Moonfleece – Philip Ridley

moonfleeceProfessional world premiere at Rich Mix in London, Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

Original Cast:

Link (15-year-old boy)              Reece Noi
Tommy (18-year-old boy)          Bradley Taylor
Gavin (17-year-old boy)            Ashley George
Curtis (18-year-old boy)            Sean Verey
Alex (18-year-old girl)                Krupa Pattani
Jez (17-year-old boy)                David Ames
Sarah (17-year-old girl)             Emily Plumtree
Nina (20-year-old woman)        Sian Robins-Grace
Zak (22-year-old man)               Beru Tessema
Wayne (21-year-old man)          Reeda Harris
Stacey (20-year-old woman)     Alicia Davies

Director:  David Mercatali
Set and Lighting Design:  William Reynolds
Costume Design:
  Ellan Parry
Sound Design:   Ed Borgnis
Stage Manager:  Heather Doole

Publication:  Ridley, Philip. Moonfleece. Methuen Drama, 2010. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 M66 2010.

Setting:  A derelict council flat on the top floor of a tower block in East London; the present.

Language:  Contemporary

NINA

Listen, sweetie! I’ve just made my way up an Everest of Dog Turds to get here. I did that because I thought you wanted a séance.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Curtis, a young right-wing, British National Party (BNP) activist, arranges a séance because he has been seeing the ghost of his brother, Jason, who supposedly died while exploring the Colombian jungle.  The political meets the personal as Curtis confronts the truth about what really happened to his brother and why.  Not everything in the play works:  some of the characters feel superfluous and you question whether such a group of people would ever interact with one another given the extremes they inhabit on the social-political spectrum.  Since Moonfleece was written for young theatre practitioners and theatergoers, there are many parts for college age actors.  A production of the play in the West Midlands was banned after it was scheduled to run because some felt that the play’s themes of homophobia, fascism and the BNP were not “suitable for a community setting”.

 

 

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.19-20:  Curtis explains to Link why the derelict flat will always be his place, even if Link currently squats there. Long monologue.

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard anything I’ve said, you bloody stupid—? Listen! My gran was the first person to move into this tower block. They were still laying cement. If you go to the basement there’s handprints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dynamite the place—and it’s nothing but rubble—the rubble that makes up this flat will have my name running through it!

p.23-24:  Alex tells Curtis the reason Sarah stopped talking to him was because they saw him at a fascist rally.

ALEX

No reason? You want the full essay or just the bullet points? You lied! You’re full of hate! You preach hate! Your views stink! You’re a pig! You’ll breed pigs! You want me to carry on? [Lines cut] Then what happens? A family day out with smiley grannies and toddlers chanting, ‘England for the white!’ I was standing next to her when she heard you speak. Her world fell apart.

p.85-86:  Stacey talks about the troubles she encountered trying to bury her sausage dog, Banger, and how Curtis’ stepfather, Mr. Avalon, came to her aid. Long monologue.

STACEY

It’s like when my sausage dog died. I loved that sausage dog. Banger its name was. And one day I looked in its little basket and Banger was as stiff as a board. I cried and cried. Dad wasn’t much help. He said we should use it as a draught excluder. I got no sympathy at all. [Lines cut] And that’s when this man comes out the shop next door. A white man! This man pays the lovely Pakistani gentleman the money I owe him and takes me into his own shop. And who’s answering the phone? Wayne. Cos the man who paid for my drink was none other than Mr. Avalon. So you see, sweetheart, if it weren’t for my dead Banger I’d never have met Wayne.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  This play has a lot of characters and no scene breaks but there are a few sections of the play where only two people interact that could be done as a scene.

p. 17-20:  Link questions Curtis about his family after learning that Curtis and his family used to live in the flat Link now squats in with Zak.  Starts with

LINK

So … why’s ex-girlfriend Sarah coming here?

and ends with

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard anything I’ve said, you bloody stupid—? Listen! My gran was the first person to move into this tower block. They were still laying cement. If you go to the basement there’s handprints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dynamite the place—and it’s nothing but rubble—the rubble that makes up this flat will have my name running through it!

p.74-77:  Zak tells a fractured fairytale about Curtis’ brother, Jason, which exposes the truth about why Jason disappeared and later died.  A long scene. Starts with

ZAK

The King’s death sent the Queen mad. She started to bring wolves into the castle. She cried, ‘My precious wolves. They are all I need.’

and ends with

ZAK

 …’Yes.’

 

 

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

Allfree, C. (2010, Mar 09). Putting the BNP on stage. The Independent, pp. 14.

Akbar, A. (2010, Mar 30). Banned, the play that took on the BNP; Dudley council accused of caving in to far right after pulling plug on ‘moonfleece’. The Independent, pp. 2.

Blacker, T. (2010, Mar 31). Nobody has the right to be spared offence. The Independent, pp. 38.

Edgar, D. (2010, Apr 10). Comment: Panic and folly: A farce: The ban of moonfleece is the latest example of an ill-founded censorious attitude stalking britain. The Guardian, pp. 36.

Iqbal, N. (2010, Mar 30). Misguided moonfleece ban is an affront to theatre. guardian.co.uk

Marlowe, S. (2010, Mar 05). Moonfleece. The Times, pp. 68.

Martin, D. (2010, Mar 04). Moonfleece. [open access] The Stage.co.uk

Orr. J. (2010, Mar 08). Review:  Moonfleece. [open access] A Younger Theatre.com

Philip ridley jmoves beyond shock tactics in moonfleece. [open access] (2010, Mar 01) metro.co.uk

Taylor, P. (2010, Mar 04). Under the skin of the racists; Theatre moonfleece rich mix, London. Independent Life, pp. 16.

