Treefall – Henry Murray

treefall

World premiere by Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles on July 30, 2009.

Original Cast:

August (16-year-old boy)                                                  West Liang
Flynn (18-year-old boy)                                                    Brian Norris
Craig (14-year-old boy)                                                    Brian Pugach
Bug (17-year-old girl masquerading as a boy)                Tania Verafield

Director:  John Perrin Flynn
Set Design:  Stephanie Kerley Schwartz
Lighting Design:  Leigh Allen
Sound Design:  Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski
Costume Design:  Lauren Tyler
Stage Manager:  Amanda Mauer

Publication:  Murray, Henry. Treefall. Dramatists Play Service, 2010. Drama Library PS3613. U758 T74 2009.

Setting:  A mountain cabin in the Pacific Northwest after an environmental catastrophe takes place.  A few scenes take place in areas near the cabin.

Language:  Contemporary

CRAIG

(Holding Dru like a baby and playing Mommy) Mr. Bug, please excuse this silliness. My sons have a tendency to forget their place. It’s been hard raising them by myself. My husband, he had quite a nice penis but he died in a stampede at a grocery store during a food shortage. It was tragic really–

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Three boys live together in an isolated cabin in the Pacific Northwest after an unspecified environmental disaster seemingly has caused a large majority of the population in the world to perish, particularly the adults.  The boys ritualistically re-enact a life they can barely remember, a life of normalcy where a family means a daddy and a mommy and a child.  Into their world comes a stranger who disrupts their carefully crafted but slowly failing life.  Just as it’s only a matter of time before one of the dying trees around their cabin falls on and destroys their home, even without the appearance of Bug, the boys’ fragile family structure, which was already showing stresses and cracks, was doomed.  There’s a bit too much quoting from Romeo and Juliet; and Craig pretending to be his doll, Dru, is extremely annoying, despite him being the most fully realized character, almost preternaturally wise in some ways while being unbelievably naïve in others.  However, weaknesses in the script aside, there are affective, simple moments that resonate around the principal question of the play:  what makes a family?

 

 

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.39:  Craig reads a comic book and explains about Superman and vampires to Dru, his doll. 

CRAIG

(As Dru) Here’s Superman holding up a bridge with one hand and a bus full of people in the other.   (As Craig) He must be quite strong. (As Dru) Well, look at those muscles. (As Craig) He does have nice muscles. [Lines cut] (As the doll) I’m just a doll. But there’s the question of goodness, isn’t there? Vampires are basically selfish creatures who are afraid to die. (As Craig) That’s not fair. Vampires are ordinary people who could die except…they… Nobody really wants to die.

               

 

Representative Scenes:  Most of the scenes in the play are for three or more characters but there are a few that are just two people.  

p. 29-32:  August and Bug spend some time together and August tries to seduce Bug. Starts with

AUGUST

What’s it like east of here?

and ends with

AUGUST

You made whiskey come out of my nose.

p.39-41: Flynn tries to explain human anatomy and the differences between boys and girls to Craig. Starts with

CRAIG

(As Dru) Here’s Superman holding up a bridge with one hand and a bus full of people in the other.   (As Craig) He must be quite strong. (As Dru) Well, look at those muscles. (As Craig) He does have nice muscles. [Lines cut] (As the doll) I’m just a doll. But there’s the question of goodness, isn’t there? Vampires are basically selfish creatures who are afraid to die. (As Craig) That’s not fair. Vampires are ordinary people who could die except…they… Nobody really wants to die.

and ends with

CRAIG

Come along, Dru. Mommy doesn’t want to miss this.

 

 

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

Brandes, P. (2009, Aug 6). Theater review: ‘Treefall’ at theatre theater. [open acces] LA Times.

Buzzelli, M. (2009, Aug 3). Rogue Machine’s treefall @theatre theater:  A brilliant new work from henry murray. [open access] Eye Spy LA.

Morris, S. L. (2009, Aug 5). Treefall and the chairs:  Beyond world’s end. [open access] LA Weekly.

Orloff, P. (2009, Aug 28). ‘Treefall’ at rogue machine. [open access] Culture Spot LA.

Sokol, R. (2011, Feb 7). Intriguing, uneven ‘treefall’ not begging to be heard. [open access] SF Examiner.

