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.

Moonfleece – Philip Ridley

moonfleeceProfessional world premiere at Rich Mix in London, Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

Original Cast:

Link (15-year-old boy)              Reece Noi
Tommy (18-year-old boy)          Bradley Taylor
Gavin (17-year-old boy)            Ashley George
Curtis (18-year-old boy)            Sean Verey
Alex (18-year-old girl)                Krupa Pattani
Jez (17-year-old boy)                David Ames
Sarah (17-year-old girl)             Emily Plumtree
Nina (20-year-old woman)        Sian Robins-Grace
Zak (22-year-old man)               Beru Tessema
Wayne (21-year-old man)          Reeda Harris
Stacey (20-year-old woman)     Alicia Davies

Director:  David Mercatali
Set and Lighting Design:  William Reynolds
Costume Design:
  Ellan Parry
Sound Design:   Ed Borgnis
Stage Manager:  Heather Doole

Publication:  Ridley, Philip. Moonfleece. Methuen Drama, 2010. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 M66 2010.

Setting:  A derelict council flat on the top floor of a tower block in East London; the present.

Language:  Contemporary

NINA

Listen, sweetie! I’ve just made my way up an Everest of Dog Turds to get here. I did that because I thought you wanted a séance.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Curtis, a young right-wing, British National Party (BNP) activist, arranges a séance because he has been seeing the ghost of his brother, Jason, who supposedly died while exploring the Colombian jungle.  The political meets the personal as Curtis confronts the truth about what really happened to his brother and why.  Not everything in the play works:  some of the characters feel superfluous and you question whether such a group of people would ever interact with one another given the extremes they inhabit on the social-political spectrum.  Since Moonfleece was written for young theatre practitioners and theatergoers, there are many parts for college age actors.  A production of the play in the West Midlands was banned after it was scheduled to run because some felt that the play’s themes of homophobia, fascism and the BNP were not “suitable for a community setting”.

 

 

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

p.19-20:  Curtis explains to Link why the derelict flat will always be his place, even if Link currently squats there. Long monologue.

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard anything I’ve said, you bloody stupid—? Listen! My gran was the first person to move into this tower block. They were still laying cement. If you go to the basement there’s handprints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dynamite the place—and it’s nothing but rubble—the rubble that makes up this flat will have my name running through it!

p.23-24:  Alex tells Curtis the reason Sarah stopped talking to him was because they saw him at a fascist rally.

ALEX

No reason? You want the full essay or just the bullet points? You lied! You’re full of hate! You preach hate! Your views stink! You’re a pig! You’ll breed pigs! You want me to carry on? [Lines cut] Then what happens? A family day out with smiley grannies and toddlers chanting, ‘England for the white!’ I was standing next to her when she heard you speak. Her world fell apart.

p.85-86:  Stacey talks about the troubles she encountered trying to bury her sausage dog, Banger, and how Curtis’ stepfather, Mr. Avalon, came to her aid. Long monologue.

STACEY

It’s like when my sausage dog died. I loved that sausage dog. Banger its name was. And one day I looked in its little basket and Banger was as stiff as a board. I cried and cried. Dad wasn’t much help. He said we should use it as a draught excluder. I got no sympathy at all. [Lines cut] And that’s when this man comes out the shop next door. A white man! This man pays the lovely Pakistani gentleman the money I owe him and takes me into his own shop. And who’s answering the phone? Wayne. Cos the man who paid for my drink was none other than Mr. Avalon. So you see, sweetheart, if it weren’t for my dead Banger I’d never have met Wayne.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  This play has a lot of characters and no scene breaks but there are a few sections of the play where only two people interact that could be done as a scene.

p. 17-20:  Link questions Curtis about his family after learning that Curtis and his family used to live in the flat Link now squats in with Zak.  Starts with

LINK

So … why’s ex-girlfriend Sarah coming here?