Cock – Mike Bartlett

cock

First performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London, on November 13, 2009.

Original Cast:

John                      Ben Whishaw
M                            Andrew Scott
W                            Katherine Parkinson
F                             Paul Jesson

Director:  James Macdonald
Designer:  Miriam Buether
Lighting:  Peter mumford
Sound:  David McSeveney

Publication:  Bartlett, Mike. Cock. Methuen Drama, 2009. Drama Library PR6102.A7838 C63 2009b

Setting:  The present.

Language:  Contemporary; lots of run-on thoughts, long pauses, breaks in character’s lines, and moments when they say nothing

M

What are you? Most people seem to come together pretty well, their atoms hold, and you can look at them and go oh, that’s my mate Steve, that’s the queen, but you, you don’t seem to have grown coherently

You’re a collection of things that don’t amount

You’re a sprawl

A mob.

You don’t add up.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   John, who has been in a long-term gay relationship with M, meets and falls in love with a woman, W, and has to decide who he is and who he wants to be with.  The play is staged without furniture or props so that all of the audience’s focus is on the action of the drama unfolding in front of them.  Most of the scenes in the play are short and sparse, leaving a lot of room for an actor’s interpretation.  The only scene that feels a little unreal in the play is the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfish dinner party attended by John, M, W, and F, M’s father.  It seems highly unlikely that John would agree to have his two lovers meet face-to-face to hear his decision over dinner.  Add to that M’s father, and the scene threatens to tip the play from realism to near farce.  Also, even though the other characters allude to their befuddlement as to why they want him so much, I’m not quite convinced that John is worth all of the soul-searching, heartache, and turmoil that he causes his two lovers.  In a play where characters fight not to be defined by their sexuality, but their identity, there is very little on view in John’s case.  We never even find out what he does.  A lot of his charm would have to depend on the actor portraying him because, as written, he appears childish, indecisive, completely self-absorbed, and a bit of a cipher. Of course, both M and W have some unpleasant character traits as well.  W comes across as combative, defensive, and overly solicitous of John, who doesn’t seem worthy of her fierce loyalty; M is controlling, belittling of John, and fights dirty by inviting his dad to dinner, but he’s also genuinely hurt by John’s betrayal and seems to honestly love him.

 

 

 

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.33-34:  W explains why she hates weekends. John’s line can be cut.

W

It’s weekends that are the problem. Weeks are fine, they’re great. Friday-night parties, after-work drinks this is when you’re in your element, you can do what you want, but it gets to Saturday afternoon…. [Lines cut] What would it be like, could we spend our whole lives togtehr , and looking I’m going to be honest shit—Jesus I’m really talking here.

[JOHN

It’s fine.]

W

I mean I’m so jealous of the ones that I think are really in love. [Lines cut] …I’ll never do it again I would rather be on my own that do that however fucking lonely I get. Ha!

p.87-88:  John talks about coming out and being defined by words and how it’s not about the sex of the person you love but who they are.  M’s lines can be cut.

JOHN

You want to know what I am okay okay I don’t know okay.

When I was at uni and I finally decided I’d do it and come out, all these people hugged me and were proud of me and said how brave I was and suddenly people were touching me… [Lines cut] Gay straight, words from the sixties made by our parents, sound so old, only invented to get rights, and we’ve got rights now so

[M

Some rights, not enough and…how did we get on to this?]

JOHN

They’re horrible horrible words what they do how they stop you

[M

 / ‘horrible words’]

JOHN

and I can see now I can see tht it’s about who the person is. Not man or woman but What they’re like. What they do. [Lines cut] So why are you telling me that what I sleep with is more important tha[n] who I sleep with?

p.90-91:  M tries one last time to keep John.

M

So the dessert was cheesecake here it is:  cheesecake. I made your favourite John your favourite in all the world, a nice cheesecake I think it was going to be a tactic a final gesture in case things   hadn’t gone well…[Lines cut] There’s your cheesecake, if you feel like staying with me for a bit you could have some we culd share a piece if you like but you’re going with her aren’t you so you should probably fuck off now, and me and Dad’ll eat it instead. Bye.

p.93-94:  W tries one last time to convince John to leave with her.  John’s line can be cut.

W

So I’ll go for ever, and me wearing your shirt, in a hotel in Paris, walking around glimpses of what’s between my legs,

[JOHN

/ Fuck]

W

all of that and everything else in the future, all leaving, all going, me pregnant eating biscuits and then the hospital bed, everything you described to me, everything we imagined, you holding my hand, and Jack’s born and grows up there he is…[Lines cut] …and you’ll be left with him. Just him.

[Lines cut]

Bye.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  All of the scenes in the play before the dinner party at the end are two-person scenes, either M-M or M-F, so there are a lot to choose from.

p. 14-17:  John has returned home with a gift of teddy bears after having left M.   M is suspicious and John finally confesses that he’s slept with someone else, a woman.  Starts with

M

So what have you done?

and ends with

JOHN

I am.

It was a week ago.

p.43-47:  John meets W to tell her they can’t see each other anymore because M knows.  Starts with

JOHN

I don’t know how to explain this but the thing is you have to stop following me.

and ends with

W

So?

Sugar.

What are you going to do?

 

 

 

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

Benedict, D. (2009). COCK. Variety, 417(3), 40.

Billington, M. (2009, Nov 19). Reviews: Theatre: Cock: Royal court, london 3/5. The Guardian, pp. 38.

