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.

 

The Secret Lives of Losers – Megan Mostyn-Brown

 

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

Original Cast:

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


Director
:  Meredith McDonough

 

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

 

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

 

Setting:  Small town Illinois, the present

Language:  Contemporary

NEELY

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

Genre/Style:  Drama

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

 

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

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

NEELY

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

and ends with

NEELY

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

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

NELSON

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

and ends with

NELSON

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

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

NEELY

Thanks fer the meal.

and ends with

DJ

Thanks.

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

NEELY

Do you even love Sophie?

and ends with

ALEX

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

 

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

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

 

Original Cast:

 

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

 

Director:  David Chambers

 

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

 

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

 

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

Language:  Contemporary

TODD

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

Genre/Style:  Dramatic comedy

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

 

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

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

JENNIFER

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

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

JENNIFER

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

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

JENNY CHOW

Jennifer.

and ends with

JENNY CHOW

I am very beautiful.

 

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

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

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

 

A Bright New Boise – Samuel D. Hunter

 

Boise

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

Original Cast:

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

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

 

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

 

Setting:  Breakroom of a Hobby Lobby in Boise, Idaho

Language:  Contemporary

PAULINE

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

Genre/Style:   Serio-Comedic

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

ALEX

How did you find me?

and ends with

ALEX

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

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

I gotta clock in.

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

ALEX

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

and ends with

ALEX

Because you told me about Daniel Sharp.

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

ALEX

You think I’m stupid.

and ends with

LEROY

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

 

 

Crooked – Catherine Trieschmann

crooked

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

Original Cast:

Laney                    Christin Milioti
Elise                      Betsy Aidem
Maribel                  Carmen M. Herlihy

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

 

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

 

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

Language:  Contemporary

LANEY

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

Genre/Style:   Serio-Comedy

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

MARIBEL

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

[lines cut]

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

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

LANEY

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

[lines cut]

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

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

MARIBEL

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

 

 

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

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

MARIBEL

Does it hurt?

and ends with

LANEY

No one’s ever quoted me before!

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

MARIBEL

Are you ready now?

and ends with

MARIBEL

Do you know what it is?

(LANEY shakes her head.)

It’s the holy ghost.

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

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

LANEY

Hey.

and ends with

MARIBEL

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

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

LANEY

I thought the wine was supposed to turn into blood.

and ends with

LANEY

I think he definitely might.

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.

 

 

Scab – Sheila Callaghan

 scab

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary

Anima

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

Genre/Style:   Dramatic comedy

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

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

 

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

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

Anima

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

[lines cut]

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

p.38-39:  Anima is drunk in a bar. 

Anima

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

[lines cut]

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

(She drinks. A beat.)

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

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

Alan

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

[lines cut]

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

 

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

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

CHRISTA

Oh God, it hurts…

and ends with

CHRISTA

Okay.

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

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

CHRISTA

How are the donuts.

and ends with

ANIMA

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

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

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

ANIMA

Do you love him, Chris?

and ends with

CHRISTA

Okay.

 

 

Shivered-Philip Ridley

Automotive-assembly-line

First performed at the Southwark Playhouse in London on March 9, 2012.

Original Cast:

Alec—a  20-year-old soldier                      Robbie Jarvis-Dean
Ryan—a twelve-year-old boy                    Joseph Drake
Jack—a twelve-year-old boy                     Joshua Williams
Lyn—Alec and Ryan’s mom                       Olivia Poulet
Gordy—in his twenties, a con man           Andrew Hawley
Evie—Jack’s obese mother                      Amanda Daniels
Mikey—Alec and Ryan’s dad                     Simon Lenagan

Director:  Russell Bolam
Scenic and Costume Design:  Anthony Lamble
Lighting Design:  Richard Howell
Sound Design:  Tom Gibbons

Publication:  Ridley, Philip. Shivered. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2013. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 S38 2013.

Setting:  Draylingstowe in Essax, an automotive factory town that has gone bust.

Language:  Contemporary

Jack

No, mate!  My legs’re fucking hurting.  I can feel the veins knotting together like… like knotting-together stuff.  They hurt!  Fuck!

