Flies – Oliver Lansley

fly

First performed at the Tobacco Factory’s Brewery Theatre, Bristol, on October 4, 2011.

Original Cast:

Dennis                                              Oliver Hollis
The Fly and other roles                 Paul Mundell

Director:  Emma Earle
Composer:   Kid Carpet
Design:  Zoe Squire
Lighting Design:  Anna Barrett
Animator:  Becca Rose
Costume Supervisor:   Bianca Ward
Stage Manager:  Katie Barrett

Publication:  Lansley, Oliver. Flies. London:  Oberon Books, 2011. Drama General Stacks PR6112.A57 F58 2011.

Setting:  The play opens in a Winter Wonderland, a fantastical dream version of Antarctica with snow, polar bears, etc.  The play takes place in various locations:  an airplane, a dentist’s office, an apartment, a therapist’s office, etc.

Language:  Contemporary

DENTIST

Unfortunately Mrs. Wilshire was in the middle of having her teeth X-rayed and she did not take kindly to a strange man running in screaming, locking the door nad immediately collapsing into a foetal wreck.

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:  Dennis, a dental assistant, suffers from acute Pteronarcophobia, a fear of flies.  Through a non-linear structure and absurdist situations, the play explores the root of Dennis’ fears and his attempts to deal with his phobia through to a startling solution/conclusion.  Although there are a host of other characters besides Dennis, these other characters may just be figments of Dennis’ fevered imagination.

 

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:  The FLY reveals why flies behave as they do.

FLY 

I took a shit on your foot…
I know it’s what we ‘do’—I know it’s an action I am genetically predisposed to undertake—but I just wanted you to know that this was different.
I wanted you to know that on this occasion, this specific act of defecation was for one reason and one reason only and that is that… I don’t like you.

[lines cut]

He takes a big sigh as if relieved of a burden.

Ahh, I’m glad I got that off my chest—feels good to clear the air doesn’t it?

p.19:  DOCTOR diagnoses Dennis’ condition and its possible causes, each cause more ridiculous than the last. 

DOCTOR

After the… incident, the patient has been referred to me for examination and assessment. I am to determine whether or not this man poses a threat…

He stops the tape, rewinds it and plays it back.

(DOCTOR on Dictaphone.)  …Poses a threat… poses a threat… poses a threat…

Note to self, I do not like the way my voice sounds on an audio tape—a.) Investigate whether this is the way my voice sounds to other people, b.) Get Janet to look into other forms of audio recording…

[lines cut]

However in my professional opinion I believe they did. Some, if not all, of the above… Note to self. Probe deeper re. clowns, parents, paedos… Peadofly!

p.24-25:  DENNIS explains what true flies are; despite his revulsion, he also seems fascinated by them.

DENNIS

It is the presence of a single pair of wings that distinguishes true f…flies from other insects with the word in their name. May…f…lies, Dragon…f…lies, Damsel…f…lies, Snake…f…lies, Saw…f…lies, Caddis…f…lies, butter…fl…lies… [Lines cut] These help keep them steady and balanced, making them very…agile and able to manoeuvre themselves into intricate flight patterns, they can hover, they can spin, they can even go backwards.

p.47:  PILOT announces an emergency landing on a flight to Antarctica.  Long monologue. 

PILOT ANNOUNCEMENT

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking, I am very sorry to report that we shall be performing a premature landing for today’s flight to Antarctica, this is due to someone attacking another passenger with their complimentary copy of Whizz magazine which can be found in your seat backs.

[Lines cut.]

Boo Dennis, boo to you. Booo.
Everybody please Boooooooo. Not only has he spoilt it f or himself  but he’s spoilt it  for the rest of us, thanks a lot buddy…you’ve let us all down…literally.
Boo.

 

Representative Scenes:  Scenes con­tain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the scene in its entirety.

p. 36-40:  DENNIS goes to a travel agency to buy a ticket to Antarctica because he’s discovered that there are no flies in Antarctica.  Starts with

TRAVEL AGENT

Hello there sir what can I do for you today?

and ends with

DENNIS

Can I just buy a plane ticket please?

p.49-51:  DENNIS decides to become a spider in order to confront his fear of flies. Starts with

DENNIS

I have been thinking a lot about what the Doctor has said, about confronting and defeating my fear. About the best way forward, my best chance of doing this.
And I have decided to become a spider…

[Lines cut.]

