The Secret Lives of Losers – Megan Mostyn-Brown

 

Originally produced as part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s “Festival of N.O.W.” on February 10, 2006.

Original Cast:

Neely Anna Safer
Ale TJ Chasteen
Sylvia Angela Cristantello
DJ Patrick Du Laney
Nelson Jason Reynolds


Director
:  Meredith McDonough

 

Neely:  19, works at Amoco, sarcastic, lost
Alex:  19, small time drug dealer, Neely’s best friend
Sylvia:  19, overly friendly, small town girl, Alex’s new interest
DJ:  29, copy from Chicago, overweight
Nelson:  15-17, Neely’s brother, crystal meth addict, sweet but out of control
Sophia:  Alex’s baby, should be a doll in a car seat
Jessica:  Alex’s ex-girlfriend, voiceover

 

Publication:  Mostyn-Brown, Megan. The Secret Lives of Losers. New York:  Samuel French, 2007. Drama Library Stacks PS3613. O788 S4 2007.

 

Setting:  Small town Illinois, the present

Language:  Contemporary

NEELY

And Jessica’s cousin, the lesbo, she fucked Alex Scarandado, the guy with the cleft chin who was on the wrestling team, in the parking lot at 31 Flavors on Saturday and now she’s questioning her sexuality once again.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   Neely is a 19-year-old high school graduate who works at an Amoco gas station and takes care of her younger brother Nelson–a crystal meth addict who loves “Wheel of Fortune”–now that their mother has left to find herself in exotic lands.  Neely’s best friend is Alex, a small town drug addict taking care of a baby he does not want while waiting for the baby’s mama to return from college; he can’t admit to himself that she has abandoned her baby and him. Into Neely’s dead-end world comes DJ, a cop from Chicago, escaping heartbreak in his past, to challenge her to do something about her future.  The characters in the play are, as the title suggests, losers, people left behind while everyone else goes to college or joins the military or does something to get out of their particular nowheresville.  If you’re looking for an uplifting, satisfying ending, this play doesn’t provide it.  Sometimes people are so damaged they can only make incremental changes, and those changes aren’t necessarily positive.

 

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.70-71:  Neely confesses to DJ why she began stealing things.  You can cut DJ’s lines to create the monologue.  Starts with

NEELY

Okay so ummm… Right after my mom left Mrs. Finklestein baked us a ziti… She’s one of the neighborhood ladies without husbands or children who does that, bakes for us because we have a bad situation and I thank her fer the ziti and she smiles at me like I know she’s gonna go to her Stitch n’ Bitch meeting the next day and talk about how sad we are and she turns her back and I took it.

and ends with

NEELY

No, You know, I always felt like- Naw I- I always hoped that when I died they’d open my closet and everyone’d find all their lost shit and this flood of great memories will wash over them as they remember how special these things were to them and in the midst of it they’d umm… think of me and what they have and not what I don’t have.

 

Representative Scenes: 

p.12-15: Neely confronts Nelson about taking off from school and gets him to promise not to cut back on the crystal meth and stay the entire day in school. He’s watching “Wheel of Fortune”. Starts with

NELSON

(To the television.) Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit you are such a fuckin’ dumbass Dave from Utah you shoulda guessed fuckin’ “P”…

and ends with

NELSON

Yeah, yeah promise with a big “P”. No trouble. Later. Later skater.

p.31-33: DJ and Neely go to the park after having dinner on their first date. DJ gives her a crayfish in a terrarium as a gift because he says it reminded him of her. Starts with

NEELY

Thanks fer the meal.

and ends with

DJ

Thanks.

p.66-68: Neely has lost her job at the gas station for stealing. Nelson has gotten the closet open where she hid all the things she’s stolen from neighbors. She goes up on Alex’s roof to think. She and Alex talk and she confesses that she had always thought they’d end up together. Alex shuts her down using his baby and Jessica, the baby’s mama, as an excuse and Neely strikes back. At the end of the scene Alex hears Jessica on the answering machine and goes into the house. Neely takes Sophie and leaves. Starts with

NEELY

Do you even love Sophie?

and ends with

ALEX

She apologized Neely. I told you. She said she’s comin’ tomorrow if she doesn’t have to work on a project- but I feel like tomorrow’s gonna be the day- (Realizes he is alone.) Neely!

