P. (2009, Mar 24). Review // ‘gold­fish’ makes waves. Orange County Reg­is­ter.

Hur­witt, R. (2009, Oct 16). The­ater review:  Tragi­comic ‘gold­fish’. [open access] SFGate.com.

Ng, D. (2009, Mar 24). Review:  ‘gold­fish’ at south coast reper­tory. [open access] latimes.com.

Verini, B. (2009, Mar 23). Review:  “gold­fish”. [open access] variety.com

Treefall – Henry Murray

treefall

World pre­miere by Rogue Machine The­atre in Los Ange­les on July 30, 2009.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

August (16-year-old boy)                                                  West Liang
Flynn (18-year-old boy)                                                    Brian Nor­ris
Craig (14-year-old boy)                                                    Brian Pugach
Bug (17-year-old girl mas­querad­ing as a boy)                Tania Verafield

Direc­tor:  John Per­rin Flynn
Set Design:  Stephanie Ker­ley Schwartz
Light­ing Design:  Leigh Allen
Sound Design:  Joseph “Sloe” Slaw­in­ski
Cos­tume Design:  Lau­ren Tyler
Stage Man­ager:  Amanda Mauer

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Mur­ray, Henry. Treefall. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, 2010. Drama Library PS3613. U758 T74 2009.

Set­ting:  A moun­tain cabin in the Pacific North­west after an envi­ron­men­tal cat­a­stro­phe takes place.  A few scenes take place in areas near the cabin.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

CRAIG

(Hold­ing Dru like a baby and play­ing Mommy) Mr. Bug, please excuse this silli­ness. My sons have a ten­dency to for­get their place. It’s been hard rais­ing them by myself. My hus­band, he had quite a nice penis but he died in a stam­pede at a gro­cery store dur­ing a food short­age. It was tragic really–

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Three boys live together in an iso­lated cabin in the Pacific North­west after an unspec­i­fied envi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter seem­ingly has caused a large major­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in the world to per­ish, par­tic­u­larly the adults.  The boys rit­u­al­is­ti­cally re-enact a life they can barely remem­ber, a life of nor­malcy where a fam­ily means a daddy and a mommy and a child.  Into their world comes a stranger who dis­rupts their care­fully crafted but slowly fail­ing life.  Just as it’s only a mat­ter of time before one of the dying trees around their cabin falls on and destroys their home, even with­out the appear­ance of Bug, the boys’ frag­ile fam­ily struc­ture, which was already show­ing stresses and cracks, was doomed.  There’s a bit too much quot­ing from Romeo and Juliet; and Craig pre­tend­ing to be his doll, Dru, is extremely annoy­ing, despite him being the most fully real­ized char­ac­ter, almost preter­nat­u­rally wise in some ways while being unbe­liev­ably naïve in oth­ers.  How­ever, weak­nesses in the script aside, there are affec­tive, sim­ple moments that res­onate around the prin­ci­pal ques­tion of the play:  what makes a family?

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.39:  Craig reads a comic book and explains about Super­man and vam­pires to Dru, his doll. 

CRAIG

(As Dru) Here’s Super­man hold­ing up a bridge with one hand and a bus full of peo­ple in the other.   (As Craig) He must be quite strong. (As Dru) Well, look at those mus­cles. (As Craig) He does have nice mus­cles. [Lines cut] (As the doll) I’m just a doll. But there’s the ques­tion of good­ness, isn’t there? Vam­pires are basi­cally self­ish crea­tures who are afraid to die. (As Craig) That’s not fair. Vam­pires are ordi­nary peo­ple who could die except…they… Nobody really wants to die.

               

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  Most of the scenes in the play are for three or more char­ac­ters but there are a few that are just two peo­ple.  

p. 29–32:  August and Bug spend some time together and August tries to seduce Bug. Starts with

AUGUST

What’s it like east of here?

and ends with

AUGUST

You made whiskey come out of my nose.

p.39–41: Flynn tries to explain human anatomy and the dif­fer­ences between boys and girls to Craig. Starts with

CRAIG

(As Dru) Here’s Super­man hold­ing up a bridge with one hand and a bus full of peo­ple in the other.   (As Craig) He must be quite strong. (As Dru) Well, look at those mus­cles. (As Craig) He does have nice mus­cles. [Lines cut] (As the doll) I’m just a doll. But there’s the ques­tion of good­ness, isn’t there? Vam­pires are basi­cally self­ish crea­tures who are afraid to die. (As Craig) That’s not fair. Vam­pires are ordi­nary peo­ple who could die except…they… Nobody really wants to die.

and ends with

CRAIG

Come along, Dru. Mommy doesn’t want to miss this.

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Bran­des, P. (2009, Aug 6). The­ater review: ‘Treefall’ at the­atre the­ater. [open acces] LA Times.

Buzzelli, M. (2009, Aug 3). Rogue Machine’s treefall @theatre the­ater:  A bril­liant new work from henry mur­ray. [open access] Eye Spy LA.

Mor­ris, S. L. (2009, Aug 5). Treefall and the chairs:  Beyond world’s end. [open access] LA Weekly.

Orloff, P. (2009, Aug 28). ‘Treefall’ at rogue machine. [open access] Cul­ture Spot LA.

Sokol, R. (2011, Feb 7). Intrigu­ing, uneven ‘treefall’ not beg­ging to be heard. [open access] SF Exam­iner.

Spin­dle, L. (2009, Aug 5) Treefall. [open access] Backstage.com.

Tren­chard, C. (2011, Feb 7). In treefall, a young cast rises at new con­ser­va­tory the­atre. [open access] SF Weekly.

