Pretty Theft – Adam Szymkowicz

prettytheft

Originally produced by the Flux Theatre Ensemble in New York City on April 24, 2009.

Original Cast:

Marco                                                                   Todd d’Amour
Waitress/Ballerina                                              Candice Holdorf
Psychiatrist/Ballerina                                         Lynn Kenny
Suzy                                                                      Maria Portman Kelly
Joe                                                                        Brian Pracht
Bobby                                                                   Zack Robidas
Allegra                                                                  Marnie Schulenburg
Allegra’s Mom/Supervisor/Ballerina                Cotton Wright

Director:  Angela Astle
Choreographer:
  Ashley Martinez
Set Design
Heather Cohn
Lighting Design:  Andy Fritsch
Sound Design:  Kevin Fuller
Costume Design:  Becky Kelly
Stage Manager:  Kate August

Allegra:  18
Suzy:  18
Joe:  20s to 30s
Marco/Allegra’s Father:
  30s to 40s
Ballerina 2/Allegra’s Mother/Supervisor/Patient/Customer 2 & 4:
  30s to 50s
Ballerina 1/Psychiatrist/Patient/Waitress/Customer 1 & 3:  30s to 40s
Bobby/Intern/Joe’s Father:  20s

Publication:  Syzmkowicz, Adam. Pretty Theft. Samuel French, 2009. Drama Library PS3619.Z965 P74 2009.

Setting:  Multiple:  a group home, a diner, a hotel room, a mental asylum, a living room; the present

Language:  Contemporary

BOBBY

No, it’s not that. It’s just… We’re young. I want to fuck other girls. I want to be free to do that at school. There’s lots of different kinds of girls out there and most of them I’ve never even kissed. I’m sorry. Now you’re mad at me.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   18-year-old Allegra takes a summer job at a group home and falls under the wing of Suzy, a likeable bad girl.  When Allegra’s unlikely friendship with Joe, an autistic group home resident, goes awry—sabotaged by Suzy—she and Suzy steal Suzy’s mom’s car and take off for parts unknown.  On the run, they fall afoul of Marco, a self-described art thief and admirer of young girls.  An exploration of theft in its many permutations, Pretty Theft works best when it focuses on the two girls’ love/hate relationship and on the fragile friendship between Allegra and Joe, an innocent soul who’s a casualty of Suzy’s careless machinations.

 

 

Representative Monologues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.  There are a number of monologues for both men and women in the play.

p.29:  The Supervisor of the Group Home explains how she deals with Joe’s theft of little items from the other residents and the importance of his treasure box. 

SUPERVISOR

(as she takes objects out of Joe’s box)  We no longer wonder where the pens go, the pads, the rubber bands, the paper clips and Mrs. Thompson’s dentures. All of us know they’re in Joe’s box. When he first came here, we tried to get him to give back his pilfered items. But that was a disaster.

[Lines cut]

The only thing I leave in the box, is his ballerina doll. A gift from the former supervisor, now deceased. He likes it. I’ve always felt there’s no harm in it. I’ve always felt there’s no harm in him. His mother disagrees.

p.32:  Allegra visits her unconscious and dying father in the hospital and angrily confronts him over his dying. 

ALLEGRA

And I’m working at this like group home with Suzy Harris. We hang out a lot. You know who she is? I think you’d like her. She’s a lot of fun. She was supposed to come here with me today but… she couldn’t make it.

[Lines cut]

I miss you.

I’ve always missed you. I’m sorry. I don’t want you to die. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Oh, Christ, I’m so sorry. Please don’t die. You’re so small. Please, Daddy.

p.69: Joe, in a straitjacket, explains the difference between people like him who are damaged and people who are untouchable, perfect. 

JOE

Some people get locked up and some people never do. If you try to kiss the staff they will lock you up. It is illegal. Many men in suits never go to jail. That’s because that’s because that’s   because they aren’t me. They aren’t broken. [Lines cut] Like doctors who can fix you. Except they don’t need fixing. Not the super untouchable. They have legs like razors and eyes that magnetize. They are pretty. They are everything. Like Allegra. I wonder if Allegra is super untouchable.