Perhaps I had underestimated the power of my own convictions but within days thick coarse  black hairs started to appear on my body. At first they hurt as they pierced through the surface of my skin but soon I don’t notice, I become numb to it, almost finding the pain comforting. In less than a week my arms are virtually covered in them.

and ends with

FLY

Dennis…? Dennis…? DENNIS?

p.52-56:  DENNIS goes in for a last session with the DOCTOR after he has transformed into a spider. The DOCTOR seems transformed as well, becoming an amalgamation of the fly and other characters in the play.   Starts with

DOCTOR

Dennis, how are you?

and ends with

DOCTOR

We have to find a way through this. You can’t let this beat you. You must confront it, beat it, otherwise your life will always be dictated by this fear. You have to take ownership of it, find a way through it. You have to defeat it or it will defeat you.

 

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

 

(October 6, 2011 Thursday ). Frightening, funny and fly infested; Flies, Brewery Theatre. The Bristol Post.

Hood, K. (October 15, 2011). Flies making a fair buzz. [open access] remotegoat.com

Pearce, E. (October 7 ,2011). Flies-The Tobacco Factory, Bristol. [open access] thepublicreviews.com

 

Mirror Mirror – Sarah Treem

mirror

First performed at the Yale School of Drama on November 11, 2005.

 Original Cast:

Gretchen Black – 17, Most popular girl in school.                     Corena Chase
Badger Biers – 17, Gretchen’s boyfriend.                                   Allen Read
Most popular boy in school. Captain of the football team.    
Costen Lyons – 18, Badger’s best friend.                                  Jacob Knoll
     Richest boy in school.
Libby Sunday – 17, Gretchen’s new best friend.
                       Alexis McGuinness
     Hoyt’s ex-girlfriend. Valedictorian. On scholarship.
Hoyt Monroe – 18, Tortured teenage artist.
                               Richard Gallagher
     Libby’s ex-boyfriend.
Laurel Buchanan – 16, Hoyt’s best friend. President
               Bridget Jones
     of the drama club. Costen’s second cousin.
Honey – 15, Stage manager in the drama club. Nerd.
               Lauren Worsham
Donnie – 17, Actor in the drama club. Ronnie’s best friend.    Alexander Rubin
Ronnie – 17, Actor in the drama club. Donnie’s best friend.    Paul Spera
Roy/Rose White – 16, New girl. This is a boy’s part.                 Blake Hackler

Director:  Nick Avila
Set Design:  Sara Clement
Costume Design:  Mike Floyd
Lighting Design:  Bryan Keller
Sound Design:  Sharath Patel
Dramaturgy:  Rachel Rusch
Stage Manager:  Adam Ganderson

 Publication:  Treem, Sara. Mirror Mirror. Samuel French, 2010. Drama General Stacks PS3620.R442 M57 2010.

Setting:  A private high school in the South. A gym. An auditorium. A bathroom. Fall, present day.

Language:  Contemporary

GRETCHEN

(considers that) No, not in the same way. Bodies heal. Babies can be aborted. But reputations? That shit never goes away. Your children’s children pay for that. (beat) So did you get a look?

Genre/Style:   Dramatic comedy

Plot:  A year ago Roy disappeared.  This homecoming, his sister’s boyfriend, the captain of the football team, is about to propose to her even though he’s hiding a secret.  When a mysterious girl appears, Roy disguised as Rose, the insular world of a private high school in the South is turned upside down.  Loosely based on Snow White, the play feels like a darker version of your typical teen drama with some mystical moments.

 

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.9:  Gretchen talks to the bathroom mirror during homecoming after having seen something disturbing in it.  (long monologue)

GRETCHEN

Don’t you pull that shit with me. I will break you.

When I was a child I had a beautiful mirror. Gilded and very old. It was my great grandmother’s mirror. Brought over from Vienna on a first class steamer. The mirror hung in the grand hallway. I cleaned it incessantly. Every time I passed it.

