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.

 

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?

 

 

Billboard – Michael Vukadinovich

billboard

World premiere in New York on January 12, 2007 at 59E59 Theaters.

Original Cast:

Andy                     Ken Matthews
Katelyn                Sarah K. Lippmann
Damon                 Joey Piscopo

Director:  Tania Inessa Kirman
Set Design:  Zhanna Guvich and Gaetane Bertol
Costume Design:  Carla Bellisio
Lighting Design:  Colin D. Young
Sound Design:  Elizabeth Coleman
Video Designer:  David Kreger

Publication:  Vukadinovich, Michael. Billboard. Samuel French, 2008. Drama Stacks PS3622.U85 B5 2008


Setting: 
Katelyn and Andy’s apartment in Los Angeles.


Language:
  Contemporary

DAMON

People like god damn Charles Manson get tattoos on their foreheads. Sure he could play the guitar, but all those murders? That’s something to think about.


Genre/Style:
  Serio-Comedy

Plot:  Andy, a recent college graduate, gets paid a large sum of money to advertise an electronics company by getting a tattoo of its logo on his forehead. His girlfriend Katelyn decides to create an art project about him which forces him to reconsider what he’s done. 

Review of the Production:  McElroy, S. (2007, Feb 2). ‘Billboard.’ New York Times, pp.25.

 

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.25-26: Katelyn explains how she dealt with bad dreams as a child by drawing and why she began drawing again after her father died. (very long monologue)

KATELYN

(To the audience) On the plane I sat next to this little girl and her mother. The little girl was drawing with crayons for most of the trip. Pictures of her house and family and pets. Drawings from a child’s mind. Every once in awhile she would start drawing on the plane, either on the window or the tray, wherever. And her mom would say to her, “Stop drawing on the plane honey. If you can’t stay between the lines at least stay on the paper.”

[lines cut]

Telling someone your dreams are one thing, but to draw them another. The difference between Freud and Picasso. Those monsters and creatures that made me so scared in bed the night before looked so cartoonish and ridiculous when I drew them out and explained them to her. They were exposed. Out of their darkness. In the light. After only about three or four visits my nightmares stopped completely. They moved from my head to the paper and they were filed away in a cabinet forever. A few years later, after my father died, I began to draw again. This time for myself.

p.32:  Damon tells how he first met Katelyn. (long monologue)

DAMON

The first time I met Katelyn was at my dad’s funeral five years ago. Andy waited weeks before he introduced me to her. That’s how I knew it was serious. The girls he didn’t care about he’d let me meet right away. It was an unusual first meeting of course, but the thing was that while I was feeling awful about my dad, she was the only one who said anything to me that made me feel any better. Here, my friend’s new girlfriend, made me feel better than any of my family or friends with just a few words. Sometimes a stranger can do so much more for us than those close to us.

[lines cut]

Without Andy and Katelyn I don’t think I would have dealt with any of it very well. Sometimes when I imagine my own funeral—I’ll probably die of cancer because everyone dies of cancer—I think of how cool it would be if everyone bought paint and wrote messages and drew pictures all over my casket like kids do on their friend’s casts after they break a bone. They could write stories or draw memories and it might help people cry. How absurd that we need help crying! But the tears would mix with the pain and the result might be amazing.

p.68-69:  A monologue about art and relationships. (very long monologue)

ANDY

(Alone, to the audience) One day at the Getty, Katelyn got mad at me because I refused to admit that the giant, chaotic, splashy Pollock deserved to hang next to, or even in the same room, as the Monet. I’ll admit, there is something to the Pollock. There is emotion and maybe, somewhere in all of the drippings and splattering, maybe there is even something being communicated.

[Lines cut]

But we’ll be fine. Because before I left it alone I took one long, deep look at the Pollock and the art spoke to me. For a moment, in the chaotic splash of color, I saw Katelyn and it was the most beautiful painting in the museum. In any museum. And I knew it was good. There was none of this other shit that blinds us from the art of it all. That distorts how we see things. Because really, in the end, we’re all standing in front of the same canvas, squinting our eyes, trying to figure out what the hell it means. Hopefully to see something we recognize.

 

 

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.

pp.16-19: In the past, Andy and Katelyn spend a rainy day in bed listening to every Beatles album in order and talking about their future.