 

A Bright New Boise – Samuel D. Hunter

 

Boise

Commissioned and first produced by Partial Comfort Productions at the Wild Project in New York City, September, 2010.

Original Cast:

Will                       Andrew Garman
Pauline                Danielle Slavik
Alex                     Matt Farabee
Anna                   Sarah Nina Hayon
Leroy                  John Patrick Dougherty

Director:  Davis McCallum
Set Design:  Jason Simms
Costume Design:  Whitney Locher
Lighting Design:  Raquel Davis
Sound Design:  Ryan Rumery and M. Florian Staab
Video Design:  Rocco DiSanti

 

Publication:  Hunter, Samuel D. A Bright New Boise. Samuel French, 2011. Drama Stacks PS3608.U59496 B75 2011.

 

Setting:  Breakroom of a Hobby Lobby in Boise, Idaho

Language:  Contemporary

PAULINE

Ah, there we go. These two guys, they never say their names on the air for some reason. Everybody has guesses of what their names are. I think they both sound like they’re kinda high, so I call this one Woody and this one Harrelson. Get it?

Genre/Style:   Serio-Comedic

Plot:  Will begins working at a Hobby Lobby in Boise, Idaho, running from a recent incident involving a young man’s death in a religious cult Will belonged to in Couer d’Alene. Hoping to reconnect with Alex, the teenage son he put up for adoption years ago—and who happens to be a seasonal worker at the same Hobby Lobby—Will spends his time writing an End of Times novel online using  Hobby Lobby’s WiFi after hours and praying for the Rapture to occur so that he can escape his meaningless life.       

 

Review of the Production:  Rooney, D. (2010, Sep 22). A teenager’s summer job leaves a lifelong impact. New York Times, C8.

 

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

The only person who has any monologues is Pauline, an older character in the play.

 

Representative Scenes:  Scenes con­tain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the scene in its entirety.

p.21-23:  Will tries to convince Alex that he’s his father. Alex doesn’t buy it and wants to have a blood test done.  [part of a longer scene]  Starts with

ALEX

How did you find me?

and ends with

ALEX

If I ask you to quit and move out of Boise, would you?

(WILL doesn’t answer, staring down at his shoes.)

I gotta clock in.

p.56-58:  Alex and Will take the first tentative steps towards understanding one another and building trust. Will tells Alex about Daniel Sharp’s death and, in turn, Alex tells Will about the abuse and heartache he’s suffered in his young life.  [part of a longer scene]  Starts with

ALEX

STOP. (pause) If your church was so amazing, why did that kid die?

and ends with

ALEX

Because you told me about Daniel Sharp.

p.65-67:  Alex’s foster brother Leroy, who is an MFA student and also works at the Hobby Lobby, is angry because Alex has begun to hang around Will and has also begun to question his place in the world and to believe, like Will, that his life is meaningless without God.  [part of a longer scene] Starts with

ALEX

You think I’m stupid.

and ends with

LEROY

Okay. Just give me a minute. I’ll go talk to Pauline and then I’ll take you home, alright?

 

 

Crooked – Catherine Trieschmann

crooked

Premiered Off-Broadway at Women’s Project in April 2008; first performed in a workshop production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004.

Original Cast:

Laney                    Christin Milioti
Elise                      Betsy Aidem
Maribel                  Carmen M. Herlihy

Director:  Liz Diamond
Set Design:  Jennifer Moeller
Costume Design:  Ilona Somogyi
Lighting Design:  S. Ryan Schmit
Sound Design:  Jane shaw

 

Publication:  Trieschmann, Catherine. Crooked. Samuel French, 2009. Drama Stacks PS3620.R54 C76 2009.