Genre/Style:   Dramatic/comedy

Plot:   Ryan and Jack are two twelve-year-old boys looking for aliens.  Ryan’s  brother, Alec, was a soldier whose beheading by the enemy was filmed and shared on the internet.  Ryan’s dad, a former automotive factory worker, has gone missing; and his mother can’t cope with their son’s death.  The play is fragmented and the scenes are out of order, reflecting the fragmentation of modern-day life and illuminating often-overlooked details with the benefit of hindsight.  The first act works better than the second, but the language and themes remain affecting.  Although the boys are twelve in the play, teens or college aged actors would be appropriate as the subject matter is quite mature.

 

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:  Jack tells Ryan what happened to this girl at school who didn’t want to watch the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded.

JACK     

There was this girl. Gemma Burns. She’s the year above me. She said she thought watching something like that was disgusting. She don’t watch anything. Not even  bullfights or dogs being sick. She’s a right stuck-up cunt.  [Lines cut] Reece Jackson said they should break into Gemma’s bedroom one night and hold her down like they did in the toilets, only this time make her watch the film of her throwing up while watching your brother’s head being cut off. I said, if they did that, I’d like to be the one to film it. (Slight pause.) I think it’s a fake anyway.

p.33:  Gordy tells Lyn what happens to greyhounds once they stop racing.

GORDY

You know what happens to greyhounds when they stop winning races. They’re killed. That was my job. I’d take them to the wood at the back of the stadium. I’d tie their leads round branches. Leave them to hang.  [Lines cut] Next time I did it, word had spread. There were twice as many people. I charged them money. Every time I did it the audience grew. I made more money from killing the dogs than my neighbor did from racing them. (Slight pause) Wanna meet later?

 

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. 10-12:  Ryan and Jack are watching the canal and waiting for the alien monster to appear so that Ryan can take a picture of it.  Starts with

RYAN

Okay… If anything comes out of the canal—We’re ready!

and ends with

RYAN

I see it! (Jack and Ryan scream.)

p.27-29:  The first time Jack and Ryan meet.  Jack is hiding out from a group of bullies and Ryan is trying to find evidence of aliens to prove his dad isn’t crazy.   Starts with

JACK

What are you doing?

and ends with

RYAN AND JACK

RAAAAHHHH!!!

p.38-40:  Jack and Ryan are again waiting for aliens.  Ryan shows Jack how to draw aliens.  During their lesson, Jack convinces Ryan to look at the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded. At the end of the scene Ryan beats Jack unconscious and leaves him.  The beating leaves Jack brain dead.   Starts with

JACK

You mean… aliens look like snakes.

and ends with

JACK

Fuck me, no need for that, mate. Jesus. (Struggles to get up.) Help me up, mate… Come on… My bones are bending in this position—Shit! Shit! (Ryan picks up a piece of rubble.) Come on, mate.   (Ryan strikes Jack with rubble.) Mate, what’s that for? Come on! (Slight pause. Ryan strikes Jack again.) There no need for—Mate! Don’t! (Ryan hits Jack some more. Jack is screaming now.) Stop it, mate. It’s fucking hurting… Don’t! Mate! Let’s do some drawing. (Ryan continues to strike Jack.) Let’s do… some drawing…

 

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

Bowie-Sell, D. (2012, Apr 2). Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, review. [open access] The Telegraph.

Costa, M. (2012, Mar 15). Shivered—review. [open access] The Guardian.

Purves, L. (2012, Mar 15). It’s grimmer down south; Philip Ridley’s violent new Essex drama leaves Libby Purves unmoved. The Times (London), pp.12.

Taylor, P.  (2012, Mar 15). Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, London. [open access] The Independent.

 

The Dark Things – Ursula Rani Sarma

busstop

First performed on October 6, 2009 at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh.

Original Cast:

Daniel (20s, artist)                           Brian Ferguson
LJ (20s, former exotic dancer)      Suzanne Donaldson
Steph (early 20s)                             Nicola Jo Cully
Gerry (late 50s, psychiatrist)         David Acton
Karl (late 20s)                                  Keith Fleming

Director:  Dominic Hill
Designer:  Neil Warmington
Lighting Designer:  Lizzie Powell
Sound Designer:  John Harris
Stage Manager:  Gemma Smith

Publication:  Sarma, Ursula Rani. The Dark Things. Oberon Modern Plays, 2009. Drama Library PR6119.A76 D37 2009.

Setting:  The play takes place in London.