Hemming, S. (2009, Nov 21). Cock. Financial Times, pp. 14.

Letts, Q. (2009, Nov 19). Quentin letts first night review [edition 2]. Daily Mail, pp. 30.

Sierz, A. (2009). A compelling combination of sharp writing and acting talent. Stage, (6709), 19.

Soloski, A. (2012, May 23). Cock: Fight club. [open access] The Village Voice, pp. 1.

Spencer, C. (2009, Nov 19). First night cock royal court tame tale whimpers to the end. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 35.

Taylor, P. (2009, Nov 23). A brilliant study in bisexuality. The Independent, pp. 16.

Goldfish – John Kolvenbach

goldfish

World premiere at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California in March, 2009.

Original Cast:

Albert (19-years old)                     Tasso Feldman
Leo (Albert’s father)                       Conor O’Farrell
Lucy                                               Kate Rylie
Margaret (Lucy’s mother)            Joan McMurtrey

Director:  Loretta Greco
Set Design:  Myung Hee Cho
Lighting Design:  Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz
Sound Design:  Michael Hooker
Costume Design:  Alex Jaeger
Dramaturg:  John Glore
Stage Manager:  Julie Haber

Publication:  Kolvenbach, John. Goldfish. Dramatists Play Service, 2010. Drama Library PS3611.O583 G65 2010.

Setting:  Northeastern United States; the present.

Language:  Contemporary

MARGARET

Go away. I will make do. I’ll drink quickly to minimize my suffering. (She sips.) Look at you. I am flabbergasted by how beautiful I used to be. You are the picture of Youth and Ripeness; I could kill you.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Albert, a 19-year-old boy, grows up taking care of his father, Leo, who has a gambling problem.  Trouble ensues when Albert leaves home to attend a liberal arts college and Leo has to manage on his own.  A poor, intelligent outsider in a college full of wealthy kids, Albert meets Lucy, who has problems of her own dealing with her drunken mother, Margaret.  Through these two, the play explores the dynamics of family and falling in love.  While some of the early scenes between Lucy and Albert feel a little too cute, the scenes at home with Albert and Leo seem heartbreakingly real; even when the plot veers into potentially melodramatic territory, and despite a too pat ending, the authenticity of that particular father-son relationship keeps the play on track.

 

 

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.34:  Albert tells his father about the Dean calling him into his office after Leo called him to explain that Albert wouldn’t be returning to school.  The Dean thinks there’s been some calamity in the family; in reality, Leon gambled the money away.

ALBERT

She lets me into his office. I sit down. He’s sort of a walrus. He asks me if I watch baseball. I tell him it’s winter. There’s silence for a while. He says, “Your pugnacious father called this morning.” OK. So you’re alive. [Lines cut] I told him no, things were fine. He said you “concurred.” Then he asked me how I would define “fine” and I said that if I had a baseball bat I would bash his fucking head in for him.

p.35:  Albert explains to Leo what it was like being in college, being the poor, smart kid in the middle of all the rich, not-so-smart kids.

ALBERT

I thought I’d be obvious. You know? I thought I’d have a big arrow over my head, pointing me    out. This is the kid. A big orange arrow. It wasn’t like that. They don’t care. They don’t notice you.  You sit in the back and keep a low profile, the teacher doesn’t know you exist. [Lines cut] The fuzzy old bastard hands you the exam and gives you a look. A look like, it’s you and me, Albert Ledger. You and me and a bunch of stone morons.

p.51:  Albert tells Leo about he rides the train pretending to have a job when, in reality, he was fired a month ago.

ALBERT

I ride the train. I don’t have a job. I pretend I do. I put this on. (Beat.) I went in that first morning. A month ago. I made it ’til lunch. The guy looks at me like I’m another asshole he has to deal with, like I’m the kid who gets his coffee and screws up the purchase orders. [Lines cut] Lucy thinks I’m Albert Ledger. I convinced her. I insisted. That I’m unbound. That I’m just about to be. (Beat.) I don’t wanna talk to her. I don’t want to talk to her anymore.

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 15-17:  Albert and Lucy meet for the first time in the library on a Friday night.   Starts with

LUCY

(Pause.) Can I ask you a question?

and ends with

ALBERT

I know your name.

p.29-32:  Albert and Lucy are in bed in his dorm room when he gets a call about his father. Starts with

LUCY

(Into her pillow.) Oh my God what are you doing you sociopath what time is it, if you’re studying I’m going to kick you in the head, why do you let me smoke so much my mouth is a dead animal, whose shirt is this, what time is it? Who drank my water, the fucker.

and ends with

ALBERT

(Into the phone.) Answer the question. Is he alright?

p.45-47:  Lucy tries to convince Albert to marry her.  Starts with

LUCY

Is he alright?

and ends with

ALBERT

For how long?

 

 

 

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

Boehm, M. (2009, Mar 20). THEATER; the middle class rises once again; john kolvenbach plots it all out in ‘goldfish,’ his play at south coast repertory about a dream of triumph. Los Angeles Times, p.D16.

D’Souza, K. (2009, Oct 15). Review: ‘goldfish’ family drama at magic theatre in san francisco. San Jose Mercury News.

Farrell, J. (2009, Mar 27). ‘Goldfish’ swims through blossoming romance. Press – Telegram.

Hodgins, P. (2009, Mar 20). Review // new play ‘goldfish’ is not so odd. Orange County Register.

Hodgins, P. (2009, Mar 24). Review // ‘goldfish’ makes waves. Orange County Register.

Hurwitt, R. (2009, Oct 16). Theater review:  Tragicomic ‘goldfish’. [open access] SFGate.com.

