Kurt & Sid – Roy Smiles

kurtandsid

First per­formed at the Trafal­gar Stu­dios by Sure­fire The­atri­cal Ltd., on Sep­tem­ber 9, 2009.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Sid Vicious                             Danny Dyer
Kurt Cobain  
                        Shaun Evans

Direc­tor:  Tim Stark
Designer:  Cordelia Shisholm
Light­ing Designer:
  Mark Dou­ble­day
Sound Designer:  Mark Dunne
Stage Man­ager:
  Char­lotte Padgham

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Smiles, Roy. Kurt & Sid. Oberon Mod­ern Plays, 2009. Drama Library PR6119. M55 K87 2009.

Set­ting:  An attic exten­sion, Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton, 1994.

Lan­guage:  Con­tem­po­rary. Some British slang.

KURT

I always wanted a tie-dye shirt, made from the blood of Jerry Garcia.

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

Plot:   The Sex Pis­tols’ Sid Vicious, who died fif­teen years before in 1979, vis­its Kurt Cobain, who is con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide.  Vicious may be a ghost or he may be a fig­ment of Cobain’s imag­i­na­tion.  As the Nir­vana frontman’s sui­cide is his­tor­i­cal fact, the play deals less with “will he or won’t he” and more with “why;” although, in the end, Kurt takes his rea­sons with him to the grave.

 

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: Sid explains why he hates Eng­land. Kurt’s lines can be cut.

SID

It’s always been Tosser Cen­tral to me:  Eng­land, a mean lit­tle coun­try full of mean lit­tle men sit­ting in mean lit­tle pubs say­ing mean lit­tle things. The Pis­tols tried to blow all that way.  [Lines cut] But it’s all about try­ing, isn’t it?

[KURT

Oh yeah.]

SID

I’ve never got used to the pet­ti­ness of being Eng­lish. Know why the Sex Pis­tols rose to infamy? It wasn’t their songs of anar­chy and destruc­tion. [Lines cut] No, know what it was?

[KURT

Sur­prise me.]

SID

They swore on prime time tele­vi­sion; they used the ‘f’ word. A word you could hear daily in a thou­sand infant school play­grounds. [Lines cut] Can you think of any­thing more relent­lessly trivial?

[KURT

Not off-hand.]

SID

For the past twenty years one of the high­est rated pro­grammes on British tele­vi­sion is a show where a dog rounds up sheep and they time the lit­tle fucker. Twenty years; dif­fer­ent dog, same sheep; what kind of coun­try watches shit like that for twenty years? Easy: mine.

p.43–44:  Sid recounts the litany of rock star deaths.

SID

Every time; this whole rock and roll casu­alty crap is absurd don’t you think? Par­tic­u­larly for a young man of your intel­li­gence; look at your pre­de­ces­sors. Buddy Holly? Only died in a plane crash because he wanted to do his laun­dry, that’s why he hopped a flight in a rain­storm. [Lines cut] Jim Mor­ri­son? Passed out and suf­fo­cated in the tub after drink­ing Paris dry of Jack Daniels. What made Mil­wau­kee famous made a bloated corpse out of him. Janis ‘pug ugly’ Joplin only died of smack ’cause she’d been lay­ing off it. She mis­judged the dosage.

p. 47:  Kurt talks about how he used to pre­tend to be gay just to piss peo­ple off. Sid’s line can be cut.  

KURT

I really fought against all that macho crap. Once I was arrested for spray­ing ‘God is Gay’ and ‘Homo Sex Rules’ on cars. I was given a thirty-day sus­pended sen­tence; my fam­ily never lived it down. [Lines cut] He looked like Brezh­nev. He got colon can­cer. He deserved it.

[SID

Mr. Com­pas­sion.]

KURT

He should have died sooner, as far as I’m con­cerned death is just a pit stop for the after­life. It’s really self­ish to live to ninety years old unless you have some­thing to offer, you’ve got to live on the edge.

p.56:  Sid tries to con­vince Kurt of the value in liv­ing. Kurt’s line and part of Sid’s can be cut.

SID

Your music’s like a col­lec­tive howl for the dis­pos­sessed. for those who know that life shouldn’t come out of cash-point machines, but who don’t know what else there is. Only that every­thing stinks, TV stinks, pol­i­tics stinks, orga­nized reli­gion stinks; but there has to be some­thing.   [Lines cut] Find the answer, find the ques­tion: live.

[KURT

Fade away don’t burn out’?

SID

For­get that fuck­ing song, not even the bloke who wrote it believes it.] This is not a roman­tic end. There’s no romance in what you’re doing. [Lines cut] Your head will explode like an over-ripe melon. Live, maybe be unhappy but there’s worse things.

p.69:  Sid makes a last ditch effort to save Kurt. This is a really long mono­logue that can be cut.

SID

Look—I wish I could tell you it’s a beau­ti­ful world but it’s not. You want me to believe in all things bright and beau­ti­ful? I can’t. Like I said I don’t believe in any of it. Sun­sets, just some shit you can’t touch over there; flow­ers, get in the way of the pave­ment; the birds in the sky, winged wankers that crap on my shoul­der.  [Lines cut] Live and get to other peo­ple. Fight. Fight the good fight. Tear it down—whatever ‘it’ is. Fight the jocks and the cheer­lead­ers and the vac­u­ous and the dull; show them there’s more than the drab, grey lim­its to their tedious imag­i­na­tions:  please.

Kurt says nothing.

You can’t hear me, can you?

 

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p.18–21:  Sid and Kurt bitch about their respec­tive coun­tries.  Sid’s last line can be cut. Starts with

SID

Maybe this is the Hotel Cal­i­for­nia, you can check in but you can never leave.

and ends with

SID

Good ques­tion; looks like they’ve gone down the crapper.

[Sid glances out of the window.

Put me out of my mis­ery, where am I? Brom­ley this ain’t.]

p.35–37:  Sid reads Kurt’s sui­cide note and chal­lenges him.  Starts with

SID

You’ve signed it with your surname.

and ends with

KURT

(Sneer.) And I thought that was you.

p.48–50:  Sid forces Kurt to talk about his daugh­ter and how he’s aban­don­ing her; scene ends with Kurt shoot­ing Sid. Part of Sid’s first line can be cut.  Starts with

SID

[Good. (Beat.)] So let’s dis­cuss the girl.

and ends with

SID

(In dark­ness.) You bas­tard.

p.54–57:  Sid gives Kurt ten rea­sons to live.  Starts with

KURT

Who cares what you look like when you’re dead?

and ends with

KURT

                (Johnny Rot­ten voice.)  Ever get the feel­ing you’ve been conned?

 

 

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

(2009, Sep­tem­ber 22). Sid vicious’s sec­ond chance. The Daily Telegraph.

Coveney, Michael. (2009, Sep­tem­ber 15). Kurt & sid. [open access] What’s On Stage.

Gard­ner, Lyn. (2009, Sep­tem­ber 16). Kurt and sid. [open access] The Guardian.

Koenig, Rhoda. (2009, Sep­tem­ber 16). Kurt and sid, trafal­gar stu­dios, lon­don. Inde­pen­dent Extra.

Mar­lowe, Sam.  (2009, Sep­tem­ber 16). Kurt & sid; arts first night the­atre. The Times.

Sweet­ing, Adam. (2009, Sep­tem­ber 15). Kurt & sid. [open access]. The Arts Desk.

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