Pretty Theft – Adam Szymkowicz


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
  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


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. 


(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. 


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. 


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


                This sucks

and ends with


(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]

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.

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