and ends with

CURTIS

Jesus Christ, ain’t you heard anything I’ve said, you bloody stupid—? Listen! My gran was the first person to move into this tower block. They were still laying cement. If you go to the basement there’s handprints in the floor. My gran’s.  [Lines cut] –Don’t you dare refer to this flat as yours! Hear me? Don’t dare! It’ll never be yours. It’ll never be anyone’s except mine. Even when they dynamite the place—and it’s nothing but rubble—the rubble that makes up this flat will have my name running through it!

p.74-77:  Zak tells a fractured fairytale about Curtis’ brother, Jason, which exposes the truth about why Jason disappeared and later died.  A long scene. Starts with

ZAK

The King’s death sent the Queen mad. She started to bring wolves into the castle. She cried, ‘My precious wolves. They are all I need.’

and ends with

ZAK

 …’Yes.’

 

 

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

Allfree, C. (2010, Mar 09). Putting the BNP on stage. The Independent, pp. 14.

Akbar, A. (2010, Mar 30). Banned, the play that took on the BNP; Dudley council accused of caving in to far right after pulling plug on ‘moonfleece’. The Independent, pp. 2.

Blacker, T. (2010, Mar 31). Nobody has the right to be spared offence. The Independent, pp. 38.

Edgar, D. (2010, Apr 10). Comment: Panic and folly: A farce: The ban of moonfleece is the latest example of an ill-founded censorious attitude stalking britain. The Guardian, pp. 36.

Iqbal, N. (2010, Mar 30). Misguided moonfleece ban is an affront to theatre. guardian.co.uk

Marlowe, S. (2010, Mar 05). Moonfleece. The Times, pp. 68.

Martin, D. (2010, Mar 04). Moonfleece. [open access] The Stage.co.uk

Orr. J. (2010, Mar 08). Review:  Moonfleece. [open access] A Younger Theatre.com

Philip ridley jmoves beyond shock tactics in moonfleece. [open access] (2010, Mar 01) metro.co.uk

Taylor, P. (2010, Mar 04). Under the skin of the racists; Theatre moonfleece rich mix, London. Independent Life, pp. 16.

Beachy Head – Hannah Barker, Lewis Hetherington, Liam Jarvis, Emma Jowett, and Dan Rebellato

beachyhead

Originally produced by Analogue at South Hill Park on July 21, 2010 prior to a 4-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  A revised version was first performed on February 2, 2011 at the Drum Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Original Cast:

Dr. Rachel Sampson                                        Hannah Barker
Stephen 
                                                           Sam Taylor
Amy                                                                    Emma Jowett
Joe                                                                    Lewis Hetherington
Matt                                                                   Dan Tobin

Director:  Liam Jarvis and Hannagh Barker
Original Music:  Simon Slater
Multimedia Design:  Thor Hayton, VI Creative Media
Lighting Design:  Edmund McKay
Sound Design:  Alexander Garfath
Stage Manager:  Simon Wheeler

Publication:  Rebellato, Dan, and Analogue. Beachy Head. Oberon Modern Plays, 2011. Drama Library PR6035.E36 B43 2011

Setting:  Eastbourne District, East Sussex in the South of England; present day.

Language:  Contemporary

AMY

Stephen was very private.

He didn’t share what was in his head.

I think he must have felt very alone.

And maybe on top of that cliff most of all.

It must have felt like the loneliest place on earth.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   A month has passed since Stephen committed suicide by jumping from the Beachy Head cliffs. His widow, Amy, fights to understand why with the help of a hospital pathologist and two documentary filmmakers, Joe and Matt, who, unbeknownst to Amy, Joe and Matt accidentally filmed Stephen as he leapt to his death.  The play examines the effect one person’s act can have on the lives of the people around them as they struggle to understand what might, in the end, be unknowable.  A large part of the plays theatricality comes from multimedia effects that the text tries to describe, but sometimes it’s still difficult to imagine what’s happening on stage.  However, some of the most evocative images come from the text itself devoid of any stagecraft.  In the end, the play feels like an honest exploration of a difficult subject divorced from melodrama or sensationalism.

