Privilege – Paul Weitz

privilege

Originally produced by the Second Stage Theatre in New York City, April 25, 2005.

Original Cast:

Porter (16)                                       Harry Zittel
Charlie (12)                                      Conor Donovan
Anna (early 40s)                               Carolyn McCormick
Erla (early 30s; Latina)                      Florencia Lozano
Ted (mid 40s)                                    Bob Saget

Director:  Peter Askin
Scenic Design:  Thomas Lynch
Costume Design:  Jeff Mahshie
Lighting Design:  Jeff Croiter
Original Music and Sound Design:  Lewis Flinn
Stage Managers:  Gerald Cosgrove and Michael McGoff

Publication:  Weitz, Paul. Privilege. Dramatists Play Service, 2006. Drama Library PS3573. E4314 P75 2006.

Setting:  An expensive Upper East side apartment, New York City, and a modest apartment on the Upper West Side, New York City, 1987.

Language:  Contemporary

PORTER

It’s my room and I’ll fart if I want to. (Sings.) It’s my party and I’ll fart if I want to, fart if I want to, fart if I want to…

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:  The lives of two teenagers on the Upper East Side change dramatically when their father is convicted of insider trading.

 

Representative Monologues:  All of the monologues in the play are under one minute.  (Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p. 15:  Porter questions attending Brown University.

PORTER

What’s the big deal about Brown? What if I don’t want to go to Brown? What if I’d rather go to Apex Tech? What if I’d rather learn a valuable trade, like washing machine repair? [lines cut] Of course I’d have to change my name, you can’t have a doorman named “Porter.” I’d have to change it to “Joe”—or “Jimmy.”

p. 23:  Charlie writes a letter to the Times.

CHARLIE

So I think I should write a letter to the Times. You want to hear my first draft? (Charlie takes out a piece of paper and reads.) “In this land, we are innocent until proven guilty. Our forefathers fought for various rights, such as that of a man’s innocence until guilt is proven. [Lines cut] I guess I have to take out that last part. Well, what do you think?

p. 30:  Erla explains the reality of the boys’ new situation to them.

ERLA

No, Charlie, we’re not a team. You two are a team. [Lines cut] You have computer games, you have waterskis, you have servants. You have become accustomed to the idea of people serving you.

 

Representative Scenes:   The play is mostly made up of scenes between the two brothers so there are many scenes to choose from.

p. 5-6:  Charlie and Porter are supposed to be packing for Antigua and end the scene discussing farts. Starts with

CHARLIE

Oh God, I’m so bored.

and ends with

CHARLIE

If I showed you a ten, you would die immediately.

p. 21-22:  Porter and Charlie discover the extent of their father’s crimes in the New York Times. Starts with

PORTER

What? What about the Times?

and ends with

 PORTER

Yeah, it sort of does. “Assistant D.A. Theresa Novalis believes the government case is strong. ‘It’s about time,” she says, ‘that the party ended.’ “

 

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

Gluck, V. (2005). Privilege. Back Stage, 46(19), 40.

Isherwood, C. (2005, Apr 26). Daddy’s rich (mama’s good looking) and trouble’s an insider trade away. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. 2.

Kershner, J. (2011, Feb 27). Review: Clunky at times, but a rich story is told in ‘privilege’. McClatchy – Tribune Business News.

Pincus-Roth, Z. (2005). Paul pushes play on ‘Privilege’. Daily Variety, 287(19), 27.

Rizzo, F. (2005). Privilege. Variety, 398(11), 74.

Stevens, A. (2005, May 06). Conor donovan and harry zittel. New York Times, pp. 0-24.

Wolfe, A. (2005). Money changes everything. New York, 38(16), 73-74.

The Idiot Box – Michael Elyanow

television

First produced by Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago in 2003.