Ng, D. (2009, Mar 24). Review:  ‘goldfish’ at south coast repertory. [open access] latimes.com.

Verini, B. (2009, Mar 23). Review:  “goldfish”. [open access] variety.com

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.

Pretty Theft – Adam Szymkowicz

prettytheft

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
Choreographer:
  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

BOBBY

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. 

SUPERVISOR

(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. 

ALLEGRA

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. 

JOE

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

BOBBY

                This sucks

and ends with

SUZY

(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] nythatre.com.

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.

The Sugar Syndrome – Lucy Prebble

sugarsyndrome

First performed by English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre in London, October 16, 2003.  First produced in the US by the Williamstown Theatre Festival, July 27, 2005.

Original Cast:

Dani Carter (17)                                               Stephanie Leonidas
Jan Carter (45)                                                 Kate Duchene
Tim Saunders (38)                                           Andrew Woodall
Lewis Sampson (22)                                        Will Ash
Voices of the Internet

Director:  Marianne Elliott
Set Designer:  Jonathan Fensom
Lighting Designer:
  Chris Davey
Sound Designer:
  Ian Dickinson

Publication:  Prebbles, Lucy. The Sugar Syndrome. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. Drama Library PR6116. R42 S84 2006..

Setting:  England

Language:  Contemporary with British slang.

TIM

It’s only once you reach an age when you realize why you hate your parents that you become too polite to articulate it.

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

Plot:   A 17-year-old girl meets two strangers (a 22-year-old telemarketer and a 38-year-old convicted pedophile) online and develops relationships with them in real life.  Manages to be funny while dealing with serious issues; looks at pedophilia from the point of view of the pedophile.  Despite its subject matter, the play avoids being sensational or puerile.

 

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: Tim talks about his attraction to a little girl in his building

TIM

I just want to hear what her voice sounds like. (Smiles to himself.) She’s a little madam. At the weekend, she was sitting on the wall, with this cloth doll, she wasn’t even playing with it, she was watching her brothers. [Lines cut] So he takes the doll and he holds it over the skip like he might just drop it any second, but she just sits on the wall. Isn’t even bothered, so he’s got nothing on her. She just taught him a lesson and the doll can go hang.

p.33-34:  Lewis hasn’t been able to reach Dani for a while so he drafts an email to her, which he doesn’t send.

LEWIS

Dani. You absent bitch. I miss you. It’s been six days, man. I’m sounding a little bit mental, which I don’t like. I rang you again and no answer. I get the feeling you’re actively not ringing me now. What if you’re dead? [Lines cut]Will you not write just write a little? Just to keep me going? ‘Cause I just keep imagining what you could be doing and it’s sending me mental. I’m sorry but it is. I miss you. Obviously in a manly, independent, not bothered way. But I do. (He sighs.)

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 13-15:  Dani finds out that Tim has been in prison and he tells her how he was subjected to aversion therapy. Part of Dani’s first line can be cut. Starts with

DANI

[Oh, well, that’s alright then.] You’ve got a nice voice. Let me guess, unemployed actor? Late-night DJ.

and ends with

TIM

(Considers.) It made me want to electrocute kids.

p. 19-21:  Dani and Lewis are hanging out at his place and Lewis is trying to get Dani to have sex with him even though she’s having her period.  Starts with

DANI

She doesn’t think anything she doesn’t say. It’s like if she’s putting something somewhere she goes, “I’ll just put that there.” Who the fuck is she talking to? Or she’s driving and she’s just, “Ooh, what’s he doing? I think we’ll park over there.” Shut up. She’s like Cassandra except her curse is to speak and have people want to beat her over the head with a hammer.

and ends with

LEWIS

(He squeezes her bum.) I’ll see your kiss and raise you a bum squeeze. Com on, one bum squeeze to stay in the game. (Dany squeezes his bum, play-reluctantly. Throughout, Lewis moves to be on top of her.) Oh, she’s seen it! She’s staying in. Question is, is she bluffing? (American accent.) And here we can see, Marty, with our special under-the-table cameras that Dani the “D-Man” Carter has a pair she’s been hiding. (He puts his hand up her top.) Can she go all the way? Let’s find out with the rest of the flop.

p.24-26:  Tim talks about his attraction to a little girl named Domino and his love affair with a boy named David.  Starts with

TIM

You’re going to read all those?

and ends with

DANI

Thing is with boyfriends, is eventually they’re going to want to take you out to dinner.

p.41-43:  Lewis goes to Tim’s apartment looking for Dani and threatens Tim with exposure if he does anything to Dani.  Starts with

LEWIS

Look mate. I know all about you and unless you want your neighbors to know and all I’d let me in.

and ends with

TIM

                I know, Lewis, you could. And I’m terrified ’cause I’ve got just so much to lose.

 

 

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

Billington, M. (2003, Oct 21). Review: Last night’s show: Theatre: The sugar syndrome: Royal court, london 3/5. The Guardian, pp. 30.

de Jongh, N. (2003, Oct 21). Depraved new world ; THEATRE. Evening Standard, pp. 46.

Macaulay, A. (2003, Oct 23). The sugar syndrome royal court, london. Financial Times, pp. 19.

Nightingale, B. (2003, Oct 21). The sugar syndrome. The Times, pp. 19.

Taylor, P. (2003, Oct 30). Theatre: Girls will be boys in a mixed-up world. The Independent, pp. 14.

Kurt & Sid – Roy Smiles

kurtandsid

First performed at the Trafalgar Studios by Surefire Theatrical Ltd., on September 9, 2009.