 

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.21:  Rachel, a pathologist, explains the statistics of death and suicide in Joe and Matt’s documentary.

RACHEL

People are dying all the time; that’s just how it is. If we were to, what, take on every case, we’d be overwhelmed. Emotionally I mean. Look, the population of the world is let’s say around 6.8 billion.

And around 57 million people die each year. So with 57 million people dying each yar that means someone dies roughly every half a second.

[Lines cut]

One death in around 9000 is a suicide. It’s slightly over that, I forget the exact figure—it’s on the World Health Organisation website. But for the sake of argument let’s say it’s 1 in 9000. So 1 in every 9000 half seconds is a suicide. Which means that, on average, someone will kill themselves in the next hour and a quarter.

p.64:  Rachel is being interviewed for the documentary.

RACHEL

If you find yourself thinking, this is someone’s son, this is someone’s lover, of course you won’t cut them open. You have to appreciate that bodies sometimes  are just bodies. Wherever they were found, whatever they did, whatever their plans and projects, their intimacies, their darkness.  [Lines cut] Sometimes for a second you catch yourself looking at a room of people as populated by a series of organic composites in varying states of decay. But that’s just stuff and we’re not just stuff.

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 32-34:  Joe and Matt debate whether they should delete the footage of Stephen’s suicide, and in the end, decide not only not to get rid of the footage, but also to make a documentary film about his suicide. Starts with

JOE

                It seems disrespectful somehow.

and ends with

JOE

It could be extraordinary.

p. 60-63:  Joe and Matt argue about when they’re going to tell Amy that they have the footage of Stephen’s jump; Joe is delaying and Matt wants to tell her right away.  Starts with

MATT

Okay, Joe, look at me.

Look at me.

She trusts us.

and ends with

JOE

Are you coming back?

p. 67-70:  Joe tries to get Amy to talk about Stephen’s last moments; Amy finds out about the footage.  Starts with

JOE

                Put yourself there, Amy. Imagine him.

and ends with

JOE

                I’m so sorry.

 

 

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

Bassett, K. (2009, Aug 16). A tale of suicide, sadness and life on the edge. The Independent on Sunday, pp.60.

Brown, A. (2009, Aug 23). The fatal attraction of beachy head. Sunday Times, pp. 13.

Controversial play takes a leap of faith.(2011, Mar 19). Western Mail, pp. 37.

Gardner, L. (2009, Aug 10). Review: Unhappy endings laid bare in a chilling show: Edinburgh theatre: Beachy head pleasance dome, edinburgh 4/5. The Guardian, pp.32.

The last eight seconds of a man’s life is a pivotal moment in play.(2011, Jan 28). The Western Morning News, pp. 21.

McMillan, J. (2009, Aug 15). Reviews: Beachy head/ daniel kitson/ suckerville: Finding closure. The Scotsman, pp.13.

Kitty Kitty Kitty – Noah Haidle

kittykittykitty

Produced at the 2004 Summer Play Festival in New York City.

Original Cast:

Kitty                                                                     Michael Goldstrom
Kitty Kitty
                                                            Kel O’Neill
Kitty Kitty Kitty  
                                                 Micahel Stadlemann
Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty, Mr. Person 
                    Chris Hogan
Mrs. Person, Cat   
                                             Mia Barron
Scientist  
                                                            Conor Barrett

Director:  Carolyn Cantor

Kitty:  A suicidal housecat. Lost the will to live until he falls in love with his clone.
Kitty Kitty:  Kitty’s clone. Looks exactly like Kitty, but doesn’t love him.
Kitty Kitty Kitty:  Kitty’s clone. Doesn’t look exactly like him. Is a little slow
Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty:  Kitty’s clone. Stupid.
Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty:  Kitty’s clone. Full-fledge retarded. Totally incomprehensible—speaks in grunts and yells.
Mr. Person:  Kitty Kitty’s owner, who is really lonely.
Mrs. Person:  Kitty Kitty’s other owner. Kind of a bitch.
Scientist:  A good-hearted scientist who had the vision to clone the first housecat.
Cat:  A stupid cat who lives on the Jersey Shore and can’t remember what he ate for dinner.