Original Cast:

Fiona                     Kathy Logelin
Connor                 Jim Slonina
Veronica
               Meghan McDonough
Omar                     Ansa Akyea
Chloe                    Beth Lacke
Raymond              Bradley Balof
Billy                       Brad Eric Johnson
Harvey                  Rom Barkhordar
Mark                     Joe Dempsey
Stephanie            Lisa Rothschiller

Characters (All early-to-mid-30s)

The Cast Regulars
Mark:
  The Neurotic New Yorker. He’s a paramedic.
Chloe:  The Spoiled Rich Girl. She’s a curtain designer.
Billy:  The Sex-Crazed Dummy. He’s a model.
Fiona: The New Age Hippie. She’s an acupuncturist.
Stephanie: The Controlling Wife. She’s a romance novelist.

The Guest Spots
Harvey: 
He’s a doctor in the navel reserves.
Raymond:  He’s a drag queen/cabaret singer.
Veronica:  She’s an Australian dog shusherer.
Omar:  He’s a non-Caucasian PhD student.

Director:  Jeremy B. Cohen
Scenic Design:  Brian Sidney Bembridge
Costume Design:  Rachel Healy
Lighting Design:  Jaymi Lee Smith
Sound Design:  Andre Pluess

Publication:  Elyanow, Michael. The Idiot Box. Samuel French, 2008. Drama Library PS3605. L93 I35 2008.

Setting:  New York City, winter, the living room of a split-level penthouse suite.

Language:  Contemporary sitcom

CHLOE

Toast. What A Slice of Toast Might Say. Since when does a hooker ever say “My crust is turning brown?” Never. A hooker never says that.

Genre/Style:  The first act, according to the playwright, should play like a great modern sitcom; the second act should be more gritty, honest, and real.  However, one problem with the play is that the regulars in the first act are, for the most part, annoying and not very likeable and the situations they find themselves in are so farcical that by the time the second act arrives, it’s difficult to make the transition to caring about them as “real people” with “real problems.”  Another problem with the play is the plethora of problems they face, from strange boyfriends with chubby chasing tendencies, emergent homosexual feelings, racism, social consciousness, etc.

Plot:  The play tells the story of six sitcom characters whose lives are changed when reality crashes into their perfect world.

 

Representative Monologues:  (Long mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p. 27:  Omar tries to explain to Chloe why he felt the need to find her and leave her a letter.

OMAR

…I’m sorry. I’m gonna. Sorry.

He exits. But just as CHLOE is about to close the door:

No, wait. Please. The thing is. I was watching the play and somewhere toward the end of the first act I happened to take my eyes off the stage for a second and…I saw you sitting across from me and you were so completely “in it”, I mean, leaning forward, tears in your eyes, you know, and I was thinking, Yes! [Lines cut] You must be the most extraordinary person. And I must be a complete idiot for talking all this time and not introducing myself. Omar Jackson. Blabbermouth.

p. 36:  Fiona defends herself against Harvey’s charge that she only pretends to be a hippie so that her friends will like her and explains to him just what she’s gotten out of being a hippie.

FIONA

Okay. Stop. I’m gonna stop you right there. You know, just because we went out a few times, don’t presume you know me and don’t presume I don’t know what I’m doing. [Lines cut] I haven’t had to pay for anything—quite literally—since I was TWELVE. That’s what being a so-called flighty, wind-in-her-hair-hippie has gotten me.

p. 61-62:  Stephanie’s on the phone talking to her hero, LaVyrle Spencer about her writer’s block. (A very long monologue, at least 2 minutes.)

STEPHANIE

Hello? HellomMYGODhello!  I’ve been on hold so long I wasn’t sure if I got disconnected but I don’t think I did if this is you, LaVyrle, IS this you, LaVyrle, do you mind if I call you LaVyrle? Um,oh, it’s me, Ms. Spencer: Stephanie Dah. No-no-no-no, don’t hang up! [Lines cut] I write about Love. I need Love. And if [I] give that up, if I give up Love… I have no husband, no marriage, no career, and then what? What am I left with? What the fuck do I have then, LaVyrle?

