Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead – Bert V. Royal

dogseesgod

Had its world premiere at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival.

Original Cast:

CB                                                Michael Gladis
CB’s Sister  
                                Karen DiConcetto
Van 
                                              Tate Ellington and Daniel Franzese
Matt 
                                             Jay Sullivan
Beethoven 
                                 Benjamin Schrader
Tricia
                                            Bridget Barkan
Marcy 
                                          Stelianie Tekmitchov
Van’s Sister                                
Melissa Picarello

Director:  Susan W. Lovell

Publication:  Royal, Bert V. Dog Sees God:  Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Dramatists Play Service, 2006. Drama Library PS3618. O8928 D64 2006.

Setting:  A neighborhood

Language:  Contemporary

TRICIA

And speaking of her fashion sense, why is she always wearing that shirt that says WWJD?  What the hell is that supposed to mean? Who wants jelly doughnuts?

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   The Peanuts kids have been reimagined and are all grown up in this unauthorized parody—and, boy, do they have problems.  CB’s dog has just died and he begins questioning the existence of an afterlife; his sister doesn’t know who she is; Beethoven is being bullied; Van is a pothead; Marcy and Tricia are sex-starved mean girls; Van’s Sister is an institutionalized pyromaniac; and Matt has anger management problems.  Although the play doesn’t quite manage to seamlessly integrate all of its concerns, themes, and genres, it is an entertaining “What would happen if” look at its source material that draws upon the lives and problems of contemporary teens.

 

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.7-8:  CB writes a letter to his pen pal about the death of his dog.  Depending on the requirements, the monologue can begin at the beginning of the play, or where it does here.

CB

My dog died. I don’t know if you remember, but I had a beagle. He was a good dog. My best friend. I’d had him as far back as I could remember, but one day last month, I went out to feed him and he didn’t come bounding out of his red doghouse like usual. [Lines cut] My parents called a center and they came and took him away. Later that day, they put him to sleep. They gave me his corpse in a cardboard box. When my dog died, that was when the rain cloud came back and everything went to hell…

p.24-25:  CB’s sister performs from her one-woman show, Cocooning into Platypus; really bad.

CB’s Sister

Metamorphosis. Transformation. Evolution. Change. Evolution.  Change. Changing evolution. I am a teenage caterpillar. I know of these things. For soon, I’ll spin a cocoon. [Lines cut] If I stay in my cocoon longer, I’ll  change from a butterfly to a swallow and then from a swallow to a duck and then from a duck to a platypus. It’s all just a matter of time. And time I have. I will wait to become a platypus. I will be an extraordinary creature.

p.35:  Van’s Sister explains to CB why she set the red-headed girl’s hair on fire in class.

VAN’S SISTER

[I am.] I was pregnant. (Beat.) Don’t worry. It wasn’t yours. I had just gotten an abortion the day before and the next day in Biology, we were ironically learning about reproduction. I’m listening to Miss Rainey talking about fallopian tubes, the uterus, eggs and I’m feeling sick to my stomach already. [Lines cut.] No matter how hard I try. Bitches like that make me sick. They’ve made me sick. I’m officially sick, psychotic, unrepentant and unremorseful. I’ve been branded a sociopath and I have no choice but to believe it.

 

Representative Scenes:  There are a number of short, two-person scenes in this play and a number of scenes with substantial two-person interactions.

p. 8-9:  CB and CB’s Sister at CB’s dog’s funeral. Starts with

CB

                Mom will kill you if she sees you smoking.

and ends with

CB’S SISTER

He was your fucking dog. You fucking say it.

p. 10-12:  CB and Van sit on a brick wall and discuss the afterlife.  Starts with

VAN

You wanna hit this?

and ends with

CB

Like what?

p.22-24:  CB visits Beethoven in the music room during lunch and Beethoven confronts CB about the way he and his other friends have bullied Beethoven over the years.  At the end of the scene, CB kisses Beethoven.  Starts with

CB

                Maybe if you didn’t act so—

and ends with

BEETHOVEN

                Me too.

p.34-36:  CB visits Van’s Sister in the institution and asks why she set fire to the little red-headed girl’s hair.  Starts with

CB

Hey, why’d you do it?

and ends with

VAN’S SISTER

Hey, Blockhead! You forgot your scarf!