 

Setting:  The Water’s House, High School Stadium Bleachers, and Church Sanctuary in Oxford, Mississippi; the present

Language:  Contemporary

LANEY

I admit, I might meet some resistance, some prejudice. Maybe I’ll get thrown out of the church, and Maribel and me will have to move to another town. But when my memoirs are published, other fourteen-year-old holiness lesbians will read them and won’t feel so alone.

Genre/Style:   Serio-Comedy

Plot:  Laney, a precocious 14-year-old girl with dystonia, moves to Oxford, Mississippi with her soon-to-be divorced mother.  She makes friends with 16-year old Maribel, who is chubby, socially awkward, and overly zealous about bringing people to Jesus. Over the course of their friendship, Laney falls in love with Maribel and decides to become a holiness lesbian.

 

Review of the Production:  James, C. (2008, Apr 21). Troubles of teenagers, faithful and cruel. New York Times.

 

 

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.16: Maribel explains why she doesn’t mind being sinned against in high school because eventually her tormentors will get theirs in everlasting hell. (Laney’s lines can be skipped.)

MARIBEL

I get sinned against all the time in this school—Deedee Cummings pulled down my pants in gym class today—but I don’t mind because I know that the things of this earth, they’re not lasting. (paus) You think that I’m a real freak, don’t you?

[lines cut]

But there has to be punishment for people who sin and sin and keep sinning. If there isn’t everlasting hell, then Hitler and Stalin and Deedee Cummings will never get punished for what they did. All the people in this school who ignore you will never get punished either.

p.16-17:  Laney tells Maribel about having dystonia and why she doesn’t mind that people ignore her because that reveals to her how shallow people are. (Maribel’s line can be skipped.)

LANEY

It’s the muscles in my back. They’re working against one another. It’s called dystonia. Having a humpback is called kyphosis. I don’t have kyphosis. I have dystoni8a. It’s different. It’s temporary. I’m glad I have it.

[lines cut]

Here, nobody talks to me. But I haven’t changed. My essential personality hasn’t changed. So I know the reason they don’t talk to me is because of my dystonia, and I’m glad I have it, because now I know how shallow people are. It’s a good thing to know, don’t you think?

p.33:  Maribel prays for Jesus to forgive her and to come into Laney’s heart so that she can be saved..

MARIBEL

Dear Jesus, it’s Maribel. Maribel and my friend Laney. I ask that you forgive me of my sins, for thinking so much about Marcus Grayson and being fingered. I pray that you forgive me for wanting to kill Melissa Jenkins and Deedee Cummings. I pray that you’ll help me to forgive them. Forgive me for the hatred in my heart. [Lines cut] I pray that you enter Laney’s heart, dear Jesus, so that she won’t have to suffer everlasting hell, because Lord, she is so beautiful and full of gifts, like her writing, and I know that you’ll want to keep her near you always. Lord, I know you have mysterious ways and that I can’t know your every hair, the way you know my every hair, but I know that you don’t say no, so Lord, I’m asking that you forgive me, forgive me, not for myself, but so Laney might be healed by you too. Amen.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  Scenes con­tain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the scene in its entirety.

p.17-20:  Laney meets Maribel on the bleachers during lunch for the first time.  They share parts of their lives:  Maribel’s religious upbringing and Laney’s writing.  [part of a longer scene]  Starts with

MARIBEL

Does it hurt?

and ends with

LANEY

No one’s ever quoted me before!

p.30-33:  Maribel tries to get Laney to confess her sins and take Jesus into her heart.  At the end of the scene Laney suddenly kisses Maribel. [part of a longer scene]  Starts with

MARIBEL

Are you ready now?

and ends with

MARIBEL

Do you know what it is?

(LANEY shakes her head.)

It’s the holy ghost.

(LANEY leans in and kisses MARIBEL on the mouth. It is sweet and gentle and a beat too long.)

p.49-53:  Maribel gets upset with Laney over a romantic story she wrote about Maribel. Laney panics and lies and tells Maribel that the story was inspired by Marcus looking at Maribel at the buses after school.  Starts with

LANEY

Hey.

and ends with

MARIBEL

For the harm we’ve done to God. For the harm we do each other.

p.60-62:  Laney and Maribel get drunk on wine at a sleepover and Maribel tells Laney she is going to ask Marcus to go to church with her.  Laney panics because she lied to Maribel about Marcus’ interest in her.  Starts with

LANEY

I thought the wine was supposed to turn into blood.

and ends with

LANEY

I think he definitely might.

