The Private Lives of Eskimos – Ken Urban

Originally produced by the Committee Theatre Company at the Linhart Theater in New York City, September 12, 2007.

 

Original Cast:

Marvin Michael Tisdale
The Woman Carol Monda
Detective/Christine/Eskimo Melissa Miller
Tom/Cop/Eskimo Andrew Breving 


Director
:  Dylan McCullough

Marvin:  a disaffected urban dweller in mourning, 30s
The Woman:  a mysterious older woman, face unseen, 40s
Christine:  Marvin’s girlfriend, 30s
Tom:  Marvin’s coworker, 20s
Cop:  male, who loves/hates donuts
Therapist:  female, who might be in the wrong profession
Detective:  female, who is not, in fact, a detective, but a VBP (Very Bad Person)
The Eskimos:  more like diseased yetis or Teletubbies gone wrong
Elizabeth:  Marvin’s sister, a voice on a cell phone

 

Publication:  Urban, Ken. The Private Lives of Eskimos. New York:  Dramatists Play Service, 2014. Drama Library Stacks PS3621. R34 P75 2014.

 

Setting:  An East Coast city; the present [Fall (September to December)].

Language:  Contemporary

TOM

Jesus, Marv, you’re totally crazy. I love it, I love it. You remind me of this bro of mine at school. He would say the craziest shit, especially if he was toasted and dud, he was always toasted.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   Marvin’s sister has died in a terrorist attack on a train and he was the last person she spoke to by cell phone.  Unable to function, he turns to his girlfriend, his coworker, and a therapist to no avail.  When he loses his cell phone, he calls and gets a mysterious woman on the other end who refuses to return his phone.  When she ends up calling him back, they begin an odd, somewhat abusive relationship via the telephone.  By the time a so-called Detective shows up claiming to be looking for the woman, Marvin realizes something strange and possibly sinister is going on.  As if that’s not enough, a trio of Eskimos (who bear no resemblance to real indigenous peoples) continually show up without warning spouting spam whenever Marvin’s agitated.  In a play that is already chock full of enough drama, the trio adds nothing substantial to the story and come off more as postmodern stylistic flourishes than as authentic manifestations of Marvin’s inner state.  One of the difficulties of the play is that it seems to be an unholy mix of styles:  realistic drama meets surrealist, absurdist black comedy.  That said, there are some truly effective moments.

 

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.14-15:  Christine is trying to interest Marvin in dinner but Marvin ignores her. She is frustrated with his inability to move on after his sister’s death. Starts with

CHRISTINE

I could throw my jacket on
get you a burrito
‘cause I know you like burritos
get you a burrito from the Mexican place
the one we always go to
where we went on our first date

and ends with

Marvin?

Bangkok. You like that one.
White rice?
No, brown.
Brown rice.
Yes.

p.20-21:  Tom tells Marvin about this cooking show (Bobby Flay’s Throwdown) that he watched on the first day Marvin returns to work after his sister’s death. Basically, Tom is serving Marvin notice that he’s no longer needed. Starts with

TOM

I said, I saw this cooking show last night. But it wasn’t like a stupid gay-ass cooking show, it was like pretty awesome, you know. An awesome cooking show. This guy he finds the person who people say are like the best at something.
like this woman makes the best hamburgers

and ends with

 

And that hamburger lady, she lost it ‘cause it was like her birthday and she was all excited she was getting this documentary made about her. But she got slammed.
Bobby fuckin’ slammed her.
Tom loves that. SLAM.

                                                Tom looks t Marvin. Marvin is visibly shaking.

Hey. You OK, bud?

p.62:  The Detective comes to see Marvin after having found the Woman based on his information. When Marvin questions her about what happened, the Detective tells Marvin she used to write short stories that everyone tried to read more into than was there.  Starts with

DETECTIVE

(No accent.) It all ends now, understand?

Marvin nods vigorously. She lets go. He collapses to the floor.

(Accent returns.) Hey, Marv. Can I tell you something? That OK?

Marvin nods yes.

and ends with

As I always say, ambiguity is the refuge of the indecisive. Ambiguity is for pussies. That’s what I think.
Clarity, Marvin, clarity. Got me?

 

Representative Scenes: 

p.16-18: Marvin sees a therapist, not the best therapist in the world. Starts with

MARVIN

Um. Are you gonna ask me something, doctor?

and ends with

THERAPIST

Start the new medicine right away, OK?

p22-24: Marvin calls his lost cell phone from a pay phone and speaks with the woman who has it. He does everything he can to get her to give it back.  Starts with

WOMAN

Hello?

and ends with

MARVIN

Hello?
Hello?
HELLO?

p.55-58: Marvin finds out the truth about the Woman, that she was a con artist, who used him but not as horribly as she could have. Starts with

WOMAN

Marvin, you had me worried sick. I’ve been calling for hours.

and ends with

WOMAN

Marvin?
Marvin?
MARVIN!
Shit.

 

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

Claudia, l. R. (2007, Sep 12). Must check this out! eskimos speak spam! who knew? New York Times, p.E4.

Stasio, M. (2007, Sep 17-23). The Private Lives of Eskimos, Variety, p.53.

