First performed at the Southwark Playhouse in London on March 9, 2012.
Alec—a 20-year-old soldier Robbie Jarvis-Dean
Ryan—a twelve-year-old boy Joseph Drake
Jack—a twelve-year-old boy Joshua Williams
Lyn—Alec and Ryan’s mom Olivia Poulet
Gordy—in his twenties, a con man Andrew Hawley
Evie—Jack’s obese mother Amanda Daniels
Mikey—Alec and Ryan’s dad Simon Lenagan
Director: Russell Bolam
Scenic and Costume Design: Anthony Lamble
Lighting Design: Richard Howell
Sound Design: Tom Gibbons
Publication: Ridley, Philip. Shivered. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2013. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 S38 2013.
Setting: Draylingstowe in Essax, an automotive factory town that has gone bust.
No, mate! My legs’re fucking hurting. I can feel the veins knotting together like… like knotting-together stuff. They hurt! Fuck!
Plot: Ryan and Jack are two twelve-year-old boys looking for aliens. Ryan’s brother, Alec, was a soldier whose beheading by the enemy was filmed and shared on the internet. Ryan’s dad, a former automotive factory worker, has gone missing; and his mother can’t cope with their son’s death. The play is fragmented and the scenes are out of order, reflecting the fragmentation of modern-day life and illuminating often-overlooked details with the benefit of hindsight. The first act works better than the second, but the language and themes remain affecting. Although the boys are twelve in the play, teens or college aged actors would be appropriate as the subject matter is quite mature.
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.25: Jack tells Ryan what happened to this girl at school who didn’t want to watch the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded.
There was this girl. Gemma Burns. She’s the year above me. She said she thought watching something like that was disgusting. She don’t watch anything. Not even bullfights or dogs being sick. She’s a right stuck-up cunt. [Lines cut] Reece Jackson said they should break into Gemma’s bedroom one night and hold her down like they did in the toilets, only this time make her watch the film of her throwing up while watching your brother’s head being cut off. I said, if they did that, I’d like to be the one to film it. (Slight pause.) I think it’s a fake anyway.
p.33: Gordy tells Lyn what happens to greyhounds once they stop racing.
You know what happens to greyhounds when they stop winning races. They’re killed. That was my job. I’d take them to the wood at the back of the stadium. I’d tie their leads round branches. Leave them to hang. [Lines cut] Next time I did it, word had spread. There were twice as many people. I charged them money. Every time I did it the audience grew. I made more money from killing the dogs than my neighbor did from racing them. (Slight pause) Wanna meet later?
Representative Scenes: Scenes contain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please consult the published text for the scene in its entirety.
p. 10–12: Ryan and Jack are watching the canal and waiting for the alien monster to appear so that Ryan can take a picture of it. Starts with
Okay… If anything comes out of the canal—We’re ready!
and ends with
I see it! (Jack and Ryan scream.)
p.27–29: The first time Jack and Ryan meet. Jack is hiding out from a group of bullies and Ryan is trying to find evidence of aliens to prove his dad isn’t crazy. Starts with
What are you doing?
and ends with
RYAN AND JACK
p.38–40: Jack and Ryan are again waiting for aliens. Ryan shows Jack how to draw aliens. During their lesson, Jack convinces Ryan to look at the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded. At the end of the scene Ryan beats Jack unconscious and leaves him. The beating leaves Jack brain dead. Starts with
You mean… aliens look like snakes.
and ends with
Fuck me, no need for that, mate. Jesus. (Struggles to get up.) Help me up, mate… Come on… My bones are bending in this position—Shit! Shit! (Ryan picks up a piece of rubble.) Come on, mate. (Ryan strikes Jack with rubble.) Mate, what’s that for? Come on! (Slight pause. Ryan strikes Jack again.) There no need for—Mate! Don’t! (Ryan hits Jack some more. Jack is screaming now.) Stop it, mate. It’s fucking hurting… Don’t! Mate! Let’s do some drawing. (Ryan continues to strike Jack.) Let’s do… some drawing…
Select Bibliography of Reviews and Criticism: (Note: article title links are to the online versions, mostly UW-only restricted unless designated as open access.)
Bowie-Sell, D. (2012, Apr 2). Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, review. [open access] The Telegraph.
Costa, M. (2012, Mar 15). Shivered—review. [open access] The Guardian.
Purves, L. (2012, Mar 15). It’s grimmer down south; Philip Ridley’s violent new Essex drama leaves Libby Purves unmoved. The Times (London), pp.12.
Taylor, P. (2012, Mar 15). Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, London. [open access] The Independent.