 

 

 

Representative Scenes:  Of the two-people scenes in the play, a number of them are fairly brief and unsuitable for substantial scene work.  Some of these short scenes could be combined to create a longer scene with a more appropriate narrative arc.   

p. 30-31 and 33-34:  Scenes Ten and Twelve can be combined to form one scene. Suzy goes to the movies with Bobby, Allegra’s boyfriend, and attempts to seduce him.  Starts with

BOBBY

                This sucks

and ends with

SUZY

(Following him out) Wait for me. I still need a ride. Hey, mush-mouth. Wait for me.

 

 

 

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. (2009, Apr 28). Being nice can also take you too far. New York Times,pp.C4.

Harcum, C. (2009, Apr 28). Pretty theft. [open access] nythatre.com.

Peikert, M. (2009, Apr 28). Pretty theft. [open access] backstage.

Snyder, S. (2009). Stealing hearts and minds:  Emotional theft neither pretty, nor petty. [open access] The Villager 78(47).

Sobel, J. (2009, Apr 26). Pretty theft by Adam Szymkowicz. [open access] Blog Critics.

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

dogseesgod

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

Original Cast:

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

Director:  Susan W. Lovell

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

Setting:  A neighborhood

Language:  Contemporary

TRICIA

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

Genre/Style:  Comedy

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

 

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

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

CB

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

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

CB’s Sister

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

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

VAN’S SISTER

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

 

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

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

CB

                Mom will kill you if she sees you smoking.

and ends with

CB’S SISTER

He was your fucking dog. You fucking say it.

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

VAN

You wanna hit this?

and ends with

CB

Like what?

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

CB

                Maybe if you didn’t act so—

and ends with

BEETHOVEN

                Me too.

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

CB

Hey, why’d you do it?

and ends with

VAN’S SISTER

Hey, Blockhead! You forgot your scarf!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sugar Syndrome – Lucy Prebble

sugarsyndrome

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

Setting:  England

Language:  Contemporary with British slang.

TIM

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

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

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

 

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

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

TIM

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

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

LEWIS

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

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

DANI

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

and ends with

TIM

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

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

DANI

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

and ends with

LEWIS

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

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

TIM

You’re going to read all those?

and ends with

DANI

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

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

LEWIS

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

and ends with

TIM

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Person Shooter – Paul Jenkins

firstpersonshooter

First performed at The Door, Birmingham Repertory Theatre on September 30, 2010.

Original Cast:

Maggie                                               Freya Copeland
Ade                                                     Bradley Hall
Captain Jones/ Nugget                    David Hounslow
Tom                                                     Ben Jones

Director:  Robert Shaw Cameron
Design:
  Jess Curtis
AV Design:  Barret Hodgson
Lighting Design:
  Richard G. Jones
Sound Design:
  Dan Hoole
Dramaturg:
  Caroline Jester
Stage Manager:  Paul Southern

Publication:  Jenkins, Paul. First Person Shooter. Nick Hern Books, 2010. Drama Library PR6110.E554 F57 2010.

Setting:  UK; the present

Language:  Contemporary, lots of gamer and military lingo

CAPTAIN JONES

Good news first—we got a military coup in North Korea, pro-democracy rebels have stormed the people’s palace. Happy days—if it weren’t for the missing warheads on the black market. Then there’s Mohammed Zarqawi—the new pin-up beard for Al-Qaeda. Intel reports he’s shopping for a suitcase nuke to go walkabout. Just another day at the office. Bad news is we got a newbie, fresh out of training…

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedy

Plot:  A single mother enlists the aid of a computer geek to try to help her reconnect with her 17-year-old son who’s addicted to first person shooter military games.  Although the play tackles serious issues, there is humor, which primarily emerges from the collision between gamers and non-gamers and the single-mindedness with which Ade pursues his gaming.  However, in a world where unmanned, remotely controlled drones can attack and kill targets, the image of a lonely boy playing video games takes on sinister overtones.