KATELYN

Magical Mystery Tour. Everyone says Sgt. Peppers is so progressive, but Magical Mystery Tour was just as ahead of its time.

and ends with

KATELYN

Do you really think we’ll last?

p.22-24:  Katelyn is angry with Andy because she thinks he called out Questa (the name of the company whose logo he has tattooed on his forehead) instead of Katelyn while they were having sex.   Starts with

ANDY

What did…

and ends with

ANDY

In the morning you’ll probably think this whole conversation is stupid. Isn’t that what always happens when you get like this? You’ll get up early. Make the coffee. We’ll have that awkward first eye contact and nothing will have to be said. Understood, but not said. And we’ll drink coffee.

p.33-36:  Katelyn tells Andy that she is going to put the portrait she painted of him in a show at the gallery where she works.  He is not happy with her decision.  Starts with

KATELYN

I’m going to put it in the show.

and ends with

ANDY

I don’t look like this.

p.44-46:  Katelyn decides to make Andy the focus of a new art project in which she documents his daily life and then exhibits him in a show and tell at the gallery.  Starts with

ANDY

You didn’t even tell me you were going to do this.

and ends with

KATELYN

Wearing hats now?

 

Scab – Sheila Callaghan

 scab

First performed at Women’s Expressive Theatre, New York City, 2002.

Original Cast:

Anima, 23-year-old woman                                                      Shannon Burkett
Christa, 22-year-old woman                                                     Sasha Eden
Jenna/Angel One, 20s-30s woman                                          Flora Diaz
Alan/Artie/Davie/Angel Two                                                     David Wheir
Mom/Kellee/Maryandrogyne                                                    Anne Carney

Director:  Hayley Finn
Set Design:  Margaret Eunbyul
Costume Design:  Sarah Beers
Lighting Design:  Stephen Brady
Sound Design:  David A. Gilman

Publication:  Callaghan, Sheila. Scab, a Comic Drama in Two Acts. Samuel French, 2009. Drama General Stacks PS3603.A442 S33 2009.

Setting:  An apartment in Los Angeles; an apartment in New Jersey; a bar in LA; seminar class in LA

Language:  Contemporary

Anima

No, that’s what I needed, my lollipop roommate straddling my line of vision twice a day so I could check out her lacey underpants

Genre/Style:   Dramatic comedy

Plot:  Anima’s sphere of desperation and self-destruction is invaded by the arrival of her perky new roommate, Christa.  Anima, whose father has just died, is an MFA acting student who has had a month long affair with Alan, a professor in her department.  Christa is a first-year PhD student in history.  The two young women become entrapped in a profound and intimate relationship, compounded by Christa becoming involved with Alan and Anima falling for Christa.

Review of the Production:  Weber, B. (2002, Mar. 11). Roommates’ Yen for the Same Man, and Other Problems. New York Times, pp. E5.

 

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.27:  Anima is telling Alan about her trip home to attend her father’s funeral.

Anima

Don’t worry it was all very appropriate, grandmother sang a little tune called “How I wish God would Take me too” and danced a jig before all the dearly-beerlies, and oh man the cold cut plattrs fruit baskets condolence cards…

[lines cut]

It was wild.  I felt for a second my dad WAS the president. Assassinated. By his fellow countrymen. Bastard capitalist corporate American dream, live it love it fuck it in the ass or it will fuck you ha ha ha – you think I’m crazy, don’t you/

p.38-39:  Anima is drunk in a bar. 

Anima

What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and move and inespresso ada-mahble…That’s Shakespeare. I know more. I played Hamlet once in college. It was for a video project but I was good. No one could believe a chick Hamlet could be so goddamn good.

[lines cut]

Get off me. My friend is picking me up. My roommate. My new roommate. She’s brilliant. She’s going to be a doctor soon. She analyzes women. Not a fucking shrink. She just does, then she makes history out of it.

(She drinks. A beat.)

No, but thanks. She’ll be here any minute. Because I know. She takes care of me.

p.22:  Anima has been trying to explain who Alan is to Christa after he drops by and Anima refuses to see him. Alan appears and speaks, unseen by the women.

Alan

I am thirty-two, nine years older than you. I have penetrated nineteen women, not including you, with my average sized penis. I played the viola all through college and a bit professionally before graduate school, I floss my teeth to NPR twice a day, each night I use lotion from a little blue jar to keep me from getting wrinkly.

[lines cut]

You eat rare meat, you listen to top forty radio, you never read the paper, you drink Bud Ice and you’ve only slept with two men, one of whom was gay. What on God’s good earth ever made you think it would work between us?

 

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.

39-41: Christa and Alan are together after having left a karaoke bar. Starts with

CHRISTA

Oh God, it hurts…

and ends with

CHRISTA

Okay.

(They kiss again and don’t stop.  Christa drops her shoes.)

p.50-52:  Christa confronts Anna over not going to class, something she learns from Alan. Anima accuses her of taking his side in their breakup, unaware that Christa and Alan have had sex the previous night.  Starts with

CHRISTA

How are the donuts.

and ends with

ANIMA

Tue s malade, ma petite plante. I will heal you.

