Lizards – Megan Mostyn-Brown

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

 

Original Cast:

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

 

Director:  Josh Hecht

 

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

 

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

 

Setting:  Various locations in New York City and the Bronx

Language:  Contemporary

RONNIE

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

Genre/Style:  Drama

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

 

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

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

VICTOR

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

and ends with

VICTOR

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

[lines cut]

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

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

SEBASTIAN

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

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

JESSE

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

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

SEBASTIAN

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

[lines cut]

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

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

JESSE

Hello Ms. Daniels. I’m Jesse.

and ends with

MALLORY

Yeah.

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

PHOEBE

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

and ends with

SEBASTIAN

Fuck me.

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

PHOEBE

I don’t want this anymore.

and ends with

JESSE

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

Hearts like Fists – Adam Szymkowicz

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

 

Original Cast:

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

Director:  Jaime Robledo

 

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

Note:  Actors can be any race.

 

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

 

Setting:  New York City; now

Language:  Contemporary

JAZMIN

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

Genre/Style:  Comedy

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

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

 

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

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

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

DOCTOR X

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

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

PETER

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

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

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

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

LISA

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

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

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

PETER

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

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

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

DOCTOR X

Well, that was—

and ends with

DOCTOR X

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

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

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

LISA

There aren’t any accidents.

and ends with

LISA

Yes.

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

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

DOCTOR X

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

and ends with

DOCTOR X

Sorry. (Doctor X leaves. Nina sobs.)

 

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

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

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

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.

 

 

Mistakes Madeline Made – Elizabeth Meriwether

mistakes

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary

BETH

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

Genre/Style:  Comedy

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

 

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

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

WILSON

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

[Lines cut]

WILSON

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

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

BUDDY

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

[Lines cut]

BUDDY

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

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

BETH

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

and ends with

BETH

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

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

WILSON

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

and ends with

EDNA

Yeah, I have that.

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

BUDDY

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

and ends with

BUDDY

Yeah?

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Privilege – Paul Weitz

privilege

Originally produced by the Second Stage Theatre in New York City, April 25, 2005.

Original Cast:

Porter (16)                                       Harry Zittel
Charlie (12)                                      Conor Donovan
Anna (early 40s)                               Carolyn McCormick
Erla (early 30s; Latina)                      Florencia Lozano
Ted (mid 40s)                                    Bob Saget

Director:  Peter Askin
Scenic Design:  Thomas Lynch
Costume Design:  Jeff Mahshie
Lighting Design:  Jeff Croiter
Original Music and Sound Design:  Lewis Flinn
Stage Managers:  Gerald Cosgrove and Michael McGoff

Publication:  Weitz, Paul. Privilege. Dramatists Play Service, 2006. Drama Library PS3573. E4314 P75 2006.

Setting:  An expensive Upper East side apartment, New York City, and a modest apartment on the Upper West Side, New York City, 1987.

Language:  Contemporary

PORTER

It’s my room and I’ll fart if I want to. (Sings.) It’s my party and I’ll fart if I want to, fart if I want to, fart if I want to…

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:  The lives of two teenagers on the Upper East Side change dramatically when their father is convicted of insider trading.

 

Representative Monologues:  All of the monologues in the play are under one minute.  (Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.)

p. 15:  Porter questions attending Brown University.

PORTER

What’s the big deal about Brown? What if I don’t want to go to Brown? What if I’d rather go to Apex Tech? What if I’d rather learn a valuable trade, like washing machine repair? [lines cut] Of course I’d have to change my name, you can’t have a doorman named “Porter.” I’d have to change it to “Joe”—or “Jimmy.”

p. 23:  Charlie writes a letter to the Times.

CHARLIE

So I think I should write a letter to the Times. You want to hear my first draft? (Charlie takes out a piece of paper and reads.) “In this land, we are innocent until proven guilty. Our forefathers fought for various rights, such as that of a man’s innocence until guilt is proven. [Lines cut] I guess I have to take out that last part. Well, what do you think?

p. 30:  Erla explains the reality of the boys’ new situation to them.

ERLA

No, Charlie, we’re not a team. You two are a team. [Lines cut] You have computer games, you have waterskis, you have servants. You have become accustomed to the idea of people serving you.

 

Representative Scenes:   The play is mostly made up of scenes between the two brothers so there are many scenes to choose from.

p. 5-6:  Charlie and Porter are supposed to be packing for Antigua and end the scene discussing farts. Starts with

CHARLIE

Oh God, I’m so bored.

and ends with

CHARLIE

If I showed you a ten, you would die immediately.

p. 21-22:  Porter and Charlie discover the extent of their father’s crimes in the New York Times. Starts with

PORTER

What? What about the Times?

and ends with

 PORTER

Yeah, it sort of does. “Assistant D.A. Theresa Novalis believes the government case is strong. ‘It’s about time,” she says, ‘that the party ended.’ “

 

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

Gluck, V. (2005). Privilege. Back Stage, 46(19), 40.

Isherwood, C. (2005, Apr 26). Daddy’s rich (mama’s good looking) and trouble’s an insider trade away. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. 2.

Kershner, J. (2011, Feb 27). Review: Clunky at times, but a rich story is told in ‘privilege’. McClatchy – Tribune Business News.

Pincus-Roth, Z. (2005). Paul pushes play on ‘Privilege’. Daily Variety, 287(19), 27.

Rizzo, F. (2005). Privilege. Variety, 398(11), 74.

Stevens, A. (2005, May 06). Conor donovan and harry zittel. New York Times, pp. 0-24.

Wolfe, A. (2005). Money changes everything. New York, 38(16), 73-74.