Publication:  Haidle, Noah. Kitty Kitty Kitty. Dramatists Play Service, 2006. Drama Library PS3608. A52 K58 2006.

Setting:  A secret island off the coast of New Jersey; a gated community in New Jersey

Language:  Contemporary

KITTY KITTY

You don’t love me. You love yourself. The hand jobs we gave each other were wrong on a level reserved for Greek tragedy. It’s my guess that people will want to do studies about us. I read about a pair of identical twins from Arizona who were separated at birth but who both became bus drivers and had wives named Kim. Isn’t that amazing? And w’ere not just identical twins. We’re clones.

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   Kitty, a suicidal housecat, falls in love with his clone, Kitty Kitty, who, unfortunately, doesn’t love him back.  After being rejected by Kitty Kitty, Kitty creates more clones hoping to find true love again.  The results are disastrous as well as humorous.  Definitely not a serious look at cloning a la A Number by Caryl Churchill, but rather an examination of love and obsession, and the role narcissism might play in determining who we love.  And, of course, it’s also about cats giving each other hand jobs.

 

 

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.10-11:  Kitty tells Kitty Kitty how he used to write poetry and how he’s going to write a love poem to Kitty Kitty, whom he has falling instantly in love with. Very short monologue.

KITTY

I used to write poetry. You know, like about my life and everything. What I was feeling.  [Lines cut] But you’ll learn. You’ll learn to talk. You’ll learn to move. You’ll learn that you’re in love with me too.

p.18-19:  Kitty writes a message to put in a bottle for Kitty Kitty expressing his love and including a love poem for him. Long monologue.

KITTY

Dearest Kitty Kitty,

It’s me, Kitty. I’m writing you a message in a bottle. Pretty  cheesy, right? I escaped from the laboratory and am floating in the Atlantic Ocean hopefully towards where you live. I feel like Mark Wahlberg at the end of The Perfect Storm; did you ever see that movie? I think it’s underrated, and that Diane Lane is terrific in anything. Anyway, just before he drowns Mark communicates through voiceover with Diane and says that all there is, is love.

[Lines cut]

I wrote you a poem. It’s my first love poem so it might not be any good:
This is for a cat named Kitty Kitty
I think he is very pretty pretty
He makes me blush
And makes me gush,
All of the tears in my eyes
The joy he provides
To my insides
Is enough to fill my lungs as I drown

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 7-8:  Kitty is depressed and suicidal.  The Scientist is preparing to clone him. Starts with

SCIENTIST

Here, kitty. (He makes kissy noises people make to pets and babies.) Here, kitty kitty. (More kissy noises. Kitty wakes up but doesn’t move.) I brought you a saucer of milk. A nice saucer of milk for you. (Kissy noises.) You must be hungry. Come on, kitty kitty. (Kitty goes to the saucer of milk but doesn’t drink.) What’s wrong? Do you think the milk is poisoned? Is that what you think? Here, I’ll drink some first so you know it’s not poison milk. (He drinks some. Puts it back down.) Mmnnnnnnnmmm. You see, it’s fine. (Kitty reluctantly begins lapping up the milk.) Did you know     in ancient times there were food tasters who made sure important people’s food wasn’t           poisoned? I bet you didn’t know that. I bet you didn’t. (He pets Kitty, who doesn’t purr.) Can I get     a little purr? Just a little one? Puuuuuuuur.

and ends with

KITTY

It’ll be so good to be dead.

p. 23-26:  Kitty tries to win Kitty Kitty back  Starts with

KITTY KITTY

Do you know what I am?

and ends with

KITTY KITTY

Goodbye.

p. 27-29:  Kitty writes a suicide note in the sand, meets another cat, and decides that instead of killing himself, he’ll create another clone to love.  The Mr. Person and Kitty Kitty lines in the scene can be cut.  Starts with

CAT

                What are you writing?

and ends with

KITTY

Another clone. Why not? There’s no one around to screw it up. I’ll teach him to love me. Here I come, Kitty Kitty Kitty.