Spindle, L. (2009, Aug 5) Treefall. [open access] Backstage.com.

Trenchard, C. (2011, Feb 7). In treefall, a young cast rises at new conservatory theatre. [open access] SF Weekly.

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.

Pageant Play – Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock

crown or tiara isolated on a white background

World premiere during the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on July 5, 2008.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Marge/Pinky’s Mother                                 Daiva Deupree
Pinky                                                              Jenn Harris
Bobby/Buddy                                                Mark Setlock
Bob/Gunnar                                                  Matthew Wilkas

Pinky:  30s, mother of Chevrolet
Marge (Bobbi-Jo):
  30s, mother of Puddle
Bobby:  30s, pageant coach
Bob:  30s, pageant coach
Gunnar: 30s, husband of Pinky
Buddy:  30s, husband of Marge (Bobbi-Jo)
Pinky’s Mother:  30s (in flashback), drunk

Direc­tor:  Martha Banta
Set Design:  Luke Hegel-Cantarella
Costume Design:  Jessica Riesser-Milne
Lighting Design:  Thom Weaver
Sound Design:  Bart Fassbender
Dance Consultant:  Isadora Wolfe
Stage Manager:  Rafi Levavy

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Wilkas, Matthew and Mark Setlock. Pageant Play.  Dramatists Play Service, 2010.  Drama Library PS3623. I5453 P34 2010.

 Set­ting:  The American South

Lan­guage:  Contemporary and everyone speaks with a Texas accent

MOTHER

If you lose one more time, little darling of mine, I’m going to go and buy that little doggy anyway, and I’m gonna let you play with her for a day or two. And then I’m going to have your cousin Leon shoot her and make her into a hat. (Mother pats Pinky on the head, downs her drink and just before she exits shouts:)  This flashback is over!

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:   Pinky, a wealthy Texas socialite and pageant veteran, will do anything to fulfill her unfulfilled pageant dreams through her daughter, Chevrolet.  Marge, a newcomer on the scene, just wants to win enough money to bail her husband out of jail.  Unfortunately, she does that by kidnapping a little girl and entering her in pageants.  And Bobby and Bob, two pageant coaches, are swept up in the two women’s plots and ambitions.  Although child pageants are easy to parody, the play still manages to fascinate when it explores the truly bizarre and surreal lengths parents will go to in order to win.  Marge’s story is refreshing in its departure from the normal reasons why mothers push their daughters into the cubic zirconia world of child pageants, but the flashbacks explaining Pinky’s motivations feel unnecessary—alhough they’re both humorous and grotesque—because her motivations are exactly what we imagine them to be.  The decision to portray the children as empty ball gowns emphasizes their position as objects and keeps the focus on the parents as the source of drama in the play.

 

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.15:  Marge tries to bond with Puddle by suggesting they move to Maine after the pageants are over. 

MARGE

Hey, I was just thinking, Pud, about how maybe afgter we win all the money we need, how would you like to go and live with me in someplace like Maine?  [Lines cut] And we can play princesses too. I love princesses. (Beat.) But take your time, Pud. You’ll come around. I know you will.

p.27-28:  Marge (Bobbi-Jo) explains to her husband, Buddy, how she kidnapped Puddle to enter her in pageants in order to raise money to bail him out of jail.  Long monologue.

MARGE

[Exactly.] So, I walked up and I overheard one of the Barbie girls talking to a little girl and her mother about the pageant. And I pretended I was reading a flyer, but I was really listening, see? And the Barbie girl was saying, “You can win thousands of dollars!”  [Lines cut] And I don’t know what came over me, but I… I went to her. And I picked her up. And I walked her out the door. And into the parking lot. And I put her in the car. And I drove away with her.