The Idiot Box – Michael Elyanow

television

First produced by Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago in 2003.

Original Cast:

Fiona                     Kathy Logelin
Connor                 Jim Slonina
Veronica
               Meghan McDonough
Omar                     Ansa Akyea
Chloe                    Beth Lacke
Raymond              Bradley Balof
Billy                       Brad Eric Johnson
Harvey                  Rom Barkhordar
Mark                     Joe Dempsey
Stephanie            Lisa Rothschiller

Characters (All early-to-mid-30s)

The Cast Regulars
Mark:
  The Neurotic New Yorker. He’s a paramedic.
Chloe:  The Spoiled Rich Girl. She’s a curtain designer.
Billy:  The Sex-Crazed Dummy. He’s a model.
Fiona: The New Age Hippie. She’s an acupuncturist.
Stephanie: The Controlling Wife. She’s a romance novelist.

The Guest Spots
Harvey: 
He’s a doctor in the navel reserves.
Raymond:  He’s a drag queen/cabaret singer.
Veronica:  She’s an Australian dog shusherer.
Omar:  He’s a non-Caucasian PhD student.

Director:  Jeremy B. Cohen
Scenic Design:  Brian Sidney Bembridge
Costume Design:  Rachel Healy
Lighting Design:  Jaymi Lee Smith
Sound Design:  Andre Pluess

Publication:  Elyanow, Michael. The Idiot Box. Samuel French, 2008. Drama Library PS3605. L93 I35 2008.

Setting:  New York City, winter, the living room of a split-level penthouse suite.

Language:  Contemporary sitcom

CHLOE

Toast. What A Slice of Toast Might Say. Since when does a hooker ever say “My crust is turning brown?” Never. A hooker never says that.

Genre/Style:  The first act, according to the playwright, should play like a great modern sitcom; the second act should be more gritty, honest, and real.  However, one problem with the play is that the regulars in the first act are, for the most part, annoying and not very likeable and the situations they find themselves in are so farcical that by the time the second act arrives, it’s difficult to make the transition to caring about them as “real people” with “real problems.”  Another problem with the play is the plethora of problems they face, from strange boyfriends with chubby chasing tendencies, emergent homosexual feelings, racism, social consciousness, etc.

Plot:  The play tells the story of six sitcom characters whose lives are changed when reality crashes into their perfect world.

 

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. 27:  Omar tries to explain to Chloe why he felt the need to find her and leave her a letter.

OMAR

…I’m sorry. I’m gonna. Sorry.

He exits. But just as CHLOE is about to close the door:

No, wait. Please. The thing is. I was watching the play and somewhere toward the end of the first act I happened to take my eyes off the stage for a second and…I saw you sitting across from me and you were so completely “in it”, I mean, leaning forward, tears in your eyes, you know, and I was thinking, Yes! [Lines cut] You must be the most extraordinary person. And I must be a complete idiot for talking all this time and not introducing myself. Omar Jackson. Blabbermouth.

p. 36:  Fiona defends herself against Harvey’s charge that she only pretends to be a hippie so that her friends will like her and explains to him just what she’s gotten out of being a hippie.

FIONA

Okay. Stop. I’m gonna stop you right there. You know, just because we went out a few times, don’t presume you know me and don’t presume I don’t know what I’m doing. [Lines cut] I haven’t had to pay for anything—quite literally—since I was TWELVE. That’s what being a so-called flighty, wind-in-her-hair-hippie has gotten me.

p. 61-62:  Stephanie’s on the phone talking to her hero, LaVyrle Spencer about her writer’s block. (A very long monologue, at least 2 minutes.)

STEPHANIE

Hello? HellomMYGODhello!  I’ve been on hold so long I wasn’t sure if I got disconnected but I don’t think I did if this is you, LaVyrle, IS this you, LaVyrle, do you mind if I call you LaVyrle? Um,oh, it’s me, Ms. Spencer: Stephanie Dah. No-no-no-no, don’t hang up! [Lines cut] I write about Love. I need Love. And if [I] give that up, if I give up Love… I have no husband, no marriage, no career, and then what? What am I left with? What the fuck do I have then, LaVyrle?

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 35-37:  Harvey and Fiona argue in a subway car. Starts with

FIONA

You feel sorry for me?

and ends with

FIONA

Oh, Harvey. FUCK OFF.

p. 41-44:  Billy accuses Raymond of trying to seduce him by pretending to be something he’s not:  a woman.  Starts with

BILLY

What did you do to me?

and ends with

RAYMOND

What are you?

p. 62-64:  Chloe and Omar confront each other about the fact that Omar has accepted a job in Berkeley without telling Chloe but Chloe found out and is looking for a job on the West Coast, hoping he’ll take her with him.  Stars with

CHLOE

It’s not what you think.

and ends with

OMAR

I didn’t think you’d say yes. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a little… I’m far from perfect. That’s just me. Sometimes I do, I get scared and I make mistakes. Does that sound like something you could be a part of?

 

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

Houlihan, M. (2003, May 9). “More than just ‘Friends’ – Typical sitcom characters get dose of reality from playwright in ‘The Idiot Box’.” Chicago Sun-Times 9; nc.

Chris Jones, T.,arts reporter. (2003, May 25). `The idiot box’ needs fine-tuning. Chicago Tribune.

Rosell, K. (2011, April 18). The Idiot Box opens at CSUF. Daily Titan, The: California State University – Fullerton (CA) n.pag.

Street, N. (2007, August 3). Bipolar Express: ‘Idiot Box’ takes a trip. Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The (CA) n.pag.

Zeff, D. (2003, June 5). Theater Review – `The Idiot Box’: A misguided event. Beacon News, The (Aurora, IL) E6.