Decky Does a Bronco – Douglas Maxwell

Decky

The site-specific play was first performed at Brodie Park on July 28, 2000.

Original Cast:

Decky (9-year-old boy)          David Ireland
David (Adult)                          Keith Macpherson
Young Chrissy                      Andy Clark
Adult Chrissy 
                       Craig Smith
Young Barry  
                        Ross Sutherland
Adult Barry
                            Paul Cunningham
Young O’Neil
                        Jimmy Harrison
Adult O’Neil 
                          Muz Murray

Note:  All parts are played by adult males.

Director:  Ben Harrison
Sculptor/Set Designer:  Allan Ross
Costume Design:  Alice Bee
Lighting Design:  George Tarbuck
Composer:   Philip Pinsky
Stunt Coordinator:  Jonothan Campbell
Stage Manager:  Amy Shapcott

Publication:  Maxwell, Douglas. Decky Does a Bronco. Oberon Books, 2001. Drama Library PR6113. A85 D43 2001.

Setting:  A playground in the small town of Girvan, on the west coast of Scotland.

 Language:  Contemporary with lots of Scottish lingo

CHRISSY

And we’d still be taking the mickey out of him. Just ’cause he’s—just ’cause he’s no here people are going to be all ‘Aw wee Decky was ace, man I was best pals with him’ but they werenae. I’m no even going to the funeral.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Adult David remembers the events of a summer when he was nine and he and his friends hung out at the playground broncoing swings and teasing Decky, the smallest of them who was never able to bronco.  David recounts the tragic event that shattered their innocent childhoods and haunts them even as adults.  The play was originally produced on a playground and toured to playgrounds around Scotland.

 

 

 

Representative Monologues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.  Since David is the narrator in the play, he has a lot of monologues.

p.36-37:  David elucidates the dangers of satire, sarcasm, and irony. 

DAVID

Ah, happy, peaceful days. I’m a pathological reminiscer. I was reminiscing about lost days of youth when I was still a child, really. We’d sometimes come up here and sit at the swings late at night after a community center teenage disco.  [Lines cut] I admit it, I enjoyed it. It was exciting. Things turned nasty when I needed to be sarcastic first thing in the morning. Then came irony. Before I knew it, I was lying alone in an empty warehouse on a stained mattress, mainlining satire. Just say no.

p.53-54:  David tells what happens when he and Chrissy went to Decky’s house the day Decky disappeared. Long monologue

DAVID

I remember what happened next very clearly. We walked along with Barry till we got to my bit. Barry padlocked his bike to the inside of our fence and went in. Me and Chrissy walked on to Decky’s house, very, very slowly. [Lines cut] There was total silence in the living room, apart from Decky’s dad. He was sitting forward in his chair with his head in his hands. His hands were huge and battered from years of working outside. The tears were streaming between his fingers as if his entire face was made from water.

p.62-63:  David explains what he does when he now sees a story on television about a child having been abducted.  Very long monologue.

DAVID

You know when you watch the news and you see the daily child abduction story; the smiling school photo in the corner of the screen and the stern-faced newsreader, unable to believe that they are saying yet again the phrase ‘was last seen alive’; do you know when you see that, you always say ‘I can’t imagine what the parents are going through’, do you feel that you’re telling a lie?  [Lines cut] You see when the news comes on and I close my eyes, when everyone else is trying their hardest not to see the truth, I have a picture in my mind. It’s the most beautiful, free, child-like, fun, important thing in the world. Because it’s then, in that blink, in that instant…  Decky does a bronco.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  This play has a lot of characters and there are very few sections that involve just two people.

p. 55-57:  Barry and David talk about Decky’s death.  Starts with

DAVID

What did my mum want?

and ends with

BARRY

I’m waiting till I get back to Gran’s, till I cry. I wonder if she knows? She never even met Decky though. Think about it. Think about all the people who never met him, who he would have met, the things he would have done. He never even Broncoed a swing.