 

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes: 

p. 7–9:  Pinky and Marge meet after Puddle wins the Gingerbread Regional Pageant’s Top Crown and Pinky gives Marge some unwanted advice.  Starts with

PINKY

Congratulations!

and ends with

PINKY

What time is it?  (Pinky looks at her watch, and then takes Marge’s hand.) OK, you know what? You’re coming with me. Pinky’s gonna show you how it works.

p. 20-22:  Marge questions Bobby and Bob’s idea to cut Puddle’s hair like Tom Cruise’ in Top Gun for the pageant. Bob finally admits Pinky paid them to sabotage Puddle in the upcoming Texas Twinkle pageant.  Starts with

MARGE

Are you guys in some sort of a cult?

and ends with

BOB

What I’m saying is, what if we did something to stop her? (Beat.) Quick! Pass me that swim cap and that tub of latex make-up. If Bobby wants her to have Tom Cruise hair, she’s gonna have Tom Cruise hair.

p. 30-32:  Bob decides to leave Bobby and their business and strike out on his own after he helps Marge and Puddle win the Texas Twinkle pageant.  Starts with

BOBBY

Well, I managed to smooth that over. Complete disaster averted, thank you very much.

and ends with

BOBBY

You’re fat!

 

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

Berson, M. (2010, 21 July). Review: ‘pageant play’ is a hoot—full of lone star beauty-contest lunacy. [open access] Seattle Times.

MacDonald, S. (2008, 6 July). Reviews:  Pageant play. [open access] TheaterMania.

Murray, L. (2008, 6 July). Pageant play debuts at berkshire theatre festival:  Witty comedy is refreshing and breezy summer treat.  [open access] Berkshire Fine Arts.

Rizzo, F. (2008, 7 July). Pageant play. [open access] Variety.

Mistakes Madeline Made – Elizabeth Meriwether

mistakes

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

Original Cast:

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

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

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

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

Language:  Contemporary

BETH

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

Genre/Style:  Comedy

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

 

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

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

WILSON

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

[Lines cut]

WILSON

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

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

BUDDY

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

[Lines cut]

BUDDY

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

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

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

BETH

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

and ends with

BETH

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

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

WILSON

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

and ends with

EDNA

Yeah, I have that.

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

BUDDY

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

and ends with

BUDDY

Yeah?

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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).

 

Belongings – Morgan Lloyd Malcolm

belongings

First performed at Hampstead Theatre, London, on May 19, 2011.  The production transferred to Trafalgar Studios on June 16, 2011.

Original Cast:

Jim                                        Ian Bailey
Deb 
                                     Joanna Horton
Jo 
                                        Kirsty Bushell
Sarko                                   Calum Callaghan

Director:  Maria Aberg
Designer:  Naomi Dawson
Lighting:  David Holmes
Sound:
  Carolyn Downing
Stage Manager:
  Sarah Cowen

Publication:  Lloyd Malcolm, Morgan. Belongings. Oberon Modern Plays, 2011.. Drama Library PR6113. A43 B4 2011.

Setting:  A home in Chippenham; a British Army camp in Afghanistan; during the war.

Language:  Contemporary; a few English slang terms but nothing that impedes understanding; however, the odd turn of a phrase might be challenging for some

JIM

Yeh alright. Chucked it didenI?

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

Plot:  Deb, a young lesbian soldier, returns home to Chippenham from Afghanistan, and attempts to make a place for herself while dealing with memories of the war and unresolved feelings for her parents and an old love—who just happens to be her dad’s new girlfriend.  Through the characters of Deb, Jo, and Deb’s absent mother, the play deals with the role of women in the modern world as mothers, lovers, daughters, soldiers, etc.  Although the issue are serious, there is humor in the grimmest of places.  A late in the play act of violence seems both inevitable and yet unnecessary.

 

 

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. 39-40:  Deb responds angrily to her father’s assertion that women don’t belong in the military because men can’t cope with women getting hurt.  

DEB

Hold up—male soldiers ‘can’t cope’ with seein’ us injured? ‘Can’t cope?’ Oh fuck off. I’m sorry but if we’re in a battle situation—which by the way I have been in; I have been shot at and I have shot back. Just because it aint the official line don’t mean it don’t happen. [Lines cut] And I was carryin’ 50 pound of kit in 50 degree heat. Can you do that you fat bastard? Course you can’t ‘cos you aint trained. But I am. And someone gave me that chance and I took it and I proved that I was capable.

p. 49-50:  Deb tells Jo how she used to wonder about the women in Afghanistan and what kind of sex they must have had with their husbands. Jo’s line can be cut.

DEB

When I was out there I would have to search the women. On patrol. I would do this and I never once found anything other than what you’d expect. A body. Arms. Legs. Breasts.  [Lines cut] What kind of sex must they have with their husbands?