 

Lizards – Megan Mostyn-Brown

Originally produced at the University of Minnesota’s Guthrie Theatre on April 11, 2007.

 

Original Cast:

Victor Ricardo Vazquez
Jesse John Skelley
Phoebe Valeri Mudek
Ronnie Amanda Fuller
Sebastian Jake Ford
Mallory Caroline Cooney

 

Director:  Josh Hecht

 

Phoebe:  23, married, Valium addict, lost
Jesse:  23, Phoebe’s husband, passive aggressive, a fixer
Mallory:  26, shy, nervous, making a big change
Sebastian:  25, laid back, pothead, thinks he’s a loser
Ronnie:  25, Punk, sassy, former Jersey girl, in love with Sebastian
Victor:  28, nervous, sweet, making a big change

 

Publication:  Mostyn-Brown, Megan. Lizards. New York:  Samuel French, 2007. Drama Library Stacks PS3613. O788 L59 2007.

 

Setting:  Various locations in New York City and the Bronx

Language:  Contemporary

RONNIE

Yes but I don’t have a fancy pants art history degree. In fact I don’t have a degree at all. And for the record, nobody expected anything more from me than managing the Sunglass Hut at the Short Hills Mall. So really my situation is a big step up for my lack of education and trashy Jersey background.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   Phoebe was saved from a near-drowning by an acquaintance and has spiraled into a drug-aided depression, turning away from her husband Jesse and towards her rescuer Sebastian.  Victor loses his job as a science teacher and meets Mallory who has been contemplating taking a trip to Rio. Sebastian has broken up with his girlfriend and is unaware that his friend Ronnie suffers from an unrequited love for him. They all teeter on the brink of change, uncertain of the path they must take to find happiness and fulfillment. Will they, like some lizards, adapt to their surroundings? break off a symbolic tail to escape? or regenerate a lost limb in order to survive?

 

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.7-9:  Victor deals with his rowdy class, giving a talk on reptiles.  He discovers at the end of the lesson that the class gecko Jimmy is dead.  Starts with

VICTOR

Okay…okay settle down… I said settle down… yes Shanikwa I know it is hot I opened the windows that’s the best I can do… now everyone take out your notebooks and a pencil… Daytwon put away your makers and take out a pencil… a pencil Daytwon not a pen… thank you… now today we are going to continue our lesson on lizards… Yesterday we learned that lizards are what? Anyone? Anyone?

and ends with

VICTOR

Yes Stasia the Komodo dragon may attack people but there are none of them in the Bronx so you have nothing to worry about…now where was I? I don’t remember and we only have five minutes left so I’ll leave you with this lizards regenerate…

[lines cut]

Uggh…just…just draw in your notebooks until the music teacher arrives or something…Fredrick bring me Jimmy…no Jimmy the gecko…it’s time to feed him…he’s not what? He’s not moving?

p.31-32:  Sebastian visits Phoebe at her job at Whole Foods.  She asks him to tell her the story of how he saved her from drowning.  Starts with

SEBASTIAN

Okay… ummm… It was cloudy so there was barely anyone at the beach. In fact we were going to go to Atlantic City instead but Ronnie really wanted to swim and it wasn’t training so we drove to Sea Isle. We stopped at that liquor store off the Parkway with that guy who looked like he was in ZZ Top. And when we got to the beach Victor mixed cocktails. [lines cut] Ronnie and Jesse stood up. And then I ran in. Swam and grabbed you from behind pulling you off of Victor. Holding you. The lifeguard was there too by that time. He gave you a paddle board and the four of us swam to shore. I helped you to the blanket while Victor threw up salt water and gin. Ronnie started crying and Jesse held you.

p.44-45:  Jesse confesses his fears about his wife Phoebe and talks about their honeymoon to Loch Ness.  Starts with

JESSE

She’s disappeared…not literally… I mean she’s still at home… a human being sitting there… but she’s gone… the Phoebe I knew is gone… inside I guess… I mean I look at her… into her fuckin’ eyes and there’s nothing there… I mean there’s something there but nothing I recognize… and I keep thinking about our honeymoon… [lines cut] anyway I guess I just keep hoping that happens with Phoebe, cuz she’s lost… and I can’t seem to find her there… in all that denseness beneath her eyes… and I hope whatever it is comes to the surface… I just want her to come to the surface…

p.46-47:  Sebastian calls his ex-girlfriend on the phone. Starts with

SEBASTIAN

Hey Sheryl… it’s me Sebastian… I know… I know you told me not to call you… which is probably why you’re not picking up… or maybe you’re not home… but I’d like to think that you are there sitting on your pink couch listening to this- Dammit.

[lines cut]

Me again… I think you’re answering machine is fucked- anyway what I want you to know is that I saved this this girl at the beach a few months ago… She was drowning and I swam out and I saved her… [lines cut] I’m not just a waste of space… and I just want you to think about that because I don’t think Phil the party promoter or whatever his fucking name is woulda done something like I did… cool… ummm call me back… Bye….