Language:  Contemporary

LJ

Tell that to my legs if you see them… maybe I’ll have them stuffed… put them on the living room wall beside the telly (DANIEL looks at her horrified.) Jesus… relax… I’m only fucking about… face of you… you’d swear they were your legs I was on about…

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   Daniel is the only uninjured survivor of a bus crash in London.  LJ also survived, but lost both legs in the accident.  Daniel turns his experience into art, but suffers from survivors’ guilt and is falling apart inside.  In his desperation, he goes to Gerry, a psychiatrist who is seeing things and dealing with his own issues about death and survival.  Daniel’s half-sister, Steph, is trying to find her way in the world, but falls afoul of Karl, a somewhat seedy older guy who’s just as lost.

 

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.17-18:  Daniel recounting the moment of the explosion.  A very long monologue which can be edited down. 

DANIEL                

Darkness (Beat.) Total and complete darkness. (Beat.) Oceanic darkness. (Beat.) Like being at the bottom of a lake, on your back, stuck fast in the mud and sinking (Beat.) Trying to breathe, trying to decide if I am alive or dead, try telling myself it’s a dream and will myself to wake up and see… and see… my bedside table… yellow lamp… floral sheets

[Lines cut]

The sound of bones breaking is… inhuman. I curl up… in a ball… pull my knees up duck my head down and pray… please God get me out of this… please God… Please fucking God… I don’t care… I don’t care if everyone else is crushed to death and I’m…  I’m the only one left

p.107-108:  Steph, drunk, talks to Gerry who has come to a party Daniel is holding before he kills himself.  Steph has seen Karl and LJ leave together and is trying to make herself feel good about her messed-up life and lack of connections. Long monologue, can be edited.

STEPH

Oh… I remember… sure (She siles, beat.) You still remind me of Danny’s dad though. You know Danny’s dad and my dad were different people, but they both died, and then my mum met someone else and then he died… so it’s like I had two d ads and Danny had three… and they all died… so I guess we kind of gave up on the idea of having a dad.

[Lines cut]

Why do people use people? Just to make themselves feel better? Is that it? How can making     someone feel like shit make you feel better?

Representative Scenes: 

p. 19-23:  Daniel tries to deal with his half-sister Steph who has  been living with him, not working, making a mess, and generally being a pain in the ass.  He’s trying to get her to move out, but in the end, she manages to wrangle a permanent invitation out of him.  Starts with

STEPH

(Listening, then presses pause.) Today is the first day of the rest of my life. (Presses play listens then presses pause.) Today is a gift and not a burden [Lines cut] did you get mugged by Jimmy Nail?

and ends with

STEPH

(Smiles.) Good… I’m glad (He exits, she looks about.) I am the captain of my own ship of motivation (She picks up the paper.) I am. (She puts the paper down and picks up the remote control.) I…

p.73-77:  Daniel is visiting LJ in her flat.  While LJ is trying to advance their one-sided relationship and get him to move in with her, he tries to get her to let Steph move in with her.  Neither one is really connecting with the other.   Starts with

LJ

I can see your building from my bedroom window, just the roof, can see pretty much everything from up here (Daniel nods, beat) and it’s quiet… a bit too quiet sometimes… catch myself feeling lonely have to snap myself out of it…

and ends with

LJ

I know a place. (Beat.) I’ll show you. (Beat, Daniel goes to push her chair.) I can do it… I can do it on my own.

 

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

Cooper, N.  (2009, Oct 12). Artist’s brush with death; surviving a crash acts as one man’s wake-up call in a self-absorbed world; Theatre.  The Herald, pp. 18.

Fisher, M. (2009, Oct 16). Reviews:  Theatre:  The dark things traverse, edinburgh 4/5. The Guardian,  pp.42.

McMillan, J. (2009, Oct 15). Joyce mcmillan on theatre:  Integrity to fore as nts celebrates one man and his music. The Scotsman, pp. 36.

Scot, R. D. (2009, Oct 14). The dark things; arts first night theatre. The Times (London), pp. 16, 17.

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

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

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

 

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

Language:  Contemporary

FATHER

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

Genre/Style:  Drama

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

 

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

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

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

DR. ANNESE

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

 [Lines cut]

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

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

DR. ANNESE

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

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

[Lines cut]

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

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

LAUREN

Hello.

and ends with

HENRY

Yes. Yeah. Bye. Yes.

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

NURSE

Really?

and ends with

NURSE

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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