[JO

You’re interested in everyone’s business, aren’t you?]

JO

Like. I’m looking at this woman and thinkin’ it must be pretty shit livin’ under all that cloth all the time. I’m thinkin’ her husband must be keepin’ her under lock and key. That their sex must be horrible. [Lines cut] Right there. In that moment. The two of them. Or am I assumin’ right? Is it cold, mechanical, brutal?

p.57:  Jim defends his involvement in the porn business. Deb’s line can be cut.

JIM

Oh come on Deb. You’ve seen it. You’ve seen how dark it is out there. I’m on the surface of it. Not even scratchin’ it. I’m the tip of the flippin’ iceberg what’s gonna send us right down into the pits of hell/

[DEB

/dramatic/]

JIM

/There are people out there with things in their head that you don’t even want to glimpse. The majority of people have thoughts every fuckin’ day that, if they ever acted on them, you’d be yellin’ for the return of capital fuckin’ punishment. [Lines cut] We like the base, the dirty, the wrong. We  fuckin’ lust after it every waking hour. So why, when we’re all thinkin’ it, can’t we indulge in it? Just a bit? Just to relax? No hurtin’ no one. Just a man and his computer.

p.61-62: Deb talks about how when you get your kit, they take a death photo of you, the picture they send to the press if you’re killed in action, and make you write letters to your loved ones in case you don’t make it back. She talks about the letter she wrote to her mother. This extra long monologue ends the play.

DEB

When you go out you get your kit and they take your photo. We call them the ‘death photos’ because they’re the ones they will use to send to the press when you’re injured or killed. In my last tour they took the photo and I was blinkin’. Fucksake. They were in a rush so they wouldn’t let me do another and they were all like ‘better make doubly sure you don’t get killed then hadn’t you?’ [Lines cut]

What I didn’t write. And what I should have. Was. That I think that she has this, like, massive heart inside her and that no one’s let her use it properly. And that I’m sorry for not. For not standin’ up for her more.

She puts the letter back in her pocket.

I’ve been covered in this thin film of dust see? Not just in the desert. I’ve felt like my skin hasn’t been able to breathe.

 

 

Representative Scenes: 

p. 19-22:  Sarko discusses his theory of the desert with Deb in Afghanistan, about how it’s insane to be killing people in a place where there’s so little life.  Starts with

SARKO

I’ve got this theory about the desert.

and ends with

DEB

Sweet dreams.

p. 38-40:  Jim expresses disbelief that Deb might have actually enjoyed being a soldier, doesn’t believe that women should be soldiers at all.  Starts with

JIM

You sayin’ you actually wanted to do the stuff you did out in Afghanistan?

and ends with

DEB

Suddenly I’m really tired.

p.105-108:  Jo apologizes to Deb for the less than stellar homecoming and they play word association, a game they have played many times before.  Starts with

JO

Sorry.

and ends with

JO

Kiss.

A pause.

JO

Kiss.

 

 

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

(22 June, 2011). Army debut ranks high. The Evening Standard (London).

Billington, Michael. (23 June, 2011). Review: Theatre: Multifaceted women grapple with one-dimensional men: Belongings Trafalgar Studios, London 3/5. The Guardian (London).

Cavendish, Dominic. Gripping tale of skirmishes on all fronts. The Daily Telegraph (London).

Jones, Alice. (20 June, 2011). On the frontline in the battle of the sexes; Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s first West End play, ‘Belongings’, will confirm her as an exciting new talent, says Alice Jones. [open access] The Independent.

Purves, Libby. (23 June, 2011). Heart of darkness for a woman in male worlds; Theatre. The Times (London).

Hot Mess – Ella Hickson

hotmess

First performed at the Hawke & Hunter Below Stairs Nightclub, Edinburgh, on August 6, 2010, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Original Cast:

Twitch             Gwendolen Chatfield
Polo                 Michael Whitham
Jacks               Kerri Hall
Billy                 Solomon Mousley

Director: Ella Hickson

Twitch: Twenty-five, gamine—Polo’s twin sister
Polo: Twenty-five, cool and caustic—Twitch’s twin brother
Jacks: Twenty-six, well-tanned and big-breasted
Billy: Twenty-four, American, good-looking

Publication: Hickson, Ella. Precious Little Talent & Hot Mess. Nick Hern Books, 1011. Drama Library PR6108.I32 P74 2011.

