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.

 

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)