 

Representative Scenes: 

p.15-17: Mallory visits a travel agency to book a trip to Rio. Jesse tries to talk her out of buying a one-way ticket. Starts with

JESSE

Hello Ms. Daniels. I’m Jesse.

and ends with

MALLORY

Yeah.

p.31-35: Phoebe and Sebastian have been meeting to talk. During one of their talks, Phoebe asks Sebastian to tell her the story of how he saved her from drowning. After he tells her the story, Phoebe realizes that her husband didn’t try to save her from drowning but Sebastian did.  In her desperation, she decides to make a play for him. He tries to convince her that she has good things in her life and, in the end, rejects her.  Starts with

PHOEBE

(As if realizing it for the first time.) But he didn’t jump in.

and ends with

SEBASTIAN

Fuck me.

p.57-60: Phoebe and Jesse argue and festering resentments surface. Phoebe reveals her resentment of Jesse because he was always there when she wanted to do things on her own. She tells Jesse that she wants to end things between them. Then, despite that, she seems surprised when he tells her to go. Starts with

PHOEBE

I don’t want this anymore.

and ends with

JESSE

Try swimming. You seem to have luck figuring your life out there.

Hearts like Fists – Adam Szymkowicz

Opened at Theatre of NOTE in Los Angeles, August 3, 2012; subsequent New York production opened on December 1, 2012 by Flux Theatre Ensemble at the Secret Theatre.

 

Original Cast:

Lisa:  Lauren Dobbins Webb
Peter:  Rick Steadman
Doctor X:  Keith Allan
Nina:  Alysha Brady
Sally:  Jennifer Lee Weaver
Jazmin:  Alina Phelan
Nurse: Grace Eboigbe
Stage Ninja 1:  Dan Wingard
Stage Nina 2:  Pierce Baird

Director:  Jaime Robledo

 

Lisa:  a crimestopper, female
Peter:  a heart doctor, male
Doctor X:  eveil but misunderstood, male
Nina:  a Crimefighter, female
Sally:  a Crimefighter, female
Jazmin:  a Crimefighter, female
Nurse:  a nurse, female
The Commissioner:  played by the actor who plays Doctor X
Man:  played by the actor who plays Peter
Woman:  played by the actor who plays Nurse
Girl:  played by the actor who plays Jazmin
Carson:  played by the actor who plays Doctor X
Ed:  played by the actor who plays Peter

Note:  Actors can be any race.

 

Publication:  Szymkowicz, Adam. Hearts like Fists. Dramatists Play Service, 2013. Drama Library PS3619.Z965 H43 2013.

 

Setting:  New York City; now

Language:  Contemporary

JAZMIN

I’m going to be late to my date. But I ran out of fabric softener. Should I go get the fabric softener and be a little later and then carry it around on the date? Or should I just go without it and have clothes that aren’t as soft?

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   [From the published text.] A superhero noir comedy about the dangers of love.

Lisa, who is so beautiful she causes men to fall to their deaths, falls in love with Peter, a doctor who is obsessed with creating an artificial heart so that no one suffers a broken heart.  She also happens to be the only civilian to survive a fight with arch villain Doctor X—who was once an ordinary doctor who fell in love with a one-night stand and got his heart broken, so now he poisons couples in their sleep.  As a result of Lisa’s fight with Doctor X, she’s asked to join the Crimefighters, a trio of female superheroes who fight crime by night and are nurses by day.  Will Lisa and Peter find happiness?  Will Peter perfect his artificial heart?  Will Doctor X ever find the woman with a face like a plate and end his reign of terror?  Will the Crimefighters be able to stop Doctor X and find happiness of their own?  All will be revealed…

 

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. 7:  Prologue.  Doctor X monologues regarding his origins as a super villain.  It was all because of the woman with a face like a plate. Long monologue. 

Spotlight on Doctor X, a truly terrible creature with sunken eyes and deep scars all over. Disfigured, stethoscope around the neck, wearing a doctor’s lab coat, carrying a doctor’s bag.

DOCTOR X

I have a face like a bowl of worms. Squirming around the ticks, the scars, the moles. It’s disgusting. A face like this. It’s absurd, without meaning or purpose. And I honestly can’t say if I’m an experiment gone awry or if I was just born this way. [lines cut] I didn’t know you weren’t drunk on me. How could I have missed the diagnosis? How could I have avoided the bald shock, the morning discovery, to wake up and find your note? And now I can’t remember anything except you. Your face everywhere I go. You will pay. Everyone will pay. You will all pay dearly.

p. 17-18: Peter and Lisa are on a date when the Crimefighters approach Lisa about joining their group. While they’re in the bathroom conferencing, he debates the merits of getting involved with her. In fact, he is terrified of the idea of falling in love with her.   

PETER

She will hurt you. She will break you over her knee. She will hurt you and she will tear you and she will rip you apart. Who are you that you think you can withstand her? You are just a man. You are a vulnerable man with tiny veins and blood rushing through your too fast. [lines cut] She will break you. She will hurt you and tear you and break you and pull you until there will be nothing of you left. She will—

Peter stands. He takes his coat and leaves the restaurant.

p. 23: Lisa is reeling from her first rejection. Short monologue.

Lisa walks down the street in a fog. Sound of men whistling and catcalls. She keeps walking. A car screeching and a huge crash as the car hits something. Car alarms.

