First Person Shooter – Paul Jenkins


First per­formed at The Door, Birm­ing­ham Reper­tory The­atre on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2010.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Mag­gie                                               Freya Copeland
Ade                                                     Bradley Hall
Cap­tain Jones/ Nugget                    David Houn­slow
Tom                                                     Ben Jones

Direc­tor:  Robert Shaw Cameron
  Jess Cur­tis
AV Design:  Bar­ret Hodg­son
Light­ing Design:
  Richard G. Jones
Sound Design:
  Dan Hoole
  Car­o­line Jester
Stage Man­ager:  Paul South­ern

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Jenk­ins, Paul. First Per­son Shooter. Nick Hern Books, 2010. Drama Library PR6110.E554 F57 2010.

Set­ting:  UK; the present

Lan­guage:  Con­tem­po­rary, lots of gamer and mil­i­tary lingo


Good news first—we got a mil­i­tary coup in North Korea, pro-democracy rebels have stormed the people’s palace. Happy days—if it weren’t for the miss­ing war­heads on the black mar­ket. Then there’s Mohammed Zarqawi—the new pin-up beard for Al-Qaeda. Intel reports he’s shop­ping for a suit­case nuke to go walk­a­bout. Just another day at the office. Bad news is we got a new­bie, fresh out of training…

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

Plot:  A sin­gle mother enlists the aid of a com­puter geek to try to help her recon­nect with her 17-year-old son who’s addicted to first per­son shooter mil­i­tary games.  Although the play tack­les seri­ous issues, there is humor, which pri­mar­ily emerges from the col­li­sion between gamers and non-gamers and the single-mindedness with which Ade pur­sues his gam­ing.  How­ever, in a world where unmanned, remotely con­trolled drones can attack and kill tar­gets, the image of a lonely boy play­ing video games takes on sin­is­ter overtones.



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:  Cap­tain Jones, the com­man­der in a mil­i­tary first-person shooter game,  defines key terms in the world of first per­son shooter games.  


To own—verb, spelt P,W,N… To kill, to anni­hi­late, to totally dom­i­nate your oppo­nent. Pro­nounced as O but spelt with P, what orig­i­nated as a typo by chronic gamers, is now leg­endary in the gam­ing lex­i­con. If you have pwned another player—the pwnage unleashed upon them may be due to the fact that they are a n00b.

[Lines cut]

A freshly cloned cyber-warrior, with laser-sighted AK-47 and frag grenades, will mate­ri­alise at a por­tal nearby. In short—find the n00bs, pwn the n00bs, tea-bag them, get pwned, get tea-bagged, respawn. In no event resort to camp­ing—I repeat, under no cir­cum­stances go camp­ing. Now you’re ready to play.

p. 47–48:  Cap­tain Nugget describes an attack he sur­vived in Afghanistan.  


I was escort­ing a relief con­voy, get the paras out of Musa Qala. It’s get­ting dark and two mul­lahs rock up push­ing a rusty Volvo. We stop to let them cross, when the boot opens and out pops a grand­dad in a dress with an RPG. The rocket slams into the side of our Viking and all hell breaks—tracer fire from umpteen Tal­iban posi­tions. [Lines cut] Just then we hear the rum­ble of a AC-130 gun­ship, it’s the Yanks but who cares—next thing the trees are a wall of flame, the smell of burn­ing flesh. Chi­nook came in an air­lifted the casu­alty back to base… he made it. That’s no UAV did that. That was real sol­diers, real pilots, fight­ing to save each other’s lives.

p.83–84:  Cap­tain Nugget tells Ade about the time he almost had to kill someone.


Wouldn’t call it fear. This old mul­lah and a boy come up to the check­point once, the old fella’s wav­ing his arms and the lad’s grin­ning, but mad like, push­ing a wheel­bar­row. There’s a body, young woman, kid’s mum by all accounts and she’s had her foot blown off by a mine. Must’ve seen me com­ing, eh? [Lines cut] I was two-inches in tomorrow’s news­pa­per… but it was beau­ti­ful. Apart from the unholy stench. Stood there like that… felt like fif­teen years. The old boy coughed—something come up out of his lung, spat it on the floor, put his pis­tol in his pocket, sad some­thing to the boy, turned his wheel­bar­row… and walked way. Can’t explain that to this day.



Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  

p. 9–12:  Tom vol­un­teers to talk with Maggie’s son, Ade, when she expresses con­cern about him always play­ing alone.  Starts with


Leave this to me—not got MBA after my name for nothing.

and ends with


Let me know how it goes—want a Snick­ers on my desk by the end of the week.

p. 29–32:  Ade explains to an Army recruiter why he wants to enlist.  Starts with


Play a lot of com­puter games?

and ends with


I’m ready for lunch.

p.42–44:  Ade lies to Tom about his father, tells him he was a sol­dier in Kosovo and now he’s in a men­tal hos­pi­tal, when, in fact, he’s an attor­ney.  Starts with


That’s my dad’s mug.

and ends with


Tell him your­self, when he gets back.



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

(2010, Octo­ber 7). Grim real­ity is right on tar­get. Birm­ing­ham Post, The (England).

Hick­ling, A. (2010, Octo­ber 7). First Per­son Shooter Birm­ing­ham Rep 2/5. Guardian, The (Lon­don, England).

Jack­son, L. (2010, Sep­tem­ber 26). Real life war is more like a kids game. Sun­day Mer­cury (Birm­ing­ham, England).


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