 

 

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

Reel, J. (2009, 16 July).  Clones and Lust:  ‘Kitty Kitty Kitty’ conveys important ideas about love and narcissism in an entertaining way.  [open access]Tucson Weekly.

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

dogseesgod

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

Original Cast:

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

Director:  Susan W. Lovell

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

Setting:  A neighborhood

Language:  Contemporary

TRICIA

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

Genre/Style:  Comedy

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

 

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

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

CB

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

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

CB’s Sister

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

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

VAN’S SISTER

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

 

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

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

CB

                Mom will kill you if she sees you smoking.

and ends with

CB’S SISTER

He was your fucking dog. You fucking say it.

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

VAN

You wanna hit this?

and ends with

CB

Like what?

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

CB

                Maybe if you didn’t act so—

and ends with

BEETHOVEN

                Me too.

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

CB

Hey, why’d you do it?

and ends with

VAN’S SISTER

Hey, Blockhead! You forgot your scarf!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kurt & Sid – Roy Smiles

kurtandsid

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

Original Cast:

Sid Vicious                             Danny Dyer
Kurt Cobain  
                        Shaun Evans

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary. Some British slang.

KURT

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

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

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

 

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

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

SID

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

[KURT

Oh yeah.]

SID

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

[KURT

Surprise me.]

SID

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

[KURT

Not off-hand.]

SID

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

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

SID

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

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

KURT

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

[SID

Mr. Compassion.]

KURT

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

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

SID

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

[KURT

‘Fade away don’t burn out’?

SID

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

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

SID

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

Kurt says nothing.

You can’t hear me, can you?

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

SID

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

and ends with

SID

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

[Sid glances out of the window.

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

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

SID

You’ve signed it with your surname.

and ends with

KURT

(Sneer.) And I thought that was you.

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

SID

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

and ends with

SID

(In darkness.) You bastard.

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

KURT

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

and ends with

KURT

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All-American – Julia Brownell

all-american Received its Off-Broadway premiere at the Duke on 42nd Street by Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 on November 7, 2011.

Original Cast:

Mike Slattery (44)                                            C.J. Wilson
Aaron Slattery (17)                                          Harry Zittel
Natasha Gordon (17)                                      Sarah Steele
Katie Slattery (17)                                           Meredith Forlenza
Beth Slattery (42)                                            Rebecca Creskoff
Jake Myers (17)                                               Brock Harris

Director:  Evan Cabnet
Set Design:  Lee Savage
Costume Design:  Jessica Wegener Shay
Lighting Design:  Japhy Weideman
Sound Design:  Jill BC DuBoff
Stage Manager:  Charles M. Turner III

Publication:  Brownell, Julia. All-American. Dramatists Play Service, 2012. Drama Library PS3602. R745 A44 2012.

Setting:  A town in California

Language:  Contemporary

NATASHA

Nobody comes down during assembly. Except one of the janitors, this guy Eddie, but he’s got slight brain damage, so I just give him a blow job every now and then to keep him quiet. (Aaron pretends not to have a reaction.) Oh my god. You totally thought I was serious, you thought I gave him blow jobs.