LISA

Sorry. (Lisa continues to walk. As she speaks, there may be more catcalls, sounds of men walking into posts and mailboxes.)  What is this feeling, so unpleasant, like my insides rotting or my outside melting? There is a bad taste in my mouth that won’t go away. I feel itchy and oversized and everything is crawling. Is this what rejection is? [lines cut] He knows I’m no good. I could have fought Doctor X harder. I could have climbed the fire escape faster maybe. Or I could have tried harder to love them back. If I had made myself maybe or—

p. 48: Peter has completed his artificial heart. Moderate length monologue.

 Peter in his workshop in the hospital, takes an artificial heart out of a box. It beats. 

PETER

Here you are, my spare heart. Mother said, always have a spare. You never know, she said. Do everything twice. Just in case. Always have an extra pencil. Always bring an extra sandwich. And give it away if you can. To the kid with the torn jacket who smells like pee. [lines cut] You will be the circulatory saver of this world. But right now, I’m the one in need of your help. I’m the kid with the torn jacket, except the jacket is a heart. Tomorrow, they will crack my chest open and put you inside, and then I will never need to be afraid again.

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 21-22: The origin of Doctor X, supervillain. Starts with

Nurse moves into another scene where Doctor X is in the bed. Nurse gets under the sheets with him. This is a flashback. They are post-coital. .

DOCTOR X

Well, that was—

and ends with

DOCTOR X

No, I won’t. I won’t let you go. Never let you go. Never. Never. (Nurse gets up and walks away. The flashback ends. We are in the present and Doctor X is in his bed. He awakes alone.) Where did you go? How could you go? I was holding so tightly. You will pay! You will all pay! No one will have love unless I have love!!! You hear me?!! You hear me, world?! (Doctor X gets his doctor’s bag. He loads a syringe, tests it and exits into the night.)

p. 27-28: Lisa and Nina are on patrol. Nina confesses she let Doctor X get away the last time she and the other Crimefighters faced him. She fears their next meeting..  Starts with

Nina and Lisa scour the streets in full Crimefighter getup. Normal city noises.

LISA

There aren’t any accidents.

and ends with

LISA

Yes.

p. 49-51: Doctor X has been captured and hospitalized. Nina, who is fascinated by him, guards his room. Of course, he manipulates her and makes his escape.   Starts with

Nina stands in the room of Doctor X. She stares at him. He does not seem to notice.

DOCTOR X

Right there. Could almost touch her. Face like a plate.

and ends with

DOCTOR X

Sorry. (Doctor X leaves. Nina sobs.)

 

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

Sundermann, E. (2012, Dec 05). Hearts like fists hits hard. [open access] The Village Voice, p.1.

Webster, A. (2012, Dec 06). Avengers with motives personal, professional and just because. New York Times, p.C5.

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?

 

Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen – Kathryn Walat

victoria-martin

First produced by Women’s Project in New York City, 2007.

Original Cast:

Victoria Martin                                 Jessi Campbell
Peter                                                  Zachary Booth
Jimmy                                                Adam Farabee
Max                                                    Tobias Segal
Franklin                                             Matthew Stadelmann

Director:  Loretta Greco
Set Design:  Robert Brill
Costume Design:  Valerie Marcus Ramshur
Lighting Design:  Sarah Sidman
Sound Design:  Daniel Baker

 

Publication:  Walat, Kathryn. Victoria Martin:  Math Team Queen. Samuel French, 2007. Drama Stacks PS3545. A4325 V53 2007.

 

Setting:  Longwood High School; January through June

Language:  Contemporary

FRANKLIN

Yeah. Like that part near the end where Anne Frank starts intercepting Morse code signals from Germany and almost gets brainwashed into being a Nazi. Right Max?

Genre/Style:   Comedy

Plot:  Popular high school sophomore Victoria Martin joins the all-male math team.    

 

Review of the Production:  Genzlinger, N. (2007, Jan 25). The math rookie is a girl, A big problem for the geeks. New York Times, pp.E8.

 

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.14-15: Victoria tries to make excuses for bombing at the first math meet, everything from getting her period to the fact that the kid sitting next to her kept clicking his retainer. (long monologue)

VICTORIA

I’m popular. Like totally, undisputedly popular. Like, I walk down the hallways, and even though I’m a sophomore, there are seniors—senior guys, with deep voices—who say: Hey. Sometimes they say: Hey, Vickie, what’s up? Like, they know my name.

[lines cut]

…And when I was in the girls’ bathroom and I totally just got my period, and had to ask one of them for a pad, they just giggled. And so I had to stuff all of this scratchy school-grade toilet paper into my underwear and meanwhile, I almost missed the sophomore round of questions, because they put all the room numbers in Roman numerals. For fun. And when I finally got there, I was sitting next to this kid who kept clicking his retainer and it was driving me crazy, and I was like—(Suddenly the rest of the team is there. She turns and speaks to them.)

I don’t do headgear, OK?

p.26-27:  Peter gushes over the changes to the Math Team since Vickie became a member.

PETER

In case you need to review the facts. Number one: As unofficial Math Tam captain and the senior on the team, I am the most mature member of the team. Number two: This is my last chance ever—ever—to prove our awesome collective mathematical brainpower at States!!!