 

 

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. 21-22:  Captain Jones, the commander in a military first-person shooter game,  defines key terms in the world of first person shooter games.  

CAPTAIN JONES

Pwn.
To own—verb, spelt P,W,N… To kill, to annihilate, to totally dominate your opponent. Pronounced as O but spelt with P, what originated as a typo by chronic gamers, is now legendary in the gaming lexicon. If you have pwned another player—the pwnage unleashed upon them may be due to the fact that they are a n00b.

[Lines cut]

Respawn.
A freshly cloned cyber-warrior, with laser-sighted AK-47 and frag grenades, will materialise at a portal nearby. In short—find the n00bs, pwn the n00bs, tea-bag them, get pwned, get tea-bagged, respawn. In no event resort to camping—I repeat, under no circumstances go camping. Now you’re ready to play.

p. 47-48:  Captain Nugget describes an attack he survived in Afghanistan.  

NUGGET

I was escorting a relief convoy, get the paras out of Musa Qala. It’s getting dark and two mullahs rock up pushing a rusty Volvo. We stop to let them cross, when the boot opens and out pops a granddad in a dress with an RPG. The rocket slams into the side of our Viking and all hell breaks—tracer fire from umpteen Taliban positions. [Lines cut] Just then we hear the rumble of a AC-130 gunship, it’s the Yanks but who cares—next thing the trees are a wall of flame, the smell of burning flesh. Chinook came in an airlifted the casualty back to base… he made it. That’s no UAV did that. That was real soldiers, real pilots, fighting to save each other’s lives.

p.83-84:  Captain Nugget tells Ade about the time he almost had to kill someone.

NUGGET

Wouldn’t call it fear. This old mullah and a boy come up to the checkpoint once, the old fella’s waving his arms and the lad’s grinning, but mad like, pushing a wheelbarrow. There’s a body, young woman, kid’s mum by all accounts and she’s had her foot blown off by a mine. Must’ve seen me coming, eh? [Lines cut] I was two-inches in tomorrow’s newspaper… but it was beautiful. Apart from the unholy stench. Stood there like that… felt like fifteen years. The old boy coughed—something come up out of his lung, spat it on the floor, put his pistol in his pocket, sad something to the boy, turned his wheelbarrow… and walked way. Can’t explain that to this day.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  

p. 9-12:  Tom volunteers to talk with Maggie’s son, Ade, when she expresses concern about him always playing alone.  Starts with

MAGGIE

Leave this to me—not got MBA after my name for nothing.

and ends with

TOM

Let me know how it goes—want a Snickers on my desk by the end of the week.

p. 29-32:  Ade explains to an Army recruiter why he wants to enlist.  Starts with

NUGGET

Play a lot of computer games?

and ends with

NUGGET

I’m ready for lunch.

p.42-44:  Ade lies to Tom about his father, tells him he was a soldier in Kosovo and now he’s in a mental hospital, when, in fact, he’s an attorney.  Starts with

ADE

That’s my dad’s mug.

and ends with

ADE

Tell him yourself, when he gets back.

 

 

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

(2010, October 7). Grim reality is right on target. Birmingham Post, The (England).

Hickling, A. (2010, October 7). First Person Shooter Birmingham Rep 2/5. Guardian, The (London, England).

Jackson, L. (2010, September 26). Real life war is more like a kids game. Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England).

 

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.

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.

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)

Mercury Fur – Philip Ridley

First produced at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth, England, February 10, 2005; transferred to the Menier Chocolate Factory, London, on March 2, 2005.

