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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