 

 

 

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

Clapp, S. (2000, Aug 13). Arts: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL:THEATRE: Child’s play for adults: When the emotions of a gang of boys are portrayed by adults, the results are disturbing. The Observer, pp. 8.

Halliburton, R. (2001, Jun 22). More than child’s play. Evening Standard, pp. 50.

Hickling, A. (2001, Jun 09). Reviews: Theatre: Swings and roundabouts in manchester: Decky does a bronco: Whitworth park, manchester (3/5 stars). The Guardian, pp. 1.25.

Kingston, J. (2001, Jun 25). Decky does a bronco. The Times, pp. 2, 24.

McMillan, J. (2010, Jul 08). Theatre reviews: Life’s swings and roundabouts. The Scotsman, pp. 36.

Spencer, C. (2001, Jun 25). A haunting look at the leap from innocence. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 15.

 

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.

Pageant Play – Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock

crown or tiara isolated on a white background

World premiere during the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on July 5, 2008.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Marge/Pinky’s Mother                                 Daiva Deupree
Pinky                                                              Jenn Harris
Bobby/Buddy                                                Mark Setlock
Bob/Gunnar                                                  Matthew Wilkas

Pinky:  30s, mother of Chevrolet
Marge (Bobbi-Jo):
  30s, mother of Puddle
Bobby:  30s, pageant coach
Bob:  30s, pageant coach
Gunnar: 30s, husband of Pinky
Buddy:  30s, husband of Marge (Bobbi-Jo)
Pinky’s Mother:  30s (in flashback), drunk

Direc­tor:  Martha Banta
Set Design:  Luke Hegel-Cantarella
Costume Design:  Jessica Riesser-Milne
Lighting Design:  Thom Weaver
Sound Design:  Bart Fassbender
Dance Consultant:  Isadora Wolfe
Stage Manager:  Rafi Levavy

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Wilkas, Matthew and Mark Setlock. Pageant Play.  Dramatists Play Service, 2010.  Drama Library PS3623. I5453 P34 2010.

 Set­ting:  The American South

Lan­guage:  Contemporary and everyone speaks with a Texas accent

MOTHER

If you lose one more time, little darling of mine, I’m going to go and buy that little doggy anyway, and I’m gonna let you play with her for a day or two. And then I’m going to have your cousin Leon shoot her and make her into a hat. (Mother pats Pinky on the head, downs her drink and just before she exits shouts:)  This flashback is over!

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   Pinky, a wealthy Texas socialite and pageant veteran, will do anything to fulfill her unfulfilled pageant dreams through her daughter, Chevrolet.  Marge, a newcomer on the scene, just wants to win enough money to bail her husband out of jail.  Unfortunately, she does that by kidnapping a little girl and entering her in pageants.  And Bobby and Bob, two pageant coaches, are swept up in the two women’s plots and ambitions.  Although child pageants are easy to parody, the play still manages to fascinate when it explores the truly bizarre and surreal lengths parents will go to in order to win.  Marge’s story is refreshing in its departure from the normal reasons why mothers push their daughters into the cubic zirconia world of child pageants, but the flashbacks explaining Pinky’s motivations feel unnecessary—alhough they’re both humorous and grotesque—because her motivations are exactly what we imagine them to be.  The decision to portray the children as empty ball gowns emphasizes their position as objects and keeps the focus on the parents as the source of drama in the play.

 

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.15:  Marge tries to bond with Puddle by suggesting they move to Maine after the pageants are over. 

MARGE

Hey, I was just thinking, Pud, about how maybe afgter we win all the money we need, how would you like to go and live with me in someplace like Maine?  [Lines cut] And we can play princesses too. I love princesses. (Beat.) But take your time, Pud. You’ll come around. I know you will.

p.27-28:  Marge (Bobbi-Jo) explains to her husband, Buddy, how she kidnapped Puddle to enter her in pageants in order to raise money to bail him out of jail.  Long monologue.