Original Cast:

Sid Vicious                             Danny Dyer
Kurt Cobain  
                        Shaun Evans

Director:  Tim Stark
Designer:  Cordelia Shisholm
Lighting Designer:
  Mark Doubleday
Sound Designer:  Mark Dunne
Stage Manager:
  Charlotte Padgham

Publication:  Smiles, Roy. Kurt & Sid. Oberon Modern Plays, 2009. Drama Library PR6119. M55 K87 2009.

Setting:  An attic extension, Seattle, Washington, 1994.

Language:  Contemporary. Some British slang.

KURT

I always wanted a tie-dye shirt, made from the blood of Jerry Garcia.

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

Plot:   The Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious, who died fifteen years before in 1979, visits Kurt Cobain, who is contemplating suicide.  Vicious may be a ghost or he may be a figment of Cobain’s imagination.  As the Nirvana frontman’s suicide is historical fact, the play deals less with “will he or won’t he” and more with “why;” although, in the end, Kurt takes his reasons with him to the grave.

 

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.19: Sid explains why he hates England. Kurt’s lines can be cut.

SID

It’s always been Tosser Central to me:  England, a mean little country full of mean little men sitting in mean little pubs saying mean little things. The Pistols tried to blow all that way.  [Lines cut] But it’s all about trying, isn’t it?

[KURT

Oh yeah.]

SID

I’ve never got used to the pettiness of being English. Know why the Sex Pistols rose to infamy? It wasn’t their songs of anarchy and destruction. [Lines cut] No, know what it was?

[KURT

Surprise me.]

SID

They swore on prime time television; they used the ‘f’ word. A word you could hear daily in a thousand infant school playgrounds. [Lines cut] Can you think of anything more relentlessly trivial?

[KURT

Not off-hand.]

SID

For the past twenty years one of the highest rated programmes on British television is a show where a dog rounds up sheep and they time the little fucker. Twenty years; different dog, same sheep; what kind of country watches shit like that for twenty years? Easy:  mine.

p.43-44:  Sid recounts the litany of rock star deaths.

SID

Every time; this whole rock and roll casualty crap is absurd don’t you think? Particularly for a young man of your intelligence; look at your predecessors. Buddy Holly? Only died in a plane crash because he wanted to do his laundry, that’s why he hopped a flight in a rainstorm. [Lines cut] Jim Morrison? Passed out and suffocated in the tub after drinking Paris dry of Jack Daniels. What made Milwaukee famous made a bloated corpse out of him. Janis ‘pug ugly’ Joplin only died of smack ’cause she’d been laying off it. She misjudged the dosage.

p. 47:  Kurt talks about how he used to pretend to be gay just to piss people off. Sid’s line can be cut.  

KURT

I really fought against all that macho crap. Once I was arrested for spraying ‘God is Gay’ and ‘Homo Sex Rules’ on cars. I was given a thirty-day suspended sentence; my family never lived it down. [Lines cut] He looked like Brezhnev. He got colon cancer. He deserved it.

[SID

Mr. Compassion.]

KURT

He should have died sooner, as far as I’m concerned death is just a pit stop for the afterlife. It’s really selfish to live to ninety years old unless you have something to offer, you’ve got to live on the edge.

p.56:  Sid tries to convince Kurt of the value in living. Kurt’s line and part of Sid’s can be cut.

SID

Your music’s like a collective howl for the dispossessed. for those who know that life shouldn’t come out of cash-point machines, but who don’t know what else there is. Only that everything stinks, TV stinks, politics stinks, organized religion stinks; but there has to be something.   [Lines cut] Find the answer, find the question:  live.

[KURT

‘Fade away don’t burn out’?

SID

Forget that fucking song, not even the bloke who wrote it believes it.] This is not a romantic end. There’s no romance in what you’re doing. [Lines cut] Your head will explode like an over-ripe melon. Live, maybe be unhappy but there’s worse things.

p.69:  Sid makes a last ditch effort to save Kurt. This is a really long monologue that can be cut.

SID

Look—I wish I could tell you it’s a beautiful world but it’s not. You want me to believe in all things bright and beautiful? I can’t. Like I said I don’t believe in any of it. Sunsets, just some shit you can’t touch over there; flowers, get in the way of the pavement; the birds in the sky, winged wankers that crap on my shoulder.  [Lines cut] Live and get to other people. Fight. Fight the good fight. Tear it down—whatever ‘it’ is. Fight the jocks and the cheerleaders and the vacuous and the dull; show them there’s more than the drab, grey limits to their tedious imaginations:  please.

Kurt says nothing.

You can’t hear me, can you?

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p.18-21:  Sid and Kurt bitch about their respective countries.  Sid’s last line can be cut. Starts with

SID

Maybe this is the Hotel California, you can check in but you can never leave.

and ends with

SID

Good question; looks like they’ve gone down the crapper.

[Sid glances out of the window.

Put me out of my misery, where am I? Bromley this ain’t.]

p.35-37:  Sid reads Kurt’s suicide note and challenges him.  Starts with

SID

You’ve signed it with your surname.

and ends with

KURT

(Sneer.) And I thought that was you.

p.48-50:  Sid forces Kurt to talk about his daughter and how he’s abandoning her; scene ends with Kurt shooting Sid. Part of Sid’s first line can be cut.  Starts with

SID

[Good. (Beat.)] So let’s discuss the girl.

and ends with

SID

(In darkness.) You bastard.

p.54-57:  Sid gives Kurt ten reasons to live.  Starts with

KURT

Who cares what you look like when you’re dead?

and ends with

KURT

                (Johnny Rotten voice.)  Ever get the feeling you’ve been conned?