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 35-37:  Harvey and Fiona argue in a subway car. Starts with

FIONA

You feel sorry for me?

and ends with

FIONA

Oh, Harvey. FUCK OFF.

p. 41-44:  Billy accuses Raymond of trying to seduce him by pretending to be something he’s not:  a woman.  Starts with

BILLY

What did you do to me?

and ends with

RAYMOND

What are you?

p. 62-64:  Chloe and Omar confront each other about the fact that Omar has accepted a job in Berkeley without telling Chloe but Chloe found out and is looking for a job on the West Coast, hoping he’ll take her with him.  Stars with

CHLOE

It’s not what you think.

and ends with

OMAR

I didn’t think you’d say yes. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a little… I’m far from perfect. That’s just me. Sometimes I do, I get scared and I make mistakes. Does that sound like something you could be a part of?

 

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

Houlihan, M. (2003, May 9). “More than just ‘Friends’ – Typical sitcom characters get dose of reality from playwright in ‘The Idiot Box’.” Chicago Sun-Times 9; nc.

Chris Jones, T.,arts reporter. (2003, May 25). `The idiot box’ needs fine-tuning. Chicago Tribune.

Rosell, K. (2011, April 18). The Idiot Box opens at CSUF. Daily Titan, The: California State University – Fullerton (CA) n.pag.

Street, N. (2007, August 3). Bipolar Express: ‘Idiot Box’ takes a trip. Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The (CA) n.pag.

Zeff, D. (2003, June 5). Theater Review – `The Idiot Box’: A misguided event. Beacon News, The (Aurora, IL) E6.

 

Steve & Idi – David Grimm

donut

Produced by Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, in New York City, on April 23, 2008.

Original Cast:

 

Steve                                    David Grimm
Ralph 
                                   Greg Keller
Max 
                                      Zachary Knower
Brad
                                      Michael Busillo
Idi Amin                                 Evan Parke

Steve:  Intelligent, defensive, neurotic gay Jewish writer in his 30s
Ralph:  Scruffy, unshaven, hyper-intellectual writer in his 30s
Max:  Heavyset, long-haired, bearded left-wing teddy bear of a writer in his 30s
Brad:  A beautiful young man in his mid 20s
Idi Amin:  Apparition of the former President of Uganda


Director:  Eleanor Holdridge
Scenic Design:  Kris Stone
Costume Design:  Jessica Ford
Lighting Design:  Les Dickert
Sound Design:  Scott Killian
Stage Manager:  Emily M. Arnold

Publication:  Grimm, David. Steve & Idi. (2009). Dramatists Play Service. Drama Library PS3607. R56 S74 2009

Setting:  Steve’s apartment in downtown Brooklyn, New Year’s Eve and after.

Language:  Contemporary with contemporary references that will date it quickly; but it has some great one-liners

MAX

Dreaming about John McCain is the first sign of madness.

Genre/Style:  Comedy; if you find the idea of the ghost of Idi Amin eating Krispy Kreme donuts and discussing torture funny.

Plot:  The ghost of Idi Amin, former Ugandan strongman, haunts a New York playwright, demanding that he write a play about him in three days.   His boyfriend and his agent have just dumped the playwright, Steve, and he’s suicidal. The play begins with an intriguing idea:  a playwright with writer’s block is visited by the ghost of Idi Amin, who demands that he write a play about him in three days, but doesn’t go far enough with it.  Idi Amin as a character, as a symbol, as a metaphor, carries substantial weight; he was a tyrant who used violence to cow both his enemies and the citizens of Uganda.  To reduce him to a pizza- and donut-eating ghost who lounges about haranguing a playwright misses dramatic opportunities even if, in the end, Amin is just a figment of the writer’s imagination.  The play does have scenes where the playwright, seemingly under the influence of Amin, succumbs to darker impulses, but overall, the play barely skims the surface of its setup.

 

 

Representative Monologues:  (Long mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p.10:  Steve ranting about the futility of playwrighting.