MARGE

[Exactly.] So, I walked up and I overheard one of the Barbie girls talking to a little girl and her mother about the pageant. And I pretended I was reading a flyer, but I was really listening, see? And the Barbie girl was saying, “You can win thousands of dollars!”  [Lines cut] And I don’t know what came over me, but I… I went to her. And I picked her up. And I walked her out the door. And into the parking lot. And I put her in the car. And I drove away with her.

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 7–9:  Pinky and Marge meet after Puddle wins the Gingerbread Regional Pageant’s Top Crown and Pinky gives Marge some unwanted advice.  Starts with

PINKY

Congratulations!

and ends with

PINKY

What time is it?  (Pinky looks at her watch, and then takes Marge’s hand.) OK, you know what? You’re coming with me. Pinky’s gonna show you how it works.

p. 20-22:  Marge questions Bobby and Bob’s idea to cut Puddle’s hair like Tom Cruise’ in Top Gun for the pageant. Bob finally admits Pinky paid them to sabotage Puddle in the upcoming Texas Twinkle pageant.  Starts with

MARGE

Are you guys in some sort of a cult?

and ends with

BOB

What I’m saying is, what if we did something to stop her? (Beat.) Quick! Pass me that swim cap and that tub of latex make-up. If Bobby wants her to have Tom Cruise hair, she’s gonna have Tom Cruise hair.

p. 30-32:  Bob decides to leave Bobby and their business and strike out on his own after he helps Marge and Puddle win the Texas Twinkle pageant.  Starts with

BOBBY

Well, I managed to smooth that over. Complete disaster averted, thank you very much.

and ends with

BOBBY

You’re fat!

 

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

Berson, M. (2010, 21 July). Review: ‘pageant play’ is a hoot—full of lone star beauty-contest lunacy. [open access] Seattle Times.

MacDonald, S. (2008, 6 July). Reviews:  Pageant play. [open access] TheaterMania.

Murray, L. (2008, 6 July). Pageant play debuts at berkshire theatre festival:  Witty comedy is refreshing and breezy summer treat.  [open access] Berkshire Fine Arts.

Rizzo, F. (2008, 7 July). Pageant play. [open access] Variety.

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.

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.

Gruesome Playground Injuries – Rajiv Joseph

gruesome

Received its world premiere at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas on October 16, 2009; and premiered in New York at the Second Stage Theatre on January 31, 2011.

Original Cast:

Kayleen (ages 3-38)        Selma Blair
Doug (ages 8-38)             Brad Fleischer

Director:  Rebecca Taichman
Scenic Design:  Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Design:  Miranda Hoffman
Lighting Design:  Christopher Akerlind
Sound Design:  Jill BC DuBoff
Dramaturg:  Mark Bly
Stage Manager:  Elizabeth M. Berther

Publication:  Joseph, Rajiv.  Gruesome Playground Injuries. Samuel French. 2012.  Drama Library, PS3610. O669 G78 2012

in Joseph, Rajiv. Gruesome Playground Injuries; Animals out of paper ; Bengal tiger at the Baghdad Zoo: three plays. Soft Skull Press/Counterpoint, 2010.  Drama Library PS3610.O669 G78 2010

also available online in Joseph, R. (2011). Gruesome Playground Injuries. American Theatre, 28(4), 64-75.

Setting:  Various places; the play jumps forward and backwards in time over the course of 30 years.

Language:  Contemporary

DOUG

I’m not stupid. That’s really mean, you know? Everyone just thinks just because I’m awesome at sports and I always get hurt that I’m stupid, but I’m not stupid, I’m just brave, that’s all. I’m brave. Don’t leave.

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic; a black comedy where the humor is less about one-line zingers (although there are some) and more about the absurd situations the characters find themselves in that result in their injuries.

Plot:  Over the course of 30 years, Kayleen and Doug’s lives intersect when one or both of them are hurt.  It doesn’t sound like a lot to base a play on, but Joseph succeeds in rendering two very real and relatable characters who, nevertheless, sustain very bizarre injuries.