Original Cast:

Elliot (19 year-old man with a bad knee)                 Ben Whishaw
Darren (16 year-old boy; a little slow)                      Robert Boulter
Naz (young looking 15 year-old boy)                        Shan Zaza
Party Piece (10 year-old boy)                                  Neet Mohan                                                                                     (Plymouth)
Party Piece (10 year-old boy)                                  Prem and Previ Gami (London)
Lola (19 year-old boy who lives as a girl)                Harry Kent
Spinx (21 year-old man)                                          Fraser Ayres
Duchess (38 years-old woman and blind)              Sophia Stanton
Party Guest (23 year-old man)                               Dominic Hall

Director:  John Tiffany
Designer:  Laura Hopkins
Lighting:  Natasha Chivers
Original Music and Sound:  Nick Powell
Fight Director:  Terry King


Publicatio
n:  in Ridley, Phillip. Plays, v. 2. Methuan Drama. 1997. p.71-202.  Drama Library, PR6068. I292 A6 1997 v.2
ridley


Setting: 
A derelict flat in a derelict council estate in the East End of London, after a biological plague has devastated England; a future gone horribly awry

Language:  Poetic but profane

ELLIOT

You’ve been acting like a kitten after a twirl in the microwave all afternoon and this microwave feline behaviour is eating up time faster than a peckish piranha on a freshly aborted foetus. Do I make myself cunting clear?

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic and very, very dark in the vein of Martin McDonagh’s work.  If you like The Lieutenant of Inishmaan or A Behanding in Spokane, or Blasted by Sarah Kane, you’ll like this play–I love all of those (plus Pillowman) and I love this play.  Warning:  graphic violence and disturbing imagery; Farber and Farber refused to publish it when it was first produced, if that gives you any indication of its effect.

Plot:  Two brothers, Elliot and Darren, are getting ready to put on a party for a mysterious guest.


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.86-87:  Elliot talks about murdering his younger brother, Darren, in a bathtub full of acid, because he’s annoyed by Darren who has eaten a butterfly (which acts like a drug) and is dragging him down as they prepare for a ‘party’. 

ELLIOTT

Know what I’m gonna do? One night, I’m gonna fill the fucking bath with sulphuric acid. I’m gonna say, ‘Fuck me, you’re a bit whiffy tonight, brov. Why don’t you give ya bollocks a good soak.’ And you’ll jump in the tub and—oh, ya might think ‘Ooo, this is a bit hot,’  but, like the bloody remedial shit for brains you are, you’ll happily lay back for a soapy wank or something. [Lines deleted] You’ll cause the poor cunt so much fucking grief it’ll deliberately beach itself. Do-gooders’ll come rushing down to save it and the whale will say, ‘Fuck off! I’m better off dead! I’ve got Darren inside me like a million miles of Paki afterbirth!’ Jesus!

p.88:  Darren reminisces about watching The Sound of Music with his Mom and Dad and Elliott and eating pizza in the days before the disaster.  Elliot’s line can be deleted.

DARREN

Know what I liked the best? Watching telly late at night. That musical Mum and Dad liked.  The mountains and all those kids going, ‘Do, re, mi.’ Running up and down mountains and going, ‘Do, re, mi.’ Remember that, Ell?  [Lines deleted] Dad made sure each part had the same number of sausage bits so we wouldn’t argue. That’s right, ain’t it, Ell?

[ELLIOT

Yeah, that’s right.]

DARREN

We’d eat it with our hands. Really greasy. Mum would say, ‘Don’t wipe your hands on the sofa.’ Mum gave us a tea towel each. I loved the way the whole room was lit by just the light of the telly. [Lines deleted] And Mum on this side and Dad on that and—Where’re you, Ell?

p.109:  Naz recounts how his mom and little sister were killed in a supermarket by a gang with machetes.

NAZ

Yeah! Mum grabs me by the hair. Mum pulls Stace by the hand. We try to get out through the back of the supermarket. But some of the gang are already there. We rung back down the aisles. I slip in something. It’s red. Blood. There’s blood pouring from under the shelves. I look through the packets of cornflakes. I see a machete goin’ up and down. And someone’s hand goin’ up and down. Then no hand. Then no machete. But more blood. [Lines deleted] They all drink Coke. They fuck Stace and they drink Coke. I think Stace must be dead now. She ain’t moving. I get right to the back of the shelf. I stay there for ages.

Slight pause.

Is the ice-cream van and stuff yours?


Representative Scenes:

p.88-91:  Darren and Elliot pretend to be an outlaw in a shootout with a lawman. Starts with

DARREN

Bang!