STEVE

Reading, workshop, reading, workshop—Suck my fucking dick. What are we doing, anyway? Why are we pretending? You can play the politically engaged writer all you like, Ralph, it won’t make you a better artist and it won’t absolve you. [Lines cut] I look in the mirror and my fucking gorge rises till I wanna tear my face off and flush it down the toilet. “Let’s write a play!” Jesus Christ, what an utterly pointless waste of time.

p.31-32:  Idi explains hunger and yearning.

IDI

When yearning ends, life ends. I am what becomes of yearning that will not die. You think I do not understand?

 For eight years, Field Marshal Amin loved his people. For eight years he makes them beautiful and strong and asks for nothing but their love. But always they betray him. Even in Jiddah, in exile. [Lines cut]

What is done cannot be undone. The glorious past is lost forever.

p.41:  Idi pushing for a final time for Steve to finish the play.

IDI

I want Danny Glover. Danny Glover must play me. The Forest Whitaker was good but everybody loves the Danny Glover. Plus he was a Lethal Weapon. Roger Murtaugh. I also like the Lethal Weapon 2: “The magic is back!” Number Three and Four, not so much, but still… Danny Glover!

[Lines cut]

Why do you stare? Get me donuts. Get me steak. Get me a bottle of wine and a woman!

p. 42:  Steve, upon smelling a t-shirt belonging to his ex.

STEVE

(In a kind of reverie.) Sandalwood and sweat—Salt and honey. Bitter steel. If only I could bottle this. (He smells it again, tastes it. He speaks very calmly.)

If he were here right now, I would take him in my arms and taste his lips. I would rock him and comfort him and tell him everything’s all right. I would place around his neck a thin gold wire, sharp as razors. And oh so slowly I would draw it: Oh so gently but oh so tight and watch as it pinches his skin and breaks it. [Lines cut] I would taste his blood and pull at his hair and chew skin off his face and swallow it. And I would shout the name of God and know it only has the meaning I give it, because everything is empty. And then I would know what it’s like to be free.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 23-24:  Steve tries to convince Max that he really is being haunted by the ghost of Idi Amin. Starts with

MAX

Okay, so where is it?

and ends with

MAX

What better inspiration for a writer than a blank page? I’m sorry, man, but with Daniel there was never any there there. Come on—You saw something beautiful in him—Great. That’s part of your gift, man. But all that stuff, that wasn’t in him. That’s in you.

p. 30-31: Idi is upset because Steve seems obsessed by his ex and isn’t working on the play. Starts with

IDI

(Looking at compute.) What is this? Answer me! What is this?

and ends with

IDI

I am proud of you for it. Love cannot be trusted. It is better to be feared. Fear lasts longer than love.

 

 

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

 

Feingold, M. (2008, May). Some unenchanted evenings. The Village Voice, pp.54

James, Caryn. (2008, May 7). A lesson before writing, courtesy of idi amin’s ghost. The New York Times, pp.4.

Scheck, Frank. (2008, May 6). Absurd tale with Ugandan dictor is “idi’-otic. The New York Post, pp.42.

Thelman, S. (2008). Steve and Idi. Daily Variety, 299(22), 4-7.

Mistakes Were Made – Craig Wright

frenchrevolution

Received its world premiere production in 2009 at A Red Orchid in Chicago and at Hartford Stage in Connecticut.  New York premiere in November 2010 at Barrow Street Theatre.

Original Cast:

Felix Artifex  (a producer)                           Michael Shannon
Esther (secretary to Mr. Artifex)                   Mierka Girten
Puppeter (koi fish)                                       Sam Deutsch

Director:  Dexter Bullard
Set Design:  Tom Burch
Costume Design:  Tif Bullard
Lighting Design:  Keith Parham
Sound Design:  Joseph Fosco
Hair and Makeup Design: Nan Zabriskie
Stage Manager: Richard A. Hodge

Publication:  Wright, Craig. Mistakes Were Made. Dramatists Play Service, 2011. Drama Library PS3573. R5322 M57 2011

Setting:   An office in the present.

Language:  Contemporary.