 

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

Blanchard, J. (2006, Jul 20). Pointed peanuts parody ; blistering satire ‘dog sees god’ inventive in short work at studio. Washington Times, pp. B05.

Calhoun, A. (2004, Sep 15). Good grief, C.B., you blockhead, is it really bye-bye to the beagle? New York Times, pp. E3.

Clear, M. (2010, Aug 12). Grownup Peanuts. St.Petersburg Times,pp.B2.

Dunham, M. (2009, Sep 05). ‘Peanuts’ gang encounters tumultuous teendom in play: Satisfying: “dog sees god” explores world of teenage angst. McClatchy – Tribune Business News.

Henerson, E. (2008, Jun 13). ‘Peanut’ Gang up to new tricks in ‘Dog Sees God’. Daily News, pp.L8.

Moore, J. (2007, May 04). ‘Dog sees god’ a comic coming-of-age. Denver Post,pp.F6.

Munro, D. (2013, August 25). Theater Review: ‘Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead’. Fresno Bee, The: Blogs (CA).

Ouzounian, R. (2009, Mar 26). Gawd, this quirky show is as lovable as snoopy. Toronto Star, pp.E8.

Staton, J. (2013, August 22). Review – ‘Dog’ puts comic strip cast in perspective as teens. StarNews (Wilmington, NC).

Thielman, S. (2005, Dec 16). Review, the ‘peanuts’ gang as adults: Good grief. Newsday, pp. B17.

Toscano, M. (2009, Dec 03). ‘Dog sees god’ serves up roasted ‘peanuts’. The Washington Post, pp. AAVE.21.

Voorheis, M. (2013, Aug 15). A darker charlie brown tale opens at browncoat. McClatchy – Tribune Business News

Zinoman, J. (2005, Dec 16). Aargh! the ‘peanuts’ gang hits a rocky adolescence. New York Times, pp. E2.

The Sugar Syndrome – Lucy Prebble

sugarsyndrome

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

Setting:  England

Language:  Contemporary with British slang.

TIM

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

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

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

 

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

p.25: Tim talks about his attraction to a little girl in his building

TIM

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

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

LEWIS

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

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

DANI

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

and ends with

TIM

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

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

DANI

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

and ends with

LEWIS

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

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

TIM

You’re going to read all those?

and ends with

DANI

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

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

LEWIS

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

and ends with

TIM

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kurt & Sid – Roy Smiles

kurtandsid

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

Original Cast:

Sid Vicious                             Danny Dyer
Kurt Cobain  
                        Shaun Evans

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary. Some British slang.

KURT

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

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

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

 

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

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

SID

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

[KURT

Oh yeah.]

SID

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

[KURT

Surprise me.]

SID

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

[KURT

Not off-hand.]

SID

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

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

SID

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

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

KURT

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

[SID

Mr. Compassion.]

KURT

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

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

SID

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

[KURT

‘Fade away don’t burn out’?

SID

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

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

SID

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

Kurt says nothing.

You can’t hear me, can you?

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

SID

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

and ends with

SID

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

[Sid glances out of the window.

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

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

SID

You’ve signed it with your surname.

and ends with

KURT

(Sneer.) And I thought that was you.

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

SID

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

and ends with

SID

(In darkness.) You bastard.

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

KURT

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

and ends with

KURT

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belongings – Morgan Lloyd Malcolm

belongings

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

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

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

JIM

Yeh alright. Chucked it didenI?

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

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

 

 

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

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

DEB

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

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

DEB

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

[JO

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

JO

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

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

JIM

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

[DEB

/dramatic/]

JIM

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

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

DEB

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

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

She puts the letter back in her pocket.

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

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

SARKO

I’ve got this theory about the desert.

and ends with

DEB

Sweet dreams.

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

JIM

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

and ends with

DEB

Suddenly I’m really tired.

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

JO

Sorry.

and ends with

JO

Kiss.

A pause.

JO

Kiss.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sick – Zayd Dohrn

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary

SIDNEY

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

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

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

 

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

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

SIDNEY

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

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

JIM

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

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

MAXINE

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

 

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

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

JIM

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

and ends with

SARAH

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

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

DAVEY

Does it feel the way it looks?

and ends with

JIM

No.