[lines cut]

What do you supposed I did? I broke the mirror. Smashed it in, late one night, with the heel of my shoe. Then I picked up the shattered pieces of glass and sewed them into my skin. And from that day forth, I’ve carried them with me wherever I go. And everyone everywhere always asks me about my skin. They want to know what makes it shimmer so.

(GRETCHEN looks down at her feet. She smirks at the mirror.)

(a threat) What do you think of my shoes? Are the heels too high?

p.48:  Honey tries to explain to Rose (who is Roy in disguise) what it was about Roy that she loved. 

HONEY

No. It was something else. He went around smiling at people—indiscriminately and for no good reason. Like w were all children again. It freaked a lot of people out. [Lines cut] And Badger Biers sort of smiled back. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. I went home and wrote twelve pages about it in my journal. If Roy hadn’t gotten sick I would have asked him to Homecoming.

p.53-54:  Hoyt gives his reasons for why he believes love is a disease. (very long monologue)

HOYT

This has nothing to do with Libby. Love is a disease. It’s chemical. They’ve proven it. It’s just hormones. That stimulate euphoria. In this one tiny section of the brain. The same tiny section that lights up when people snort coke.[Lines cut] And thus he perpetuates the ultimate cosmic joke. That love makes life worth living. Which we all read. And believe. Because we’re children and stupid. And then we grow up and fall into the exact same trap. And spend the remainder of our lives in perpetual rehab with the rest of humanity.

 p.67:  Libby riffs on her anorexia and her intelligence. 

LIBBY

 I can honestly believe whatever I want, Hoyt. You have no idea how powerful I actually am. I can stay up for three days straight on nothing but whipped cream, coffee and suger-free jello. Do you know how many calories that is, Hoyt? [Lines cut] And I can think about food almost every moment of every day so can you imagine how much more I would know if I never had to eat again? No, of course you can’t. Because you’re not nearly as smart as me.

 

Representative Scenes:  Scenes contain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please consult the published text for the scene in its entirety.

p. 15-19:  Libby finds Gretchen in the bathroom during homecoming.  Libby’s wearing one of Gretchen’s hand-me-down dresses; Gretchen wants it back. In the end, she leaves Libby in the bathroom in her bra and underwear.  Starts with

LIBBY

Gretchen! There you are. What’s that smell?

and ends with

GRETCHEN

Grow up. Wear a thong.

p.27-29:  Honey meets Rose for the first time and reveals what happened to Roy, who is disguised as Rose.   Starts with

HONEY

One two three. One two three. One two three.

and ends with

HONEY

I’m sorry Rose, you seem really nice and all but you’ve got a mouth as dirty as a sailor and it makes me kind of uncomfortable—being a dweeb and all—so I’m gonna go now.

p.66-68:  Hoyt confronts Libby about her anorexia and confesses that he still loves her even though she’s now dating Costen.   Starts with

LIBBY

Is she crazy?

and ends with

LIBBY

I like being light, Hoyt. I want to be lighter. I want to be so light I could step into the air if I were ever in trouble and fly away.

p.69-73:  Roy confronts Badger in the Boys Locker Room and tries to get Badger to admit that he loves him and wants to be with him as a gay man instead of marrying his sister, Gretchen, and living a lie.  Starts with

BADGER

Maggot, maggots, maggots.

and ends with

BADGER

My locker is number 27 if you need some clothes. Please—don’t follow me.

 

 

 

 

Shivered-Philip Ridley

Automotive-assembly-line

First performed at the Southwark Playhouse in London on March 9, 2012.

Original Cast:

Alec—a  20-year-old soldier                      Robbie Jarvis-Dean
Ryan—a twelve-year-old boy                    Joseph Drake
Jack—a twelve-year-old boy                     Joshua Williams
Lyn—Alec and Ryan’s mom                       Olivia Poulet
Gordy—in his twenties, a con man           Andrew Hawley
Evie—Jack’s obese mother                      Amanda Daniels
Mikey—Alec and Ryan’s dad                     Simon Lenagan

Director:  Russell Bolam
Scenic and Costume Design:  Anthony Lamble
Lighting Design:  Richard Howell
Sound Design:  Tom Gibbons

Publication:  Ridley, Philip. Shivered. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2013. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 S38 2013.