[lines cut]

And at the meets, while she’s working on her problem set, she always gets this funny look on her face, just when she gets a problem, and she knows she’s got it, and I know she’s got it, and we’ve totally got it—and that’s when I think:  This is awesome!

Because the Longwood High School Math Team has started to win again. But this time? Math Team is—different. Better. Like, it’s more than just math.

p.34-35:  Victoria talks about her dad during her driving lesson with Peter. (long monologue)

VICTORIA

My dad was supposed to teach me how to drive. But he’s in California right now. He got this awesome computer-programming job. He used to work from home, designing software, but my mother says he wasn’t any good because he never thought about the people who would be using the software. He’s the smartest man my mom ever met. But at the end of the day, which is like my mom’s favorite expression:  “At the end of the day…” his brain wasn’t enough.

[Lines cut]

I just wanted to survive. To make it through the school year to the summer, when I could go to California, where no one would know who I was. Except my dad. Who knows what I like without even asking, like pizza with sausage and broccoli, and reruns of “The Honeymooners,” and numbers. I guess what I really like are numbers. But then I would think numbers are stupid to like. Because, in high school, what can you do with numbers?

p.60-61:  Jimmy talks about the worse Monday in his life: the first day of school after the Saturday of the big game when he pissed his pants before telling his hero, Scott Sumner, that his girlfriend, Victoria, was out kissing another boy outside the gym.

JIMMY

In case you’re like totally retarded and don’t remember? Tuesday comes after Monday. Even if it’s the worst Monday of your life. I’m talking about two days after the Saturday night of the big game, where you wet your pants and then because of some major cognitive malfunction, instead of running out of the building and continuing to run away, into the night, not stopping until you reached the safety of your mother’s kitchen, you instead thought it was more important to go back into the gym, right up to Scott Sumner—who hadn’t even wiped off the sweat of victory yet—to tell the Longwood High School basketball superstar that his girlfriend is kissing another guy, right outside the gym.

[lines cut]

But, I am very happy to remind you that Tuesday does come, even after the darkest Monday of your very limited high school life. And after Tuesday, it was Wednesday. And I don’t think I need to tell you that Wednesday is the day of the Math Team meet that’s going to decide if we’re going to States.

 

 

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.20-23: Peter gives Victoria a ride home after school. Starts with (VICTORIA is waiting for her ride. She reads from The Diary of Anne Frank.)

VICTORIA

“Let me put it more clearly, since no one will believe that a girl of thirteen feels herself quite alone in the world. I know about thirty people whom one might call friends… but it’s the same with all of them, just fun and joking, nothing more. I can never bring myself to talk of anything outside the common round… Hence, this diary.”… [Lines cut]

and ends with

VICTORIA

I don’t need my books either. I don’t even need to study to pass my classes. I’m not stupid, you know. And you know something else? I am so not quitting.

Even if that’s what all you nerds want me to do. You think you losers are the only ones who can do math? I can do math. I can do Math Team. I’m popular, but I am also totally, totally smart.

p.39-41: Franklin and Max are studying for their SATs.  Max is struggling with the realization that he likes his best friend in a non-platonic way.   Starts with

FRANKLIN

God, why do the SATs have to be so stupid?

and ends with

MAX

I just think it might be nice. For us to do something besides homework together.

p.55-58:  Max and Victoria bond in the aftermath of Max having confessed to Franklin that he likes him and Victoria having kissed Peter behind the gym during the big game. Both are struggling to figure out where to go from here.  Starts with

VICTORIA

Here.

and ends with

MAX

Really—you should read that. It’s my favorite book.

p.74-78:  Victoria’s second driving lesson with Peter during which they discover that they have deep feelings for one another.  Starts with

VICTORIA

What, are you kidding? I thought I was going to die. Why are you—you think that’s amusing? I’m serious, Peter, I almost stopped breathing and dropped dead, on the spot.

and ends with

PETER

Pi.

Birds of a Feather – Marc Acito

birds

First produced by the Hub Theatre in Fairfax, Virginia on July 15, 2011.

Original Cast:

Silo, Lola, Bombshell, Porkey, Gayest, Preening,            Dan Crane
Announcer, Grown-Up Tango

Roy, Pale Male, Bombshell, Betty, Gayer, Bored,             Matt Dewberry
Teen Tango, Chastity Wright

Birder, Gay, Fat Cat Senator, Man in Coveralls,                 Eric Messner
Wanna-Be, Richard Cohen

Zookeeper, Paula Zahn, Female Birder                                Jjana Valentiner

 

Director:  Shirley Serotsky
Set Design:  Robbie Hayes
Costume Design:  Deb Sivigny
Lighting Design:  Andy Cissina
Sound Design:  Veronica Vorel

 

Publication:  Acito, Marc. Birds of a Feather. Samuel French, 2013. Drama Stacks PS3601.C53 B57 2013

 

Setting:  New York City, in and around Central Park; early 21st Century

Language:  Contemporary

SILO

(to ROY) What are they staring at? If they want to see a show, they should go to Times Square. Phantom’s on twofers.