 

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.30:  Doug explains how he recently hurt his leg investigating an explosion at their old school.  [Doug’s first two lines can be cut.]   

DOUG

[I know. But I got to go and investigate the wreckage.] I go over and the place is collapsed. So I hoist myself up there and I’m walking on the roof and then I stepped through a weak board or something and this upright nail went clear through my foot. It was about eight inches long. [Lines cut] All of a sudden, everything was clear…trapped up on that roof, impaled, surrounded by all the angels and saints…That’s my life up there, Leenie. That’s my life without you.

p.36:  Doug recounting at Kayleen’s dad’s wake how he stopped by the previous year to see her and her dad never told her.

DOUG

You know what, Kayleen? Jesus Christ, you know, I came to your house last year and your Dad was t here, and I know he hates my guts, he always has, and he’s like She is where she is.  I don’t know where the girl is. He said he didn’t care and didn’t care to know. And I was about to leave, but I didn’t. I didn’t and I said to that son of a bitch… [Lines cut] And then I told him I hoped he’d die alone. Which he did. So I feel a little guilty about that now. (Beat.) I can take care of you, Leenie.

 


Representative Scenes:   The play is a two-hander comprised of short scenes which can be broken down into sub-scenes.

p.11-12: Kayleen visits Doug in the hospital after he puts out his eye with fireworks. Starts with

DOUG

                The fireworks were awesome.

and ends with

KAYLEEN

                Fuck you. You know how I get. When you get hurt. You know.

p.38-39:  Kayleen and Doug meet at the ice rink where Doug now works; he is in a wheelchair now.  Starts with

KAYLEEN

I came here to lay my hands on you, Dougie. I’ve never believed it, but I have to do it… because if you believe it, that must be enough. (Doug doesn’t answer, doesn’t look at her.) I came and saw you when you were in the coma.

and ends with

KAYLEEN

God, I don’t know… We talked about everything. We talked so long, it was the latest I’d ever stayed up in my life. It was almost morning when we left the swings. It was cold, and you gave me your jacket to wear. The playground was so pretty just then. The sky was starting to be blue. (They look at the ice.)

 


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

Arnold, M. (2011). What’s in a Maim?. Playbill, 29(6), 20. [Review of the Second Stage Theatre production]

Brantley, B. (2011, Feb 01). Love hurts, and for some couples, that’s the point. New York Times. [Review of the Second Stage Theatre production]

Coffey, F. (2011). Two Plays by Rajiv Joseph: Gruesome Playground Injuries & Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Ecumenica, 4(2), 89-92. [Review of the Second Stage Theatre production]

Drukman, S. (2011). Scar Stories. American Theatre, 28(4), 62-63. [Interview with Rajiv Joseph]

Evans, E. (2009, Oct 23). Taking risks pays off for gruesome playground GRUESOME: Injury-prone characters are made for each other. Houston Chronicle. [Review of premiere production in Houston]

Gardner, L. (2013). Gruesome Playground Injuries: Guardian. Theatre Record, 33(1/2), 33. [Review of the revival of the play at the Gate Theatre in London, 2013]

Marks, P. (2010, May 25). Complex friendship sustains ‘injuries’; vignettes explore a bond strengthened by sadness and pain. The Washington Post. [Review of 2010 Woolly Mammoth production in Washington, DC]

Maxwell, D. (2013). Gruesome Playground Injuries: The Times. Theatre Record, 33(1/2), 33-34. [Review of the revival of the play at the Gate Theatre in London, 2013]

Mountford, F. (2013). Gruesome Playground Injuries: Evening Standard. Theatre Record, 33(1/2), 33.