Setting:  Draylingstowe in Essax, an automotive factory town that has gone bust.

Language:  Contemporary

Jack

No, mate!  My legs’re fucking hurting.  I can feel the veins knotting together like… like knotting-together stuff.  They hurt!  Fuck!

Genre/Style:   Dramatic/comedy

Plot:   Ryan and Jack are two twelve-year-old boys looking for aliens.  Ryan’s  brother, Alec, was a soldier whose beheading by the enemy was filmed and shared on the internet.  Ryan’s dad, a former automotive factory worker, has gone missing; and his mother can’t cope with their son’s death.  The play is fragmented and the scenes are out of order, reflecting the fragmentation of modern-day life and illuminating often-overlooked details with the benefit of hindsight.  The first act works better than the second, but the language and themes remain affecting.  Although the boys are twelve in the play, teens or college aged actors would be appropriate as the subject matter is quite mature.

 

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.25:  Jack tells Ryan what happened to this girl at school who didn’t want to watch the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded.

JACK     

There was this girl. Gemma Burns. She’s the year above me. She said she thought watching something like that was disgusting. She don’t watch anything. Not even  bullfights or dogs being sick. She’s a right stuck-up cunt.  [Lines cut] Reece Jackson said they should break into Gemma’s bedroom one night and hold her down like they did in the toilets, only this time make her watch the film of her throwing up while watching your brother’s head being cut off. I said, if they did that, I’d like to be the one to film it. (Slight pause.) I think it’s a fake anyway.

p.33:  Gordy tells Lyn what happens to greyhounds once they stop racing.

GORDY

You know what happens to greyhounds when they stop winning races. They’re killed. That was my job. I’d take them to the wood at the back of the stadium. I’d tie their leads round branches. Leave them to hang.  [Lines cut] Next time I did it, word had spread. There were twice as many people. I charged them money. Every time I did it the audience grew. I made more money from killing the dogs than my neighbor did from racing them. (Slight pause) Wanna meet later?

 

Representative Scenes:  Scenes con­tain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the scene in its entirety.

p. 10-12:  Ryan and Jack are watching the canal and waiting for the alien monster to appear so that Ryan can take a picture of it.  Starts with

RYAN

Okay… If anything comes out of the canal—We’re ready!

and ends with

RYAN

I see it! (Jack and Ryan scream.)

p.27-29:  The first time Jack and Ryan meet.  Jack is hiding out from a group of bullies and Ryan is trying to find evidence of aliens to prove his dad isn’t crazy.   Starts with

JACK

What are you doing?

and ends with

RYAN AND JACK

RAAAAHHHH!!!

p.38-40:  Jack and Ryan are again waiting for aliens.  Ryan shows Jack how to draw aliens.  During their lesson, Jack convinces Ryan to look at the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded. At the end of the scene Ryan beats Jack unconscious and leaves him.  The beating leaves Jack brain dead.   Starts with

JACK

You mean… aliens look like snakes.

and ends with

JACK

Fuck me, no need for that, mate. Jesus. (Struggles to get up.) Help me up, mate… Come on… My bones are bending in this position—Shit! Shit! (Ryan picks up a piece of rubble.) Come on, mate.   (Ryan strikes Jack with rubble.) Mate, what’s that for? Come on! (Slight pause. Ryan strikes Jack again.) There no need for—Mate! Don’t! (Ryan hits Jack some more. Jack is screaming now.) Stop it, mate. It’s fucking hurting… Don’t! Mate! Let’s do some drawing. (Ryan continues to strike Jack.) Let’s do… some drawing…

 

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

Bowie-Sell, D. (2012, Apr 2). Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, review. [open access] The Telegraph.

Costa, M. (2012, Mar 15). Shivered—review. [open access] The Guardian.

Purves, L. (2012, Mar 15). It’s grimmer down south; Philip Ridley’s violent new Essex drama leaves Libby Purves unmoved. The Times (London), pp.12.