Anima tears off her bandage and drips some blood into Susan’s soil.)

p.62-65:  Anima confronts Christa about her sleeping with Alan, unaware that it’s Alan, and then makes a pass at Christa.   Starts with

ANIMA

Do you love him, Chris?

and ends with

CHRISTA

Okay.

 

 

2401 Objects-Written by Hannah Barker, Lewis Hetherington & Liam Jarvis. Devised by Analogue.

hippocampusFirst performed at the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater, Germany on June 17, 2011.  UK premiere was at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh on August 3, 2011.

Original Cast:

Dr. Jacopo Annese/Henry Molaison                       Sebastien Lawson
Patient HM/Father                                                     Pieter Lawman
Nurse/Lauren/Mother                                               Melody Grove

Directors:  Liam Jarvis and Hannah Barker
Set Designer:  Anike Sedello
Lighting Designer:  Alexander Fleischer
Sound Designer:  Alexander Garfath
Multimedia Designer:  Thor Hayton
Stage Manager:  Helen Mugridge

Publication:  Barker, Hannah.   2401 Objects.  Oberon Modern Plays, 2011.  Drama Library PR6102.A76335 A615 2011.

 

Setting:  The play takes place in Hartford, Connecticut, 1953; the Bickford Health Centre, Connecticut from 1988-2008; and at The Brain Observatory, San Diego, 2011.

Language:  Contemporary

FATHER

No.  No Henry.  No.  Fine.  We’ll do nothing.  That’s right.  We’ll sit here and do nothing as we always do.  Sit here and do nothing and and just… Just quietly disappoint each other for the rest of our lives.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   In 1953, Henry Molaison, an epileptic, wakes up from an experimental surgery in which his hippocampus has been removed, without any recollection of the last two years of his life or the ability to form new memories.  In 2009, Dr. Jacopo Annese dissects his brain live on the internet and cuts it into 2401 slices.  The play explores his life before and after the surgery.

 

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 character who has any monologues in 2401 Objects is Dr. Annese, who also plays Henry as a young man.

p.42-43:  Dr. Annese explaining how Dr. Scoville performed the experimental surgery on Henry.  Comes from a much longer monologue. 

DR. ANNESE

First he had to pull down the skin from Henry’s forehead. Then, he uses a hole saw—the type you wind by hand—to cut through the skull.  Just above one of the eye sockets, he grinds through the bone and removes a disc of about three centimeters in diameter. He repeats this procedure above the other eye. Two holes. Now he can see the brain.

 [Lines cut]

He snaps a few tiny metal clips onto the frayed lesion to seal it, and then does as good a job as he can putting Henry’s head back as it was.   

p.60-61:  Dr. Annese explaining what the hippocampii do. Long monologue, can be edited.

DR. ANNESE

Your thumbs rest just on top of your ears, and the heel of your hand is sort of on your forehead. There you’ve got the idea.

And you can feel bone case underneath your hands.  And under that, your brain. [Lines cut] And about five centimeters travelling straight in from where your thumbs are, is where your hippocampii live.

[Lines cut]

You see Henry, Patient HM. There is a memory there. And then, that memory, is gone.

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 24-27:  Henry meets Lauren, who lives next door and is home from college for the summer. Henry, because of his condition, can’t live on his own or work or go to school anymore. Starts with

LAUREN

Hello.

and ends with

HENRY

Yes. Yeah. Bye. Yes.

p.38-40:  HM is watching To Have and Have Not in the hospital when the Nurse arrives to see what he wants for breakfast.  Since HM can’t make new memories, they continually have the same exchanges over and over again throughout the scene.  Starts with

NURSE

Really?

and ends with

NURSE

That’s lovely. Now. I’ll get you your breakfast.

 

 

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

Barnett, L. (2011, Aug 19). Scientific odyssey in memory of an amnesiac. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 32.

Hutera, D. (2011, July 29). Theatre. The Times (London), pp. 13.

Jones, A. (2011, Aug 25). Amnesiac’s story lingers in the memory. Independent Extra, pp. 16.

McMillan, J. (2011, Aug 11). Review:  2401 objects/what remains. The Scotsman, pp. 13.

 

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

Mistakes Madeline Made – Elizabeth Meriwether

mistakes

Originally produced in New York City, April 23, 2006.

Original Cast:

Beth (late 30s to early 40s)                          Colleen Werthmann
Edna (23)                                                       Laura Heisler
Wilson (late 20s)                                           Thomas Sadoski
Buddy (late 20s to early 30s)                        Ian Brennan
Drake/Jake/Blake (20s)                               Brian Henderson

Director:  Evan Cabnet
Set Design:
  Lauren Helpern
Costume Design:
  Jessica Wegener
Lighting Design:  Tyler Micoleau
Sound Design:  Drew Levy
Prop Design:  Faye Armon
Stage Manager:  Hannah Cohen

Publication:  Meriwether, Elizabeth. Mistakes Madeline Made. Dramatists Play Service, 2006. Drama Library PS3613.E756 M57 2006.