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

JIM

You okay?

and ends with

SARAH

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

The Columnist – David Auburn

columnist

Originally produced by the Manhattan Theater Club, April 25, 2012.

Original Cast:

Joe Alsop (40s-50s)                                         John Lithgow
Susan Mary Alsop (40s)                                  Margaret Colin
Stewart Alsop (late 40s)                                  Boyd Gaines
Andrei (Young Man, Man) (20s-30s)              Brian J. Smith
Abigail (16-20s)                                                Grace Gummer
Halberstam (late 20s-30s)                               Stephen Kunken
Philip (early 20s)                                              Marc Bonan

Director:  Daniel Sullivan
Set Design:  John Lee Beatty
Costume Design:  Jess Goldstein
Lighting Design:  Kenneth Posner
Original Music and Sound Design:  John Gromada
Projection Designer:  Rocco DiSanti
Hair and Wig Designer:  Charles LaPointe
Production Stage Manager:  Jane Grey
Stage Manager:  Denise Yaney

Publication:  Auburn, David. The Columnist. Faber and Faber, 2012. Drama Library PS3551.U28 C65 2012.

Setting:  Various from 1954 through 1968

Language:  Persons in the play are generally upper-class and intelligent; their speech reflects their status

JOE

My boy, politics is life! Politics is human intercourse at its most sublimely ridiculous and intensely vital. You may as well say you don’t care very much for sex.

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

Plot:  The play was inspired by the life of Joe Alsop, a newspaper columnist who dominated the Washington political scene during the years between World War II and the Vietnam War.  Most people won’t know who Joe Alsop is and most young audiences will have a hard time believing that journalists ever held that much power considering the relatively weak positions of most journalists today, particularly in the Washington press corps.  The only real tension in the play comes from the vague threat of Alsop being exposed as a homosexual after being entrapped by the KGB in 1954.  However, despite the potential for damaging his career, the threat ultimately has no effect on him.  Instead, what damages Alsop’s standing is his unbending position on the Vietnam War.

 

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:  Halberstam, a young New York Times newspaper columnist, stationed in Vietnam, is furious about Joe’s column blaming war correspondents for the poor showing of Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.  

HALBERSTAM

He doesn’t know the country, he breezes over here for a week, he stays with Lodge at the embassy, he gets his army car and driver, Harkins puts a helicopter at his disposal, he gets whatever he wants… [Lines cut] –he notices that this man is not only a corrupt and incompetent and hopeless loser and dope, as the rest of us have been saying for months if not years, but also, by the way, actually insane—He notices this… and then blames… the press! We did it! It’s all our fault!

p. 44:  Joe calls the editor of the New York Times to explain why he wants him to fire his star reporters in Vietnam. (less than a minute long)

JOE

Scotty. I’m sorry, I think we were accidentally disconnected. Well, why would you do that? (Pause.) All right, I’ll tell you precisely where I get off calling the editor of a rival newspaper and telling him to fire his “star” reporters. {Lines cut}

They are boys, goddamnit, they are boys! Does Sheehan even have his driver’s license? And if you let me know the date of Halberstam’s bar mitzvah, I’ll be sure to send him something nice—

Hello?

Shit.

p. 47:  Joe, on the phone with his brother, Stewart, reacts to the news that Ngo Dinh Diem has been assassinated by South Vietnamese generals.

JOE

How dare you hang up on me twice in a row, you miserable son of a bitch, when all I am trying to do is help you? You—

Oh, hello, Stewart, I’m sorry. Welcome back. No, it’s—

Congratulations for what?

[Lines cut]

He is not looking for an excuse to get out. That is a ludicrous misreading of both the situation and the man. Promise me you won’t write that anywhere, you’ll just embarrass yourself. He’s far more tough-minded than you give him credit for, or than you yourself seem to be at the moment, if you don’t mind my saying so.

Fine, I’ll set you straight over dinner. Love to Tish.