FELIX

Okay, so—okay, so—fine— so you tell me, Johnny, so, then, no, you tell me, who is the star of the French Revolution if King Louis is not the star?

Genre/Style:  Comedy.  See previous post (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity)about how I don’t find most stage comedies very funny.  This would be an example.  It’s amusing in parts, but the structure, a one-man show where said man spends most of his time on the phone, becomes tiring very quickly.  That said, there are some very funny moments, they’re just few and far between, and a lot would depend on the particular actor playing the part.  Also, given that the play first premiered in 2009 and contains numerous contemporary references, it feels curiously old-fashioned.  Wouldn’t a high-powered producer do more of his work on a smartphone these days?  I can imagine someone fielding texts and tweets, but not dealing with ten land lines.

Plot:  A Broadway producer is frantically trying to seal the deal with a big star, financial backers, theatre owners, and the playwright of a play about the French Revolution called Mistakes Were Made.

 

Representative Monologues: Note: Although Felix’s secretary is a character in the play, she is only seen in silhouette and her lines are negligible. The play is closer to a one-man play than a true two-hander, so there are many monologue opportunities.   (Long mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p.16: Felix is trying to convince the playwright, Steven, to make the changes to his play suggested by a star Felix is trying to get to commit to the play.

FELIX

Steven, here’s the deal:  life is unbearable and short.

(Clarifying) Yes, life is unbearable and short and people want to be entertained.

Meanwhile, you’re in the Heartland, with your wife and kid, working your day job, but getting ideas, which is what I love about you. You’ve got your cute little family, your ten thousand things, your grocery lists, strollers, your torn-up floors, but you’re sitting there thinking, “Maybe the French Revolution would be fun to put on stage! [Lines cut]

[Lines cut] And me, Steven, little me, I’m sitting here in New York City, the hub of the Western World, with the razor-sharp bottom of this whole pyramid resting on my eyeball, you know, I’ve got all these myriad vectors, Steven, bearing down on my little watery eyeball, I’m sitting here seeing all these forces at work, and all I’m doing, kid, all I’m doing all day long, is trying like hell to do whatever I can to draw all these disparate, tragic, lovely forces together because for me, Steven, poor sucker that I am, this is my curse, there’s no greatest pleasure in life I can imagine right now than to make your play happen on stage!

p.36-37:  Felix finds out the owner of the theater where he hopes to put on the play has pulled his slot.

FELIX

Oscar, I was just about to call you!

[Lines cut]

It sure as hell is my slot, Oscar—what show?

(The phone rings.)

No, you’re not.

NO, you’re not doing a musical version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Because, Oscar, it’s the worst idea in the history of Western Civilization.

You have to ask? Because Atticus Finch is not a singing character, Oscar. He’s not a character who can be made to credibly sing, it’d be like watching an—anteater stand up and sing! Gregory Peck shut the door on this idea 50 years ago!

You never sat down with Miley Cyrus. That’s a lie.

And Billy Ray? Really? For Atticus?

Wow! Another lie! I love this game!

 

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

Dziemianowicz, J. (2010, Nov 17). ‘Mistakes’ misses its calling. New York Daily News.

Isherwood, C. (2010, Nov 16). A producer, his telephone and desperation. New York Times.

Plemmons, C. (2009, Nov 13). ‘Mistakes were made:’ hartford stage saddled with been there, done that comedy. The News – Times.

Rizzo, F., & rizzo@courantcom. (2009, Nov 08). PLAYWRIGHT HAS FEET ON TERRA FIRMA, HEAD IN COSMOS. Hartford Courant.

Maple and Vine – Jordan Harrison

harrison

First produced at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in March 2011; and had its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons in December 2011.