 

 

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

(2009, September 22). Sid vicious’s second chance. The Daily Telegraph.

Coveney, Michael. (2009, September 15). Kurt & sid. [open access] What’s On Stage.

Gardner, Lyn. (2009, September 16). Kurt and sid. [open access] The Guardian.

Koenig, Rhoda. (2009, September 16). Kurt and sid, trafalgar studios, london. Independent Extra.

Marlowe, Sam.  (2009, September 16). Kurt & sid; arts first night theatre. The Times.

Sweeting, Adam. (2009, September 15). Kurt & sid. [open access]. The Arts Desk.

First Person Shooter – Paul Jenkins

firstpersonshooter

First performed at The Door, Birmingham Repertory Theatre on September 30, 2010.

Original Cast:

Maggie                                               Freya Copeland
Ade                                                     Bradley Hall
Captain Jones/ Nugget                    David Hounslow
Tom                                                     Ben Jones

Director:  Robert Shaw Cameron
Design:
  Jess Curtis
AV Design:  Barret Hodgson
Lighting Design:
  Richard G. Jones
Sound Design:
  Dan Hoole
Dramaturg:
  Caroline Jester
Stage Manager:  Paul Southern

Publication:  Jenkins, Paul. First Person Shooter. Nick Hern Books, 2010. Drama Library PR6110.E554 F57 2010.

Setting:  UK; the present

Language:  Contemporary, lots of gamer and military lingo

CAPTAIN JONES

Good news first—we got a military coup in North Korea, pro-democracy rebels have stormed the people’s palace. Happy days—if it weren’t for the missing warheads on the black market. Then there’s Mohammed Zarqawi—the new pin-up beard for Al-Qaeda. Intel reports he’s shopping for a suitcase nuke to go walkabout. Just another day at the office. Bad news is we got a newbie, fresh out of training…

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

Plot:  A single mother enlists the aid of a computer geek to try to help her reconnect with her 17-year-old son who’s addicted to first person shooter military games.  Although the play tackles serious issues, there is humor, which primarily emerges from the collision between gamers and non-gamers and the single-mindedness with which Ade pursues his gaming.  However, in a world where unmanned, remotely controlled drones can attack and kill targets, the image of a lonely boy playing video games takes on sinister overtones.

 

 

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. 21-22:  Captain Jones, the commander in a military first-person shooter game,  defines key terms in the world of first person shooter games.  

CAPTAIN JONES

Pwn.
To own—verb, spelt P,W,N… To kill, to annihilate, to totally dominate your opponent. Pronounced as O but spelt with P, what originated as a typo by chronic gamers, is now legendary in the gaming lexicon. If you have pwned another player—the pwnage unleashed upon them may be due to the fact that they are a n00b.

[Lines cut]

Respawn.
A freshly cloned cyber-warrior, with laser-sighted AK-47 and frag grenades, will materialise at a portal nearby. In short—find the n00bs, pwn the n00bs, tea-bag them, get pwned, get tea-bagged, respawn. In no event resort to camping—I repeat, under no circumstances go camping. Now you’re ready to play.

p. 47-48:  Captain Nugget describes an attack he survived in Afghanistan.  

NUGGET

I was escorting a relief convoy, get the paras out of Musa Qala. It’s getting dark and two mullahs rock up pushing a rusty Volvo. We stop to let them cross, when the boot opens and out pops a granddad in a dress with an RPG. The rocket slams into the side of our Viking and all hell breaks—tracer fire from umpteen Taliban positions. [Lines cut] Just then we hear the rumble of a AC-130 gunship, it’s the Yanks but who cares—next thing the trees are a wall of flame, the smell of burning flesh. Chinook came in an airlifted the casualty back to base… he made it. That’s no UAV did that. That was real soldiers, real pilots, fighting to save each other’s lives.

p.83-84:  Captain Nugget tells Ade about the time he almost had to kill someone.

NUGGET

Wouldn’t call it fear. This old mullah and a boy come up to the checkpoint once, the old fella’s waving his arms and the lad’s grinning, but mad like, pushing a wheelbarrow. There’s a body, young woman, kid’s mum by all accounts and she’s had her foot blown off by a mine. Must’ve seen me coming, eh? [Lines cut] I was two-inches in tomorrow’s newspaper… but it was beautiful. Apart from the unholy stench. Stood there like that… felt like fifteen years. The old boy coughed—something come up out of his lung, spat it on the floor, put his pistol in his pocket, sad something to the boy, turned his wheelbarrow… and walked way. Can’t explain that to this day.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 9-12:  Tom volunteers to talk with Maggie’s son, Ade, when she expresses concern about him always playing alone.  Starts with

MAGGIE

Leave this to me—not got MBA after my name for nothing.

and ends with

TOM

Let me know how it goes—want a Snickers on my desk by the end of the week.

p. 29-32:  Ade explains to an Army recruiter why he wants to enlist.  Starts with

NUGGET

Play a lot of computer games?

and ends with

NUGGET

I’m ready for lunch.

p.42-44:  Ade lies to Tom about his father, tells him he was a soldier in Kosovo and now he’s in a mental hospital, when, in fact, he’s an attorney.  Starts with

ADE

That’s my dad’s mug.

and ends with

ADE

Tell him yourself, when he gets back.

 

 

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

(2010, October 7). Grim reality is right on target. Birmingham Post, The (England).

Hickling, A. (2010, October 7). First Person Shooter Birmingham Rep 2/5. Guardian, The (London, England).

