The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow: An Instant Message with Excitable Music – Rolin Jones

Premiered at South Coast Repertory Theater in April, 2003; subsequent New York production opened in September, 2005 at the Atlantic Theater Company.

 

Original Cast:

 

Jennifer Marcus Melody Butiu
Mr. Marcus/Mr. Zhang William Francis McGuire
Preston/Terrence/Col. Hubbard/Dr. Yakunin/Voice of Computer Translator J.D. Cullum
Adele Hartwick/Ms. Zhang Linda Gehringer
Todd/A Boy Daniel Blinkoff
Jenny Chow April Hong

 

Director:  David Chambers

 

Jennifer Marcus:  22, Asian-American
Mr. Marcus/Mr. Zhang:  early 50s
Preston/Terrence/Col.Hubbard/Dr. Yakunin/Voice of Computer Translator:  late 20s, early 30s
Adele Hartwick/Ms. Zhang:  late 40s, early 50s
Todd/A Boy:  early 20s
Jenny Chow:  early 20s, Asian-American

 

Publication:  Jones, Rolin. The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow:  An Instant Message with Excitable Music. Dramatists Play Service, 2006. Drama Library PS3610.O62777 I68 2006.

 

Setting:  A second-story bedroom, Calabasas, California; now, right now

Language:  Contemporary

TODD

I know your mom’s a raging pain and all, but it’s not all bad, ya know. I mean, c’mon, you got Tivo.

Genre/Style:  Dramatic comedy

Plot:   Jennifer is a 22-year-old engineering genius who was adopted by an American couple as a baby in China.  Jennifer’s agoraphobia causes her to clash with her over-achieving adoptive mother and spurs her to search for her birth mother.  In order to do so, she spends her time re-programming obsolete missiles for the Department of Defense in exchange for robotic parts she then uses to build an android replicant of herself that she dubs Jenny Chow.  Once Jenny Chow is complete, Jennifer sends her on a mission to make contact with her real mother in China.

 

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.11-12:  Jennifer Marcus is on her computer, emailing someone.  It’s the opening scene.    

JENNIFER

(To the audience). Dr. Yakunin says I can trust you. But just because you have a reference like that doesn’t mean we’re going to work together or that I don’t have other options, okay? Let’s just say, I’ve done some research and I know your competition. Ramirez? Bloomstedt? Okay? So I’m not going to take a lot of clandestine bullshit, alright? [lines cut] That was stupid, ‘cause hey, you know, I’ve had dreams of sleeping with my dad, who hasn’t? But they’re never sexy and it’s fucking gross, you know? Okay, weird. I’m a weirdo. Soooo we got off track for a sec, and now we’re gonna get back on it. (She sprays the computer with disinfectant. To the audience.) I see you’ve made some creative investments in the last year. Money in Chilean bonds, a racehorse named “El Jefe.” In your line of work I guess you just don’t have time to master the basics of money management. Laughing out loud!

p.13-14: Jennifer is working at her computer again. She’s communicating with an unknown person.     

JENNIFER

(To the audience.) Okay, so this firewall is serious. Have you installed it yet? (Pause.) Yes, go ahead, check. (A “hacker alert” noise from the computer. To the audience. Pause.) Oh, that’s cute. (She types in something and the “alert noise stops. She sprays the computer screen with disinfectant. We hear a “blip” noise from the computer. To the audience, annoyed.) Yeah, I’m here. Installed? Goooood. You never know which one of the big boys might be listening in, right? CIA? NSA? We have to be careful, oh, and uh, yeah, we need to stick to what we’re good at, okay? [lines cut] Oh yeah, and I’m rich. Not super rich. Just regular rich. I feel it’s important that you know a little about me, and trust me, okay, you’ll need it for the job. This isn’t your average runaway case, okay? (We hear a “boink” noise from the computer. To the audienceI.) Christ. Can you hold on for a second? (The music cuts out again. Jennifer types into the computer.) Hello Preston.

 

Representative Scenes: 

p.65-68: Jennifer confronts Jenny after she returns from China and blames her for things going wrong with her birth mother. In a fit of anger and disappointment, she sends Jenny away.  Long scene.  Starts with

JENNY CHOW

Jennifer.

and ends with

JENNY CHOW

I am very beautiful.

 

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

Hodgins, P. (2003, May 05). `Intelligent design’ hits its marks // the relationship between genius and madness is probed by a fine new theatrical voice. Orange County Register.

Shirley, D. (2003, May 05). THEATER REVIEW; ‘jenny’s’ instant message; dazzling stagecraft illuminates the world of a computer-obsessed, ingenious recluse in ‘jenny chow.’. Los Angeles Times, p.E1.

 

After. – Chad Beckim

after

First produced by the Partial Comfort Productions at The Wild Project in New York, September 2011.