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:  A former NFL star drives his teenage daughter to become a star high school quarterback while ignoring her twin brother and his wife.  If you like Friday Night Lights, you’ll probably like this play although some of the characterizations are thinner than others and the resolution comes quick and relatively painless, give or take a concussion or two.  Aaron and Natasha are the most fully-realized and interesting characters, and surprisingly, Katie, the female football player, is the least realized character, although she is the titular, All-American.

 

Representative Monologues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety. This play only has a small number of brief monologues.

p. 37-38:  Natasha explains why she tried to kill herself.  Aaron’s line can be cut.  

NATASHA

That’s the thing that’s so fucked up. It was so NOT about Jake Myers. It’s just—ugh—nobody gets it.  I took a bunch of pills and it was lame, okay? [Lines cut] And that actually made me the most sad, that I was sixteen and I should be caring about my stupid football player boyfriend dumping me but instead I was like, worrying about my mom being in a wheelchair. But nobody knew about that, so everybody assumed I like, took all these pills and had to get my stomach pumped because—

[AARON

                –Because Jake Myers dumped you.

NATASHA

Exactly.] Because not being able to give crappy head to Jake Myers anymore is obviously the biggest tragedy of my life.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 7-9:  Aaron and Natasha meet while cutting a school assembly.  Starts with

NATASHA

Hey. (Aaron nods his head.) You’re new, right? You’re in my calculus class.

and ends with

NATASHA

I thought you didn’t like it when people asked questions.

p. 20-22:  Katie confesses to Aaron that she wants to quit playing football.  Starts with

AARON

I can’t really imagine any world where playing football is fun.

and ends with

KATIE

Yeah.

p.36-38:  Natasha confesses to Aaron the real reason why she tried to kill herself.  Starts with

AARON

I don’t feel like playing.

and ends with

AARON

Yeah. Constantly. (Beat.) But honestly? The fact that you’re… you are smarter and cooler and better than anyone at this school… That’s not something to be embarrassed bout. I think it’s pretty awesome. Because I mean… you say that nobody gets it but… I get it. (Natasha kisses him.) You know, there’s no better turn-on than saying you give crappy head. (Natasha smiles. A beat. They start to make out.)

 

 

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

All-american. (2011). Daily Variety, 313(29), 10.

Isherwood, C. (2011, Nov 08). A gridiron family: The star quarterback is just daddy’s little girl. New York Times.

Sheward, D. (2011). All-american. Back Stage (19305966), 52(45), 40.

Steve & Idi – David Grimm

donut

Produced by Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, in New York City, on April 23, 2008.

Original Cast:

 

Steve                                    David Grimm
Ralph 
                                   Greg Keller
Max 
                                      Zachary Knower
Brad
                                      Michael Busillo
Idi Amin                                 Evan Parke

Steve:  Intelligent, defensive, neurotic gay Jewish writer in his 30s
Ralph:  Scruffy, unshaven, hyper-intellectual writer in his 30s
Max:  Heavyset, long-haired, bearded left-wing teddy bear of a writer in his 30s
Brad:  A beautiful young man in his mid 20s
Idi Amin:  Apparition of the former President of Uganda


Director:  Eleanor Holdridge
Scenic Design:  Kris Stone
Costume Design:  Jessica Ford
Lighting Design:  Les Dickert
Sound Design:  Scott Killian
Stage Manager:  Emily M. Arnold

Publication:  Grimm, David. Steve & Idi. (2009). Dramatists Play Service. Drama Library PS3607. R56 S74 2009

Setting:  Steve’s apartment in downtown Brooklyn, New Year’s Eve and after.

Language:  Contemporary with contemporary references that will date it quickly; but it has some great one-liners

MAX

Dreaming about John McCain is the first sign of madness.

Genre/Style:  Comedy; if you find the idea of the ghost of Idi Amin eating Krispy Kreme donuts and discussing torture funny.