Taylor, P.  (2012, Mar 15). Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, London. [open access] The Independent.

 

36 and Counting!

Status

June 27 marked a year since I began That Unforgettable Line, and I’ve posted information on 36 plays.  I’m hoping to add 50 plays this next year!  If you’ve found the blog useful in your studies or discovered a new play, or if you have a play suggestion for the site, leave a comment.  Thanks.

The Bad Guys – Alena Smith

badguys

First performed on June 6, 2012 by the Second Stage Theatre.

Original Cast:

Noah—a filmmaker (31/32)                           James McMenamin
Paul—a bartender (23)                                 Raviv Ullman
Fink—a banker (31/32)                                 Michael Braun
Jesse—a drug dealer (31/32)                      Tobias Segal
Whit—a Marine (31/32)                                 Roe Hartrampf

Director:  Hal Brooks
Set Design:  Jason Simms
Costume Design:  Jessica Pabst
Lighting Design:  Seth Reiser
Sound Design:  Ryan Rumery
Stage Manager:  Kyle Gates

Publication:  Smith, Alena. The Bad Guys. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2013. Drama Library Stacks PS3619. M537 B33 2013.

 

Setting:  A brick patio and the surrounding lawn outside a large house in upstate New York.  One afternoon in September.

Language:  Contemporary

FINK

(furious) He’s an ignorant Podunk tweaker with A.D.D.!

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

Plot:   Noah has directed an independent film exposing childhood secrets his friends and family would rather leave buried.  On the eve of his escape to LA, Noah, his stepbrother, and two childhood friends wrestle with betrayals old and new.  The play explores the meaning of and the bonds—and limits—of male friendship.

 

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.21-22:  Jesse blows up over the losses his family has sustained due to the bursting of the housing bubble and rails against the government bailout of big banks.

JESSE    

Fuck society. I’m talkin’ about my family. You know Fink was the one who kept telling my dad to build those shitty spec houses! Oh, everyone’s doing it. Easy money. Get in the game, Glen. ‘Cause houses aren’t for living in anymore. They’re for flippin! Like burgers. But then the big burger bubble blows up. [Lines cut] An appetizer—no, an appeteaser. That’s what they call it at Applebee’s, right? And you know what they call it at KFC. (Beat.) A Double Down. Yup. That’s what we did here, America. We just doubled the fuck down on this bullshit.

p.35:  Whit recounts losing his best friend, a fellow Marine, in the Iraqi war.

WHIT

He was my best friend. Kid from Concord, Mass.—on his third tour—supposed to go home in a month—and then he got shot. And he died. And when he died, I died too. (Beat.) And then I realized—things are different when you’re dead. Things don’t hurt as much. [Lines cut] So, you know—if you want to ask me whether this is a good war—I honestly gotta tell you, I don’t know. But for me, while I was out there—that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was doing my job. Being a good Marine, taking care of my guys. What mattered was that I was strong. So for me—this was a good war. And that’s about all I can say on the subject.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  Scenes con­tain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the scene in its entirety.

p. 9-11:  Noah explains to Paul that he made his movie so that he could forget about the past and escape from his childhood home.  Starts with

NOAH

(Grudging.) Okay, fine. We can have one beer. But then we have to get out of here. If my mother comes back, she’ll go into hysterics again. I don’t’ know how that woman is going to survive without me.

and ends with

NOAH

Yeah, I’m working on losing them.

p.25-27:  Fink explains that he and his friend Ash are soulmates and how Noah betrayed their friendship by snitching on Ash back when they were kids.  Fink doesn’t realize that Noah’s movie is about that very incident; Paul tries to keep it from him.   Starts with

PAUL

[Right.] (Beat.) How come nobody ever found out Ash was there?

and ends with

FINK

(Laughing.) So ridiculous! No—but I like that. Loyalty. That’s good.

 

 

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

Isherwood, C. (2012, June 7). Boys being boys, with beers and guns. The New York Times, pp. 6.

Stasio, M. (2012, June 6). The bad guys. Daily Variety, pp. 3.

Vincetelli, E.  (2012, June 5). Unexpectedly wise ‘guys’. The New York Post, pp. 32.

 

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.