Treefall – Henry Murray

treefall

World pre­miere by Rogue Machine The­atre in Los Ange­les on July 30, 2009.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

August (16-year-old boy)                                                  West Liang
Flynn (18-year-old boy)                                                    Brian Nor­ris
Craig (14-year-old boy)                                                    Brian Pugach
Bug (17-year-old girl mas­querad­ing as a boy)                Tania Verafield

Direc­tor:  John Per­rin Flynn
Set Design:  Stephanie Ker­ley Schwartz
Light­ing Design:  Leigh Allen
Sound Design:  Joseph “Sloe” Slaw­in­ski
Cos­tume Design:  Lau­ren Tyler
Stage Man­ager:  Amanda Mauer

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Mur­ray, Henry. Treefall. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, 2010. Drama Library PS3613. U758 T74 2009.

Set­ting:  A moun­tain cabin in the Pacific North­west after an envi­ron­men­tal cat­a­stro­phe takes place.  A few scenes take place in areas near the cabin.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary

CRAIG

(Hold­ing Dru like a baby and play­ing Mommy) Mr. Bug, please excuse this silli­ness. My sons have a ten­dency to for­get their place. It’s been hard rais­ing them by myself. My hus­band, he had quite a nice penis but he died in a stam­pede at a gro­cery store dur­ing a food short­age. It was tragic really–

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Three boys live together in an iso­lated cabin in the Pacific North­west after an unspec­i­fied envi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter seem­ingly has caused a large major­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in the world to per­ish, par­tic­u­larly the adults.  The boys rit­u­al­is­ti­cally re-enact a life they can barely remem­ber, a life of nor­malcy where a fam­ily means a daddy and a mommy and a child.  Into their world comes a stranger who dis­rupts their care­fully crafted but slowly fail­ing life.  Just as it’s only a mat­ter of time before one of the dying trees around their cabin falls on and destroys their home, even with­out the appear­ance of Bug, the boys’ frag­ile fam­ily struc­ture, which was already show­ing stresses and cracks, was doomed.  There’s a bit too much quot­ing from Romeo and Juliet; and Craig pre­tend­ing to be his doll, Dru, is extremely annoy­ing, despite him being the most fully real­ized char­ac­ter, almost preter­nat­u­rally wise in some ways while being unbe­liev­ably naïve in oth­ers.  How­ever, weak­nesses in the script aside, there are affec­tive, sim­ple moments that res­onate around the prin­ci­pal ques­tion of the play:  what makes a family?

 

 

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.39:  Craig reads a comic book and explains about Super­man and vam­pires to Dru, his doll. 

CRAIG

(As Dru) Here’s Super­man hold­ing up a bridge with one hand and a bus full of peo­ple in the other.   (As Craig) He must be quite strong. (As Dru) Well, look at those mus­cles. (As Craig) He does have nice mus­cles. [Lines cut] (As the doll) I’m just a doll. But there’s the ques­tion of good­ness, isn’t there? Vam­pires are basi­cally self­ish crea­tures who are afraid to die. (As Craig) That’s not fair. Vam­pires are ordi­nary peo­ple who could die except…they… Nobody really wants to die.

               

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  Most of the scenes in the play are for three or more char­ac­ters but there are a few that are just two peo­ple.  

p. 29–32:  August and Bug spend some time together and August tries to seduce Bug. Starts with

AUGUST

What’s it like east of here?

and ends with

AUGUST

You made whiskey come out of my nose.

p.39–41: Flynn tries to explain human anatomy and the dif­fer­ences between boys and girls to Craig. Starts with

CRAIG

(As Dru) Here’s Super­man hold­ing up a bridge with one hand and a bus full of peo­ple in the other.   (As Craig) He must be quite strong. (As Dru) Well, look at those mus­cles. (As Craig) He does have nice mus­cles. [Lines cut] (As the doll) I’m just a doll. But there’s the ques­tion of good­ness, isn’t there? Vam­pires are basi­cally self­ish crea­tures who are afraid to die. (As Craig) That’s not fair. Vam­pires are ordi­nary peo­ple who could die except…they… Nobody really wants to die.

and ends with

CRAIG

Come along, Dru. Mommy doesn’t want to miss this.

 

 

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

Bran­des, P. (2009, Aug 6). The­ater review: ‘Treefall’ at the­atre the­ater. [open acces] LA Times.

Buzzelli, M. (2009, Aug 3). Rogue Machine’s treefall @theatre the­ater:  A bril­liant new work from henry mur­ray. [open access] Eye Spy LA.

Mor­ris, S. L. (2009, Aug 5). Treefall and the chairs:  Beyond world’s end. [open access] LA Weekly.

Orloff, P. (2009, Aug 28). ‘Treefall’ at rogue machine. [open access] Cul­ture Spot LA.

Sokol, R. (2011, Feb 7). Intrigu­ing, uneven ‘treefall’ not beg­ging to be heard. [open access] SF Exam­iner.

Spin­dle, L. (2009, Aug 5) Treefall. [open access] Backstage.com.

Tren­chard, C. (2011, Feb 7). In treefall, a young cast rises at new con­ser­va­tory the­atre. [open access] SF Weekly.

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