Genre/Style:   Comedy

Plot:  Tells the story of Roy and Silo, the two male Chinstrap Penguins who fell in love and raised a chick in the Central Park Zoo.  Their story inspired the children’s book And Tango Makes Three, which became one of the most banned books ever.  As a contrast, the play also relates the story of Pale Male and Lola, two Red-Tailed Hawks who built a nest on the side of a Fifth Avenue apartment building.  Pale Male became a cause célèbre when his nest was removed at the behest of a few building residents and protests ensued.  Pale Male and Lola have also been the subjects of a number of children’s books, none of which have been banned.

 

Review of the Production:  Horwitz, J. (2011, Jul 13). Tales of hawks and penguins take flight in hub theatre’s ‘birds’. The Washington Post.

 

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.14-15: Silo yearns for the outside, admires Pale Male, and bemoans being a penguin. 

SILO

I ask every bird who comes back from the Outside to tell me what it’s like. And they talk of things called trees that extend up, up, upper still, opening onto an Everywhere of Blue where something called clouds swim on the wind. I want to see the thing they call grass and flowers and garbage. And bugs and crumbs. But most of all, I want to know everything about the bird they call Pale Male.

[lines cut]

 

But underneath my slick plumage lies a cushion of air that keeps me buoyant, floating safely between the predators above and below. And in that narrow pocket I tuck away my secret self.

p.33:  Roy is talking to his daughter, Baby Tango. 

ROY

I promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those annoying parents who goes on and on and on about his darling sweet snooky gookum light of his life reason for his existence, but seriously, take a look at this child.  Is she not the most adorable lovable huggable creature ever ever ever ever ever in the history of the world since before the invention of time? I thought so.

[lines cut]

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m actually the strong one. It’s true. It comes from being very superficial. Things don’t bother me much because I don’t think much. It’s a fool-proof system-designed by a fool. I highly recommend it.

p.41-42:  The Birder is a character who’s a birdwatcher watching Pale Male and Lola.  He’s a bit lonely and socially awkward.    

BIRDER

Every week all spring, a new batch of birds shows up-two hundred and seventy five different kinds. I’ve lived here my whole life, I’ve never noticed. Most New Yorkers tune out, y’know, put on that New York face…

[lines cut]

I once saw a mourning dove pretend to have a broken wing to distract an owl away from its nest. And I actually watched this little plover deliberately act insane just to confuse a raccoon, which is exactly what you should do when you’re getting mugged.

p.43-43:  Birder remembers watching the Twin Towers fall on television.  Likens people in the buildings to birds.

BIRDER

Watchin’ those chicks perched on the edge of the nest, hopping up and down, trying to work up the courage to take a flying leap into the unknown, I can’t stop thinkin’ of those people who were t rapped in the World Trade Center. The ones who decided they’d rather leap to their deaths than burn alive. [lines cut] Two virtual strangers who found themselves standing above the world in a broken window, fire blazing at their backs, the wind whipping past their faces as they stared out at so much blue. And I imagine them turning to each other and saying, “Let’s not die alone.”

p.51: Zookeeper talks about the experience of being single.

ZOOKEEPER

Sure, I’ve been over to the model boat pond a couple of times, but I’d never seen Pale Male that close. It was like meeting the Pope or the president. He was so mesmerizing. Those intense eyes. That proud chest. His whole demeanor was so…masculine. Almost alluring.

Okay, I seriously need to get laid.

[Lines cut]

I know it’s counter-productive, but when you’re single, you don’t have someone else to torture, so you torture yourself.

 

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. 11-14: Roy and Silo discuss their relationship and Roy’s desire to have a chick. [Part of a longer scene.] Starts with

SILO

(to ROY)  What are they staring at? If they want to see a show, they should go to Times Square. Phantom’s on twofers.

and ends with

ROY

I beg to differ.

p.26-30: Lola confronts Pale Male about their relationship and the way he treats her; Pale Male explains that’s the way of hawks and he also complains about Silo and Roy having a chick and how it’s not natural.   Starts with

LOLA

How many children do you have?

and ends with

LOLA

I choose to believe otherwise.

p.73-75:  Silo breaks up with Roy, telling him that he’s fallen in love with a female penguin from San Diego.   Starts with

SILO

You sick?

and ends with

ROY

This isn’t the world-wide-world. It’s a prison.

 

 

Aalst – Duncan McLean from original texts by Pol Heyvaert and Dimitri Verhulst

aalst

New Scottish version first performed at Tramway, Glasgow, on Wednesday March 21, 2007.

Original Cast:

Cathy Delaney                 Kate Dickie
Michael Delaney
             David McKay
Voice (offstage)                Gary Lewis

Director:  Pol Heyvaert
Assistant Director:  David Overrend
Sound Engineer:  Matthew Padden
Stage Manager:  Paul Claydon

Publication:  McLean, Duncan. Aalst. Methuen Drama, 2007. Drama Library PR6063.A2486 A64 2007.

Setting:  The play is performed on a bare stage with the two actors seated in chairs with microphones in front of them.