Slight pause.

Bang!

and ends with

DARREN

I love you so much I could burst into flames.

p.96-98:  Naz appears and he and Darren get to know each other. Starts with

NAZ

Wotchya.

and ends with

NAZ

Cut me neck right now, me blood’ll spurt right across the room, I reckon.

p.115-117:  Darren tells Naz how he got a dent in his head. Starts with

NAZ

That’s horny.

and ends with

DARREN

I remember…Mum was hurt. She’s been hit with a hammer too. She’s on the floor and she ain’t moving. I drag myself over to her. I put my hand on her chest. I can feel her heart beating. I think, She’s alive. So long as I can feel that heart beating…everything is okay. I’m safe.


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. (2005). Mercury Fur. Theatre Record, 25(5), 281-282. (Review of the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Mercury Fur)

Chappell, H. (2005). State of Confusion. New Statesman, 134(4732), 42. (Review of the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Mercury Fur)

Gardner, L. (2010). Guardian. Theatre Record, 30(4), 180. (Review of London revival at Picton Place)

Gross, J. (2005). Mercury Fur. Theatre Record, 25(5), 280-281. (Review of the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Mercury Fur

Harpin, A. (2011). Intolerable Acts. Performance Research, 16(1), 102-111.

Jette, D.  (2009). Mercury Fur at Imaged Life.  LA Theatre Review. [open access] (Review of LA production at Imaged Life Theater)

Logan, B. (2005). Mercury Fur. Theatre Record, 25(5), 279-280. (Review of London production at the Menier Chocolate Factory)

Lukowski, A. (2010). Time Out London. Theatre Record, 30(4), 180. (Review of London revival at Picton Place)

Malone, R. (2005). Mercury Fur. Stage, (6463), 12. [open access] (Review of original production at the Drum Theater in Plymouth)

Marchese, E. (2007). Mercury Fur Back Stage West, 14(11), 14. (Review of Rude Guerilla Company in Santa Ana, California)

Margolies, D. (2009). Mercury Fur. Back Stage (19305966), 50(24), 23-24. (Review of LA production at Imaged Life Theater)

More on Previous Productions. (2012). Theatre Record, 32(8), 429-430. (Review of London production at Trafalgar Studios)

Ridley, P., & Sierz, A. (2009). ‘Putting a New Lens on the World’: the Art of Theatrical Alchemy. New Theatre Quarterly, 25(2), 109-117. (Interview with Philip Ridley)

Shuttleworth, I. (2005). Prompt Corner. Theatre Record, 25(5), 265-266. (Review of London production at the Menier Chocolate Factory)

Smith, P. (2012, June 7). Mercury Fur, Trafalgar Studios, Review.  Daily Telegraph, p. 30. [open access] (Review of London production at Trafalgar Studios)

Spencer, C. (2005, March 5). A Vicious Kick in the Guts. Daily Telegraph, p. 24. (Review of London production at the Menier Chocolate Factory)

Stuff of Nightmares:  Mercury Fur @ The Ringwald. (2011, April 9). The Ferndale One-Fifteen News. [open access] (Review of Ferndale, Michigan production at The Ringwald)

Tripney, N. (2012). Mercury Fur. Stage, (6829), 18-19. [open access] (Review of production at Old Red Lion in London, England from March 27 to April 14, 2012)

Trueman, M. (2012). Mercury Fur: Time Out London. Theatre Record, 32(7), 346. (Review of London production at the Old Red Lion Theatre)

Sierz, A. (2010). Tribune. Theatre Record, 30(5), 273. (Review of London revival at Picton Place)

Wyllie, A. (2013). Philip Rridley and memory. Studies In Theatre & Performance, 33(1), 65-75.

Additional Information:

James Turner Designs:  Directed by Ned Bennett, Produced by Greenhouse Theatre, Old Red Lion Theatre, March 2012 and Trafalgar Studios, May 2012, Off-West-End Award 2013 winner, Best Set Design (Images of award-winning set design)