 

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 6-7:  Joe lies in bed, talking with a man he picked up in a bar in Moscow. Andrei tells Joe about his sister, a laundress, and how she had once been a great athlete.  Starts with

JOE

Your English is extremely good, you know that?

and ends with

JOE

That’s awful.

p. 17-18:  Joe and Porter on the night of Kennedy’s inauguration.  Starts with

STEWART

You are feeling good

and ends with

STEWART

I have enough sense of history to know that when a man in a tuxedo smoking a cigar announces “This is our moment,” he’s generally fucked.

p.37-38:  Stewart confronts Halberstam about some scurrilous rumors circulating about Joe.  Starts with

STEWART

David, take my advice. Don’t go picking fights with Joe Alsop.

and ends with

STEWART

                My brother’s “compromised” so he’s harder on the Soviets?

Gossip. Spiteful, envious sleaze that doesn’t even make sense on its face. I thought you were a better reporter than that. (STEWART puts down his drink.) Do you know, for a moment there I was actually going to defend you to Joe? But now I think I’d better just say good afternoon, and go fuck yourself.

 

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

Feldberg, R. (2012, Apr 26). Portrait of a power broker. The Record.

Feingold, M. (2012, May 02). The columnist: Neocon job. [open access] The Village Voice, pp. 1

Jones, C. (2012, Apr 26). Engaging ‘columnist’ can’t get beyond biographical. Chicago Tribune, pp. 4.6.

Stasio, M. (2012). The Columnist. Variety, 426(12), 16.

After. – Chad Beckim

after

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

Setting:  Various locations

Language:  Contemporary

WARREN

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

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

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

 

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

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

SUSIE

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

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

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

WARREN

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

[Lines cut]

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

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

WARREN

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

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

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

MONTY

Ripley was a good dog, man.

[CHAP

She was.]

MONTY

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

[Lines cut.]

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

Fuck them.

Fuck the dude that killed my dog.

And fuck Laura Miller.

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

Show yourself out, man.

 

Representative Scenes:  

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

MONTY

I lied to you.

and ends with

SUSIE

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

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

CHAP

You’re sleepwalking?

and ends with

CHAP

I know.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gruesome Playground Injuries – Rajiv Joseph

gruesome

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary

DOUG

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

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

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

 

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

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

DOUG

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

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

DOUG

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

 


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

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

DOUG

                The fireworks were awesome.

and ends with

KAYLEEN

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

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

KAYLEEN

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

and ends with

KAYLEEN

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gingerbread House – Mark Schultz

gingerbread

First produced at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York, opening April 11, 2009.

Original Cast:

Stacey (30s)                                                                              Sarah Paulson
Brian (30s)                                                                                Jason Butler Harner
Marco (30s)                                                                               Bobby Cannavale
Fran (40s)                                                                                  Jackie Hoffman
Collin (20s)                                                                                Ben Rappaport
Curtis (very young boy, son of Stacey and Brian)                     L.J. Foley
Maggie (even younger girl, daughter of Stacey and Brian)       Clare Foley

Director:  Evan Cabnet
Set Design:  John McDermott
Lighting Design:  Ben Stanton
Costume Design:  Jessica Wegener
Sound Design:  Zane Birdwell
Video and Projections:  Richard DiBella

Publication:  Schultz, Mark. The Gingerbread House. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. 2010. Drama Library, PS3619. C4784 G56 2010

Setting:  Various.  There should be a window floating somewhere onstage onto which images and titles can be projected.  Otherwise, the stage should be as bare and minimal as possible.  Time, the present.

Language:  Contemporary. People speak in staccato rhythms. Text in parenthesis is not spoken. (Note:  in the published play, the unspoken text is in brackets.)

BRIAN

It’s not oh, please, it’s true. It’s fucking true. And I feel bad. (A little.) I do. For even saying it. But. More than that. I feel. We have to be honest. With ourselves. Okay? Can we do that? Can we be honest? (Beat.) We’re shitty fucking parents. Stacey.

Genre/Style:  Dark comedy

Plot:  Brian and Stacey contemplate selling their children.  As hinted at by the title, this is a contemporary take on Hansel and Gretel, in which both parents are culpable for their actions.  There are no wicked stepmothers in this version, just two very selfish individuals who are tired of being responsible for their children.

 

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

p.14-15:  Darren is trying to convince Stacey that selling their kids, instead of putting them up for adoption, is a great idea. 