Language:  Contemporary

CATHY

He slapped me in the face, burnt me with cigarettes, with a razor he… carved my legs up. And as well, in my pubic hair, he wrote the letter M.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   In January 1999, a Belgian couple checked into a motel with their two children, aged seven and three months.  A week later, the children were found dead in the room.  The three-month-old girl had been suffocated and the seven-year-old boy had been stabbed with a pair of scissors.  The parents were arrested and a Belgian judge sentenced them to life in prison.  The play, transplanted to Scotland, is a fictionalized examination of the parents, now named Cathy and Michael Delaney, which moves beyond the bare facts of the case in order to try to understand how two young people who appear to be, on the surface, non-violent losers could murder their own children. The play refuses to see them as victims, despite their history of childhood abuse, but it doesn’t outright condemn them for their heinous actions.

 

 

 

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.26-27:  Cathy tells the Voice what happened the night her son, Matthew, was killed.  Very long monologue, can be edited. 

CATHY

I went downstairs for a packet of cigarettes, and then I lay on the bed… I woke up. I heard noises in the street outside— traffic, singing— and then I thought:  it’s true, I’m not at home, we’re in a hotel room.

[Lines cut]

My father always used to light a cigarette just after he had come inside me. And I’d look at him, lying on his back, slowly blowing smoke at the ceiling. Smoking is a form of sighing. I was twelve when I started smoking, and I smoked my first cigarettes exactly like my dad did. I blew the smoke out just like him.

‘If our Matthew gets a bit older, he’ll end up a smoker too.’ That’s what I was thinking then.

p.27-28:  Michael tries to explain why they killed their kids. Long monologue, can be edited.

MICHAEL

What were we supposed to do? Every parent wants the best for their kid. When I was a wee boy, my mother used to slap me in the face, and straight after she’d say, ‘That’s cos I love you.’ I’m telling you, every parent wants the best for their kid.

[Lines cut]

There aren’t many things I know for sure, but one thing I do know is: no one will ever put any of my kids in a home. Over my dead body.

What were we supposed to do? We wiped out our kids. Don’t tell me we didn’t want the best for them.

 

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 18-22:  The Voice interrogates Michael about the death of his infant daughter, Ellie. Starts with

VOICE

Was she asleep, or was she crying, or…?

and ends with

MICHAEL

Yes, and then I told her she was a child murderer!

p.46-48:  Cathy and Michael offer up last defenses for their actions.  Starts with

CATHY

I’ve been hurt too! It’s strange, isn’t it, sir, we were never taught anything about ‘life’ at school. Never. All you got was: ‘What’s the capital of Peru?’

and ends with

CATHY

I would like to say that I miss my children very much and that I’m very sorry about what happened. And that I wish I could turn the clock back, because what we did was not exactly brilliant.

 

 

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

Brown, M. (2007, Mar 26). Staccato descent into murder. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 029.

Cooper, N. (2007, Mar 26). Theatre aalst, tramway, galway 4/5. The Herald, pp. 18. R

Gardner, L. (2007, Mar 17). The guide: Theatre: Aalst glasgow. The Guardian, pp. 39.

Gough, S. (2008, Feb 2). Monster couple a profound act. The Courier Mail (Australia), pp. 50.

Hallett, B. (2008, Jan 1). How to remake a killing; theatre. Sydney Morning Herald, pp. 27.

Harrowing look at human cruelty. (2008, Jan 24). Canberra Times, pp. 8.

Koenig, R. (2007, Apr 23). A murder mystery without motivation ; theatre ++ AALST ++ soho theatre LONDON. The Independent, pp. 1.

Marlowe, S. (2007, Apr 23). Aalst. The Times, pp. 17.

McMillan, J. (2007, Mar 30). The death of innocence:  Is there such a thing as outright evil? This infanticide drama doesn’t provide an answer, but it is certainly a highly compelling way of asking the question. The Scotsman, pp. 14.

Smith, G. (2007, Dec 21). Shedding light on dark crime:  Sydney festival 2008. The Daily Telegraph (Australia), pp.72.

Turpin, A. (2007, Mar 18). When the underclass kills children. The Sunday Times, pp. 7.

Ditch – Beth Steel

ditch

London opening at The Old Vic Tunnels on May 13, 2010.

Original Cast:

Mrs. Peel (58-years old)            Dearblha Molloy
Megan (20-years old)                 Matti Houghton
Burns (early 50s)                        Danny Webb
Bug (Late 30s)                            Paul Rattray
Turner (Late 30s)                       Craig Conway
James (20-years old)                  Gethin Anthony

Director:  Richard Twyman
Design:  takis
Lighting:  Matt Prentice
Sound:
  Christopher Shutt
Music:  Tom Mills

Publication:  Steel, Beth. Ditch. Methuen Drama, 2010. Drama Library PR6119. T437 S74 2010.

Setting:  The Peak District (central and northern England); the future.

Language:  Some regional dialect and lingo

TURNER

They hole up in ’em before makin’ their way just north a’ there to the Pennine Way, leads all the way up to the Scottish border. Most a’ the time that’s where the cunts a’ headin’, Scotland.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   In the future, most of Britain is underwater; civilization is on its last legs before a global war;  the British government has become a fascist regime already at war in Venezuela; women’s reproductive  rights are non-existent; and bands of Security men patrol the countryside looking for Illegals—mostly pregnant women—since pregnancy is illegal—who are trying to escape the country. Against this backdrop, Megan and James meet at a rural outpost she helps an older woman maintain for the men stationed there.  Although the outlook for the future is bleak—and details about the present a bit murky in the script—the people of the outpost fight to restore some semblance of a society and connect with one another on a basic human level.  The play works best in those intimate moments between two people:  two soldiers trying to plan a better future, two young lovers connecting for the first time, two older persons trying to find happiness in a world gone mad.