Newmark, J. (2011, Nov 02). ‘Injuries’ is more an exercise than a play; theater review; sad-sack couple are thrown together in times of crisis, mostly medical. St.Louis Post – Dispatch. [Review of Soundstage production, 2011]

Sheward, D. (2011). Gruesome Playground Injuries. Back Stage (19305966), 52(5), 49. [Review of the Second Stage Theatre production]

Siddhartha, R. (2012, Feb 08). Not so gruesome: Playground injuries. Eastern Eye.  [Review of the revival of the play at the Gate Theatre in London, 2013]

Soloski, A. (2011, Feb 02). Gruesome playground injuries-rajiv joseph’s scar trek. (open access) The Village Voice.  [Review of the Second Stage Theatre production]

Weinert-Kendt, R. (2009). Wounded By Love. American Theatre, 26(9), 22. [Review of original Houston production]

Reborning – Zayd Dohrn

dohrn

Premiered at the Public Theatre as part of the Summer Play Festival in June 2009.

Original Cast:

Daizy (male, 20s)                                           Greg Keller
Emily (female, 40s)                                         Ally Sheedy
Kelly (female, 20s)                                         Katherine Waterston

Director:  Kip Fagan
Scenic Design:  David Evans Morris
Costume Design:  Jessica Pabst
Lighting Design:  Matt Frey
Sound and Video Design:  Leah Gelpe

Publication:  Dohrn, Zayd. Reborning. Samuel French, 2013. Drama Library PS3604. O47 R43 2013

Setting:   A dollmaker’s studio in Queens, NY.

Language:  Contemporary.

KELLY

Yeah, I was kind of famous, for a while. In The New York Post. “The Dumpster Darling”. Sold a lot of papers for those assholes, which is probably my greatest regret…

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic.

Plot:  A dollmaker has been commissioned to create a doll based on her customer’s dead child.  While some of the character details are a bit precious (Daizy is a boy named by hippy parents; a RISD graduate, he makes dildos for a living), the basic premise isn’t that far-fetched:  you can understand that grief over a lost child might drive a parent to do strange things.  Where the play loses steam is when it tries to conflate Kelly’s traumatic past with her present profession, and in particular, with her commission for Emily.

 

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.15: Daizy explains to Kelly why he finds her work disgusting.

DAIZY

Sorry. But it’s like—we’re on Oprah or something here, and these people think they’re buying some product that’s gonna make them feel better about like—(imitating Oprah) “You get a doll! And you get a doll! Everybody gets a fucking doll!” (picking up a doll) Look at this. Is this a perfect symbol for some kind of –post-feminist capitalist nightmare? “Realities of life too depressing for you, little lady? Go shopping! Who needs a career? Play with dolls!” I mean—women in Africa lose half their kids within a year, all right? To diarrhea! Know what they do? They get knocked up again. Right away. They don’t have time to raise a baby made out of plastic!

p.45:  Emily explains what happened to her to make her want a doll.

EMILY

But, right. Well, it wasn’t enough…for me. (beat) I weened Eva, you know, when she was six months old…I wanted to go back to work. To make partner. A year off would have killed my career. Put me in mom-limbo, permanently. And I couldn’t stand pumping in the restroom, like a cow. Having the secretaries walk in one me. The slurping sound. So, we switched to formula. [Lines cut]  Then last year, I started getting these hot flashes. And it all came rushing back. That need. I see babies in the park now, when I’m out jogging, and I want to touch them so bad, my fingers ache.

 

Representative Scenes: 

p.8-10: Emily examines the Eva doll for the first time.  Starts with

Emily

The little crust on her eyebrows. I haven’t thought about that for…God knows. I didn’t realize I still had that on my mind…

and ends with

KELLY

Not at all. Not at all. It’s a relief, actually. To be so straightforward. I thought I was being realistic.

p.22-23: Emily examines the doll for the second time.  Starts with

EMILY

The milia on the nose. So  alive. It just—Makesteh eyes feel a bit flat to me, that’s all.

and ends with

KELLY

Right. And I can’t sculpt your memory.

 

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

Healy, P. (2009, Sep 03). A playwright’s glimmers of a fugitive childhood. New York Times. (Review of The Public Theatre production)

Marchese, E. (2012, May 09). ‘Reborning’ swaddled in dysfunction, authenticity. Orange County Register. (Review of Chance Theater production in Orange County)

Reborning. (2011, May 10). Daily Variety. (Review of San Francisco Playhouse production)