Original Cast:

Katha  (mid to late 30s)                                                                  Kate Turnbull
Ryu (mid to late 30s)                                                                       Peter Kim
Dean (late 30s)                                                                               Paul Niebanck
Ellen/Jenna (late 30s.  Also plays Jenna)                                     Jeanine Serralles
Roger/Omar (mid to late 30s.  Also plays Omar)                         Jesse Pennington

Director:  Anne Kauffman
Scenic Design:
  Brian Sidney Bembridge
Costume Design:  Connie Furr Soloman
Lighting Design:  Jeff Nellis
Sound Design:  Benjamin Marcum
Properties Design:  Alice Baldwin
Stage Manager:  Melissa Rae Miller
Dramaturg:  Amy Wegener

Publication:  Harrison, Jordan. Maple and Vine. Samuel French. 2012.  Drama Library, PS3608. A78348 M37 2012

Setting:  There are many locations, both in the present and past

Language:  Contemporary

RYU

I think…people aren’t happy. People have never been happy. The whole idea is a tyranny. Slaves building the pyraminds…Serfs. They didn’t have enough time to ask “Am I happy?” This is not even a hundred-year-old idea: “Am I happy.”

Genre/Style:  Darkly comedic drama.

Plot:  A contemporary, professional couple decides to abandon their Manhattan lifestyle for a simpler existence right out the 1950s, 1955 to be exact, with a group of people who have recreated Eisenhower America somewhere in the Midwest, the SDO, the Society of Dynamic Obsolescence.  The play’s premise holds a lot of promise, however, it doesn’t satisfactorily deal with the various issues it raises.  Particularly interesting is a sub-plot involving two secondary characters who are far more interesting than the two lead characters.

Representative Monologues:  (Long mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p.14:  Dean speaks about the difference between the modern world and the world of 1955. 

DEAN

It wasn’t that the modern world was too fast, or too noisy. In a way, it was too quiet. Let me explain.  IN the 21st century, everything’s pretty easy, right? You have your thrive-thru espresso. Your drive-thru pharmacy. Or why go to the store when you can get it online? You hardly have to interact with anyone—except for all those people you’ve never en met who enter your life through our computer, pulling you every which way.

 [Lines cut]

In the modern world, I used to make it through half the day without talking to a single soul. I used to have it so easy. And now, looking back—I realize how lonely I was.

p.39:  Ellen explains her work on the Authenticity Committee.

ELLEN

We take our job very seriously on the Authenticity Committee.  It’s not just clothes and mimeograph machines—it’s about everyone’s emotional experience.  And the question we have to answer again and again is how far do you take it.

We have people from all walks of life in the SDO. And the question sometimes is how do we respond authentically to these people. [Lines cut] It can be complicated to navigate, but authenticity is very important to us.

p.74:  Roger responds after Ryu tries to blackmail him into putting him up for a raise by insinuating that he saw Roger and Dean kissing outside of his house.

ROGER

Let me tell you about a heap of trouble, Ryu. See, I know you’re really a nice guy. And I know you wouldn’t want to do something to mess up your prospects here. Because I’ve been giving you the good word. I’ve seen lots of people come through here and nobody does well without the good word from the floor manager. Especially the non-whites. [Lines cut] So why don’t you keep your head down and do your work and eat your fucking bologna. See you later.

 

Representative Scenes:

p.43-44:  Ryu and Katha are discussing what to do if they decide they need to talk about the 21st century while living in the past. Starts with

KATHA

What if we had a Safe Word.

and ends with

BOTH

I like Ike!

I like Ike!

I like Ike!

I like Ike!

p.95-96:  Ryu and Kathy are now the leading couple in town.  Starts with

(RYU speaks out.  KATHY stands farther off, enormously pregnant now.)

RYU

First of all, welcome.  Welcome to the SDO.

and ends with

KATHY

(hand to her belly) The present.