Jackson, L. (2010, September 26). Real life war is more like a kids game. Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England).

 

Belongings – Morgan Lloyd Malcolm

belongings

First performed at Hampstead Theatre, London, on May 19, 2011.  The production transferred to Trafalgar Studios on June 16, 2011.

Original Cast:

Jim                                        Ian Bailey
Deb 
                                     Joanna Horton
Jo 
                                        Kirsty Bushell
Sarko                                   Calum Callaghan

Director:  Maria Aberg
Designer:  Naomi Dawson
Lighting:  David Holmes
Sound:
  Carolyn Downing
Stage Manager:
  Sarah Cowen

Publication:  Lloyd Malcolm, Morgan. Belongings. Oberon Modern Plays, 2011.. Drama Library PR6113. A43 B4 2011.

Setting:  A home in Chippenham; a British Army camp in Afghanistan; during the war.

Language:  Contemporary; a few English slang terms but nothing that impedes understanding; however, the odd turn of a phrase might be challenging for some

JIM

Yeh alright. Chucked it didenI?

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

Plot:  Deb, a young lesbian soldier, returns home to Chippenham from Afghanistan, and attempts to make a place for herself while dealing with memories of the war and unresolved feelings for her parents and an old love—who just happens to be her dad’s new girlfriend.  Through the characters of Deb, Jo, and Deb’s absent mother, the play deals with the role of women in the modern world as mothers, lovers, daughters, soldiers, etc.  Although the issue are serious, there is humor in the grimmest of places.  A late in the play act of violence seems both inevitable and yet unnecessary.

 

 

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. 39-40:  Deb responds angrily to her father’s assertion that women don’t belong in the military because men can’t cope with women getting hurt.  

DEB

Hold up—male soldiers ‘can’t cope’ with seein’ us injured? ‘Can’t cope?’ Oh fuck off. I’m sorry but if we’re in a battle situation—which by the way I have been in; I have been shot at and I have shot back. Just because it aint the official line don’t mean it don’t happen. [Lines cut] And I was carryin’ 50 pound of kit in 50 degree heat. Can you do that you fat bastard? Course you can’t ‘cos you aint trained. But I am. And someone gave me that chance and I took it and I proved that I was capable.

p. 49-50:  Deb tells Jo how she used to wonder about the women in Afghanistan and what kind of sex they must have had with their husbands. Jo’s line can be cut.

DEB

When I was out there I would have to search the women. On patrol. I would do this and I never once found anything other than what you’d expect. A body. Arms. Legs. Breasts.  [Lines cut] What kind of sex must they have with their husbands?

[JO

You’re interested in everyone’s business, aren’t you?]

JO

Like. I’m looking at this woman and thinkin’ it must be pretty shit livin’ under all that cloth all the time. I’m thinkin’ her husband must be keepin’ her under lock and key. That their sex must be horrible. [Lines cut] Right there. In that moment. The two of them. Or am I assumin’ right? Is it cold, mechanical, brutal?

p.57:  Jim defends his involvement in the porn business. Deb’s line can be cut.

JIM

Oh come on Deb. You’ve seen it. You’ve seen how dark it is out there. I’m on the surface of it. Not even scratchin’ it. I’m the tip of the flippin’ iceberg what’s gonna send us right down into the pits of hell/

[DEB

/dramatic/]

JIM

/There are people out there with things in their head that you don’t even want to glimpse. The majority of people have thoughts every fuckin’ day that, if they ever acted on them, you’d be yellin’ for the return of capital fuckin’ punishment. [Lines cut] We like the base, the dirty, the wrong. We  fuckin’ lust after it every waking hour. So why, when we’re all thinkin’ it, can’t we indulge in it? Just a bit? Just to relax? No hurtin’ no one. Just a man and his computer.

p.61-62: Deb talks about how when you get your kit, they take a death photo of you, the picture they send to the press if you’re killed in action, and make you write letters to your loved ones in case you don’t make it back. She talks about the letter she wrote to her mother. This extra long monologue ends the play.

DEB

When you go out you get your kit and they take your photo. We call them the ‘death photos’ because they’re the ones they will use to send to the press when you’re injured or killed. In my last tour they took the photo and I was blinkin’. Fucksake. They were in a rush so they wouldn’t let me do another and they were all like ‘better make doubly sure you don’t get killed then hadn’t you?’ [Lines cut]

What I didn’t write. And what I should have. Was. That I think that she has this, like, massive heart inside her and that no one’s let her use it properly. And that I’m sorry for not. For not standin’ up for her more.

She puts the letter back in her pocket.

I’ve been covered in this thin film of dust see? Not just in the desert. I’ve felt like my skin hasn’t been able to breathe.

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 19-22:  Sarko discusses his theory of the desert with Deb in Afghanistan, about how it’s insane to be killing people in a place where there’s so little life.  Starts with

SARKO

I’ve got this theory about the desert.

and ends with

DEB

Sweet dreams.

p. 38-40:  Jim expresses disbelief that Deb might have actually enjoyed being a soldier, doesn’t believe that women should be soldiers at all.  Starts with

JIM

You sayin’ you actually wanted to do the stuff you did out in Afghanistan?

and ends with

DEB

Suddenly I’m really tired.

p.105-108:  Jo apologizes to Deb for the less than stellar homecoming and they play word association, a game they have played many times before.  Starts with

JO

Sorry.

and ends with

JO

Kiss.

A pause.

JO

Kiss.

 

 

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

(22 June, 2011). Army debut ranks high. The Evening Standard (London).