 

 

 

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.40-41:  James tells Megan how he and his father used to attend protest meetings after things fell apart, but that gradually they stopped going for fear of Security men breaking up the meetings;  and now, he’s Security, and he’s been breaking up meetings like that. 

JAMES

Sat there listenin’ mostly s’what I done.  Reminded me a’ when I used to go meetin’s with my dad. It been after the Breakdown that. There’d be about fifty a’ us, standin’ or sittin’ in  pokey terrace. I just been a kid, been there listenin’.  [Lines cut] This past year I been the one who’s breakin’ up meetin’s… they still have ’em in terraces, but they younger who go to ’em… aint been any less a’ ’em each time we went back… I’m talkin’ again… shouldn’t get used to it.

p.41:  Megan tells James about the time Mrs. Peel planted rhubarb and made rhubarb juice out of it, and the lesson Megan learned about enjoying things while they last and not crying when they’re gone.

MEGAN

When I planted the rhubarb Mrs Peel told me she was gonna make a rhubarb juice with it when it was ready. I never had rhubarb juice before but she told me it’s like apple juice but better and I really like apple juice.  [Lines cut] Rhubarb’s gonna be ready next month and Mrs Peel promised me she gonna make juice with it. When it’s gone it’s gone. I know that now. I just have to enjoy it whilst its there.

p.91:  Megan recalls a time when Mrs. Peel killed and cooked a hare that still seemed to be alive. Short monologue.

MEGAN

There been a time when you and me were out here workin’, and you spotted a hair munchin’   away at your salad leaves. You snuck up behind and grabbed hold a’ it. [Lines cut] I couldn’t stop lookin’ at them chunks cause they were movin’. Jitterin’, like they were cold or something’. You put the heat on ’em and I say to you: them chunks are still alive! You say: they dead they just don’t know it yet.

Beat.

I feel like I’m alive and I just don’t know it yet.

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 26-29:  Megan and James hang out in the stables getting to know one another.  This is part of a longer scene and can be either lengthened or shortened.  Burns’ and Megan’s and James’ lines near the end can be cut.  Starts with

MEGAN

How much schoolin’ you had?

[BURNS

(Offstage.) James?

JAMES

I gotta go.

MEGAN

He’s just callin’ he aint comin’ here.

BURNS

(Offstage.) James?]

and ends with

MEGAN

S’all same to me.

p.51-54:  James and Megan deal with the news that he’s being sent to the front in Argentina.  Starts with

JAMES

Dint know if you were gonna come.

and ends with

MEGAN

Ssshh. Want you to make love to me.

 

 

 

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

Brown, G. (2010, May 30). No lights at the end of this tunnel. Mail on Sunday, pp. 23.

Clapp, S. (2010, May 23). Review:  Critics:  Theatre:  A serious example of tunnel vision:  Life in post-apocalypse britain is being played out under waterloo station:  Ditch the old vic tunnels , London SE1: Marine Parade The Old Market, Brighton. The Observer, pp. 39.

Gardner, L. (2010, Jun 2). Review:  Theatre:  Ditch old vic tunnels, London 3/5. The Guardian, pp. 34.

Hart, C. (2010, May 23). The old vic’s ditch has a splendidly gloomy setting, but the apocalyptic vision fails to thrill. The Sunday Times, pp. 21.

Hemming, S. (2010, May 21). Ditch. Financial Times, pp. 13.

Lukowski, A. (2010, May 27). Theatre:  Reviews:  Ditch. Time Out, pp. 116.

Marlowe, S. (2010, May 24). Ditch; Theatre. The Times, pp. 52.

Spencer, C. (2010, May 21). A chilling vision of the future. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 33.

Taylor, P. (2010, May 28). Theatre:  Ditch old vic tunnels, London. Independent Extra, pp. 16.

 

Cock – Mike Bartlett

cock

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

Setting:  The present.

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

M

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

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

You’re a sprawl

A mob.

You don’t add up.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

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

 

 

 

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

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

W

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

[JOHN

It’s fine.]

W

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

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

JOHN

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

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

[M

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

JOHN

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

[M

 / ‘horrible words’]

JOHN

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

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

M

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

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

W

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

[JOHN

/ Fuck]

W

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

[Lines cut]

Bye.

 

 

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

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

M

So what have you done?

and ends with

JOHN

I am.

It was a week ago.

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

JOHN

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

and ends with

W

So?

Sugar.

What are you going to do?

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goldfish – John Kolvenbach

goldfish

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

Setting:  Northeastern United States; the present.

Language:  Contemporary

MARGARET

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

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

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

 

 

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

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

ALBERT

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

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

ALBERT

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

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

ALBERT

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

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

LUCY

(Pause.) Can I ask you a question?

and ends with

ALBERT

I know your name.

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

LUCY

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

and ends with

ALBERT

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

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

LUCY

Is he alright?

and ends with

ALBERT

For how long?

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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