 

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

Carter, A. T. (2012, Oct 22). ‘Maple and vine’s’ sentimental journey doesn’t lead where expected. Tribune – Review / Pittsburgh Tribune – Review. (Review of Pittsburgh production)

Cox, G. (2011). Trio of shows shines at Humana fest. Variety, 422(10), 23. (Review of production at the Humana Festival)

D’Souza, K. (2012, Apr 12). Unplug at ‘maple and vine’. Contra Costa Times, p. T.20.  (Review of San Francisco production at ACT)

Isherwood, C. (2011, Dec 08). Exchanging lattes for an ‘ozzie and harriet’ world. New York Times, p. C.1. (Review of NY production at Playwrights Horizons)

Kennedy, L. (2013, Jan 11). Curious theatre wrestles with nostalgia at “maple and vine”. Denver Post, p. C6. (Review of Denver production)

Kennedy, L. (2013, Jan 18). Darkly fun “maple and vine” sends modern pair to 1955. Denver Post, p. C12. (Review of Denver production)

Maple and Vine. (2011). Daily Variety, 313(47), 3. (Review of NY production at Playwrights Horizons)

SHEWARD, D. (2011). Less Is More at Louisville. Back Stage, 52(15), 12-13. (Review of production at the Humana Festival)

SHEWARD, D. (2011). Maple and Vine at Playwrights Horizons. Back Stage, 52(50), 40-41. (Review of NY production at Playwrights Horizons)

Soloski, A. (2011, Sep 07). Fall arts: Playwright jordan harrison’s simple plan: “maple and vine”. The Village Voice. [open access] (Review of NY production at Playwrights Horizons)

Vincentelli, E. (2011, Dec 08). An era-neous take on 1950s. New York Post,p. 61. (Review of NY production at Playwrights Horizons)

Weinert-Kendt, R. (2011, Nov 27). Back to the ’50s, trying to escape freedom’s pitfalls. New York Times, p. AR.4. (Review of NY production at Playwrights Horizons)

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity – Kristoffer Diaz

diazWas first produced by Victory Garden in Chicago, IL. on September 25, 2009.  Subsequently produced by 2econd Stage Theatre in New York City, May 20, 2010.  The play was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Original Cast:

Vigneshwar Paduar                                    Usman Ally
Chad Deity                                                   Lamal Angelo Bolden
Macedonio Guerra                                     Desmin Borges
Everett K. Olson/Ring Announcer           James Krag
Joe Jabroni/Bill Heartland/Old Glory       Christian Litke

Vigneshwar Paduar (also known as VP) – A young Indian-American Brooklynite. Charismatic, natural, effortless.

Chad Deity (also known as Chad Deity) – The African-American champion of THE Wrestling. Confident, handsome, not a very good wrestler.

Macedonio Guerra (also known as The Mace) – A Puerto Rican professional wrestler. Good at what he does, undersized, our hero.

Everett K. Olson (also known as EKO) – The Caucasian owner of THE Wrestling. Brash, confident, ostensibly our villain.

The Bad Guy – A nondescript professional wrestler (non-speaking; also plays Billy Heartland  and Old Glory.)

Director:  Edward Torres
Scenic Design:  Brian Sidney Bembridge
Costume Design:  Christine Pascual
Lighting Design:  Jessie Klug
Sound Design:  Mikhail Fiskel
Projections:  John Boesche
Properties Design:  D.J. Reed
Fight Director:  David Wooley
Stage Manager:  Tina M. Jach
Dramaturg:  Erica L. Weiss


Publication:
  Diaz, Kristoffer. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Samuel French, 2011. Drama Library PS3604. I182 E43 2011.

Setting:  A wrestling ring

Language:  Contemporary with street-wise poetic bent

VP

Motherfucker, you step on my sneakers again and I will fuck your ass up.

Me and my whole country got the capabilities.

Long-range nuclear missile status, doggy.

We the new Superpower.

We make your Jordans, train your doctors, AND help desk your ass when your Mac breaks down.

New Superpower, suckas. Get your ass up off my street with that shit.

(back to the phone)

Nah, pero Mamita, oye what I’m saying about India:  Kama. Sutra.

Genre/Style:  Comedy.  Unlike most theatrical comedies, this one actually made me laugh, maybe because I watched The Wrestling when I was a kid (and, yes, we called it The Wrestling) and know who Jimmy “The Superfly” Snuka, Ricky Steamboat, and Ric Flair are.