Billington, Michael. (23 June, 2011). Review: Theatre: Multifaceted women grapple with one-dimensional men: Belongings Trafalgar Studios, London 3/5. The Guardian (London).

Cavendish, Dominic. Gripping tale of skirmishes on all fronts. The Daily Telegraph (London).

Jones, Alice. (20 June, 2011). On the frontline in the battle of the sexes; Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s first West End play, ‘Belongings’, will confirm her as an exciting new talent, says Alice Jones. [open access] The Independent.

Purves, Libby. (23 June, 2011). Heart of darkness for a woman in male worlds; Theatre. The Times (London).

Sick – Zayd Dohrn

sickPremiered at Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas in May, 2008.

Original Cast:

Sidney Krebs (49)                    James Crawford
Maxine Krebs (46)                    Lisa Hassler
Sarah Krebs (19)                      Martha Harms
Davey Krebs (17)                     Lee Helms
Jim (26)                                      Lee Trull

Director:  Chris Carlos
Set Design:  Michael Sullivan
Costume Design:  Christina Dickson
Sound Design:  Emily K. Young
Props:  Judy Niven and Jen Gilson-Gilliam

Publication:  Dohrn, Zayd. Sick. Samuel French, 2012. Drama Library PS3604. O47 S53 2012.

Setting:  A Safe Haven on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, present day

Language:  Contemporary

SIDNEY

He had to have a schnozz cast in bronze strapped to his head with a leather belt just to show his face in public. But he kept writing until his brain was liquefied. And screwing too, apparently. Dead at 33. It’ll inspire you, I guarantee. Or at least turn you on.

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

Plot:  A poetry professor brings  one of his graduate students home to meet his dysfunctional family of germaphobes.  His wife is obsessed with cleanliness and never leaves home; his son was diagnosed as being allergic to 94 out of 99 household cleansers and never leaves home; and his 19-year-old daughter has just been accepted into a poetry program at St. Johns but isn’t sure if she should go.  Although the play deals with paranoia brought on by Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, it isn’t difficult to see it as a parable for any situation where unreasoning fear takes hold of lives and warps them out of true.  However, the second act feels rather anticlimactic, with the central tension in the play becoming, “Will Sarah break free of her family or not?” once the play reveals the truth of the family’s condition.

 

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. 45:  Sidney explains why he snuck potentially fatal cleaning items, that caused a severe reaction in Davey, into the apartment.  

SIDNEY

I was going through our files, last month… I found our wedding pictures, sitting in an envelope. Probably in there since we moved. Those old prints are full of photo fixer. That’s supposed to be one of Davey’s worst reactors. So I got rid of them. Scanned them at work, and then threw the prints away.  [Lines cut] I started—picking out other things, from the grocery store. Bleach. Oven cleaner. I got more and more excited, with every piece I brought home. Felt like I was—curing him, somehow…

p. 52-53:  Jim tells Sarah how he used to wish his father would abuse him so that he could suffer for his art like all great poets. 

JIM

Please. By the time Keats was my age, he was dead. I’m not blind. I do have a shred of self-perspective. (He chuckles.) You know, when I was little, I used to have this fantasy… I’d pretend my dad hit me… Abused me, somehow. I’d lie awake at night, imagining I had black eyes, busted lips, blood in my mouth, that kind of thing… [Lines cut] And he hit me. Finally. Right across the face. Little back-handed karate chop. I was completely stunned. Too shocked to feel it, even. And we both stood there, quietly. And then he started to cry…

p. 57-58:  Maxine tries to defend her reasons for sheltering the children in isolation away from the world.

MAXINE

It is. I ran track in high school. Used to love to jog… Even after Sarah was born. Marathons. Down to Battery Park. The Hudson River. It should be throbbing, you know, neon pink, with all the sludge they dump in there. But it’s sparkling and beautiful sometimes, like a postcard… [Lines cut] That’s why it’s lucky she’s here. Exposed to great art, you know. Music. Poetry. Not to all the violence, pornography, the sewer of pop culture we all take for granted these days. Unlike the rest of us, she had a chance to develop a healthy mind.

 

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 24-25:  Jim gets Sarah to let him read one of her poems.  (Part of a longer scene that can be divided in different ways from p.23-29.) Starts with

JIM

Tell me something at least, so I can say I–

and ends with

SARAH

I know, isn’t it? I felt so bad for the frog though. Don’t you think? Down there, all alone, with those things? This foreign species? But I don’t know, maybe he was happy. Maybe they were friends. Maybe he felt taken care of… (beat) So, I wrote a poem about it.

p. 33-34:  Jim and Davey have a “guy talk”. (Part of a much longer scene which can be divided in different ways from p. 31-35.)  Starts with

DAVEY

Does it feel the way it looks?

and ends with

JIM

No.

p.49-51:  Jim and Sarah talk and clean up the blood from Davey’s severe allergic reaction brought on by Sidney deliberately sneaking chemicals into the house. (Part of a longer scene which can be divided in different ways from p.49-56.) Starts with

JIM

You okay?

and ends with

SARAH

                It’s not your fault. You just. Can’t.

 

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

Johnson, Ryan E. (20 November, 2009). Sick: Capital t brings dohrn’s world to life with brilliant performances. [open access] Examiner.com

MacDonald, Sandy. (29 August, 2009). Charm of ‘Sick’ lies in the dysfunction. [open access] Boston Globe.

Rendell, Bob. Sick: American paranoia returns to new jersey repertory. [open access] Talkin’ Broadway.

Siegel, Naomi.  (22 February, 2009). Illness, illusion and dark comedy in long branch. [open access] New York Times.