Brian

You don’t get paid. When you give up your kids. For adoption. No one pays you. For giving up your full-grown. Kids. but this isn’t about the money. (At least not entirely.) Because. Adoption? They’re put into some system. They get shoved into some system. Foster homes. It’s all dragged out. They get fucked. For life. And is that really what we want? For them? I mean this isn’t just about making us happy. This is about them. Too. ‘Cause I’ve given this a lot of thought. I may hate them. But I don’t wanna hurt them. [Lines cut]  We’ll think of something. When the time comes. If we have to. And. So. (Beat.) We can do this. It’s the best we can do. All things considered. (Beat.) I miss you. Is all. (Beat.) What do you think?

p.19:  Marco gives a sales pitch; Brian’s line can be cut.

Marco

Okay. These are the facts. Cold hard facts. A: Kids know when they’re a burden. They know. And it’s fucked up, I gotta say. And B: You got an opportunity here. To make things better. For everyone involved. Brian’s told me all bout it. (Beat.) Se, I know what’s going on here, Stacey. I’ve seen it before. Lots of people. Lots of moms. They settle. For whatever. Little. Crumbs. Life gives them. But you got a husband. Who’s willing to dream big for you.

[Brian

That’s right. That’s true.]

Marco

[Lines cut] Because I know you want to believe me. This is the truth. Simple as I can make it: They will be loved. By some very wealthy people. They’ll have a great time. Everybody wins. That’s all there is to it.

p.52-53:  Brian finds out that Stacey has kidnapped Marco’s children in an attempt to get their kids back.

Brian

You’re shitting on me. Let’s be honest. And you’re shitting on us. Which is worse. And it’s a really fucking horrible thing. It is. To realize. After all my work. After everything I’ve done. Tried to do. That you never. Never. Ever. Really. Wanted. Me. [Lines cut] You don’t deserve them. And frankly. Really. Quite frankly. your behavior here. Today. Recently. Shows. You don’t deserve me either. So. Let’s just say. That. The woman I married is gone. Right? Let’s just say that she’s gone. And let’s just say that. In here place. Is this old fucking hag. This child-selling fucking vampire hag. Who wouldn’t know what motherhood was. If you hit her over the head with it. (I mean. If you could do that. With motherhood.)

 

Representative Scenes:

p.9-10:  Brian brings up the idea of selling the kids. Starts with

BRIAN

(I) Got an idea.

and ends with

STACEY

It does.

p.22-23:  Stacey’s at work trying to sell a cruise ship vacation to a customer.  Starts with

FRAN

I’m really interested in the Fantasy Cruise?

and ends with

FRAN

The Fantasy Cruise. If there’s a cruise that’s more.  Fantasy. Fantastic. Whatever. If there’s a more Fantasy Cruise than the Fantasy Cruise, then it’s not really much of a Fantasy Cruise, at least not as much as the Cruise that’s more Fantastical (Pause.)

 

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

Isherwood, C. (2009, Apr 22). Chaotic household? sell the kids. New York Times. [Review of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production in NY]

Rosenberg, David A. The Gingerbread House. Back Stage, 4/23/2009, Vol. 50 Issue 17, p29-29. [Review of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production in NY]

Soloski, Alexis. No Kidding. Village Voice, 4/29/2009, Vol. 54 Issue 18, p33-33. [Review of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production in NY]

The Gingerbread House. Theatre World, 2008-2009, Vol. 65, p175. [Review of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production in NY]

Thielman, Sam. The Gingerbread House. Daily Variety, 4/21/2009, Vol. 303 Issue 11, p22-23. [Review of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production in NY]

Voss, Brandon. Drama Queen. HX Magazine, 5/1/2009, Issue 921, p54.  [Review of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production in NY]

 

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

pamatmat

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary

KENNY

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

Genre/Style:  Darkly comedic drama

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

 

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

p.14:  Benji explaining why his mother has kicked him out of the house.  [Kenny’s line can be cut.] 

BENJI

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

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

[Lines cut]

[KENNY

Don’t be sorry.]

BENJI

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

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

EDITH

[I just do.]

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

[BENJI

No.]

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

 

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

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

KENNY

That’s what you brought?

and ends with

BENJI

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

(KENNY kisses BENJI)

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

BENJI

So…uh, what are you doing tonight?

and ends with

KENNY

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

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

EDITH

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

and ends with

EDITH

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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