Original Cast:

Susie (Asian, early 30s)                                              Jackie Chung
Chap (Any ethnicity, 40s-50s)                                     Andrew Garman
Monty (Latino, mid 30s)                                              Alfredo Narciso
Liz (Monty’s sister, early 30s)                                     Maria-Christina Oliveras
Warren (Indian, early 30s)                                           Debargo Sanyal
Eddie (Latin, mid to late 30s)                                      Jeff Wilburn

Director:  Stephen Brackett
Scenic Design:  Jason Simms
Costume Design:  Whitney Locher
Lighting Design:  Gregg Goff
Sound Design:  Daniel Kluger
Fight Director:  David Anzuelo
Dramaturg:  John M. Baker
Stage Manager:  Tara M. Nachtigall

Publication:  Beckim, Chad. After. Samuel French, 2012. Drama Library PS3602. E327 A38 2012.

Setting:  Various locations

Language:  Contemporary

WARREN

A little too slim for me. I like ’em thicker than that, but she’s definitely cute. And she definitely likes you. No woman initiates contact like that with a man without liking him. Unless she’s a prostitute.

Genre/Style:  Drama but with comic moments that arise out of character

Plot:  DNA evidence has just exonerated Monty and he is released from prison after seventeen years.  He now has to adjust to life on the outside after having spent half of his life incarcerated. Although the play covers the standard ex-con just released from prison and is now coping with life on the outside moments, by looking at those moments in a fresh way, the playwright avoids stereotypes and clichés.  However, an act of violence near the end of the play introduces a new character who isn’t really germane to Monty’s growth and the play slips a little into melodramatic territory.

 

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.22-23:  Susie explains why she doesn’t like Axe guys. 

SUSIE

I don’t get that, you know? Like, you’ll see these good looking guys, well groomed, well maintained, together, the kind of guy that you see and secretly think, “He looks like a nice guy to talk to,” only then they walk past you and they smell like they just got stuck in a cologne thunderstorm. [Lines cut]

I’m sorry. I talk too much. I say too much dumb stuff. And I forced that toothbrush on you. I’m working on it, but it’s… The deodorant aisle is that way. (She points.) Two aisles down.

p.26:  Warren bitches to Monty about the doggy day care business he owns and operates.

WARREN

Yep. We chauffeur dogs here. I can’t get over that. I understand the brushing and washing and feeding and all that. But chauffeuring? Like they’re kids coming home from a field trip?

[Lines cut]

When I was a kid we had a yellow lab. Lived outside. Ate dry food—and take it from me? Avoid that wet stuff, dude. That wet stuff makes them shit pudding. But my dog. Didn’t even need to be chained up. Came and went as he pleased. And he seemed perfectly happy-lived until he was thirteen, I think.

p.41:  Warren tells Monty how his dad got the nickname, Destroyer of lives.

WARREN

My father really is the destroyer of lives, though. That was his nickname for himself when I was a child.

I got this record—”Shamu and Friends”—for my birthday one year? It was all of the characters from “Seaworld” singing songs about the sea and about the environment. [Lines cut]  And I wouldn’t talk to him for a week, and finally a week later my mom came home with a new record and hands it to me, and it’s “Sigmund the Sea Monster,” which is not even nearly the same thing, and she’s like, “This is from your father and me.” And when I told her that it wasn’t the same one, my father laughed and said, “I am the destroyer of lives.” Because he is.

p. 61-62:  (This monologue is fairly long, perhaps two minutes long or more in its entirety.)  Monty laments the death of the one of the service dogs he trained in prison and the loss of his life, and rages about the state’s offer to pay him restitution and the apology the victim of the rape he was accused of wants to make.  [Chap’s line can be cut.]

MONTY

Ripley was a good dog, man.

[CHAP

She was.]

MONTY

A good dog. No, a great fucking dog. The best. I taught her to sit. I taught her to stay. I taught her to lie down. I taught her to shake—even though I wasn’t supposed to. I taught her to nudge someone’s hand when they were scared or angry or anxious or just, just shut the fuck down. Me. I did that.

[Lines cut.]

The only fucking good thing I ever did is gone, and you come here telling me that the good news is that they want to pay me for missing my prom and college and keg parties and my first apartment?

Fuck them.

Fuck the dude that killed my dog.

And fuck Laura Miller.

(A long beat. He turns to the window.)

Show yourself out, man.

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 39-41:  Monty confesses to Susie why he’s never asked a girl out or gone shopping or tied a tie.  Starts with

MONTY

I lied to you.

and ends with

SUSIE

Huh? Of course. I just—I thought I saw someone I knew. (She grabs the basket and looks at the list.) Okay. First up. Deodorant.

p. 16-18: Monty receives a visit from the chaplain from the prison and explains for the first time how it feels to be outside.  Starts with

CHAP

You’re sleepwalking?

and ends with

CHAP

I know.

 

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

Isherwood, C. (2011, Sep 22). After the hard life of prison comes the hard life of the outside world. New York Times.

Jones, C. (2012, Sep 07). Plumbing depths of bittersweet freedom. Chicago Tribune.

Soloski, A. (2011, Sep 28). Sprung awakening. [open access] The Village Voice.

Vincentelli, E. (2011, Sep 22). Leaves Nice ‘After’-Glow. New York Post.

 

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them – A. Rey Pamatmat

pamatmat

Received its world premier at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2011.