Plot:  The wonderful world of THE Wrestling, where a Puerto-Rican professional wrestler whose specialty is losing to the talent recruits an Indian-American kid to battle Chad Deity, the African-American champion of THE Wrestling.

 

Representative Monologues:  (Long mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p.31-32:  Eko, Mace, and VP discussing VP’s and Mace’s wrestling promo to promote The Fundamentalist and Che Chavez Castro, their new wrestling identities.  Chad Deity appears with a loaf of raisin bread.  [VP’s line can be cut.] 

CHAD DEITY

The government demands that there be a minimum number of raisins in raisin bread.

(all eyes on CHAD DEITY)

It’s true. Says so right here on the back of The Champ’s bag of raisin bread.

[VP

You know, we’re actually in the middle of something—]

 CHAD DEITY

[Don’t worry—you’re not bothering The Champ.]

You see, brother, most people find the government’s involvement in raisin bread allotment kind of ridiculous. But not Chad Deity, no way, baby. Chad Deity knows that it is not ridiculous. [Lines cut]

And you, Mace, of all people in this room, should understand the American Dream, particularly as relates to raisin bread, because your people fought, and protested, and boycotted for the right to pick grapes.

p.15:  Mace is explaining the popularity of Chad Deity’s powerbomb move.

MACE

People love the powerbomb. They love the power, the beauty, the implausibility of it. People know that the powerbomb requires me and The Champ to unite to make it look like he’s murdering me., when in actuality I’m doing what I can to make him look like the all-world fighting machine he’s made out to be, and he’s doing what he can with his limited capability to make sure I don’t break my neck, and so at the bottom of what we’re doing is we’re both trying to ensure that neither one of us gets hurt. That fact is is powerful and beautiful and, like I said, one of the most profound expressions of the ideals of this nation.

p.34:  VP trash-talking Chad Deity

VP

We got a Black world champion and he’s rich and he God Blesses America, and he talks vociferous and he’s non-threatening unless you yourself are a threat to that which he God Blesses, and you ain’t a threat because you’re physically imposing or because you might pull off your fucking dashiki—or whatever the fuck you terrorist types wear—and bomb an arena full of God-fearing, Chad Deity-fearing, tax-paying, ticket-buying Americans, but you’re a threat because Chad Deity drew a fucking line in the sand and instead of stepping over that line so Chad Deity could pick you up, powerbomb you, pin you,, you held your ground and didn’t speak and dared that dude to meet you on your side of his stupid fucking line of fiction.

 

Representative Scenes:  (Note:  This play has a number of three-person appropriate scenes as well as the two-person scene below.)

p.12-13: Mace explains why Chad Deity is the most popular wrestler on The Wrestling. Starts with  

MACE

Here are the facts about Chad Deity, organized in handy numbered outline form.  Number one:  Chad Deity is extremely muscular

and ends with

CHAD DEITY

Not even remotely important!

 

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

Brantley, B. (2010, May 21). Body slam to the american dream. New York Times. (Review of Second Stage production)

Lemon, B. (2010). The elaborate entrance of chad deity, second stage, new york. FT.Com (Review of Second Stage production)

McNULTY, C. (2011, Sep 09). THEATER REVIEW; ‘chad’ is ready to rumble. Los Angeles Times. (Review of Geffen Playhouse production in Los Angeles)

Preston, R. (2010, Apr 12). “Chad deity:” A body slam from the gods: “the elaborate entrance of chad deity” at mixed blood is rock-’em-sock-’em theater, with insight into cultural stereotypes. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. (Review of the Mixed Blood Theatre production)

Royce, G. (2010, Apr 08). From the wrestling ring to the stage: “chad deity” looks at geopolitics and stereotypes through the lens of professional wrestling. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. (Review of the Mixed Blood Theatre production)

Vincentelli, E. (2010, May 21). WHOMP! OOF! WRESTLING PLAY PACKS A PUNCH. New York Post. (Review of Second Stage production)