Plot:  The ghost of Idi Amin, former Ugandan strongman, haunts a New York playwright, demanding that he write a play about him in three days.   His boyfriend and his agent have just dumped the playwright, Steve, and he’s suicidal. The play begins with an intriguing idea:  a playwright with writer’s block is visited by the ghost of Idi Amin, who demands that he write a play about him in three days, but doesn’t go far enough with it.  Idi Amin as a character, as a symbol, as a metaphor, carries substantial weight; he was a tyrant who used violence to cow both his enemies and the citizens of Uganda.  To reduce him to a pizza- and donut-eating ghost who lounges about haranguing a playwright misses dramatic opportunities even if, in the end, Amin is just a figment of the writer’s imagination.  The play does have scenes where the playwright, seemingly under the influence of Amin, succumbs to darker impulses, but overall, the play barely skims the surface of its setup.

 

 

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.10:  Steve ranting about the futility of playwrighting.

STEVE

Reading, workshop, reading, workshop—Suck my fucking dick. What are we doing, anyway? Why are we pretending? You can play the politically engaged writer all you like, Ralph, it won’t make you a better artist and it won’t absolve you. [Lines cut] I look in the mirror and my fucking gorge rises till I wanna tear my face off and flush it down the toilet. “Let’s write a play!” Jesus Christ, what an utterly pointless waste of time.

p.31-32:  Idi explains hunger and yearning.

IDI

When yearning ends, life ends. I am what becomes of yearning that will not die. You think I do not understand?

 For eight years, Field Marshal Amin loved his people. For eight years he makes them beautiful and strong and asks for nothing but their love. But always they betray him. Even in Jiddah, in exile. [Lines cut]

What is done cannot be undone. The glorious past is lost forever.

p.41:  Idi pushing for a final time for Steve to finish the play.

IDI

I want Danny Glover. Danny Glover must play me. The Forest Whitaker was good but everybody loves the Danny Glover. Plus he was a Lethal Weapon. Roger Murtaugh. I also like the Lethal Weapon 2: “The magic is back!” Number Three and Four, not so much, but still… Danny Glover!

[Lines cut]

Why do you stare? Get me donuts. Get me steak. Get me a bottle of wine and a woman!

p. 42:  Steve, upon smelling a t-shirt belonging to his ex.

STEVE

(In a kind of reverie.) Sandalwood and sweat—Salt and honey. Bitter steel. If only I could bottle this. (He smells it again, tastes it. He speaks very calmly.)

If he were here right now, I would take him in my arms and taste his lips. I would rock him and comfort him and tell him everything’s all right. I would place around his neck a thin gold wire, sharp as razors. And oh so slowly I would draw it: Oh so gently but oh so tight and watch as it pinches his skin and breaks it. [Lines cut] I would taste his blood and pull at his hair and chew skin off his face and swallow it. And I would shout the name of God and know it only has the meaning I give it, because everything is empty. And then I would know what it’s like to be free.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 23-24:  Steve tries to convince Max that he really is being haunted by the ghost of Idi Amin. Starts with

MAX

Okay, so where is it?

and ends with

MAX

What better inspiration for a writer than a blank page? I’m sorry, man, but with Daniel there was never any there there. Come on—You saw something beautiful in him—Great. That’s part of your gift, man. But all that stuff, that wasn’t in him. That’s in you.

p. 30-31: Idi is upset because Steve seems obsessed by his ex and isn’t working on the play. Starts with

IDI

(Looking at compute.) What is this? Answer me! What is this?

and ends with

IDI

I am proud of you for it. Love cannot be trusted. It is better to be feared. Fear lasts longer than love.

 

 

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

 

Feingold, M. (2008, May). Some unenchanted evenings. The Village Voice, pp.54

James, Caryn. (2008, May 7). A lesson before writing, courtesy of idi amin’s ghost. The New York Times, pp.4.

Scheck, Frank. (2008, May 6). Absurd tale with Ugandan dictor is “idi’-otic. The New York Post, pp.42.

Thelman, S. (2008). Steve and Idi. Daily Variety, 299(22), 4-7.