Original Cast:

Edith  (12, Filipino-American, a girl, Kenny’s sister)                       Teresa Avia Lim
Kenny (16, Filipino-American, a young man, Edith’s brother)        Jon Norman Schneider
Benji (16, any race, a friend)                                                          Cory Michael Smith

Author’s Note:  The play should be performed by young-looking adult actors, not actual teenagers.  The adults in the play can be portrayed with puppets, projections, or something else non-human.

Director:  May Adrales
Scenic Design:  Brian Sidney Bembridge
Costume Design:  Connie Furr Soloman
Lighting Design:  Jeff Nellis
Sound Design:  Benjamin Marcum
Properties Design:  Joe Cunningham
Media Design:  Philip Allgeier
Fight Director:  Drew Fracher
Stage Manager:  Kimberly First-Aycock
Dramaturg:  Michael Bigelow Dixon

Publication:  Pamatmat, A. Rey. Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. Samuel French. 2012.  Drama Library, PS3616.A3567 E35 2012

Setting:  A remote non-working farm outside of a remote town in remotest Middle America in the early 90s.

Language:  Contemporary

KENNY

I have this special glue that will keep a dress stuck on you for a week, and if you try to take it off, it will rip off your skin. So either put one on for a couple of hours, or plan on having one stuck to you for days.

Genre/Style:  Darkly comedic drama

Plot:  Edith and her brother, Kenny, try to survive on their own in a farmhouse in the country after the death of their mother and their father’s apparent abandonment.  The basic premise is a little shaky—that a father would abandon his school-aged children to live with his girlfriend in the same town—as is some of the plotting, but the characters are engaging and they draw you into the play.  Particularly affecting is the budding relationship between Kenny and Benji.

 

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:  Benji explaining why his mother has kicked him out of the house.  [Kenny’s line can be cut.] 

BENJI

I’m doing my chores—washing dinner dishes. I go in my room when I’m done and she’s sitting there holding the tape and the note. Her face is all twisted. Disgusted. And then she yells for my dad and brother, and when they come in, she shoves the note at me and goes:  “Read it. Aloud. To your father.”

And I read. And she shakes and cries. And my bother swears. And my dad just stands there. I get to the end and I hear this…this crack sound. And she snapped it in half. Your tape.

[Lines cut]

[KENNY

Don’t be sorry.]

BENJI

My dad goes, “I’m going to make sure Mom talks to you tomorrow.” But I don’t want to talk to her. I don’t want to go home, to…with her. I want her to leave me alone.

p.39:  Edith explaining to Benji how he needs to take care of himself and learn to be like her.  [Benji’s line can be cut.]

EDITH

[I just do.]

Sometimes I go to Dina Osheyack’s house, and her mom is always there. She teaches us how to do stuff, helps us do our homework. And it’s fun, even though Mrs. Osheyack can be really annoying. She wants to see Dina all the time and hear all about school and stuff. But Mrs. Osheyack? She’s always telling Dina what to do—pick this up and throw this out and show Tom some respect, he has cross country tomorrow! [Lines cut]

[BENJI

No.]

Right. You’re almost as smart as me, and I don’t need anyone. So just do what I do, and you’ll be fine. Show her you’re fine. Live here and be like me.

 

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

p.23-24: Kenny and Benji discussing words for various sex acts.  Starts with KENNY and BENJI in the barn, sitting in the hay. BENJI pulls a dictionary out of his bookbag.)   

KENNY

That’s what you brought?

and ends with

BENJI

That’s what I mean. There are words for it. And not just crass words or words they use at my mother’s church. These words…”fellatio” is scientific. It’s not—there’s no. It’s not condemning people who do it, and it’s not glorifying them either. No bias. There’s a scientific word for it, because it is a scientific fact that it happens. And since it happens it needs to be named. And so it is.

(KENNY kisses BENJI)

p.37-38:  Edith wants Kenny to ask Benji to come to her recital  [Starts with

BENJI

So…uh, what are you doing tonight?

and ends with

KENNY

Bye, whore. I’ll pick you up in twenty minutes, whore.

p.55-56:  Edith and Benji are sitting in an ice cream shop after Kenny has just stormed out.  The kids have been hiding out since Edith shot her dad’s girlfriend by mistake with her pellet gun.  Starts with

EDITH

I wouldn’t have shot her if I knew who she was.

and ends with

EDITH

Even if she loves you, her love doesn’t mean anything. When it matters, it doesn’t mean a thing.

 

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

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

Hubbard, R. (2012, Mar 18). Theater review: ‘edith can shoot things and hit them’ is rewarding but uneven. Saint Paul Pioneer Press.

Osborne, B. (2011, Nov 04). ‘Edith can shoot things’ targets hopeful audience: Unconventional but fairly functional unit formed by trio. The Atlanta Journal – Constitution.

Royce, G. (2012, Mar 19). ‘Edith can shoot things’ misses. Star Tribune.

Schneider, R. (2011). 35th HUMANA FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN PLAYS. Plays International, 26(7/8), 48-51.

Sheward, D. (2011). Less Is More at Louisville. Back Stage (19305966), 52(15), 12-13. (Review of production at the Humana Festival)

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)