Pretty Theft – Adam Szymkowicz

prettytheft

Orig­i­nally pro­duced by the Flux The­atre Ensem­ble in New York City on April 24, 2009.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Marco                                                                   Todd d’Amour
Waitress/Ballerina                                              Can­dice Holdorf
Psychiatrist/Ballerina                                         Lynn Kenny
Suzy                                                                      Maria Port­man Kelly
Joe                                                                        Brian Pracht
Bobby                                                                   Zack Robidas
Alle­gra                                                                  Marnie Schu­len­burg
Allegra’s Mom/Supervisor/Ballerina                Cot­ton Wright

Direc­tor:  Angela Astle
Chore­o­g­ra­pher:
  Ash­ley Mar­tinez
Set Design
Heather Cohn
Light­ing Design:  Andy Fritsch
Sound Design:  Kevin Fuller
Cos­tume Design:  Becky Kelly
Stage Man­ager:  Kate August

Alle­gra:  18
Suzy:  18
Joe:  20s to 30s
Marco/Allegra’s Father:
  30s to 40s
Bal­le­rina 2/Allegra’s Mother/Supervisor/Patient/Customer 2 & 4:
  30s to 50s
Bal­le­rina 1/Psychiatrist/Patient/Waitress/Customer 1 & 3:  30s to 40s
Bobby/Intern/Joe’s Father:  20s

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Syzmkow­icz, Adam. Pretty Theft. Samuel French, 2009. Drama Library PS3619.Z965 P74 2009.

Set­ting:  Mul­ti­ple:  a group home, a diner, a hotel room, a men­tal asy­lum, a liv­ing room; the present

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

BOBBY

No, it’s not that. It’s just… We’re young. I want to fuck other girls. I want to be free to do that at school. There’s lots of dif­fer­ent kinds of girls out there and most of them I’ve never even kissed. I’m sorry. Now you’re mad at me.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   18-year-old Alle­gra takes a sum­mer job at a group home and falls under the wing of Suzy, a like­able bad girl.  When Allegra’s unlikely friend­ship with Joe, an autis­tic group home res­i­dent, goes awry—sabotaged by Suzy—she and Suzy steal Suzy’s mom’s car and take off for parts unknown.  On the run, they fall afoul of Marco, a self-described art thief and admirer of young girls.  An explo­ration of theft in its many per­mu­ta­tions, Pretty Theft works best when it focuses on the two girls’ love/hate rela­tion­ship and on the frag­ile friend­ship between Alle­gra and Joe, an inno­cent soul who’s a casu­alty of Suzy’s care­less machinations.

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.  There are a num­ber of mono­logues for both men and women in the play.

p.29:  The Super­vi­sor of the Group Home explains how she deals with Joe’s theft of lit­tle items from the other res­i­dents and the impor­tance of his trea­sure box. 

SUPERVISOR

(as she takes objects out of Joe’s box)  We no longer won­der where the pens go, the pads, the rub­ber bands, the paper clips and Mrs. Thompson’s den­tures. All of us know they’re in Joe’s box. When he first came here, we tried to get him to give back his pil­fered items. But that was a disaster.

[Lines cut]

The only thing I leave in the box, is his bal­le­rina doll. A gift from the for­mer super­vi­sor, now deceased. He likes it. I’ve always felt there’s no harm in it. I’ve always felt there’s no harm in him. His mother disagrees.

p.32:  Alle­gra vis­its her uncon­scious and dying father in the hos­pi­tal and angrily con­fronts him over his dying. 

ALLEGRA

And I’m work­ing at this like group home with Suzy Har­ris. We hang out a lot. You know who she is? I think you’d like her. She’s a lot of fun. She was sup­posed to come here with me today but… she couldn’t make it.

[Lines cut]

I miss you.

I’ve always missed you. I’m sorry. I don’t want you to die. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Oh, Christ, I’m so sorry. Please don’t die. You’re so small. Please, Daddy.

p.69: Joe, in a strait­jacket, explains the dif­fer­ence between peo­ple like him who are dam­aged and peo­ple who are untouch­able, perfect. 

JOE

Some peo­ple get locked up and some peo­ple never do. If you try to kiss the staff they will lock you up. It is ille­gal. Many men in suits never go to jail. That’s because that’s because that’s   because they aren’t me. They aren’t bro­ken. [Lines cut] Like doc­tors who can fix you. Except they don’t need fix­ing. Not the super untouch­able. They have legs like razors and eyes that mag­ne­tize. They are pretty. They are every­thing. Like Alle­gra. I won­der if Alle­gra is super untouchable.

 

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  Of the two-people scenes in the play, a num­ber of them are fairly brief and unsuit­able for sub­stan­tial scene work.  Some of these short scenes could be com­bined to cre­ate a longer scene with a more appro­pri­ate nar­ra­tive arc.   

p. 30–31 and 33–34:  Scenes Ten and Twelve can be com­bined to form one scene. Suzy goes to the movies with Bobby, Allegra’s boyfriend, and attempts to seduce him.  Starts with

BOBBY

                This sucks

and ends with

SUZY

(Fol­low­ing him out) Wait for me. I still need a ride. Hey, mush-mouth. Wait for me.

 

 

 

Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Gates, A. (2009, Apr 28). Being nice can also take you too far. New York Times,pp.C4.

Har­cum, C. (2009, Apr 28). Pretty theft. [open access] nythatre.com.

Peik­ert, M. (2009, Apr 28). Pretty theft. [open access] back­stage.

Sny­der, S. (2009). Steal­ing hearts and minds:  Emo­tional theft nei­ther pretty, nor petty. [open access] The Vil­lager 78(47).

Sobel, J. (2009, Apr 26). Pretty theft by Adam Szymkow­icz. [open access] Blog Crit­ics.