Setting:  A basement office in an apartment building in uptown Manhattan, the year 2006.

Language:  Contemporary

BETH

Right. We’re not just buying duplicate sneakers, we’re George’s first line of defense against the whole world! We get in there, we get our hands dirty, we get things done, we buy sneakers, we buy toothpaste, we make sure nothing bad can ever happen to this family. Every day. And I don’t know about you, but I think that’s what life is all about.

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   Edna, a recent college graduate, works in a basement office as part of a team of personal assistants to a very wealthy family.  Edna, dealing with the death of her brother, a journalist who died reporting in the Middle East, develops Ablutophobia, the fear of bathing.  Although the play flirts with ideas such as the personal becoming the political, complacency in the face of crises, at its heart, it’s really just about a young person trying to make her way in the grown-up world and works best when it tackles that idea without any philosophical or political overlays.  It wants to be a play about Big Ideas, but the structure and the story can’t support the weight of those ideas.  The play also would have worked better without the parade of New York writers Edna sleeps with, who are instantly forgettable.

 

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.22-23:  Wilson tells Edna about his dissertation.  Edna’s lines can be cut. 

WILSON

Leibniz’s perceptual monads. The definition of the soul. Tiny bubbles of soul. (Revving up his engine.) Vrrrooooo… (In a funny mechanical voice.) The soul is the tiniest place that is capable of memory—the soul is any tiny space where multiple moments of time can exist at once. (He snorts.) NEERRRD

[Lines cut]

WILSON

[Lines cut] This is the nature of our power—just by ignoring it, we can kill it… Ffff! Dead… So what do we choose to forget? (A moment.) I don’t know. I don’t have a thesis.

p.24-25:  Buddy, Edna’s brother, has taken up residence in her bathtub after returning to the US from a trip to the Middle East where he reported on the conflict.  Edna’s lines can be cut. Long monologue.

BUDDY

I can’t stay here and have all these little conversations—these little topics, here’s what I think and my ceiling’s been leaking, and what do I want and I love my new cell phone and that’s a picture of my dog, and everyone loves my dog, and do you want to see more pictures of my dog and these little conversations I have to have—I want to kill secretaries. It’s normal. It’s normal, after your first big trip it just takes some time to readjust.

[Lines cut]

BUDDY

[Lines cut]  I know the sound she’d make. And he hits her again and she’s laughing because she loves Derek Jeter, and he hits her again, and blood’s coming out of her mouth, and I opened the  kitchen drawer. And then I closed it. And then I started yelling. I think I started yelling. And I came here. Because I was yelling. I think I was… yelling.

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 7-9:  Beth makes Edna write an email apology to Judith, their employer, because Judith believes Edna didn’t make double-sided copies for her the day before.  Beth also instructs Edna in the proper procedure for making George’s after school snack.  Wilson’s line can be cut. Starts with

BETH

Don’t there seem to be a lot of car bombs? Maybe they should put all the cars in a parking garage instead of leaving them on the street? Or. I don’t know. I’m no expert. God, what a mess.

and ends with

BETH

Right, right. I’m going to say something:  I don’t think you’re ready for snack time yet. But we’re gonna get there and I’m going to make sure we do. ‘Nuff said.

p. 20-22:  Edna and Wilson confess their hatred of Beth and destroy handfuls of handiwipes which leads Wilson to tell Edna a story about a woman he met on an airplane whose nephew was in the Armenian army and wanted her to send him handiwipes.  Starts with

WILSON

Tweet, tweet!  (Wilson runs in. Edna is caught with piles of handiwipes in her fists.)

and ends with

EDNA

Yeah, I have that.

p. 23-25:  Edna confronts Buddy about his Ablutophobia and he tells her why he’s been staying in her bathtub.  Starts with

BUDDY

Look at us! We’re a country of babies and secretaries–

and ends with

BUDDY

Yeah?

 

 

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. (2006, Nov 12). Young heroines, at work and at play. New York Times, pp.CT11.

MacDonald, S. (2008, Aug 07). A polished glimpse of life’s dirty details. Boston Globe, pp.D7.

Metz, N. (2012, Oct 11). Neo-futurists’ ’44 plays’ connects presidents; uneven ‘mistakes madeline made’. McClatchy – Tribune Business News.

Sanchez, A. (2008, Oct 05). ‘Madeline’ decries complacency. Albuquerque Journal, pp.F3.

Zinoman, J. (2006, Apr 25). Romance finds the lovable weirdo. New York Times, pp.E5.