First performed at the Trafalgar Studios by Surefire Theatrical Ltd., on September 9, 2009.
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.
I always wanted a tie-dye shirt, made from the blood of Jerry Garcia.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘Fade away don’t burn out’?
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.
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?
p.18–21: Sid and Kurt bitch about their respective countries. Sid’s last line can be cut. Starts with
Maybe this is the Hotel California, you can check in but you can never leave.
and ends with
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
You’ve signed it with your surname.
and ends with
(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
[Good. (Beat.)] So let’s discuss the girl.
and ends with
(In darkness.) You bastard.
p.54–57: Sid gives Kurt ten reasons to live. Starts with
Who cares what you look like when you’re dead?
and ends with
(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.