Setting: Hayling Island, an island in the Solent, the strait that separates England from the Isle of Wright; the present

Language: Contemporary and graphic at times, but rich and poetic ; a few English slang terms but nothing that impedes understanding

POLO

Come on then, Jaqueline! Get some bloody crotch-swatches out. It’s not a celebration unless half the island can see your ovaries!

Genre/Style:  Comedy

Plot:  Polo and Twitch are twins who were born with only one heart between them; the physician gave it to Twitch, so she can’t stop falling in love and Polo was left heartless:  a fitting metaphor for the split between excessive romanticism and cynicism.  Over the years Twitch has had a series of unhappy relationships and horrible things keep happening to the boys and men she falls in love with.  The play, which unfolds like a peculiar thriller, does not make clear who is responsible for the horrible things happening:  Twitch or Polo.  Rather than providing any answers about anything:  either the mystery of the deaths or whether it’s better to love openly or to keep your heart to yourself, the playwright seems more interested in just exploring ideas without coming to any conclusions.

 

 

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. 111:  Polo tells the story of how the first boy who ever made out with Twitch ended up being electrocuted the night of the school disco.  

POLO

Peter Harris, sixteen years old, behind the bike shed of the Island Academy. It was the day before the school disco. I’d spent two weeks looking for the right dress for you, the right shoes, the right hairband.

[Lines cut]

–two hundred and thirty volts, saw our Petey flying through the air—quite the spectacle, turned his hair into the short and curlies that he’d so enjoyed exploring the day before. And try as they might, they just couldn’t make it straight again.

p. 129:  Polo tells the story of Nathan Harvey, a college boy who broke Twitch’s heart and ended up scalding his foot in the bath.  

POLO

Nathan Harvey, university. No place for someone with a heart like Twitch’s. There was no fresher fresher; she was a certified first-timer. Nathan, poor schmuck, had no idea what he was unlocking.  [Lines cut]

The sole of his right foot:  scalded, scarred, third-degree. Freak accident, should have tested it with his toe, no one knows how it happened—but Nathan Harvey never walked the same again.

p.136:  Jacks spies on her father who has just gotten a blow-job; the woman who gave it to him has scraped her knee.

JACKS

There’s a trickle of blood running right the way down the front of her leg. Dad’s licking the corner of a napkin, bends down and wipes her knee. She must have been kneeling on some glass or something.   [Lines cut]

Mum always says you can’t afford to have bare legs after thirty. Mum says he’ll still be hers, whatever happens. Doesn’t matter how long it is or who he’s with—says she’ll always be his wife and he’ll always be her husband. She says there’s honour in it. She’s a mug, my mum.

p.140:  Twitch tells Polo about how she found Billy lying at the edge of the sea, presumably dead; this is after Billy has made it clear to Twitch that he’s not interested in love.

TWITCH

His eyes are still, in the dark all their colour has gone. The moon reflects in a single spot in each one, like someone’s frozen stars into the middle of marbles. I slide my hand into his palm and it’s cold. [Lines cut] It looks like half his body is dancing. I can’t move him, he’s too heavy, it’s like he’s full of sand. I lay my head on his chest and I can hear the stones moving beneath him. I put my ear to his lips but the oly thing moving is the sea.

 

 

Representative Scenes:  The play is comprised of short scenes, usually with two characters, so there are a lot of scenes to choose from.

p. 85-87:  Polo and Twitch recount the circumstances of their birth.  Starts with

POLO

They didn’t know that they were in for a duo.

and ends with

TWITCH

Love.

p. 90-93:  Polo returns to the island after being away for a year.  Starts with

JACKS

Pooooolooooooooooo!

and ends with

POLO

(with aggression). Neon cunting whore!

Silence descends for several seconds.

Come on! It’s fucking party time!

p.105-108:  Polo and Twitch’s reunion.  Starts with

TWITCH

Hello, Polo.

and ends with

POLO

(jolts his head away, they do not touch). Come on!

p.123-126:  Twitch confesses to Billy that she loves him.  Starts with

TWITCH

I get very—attached. I have trouble— letting go.

and ends with

BILLY

Twitch, I’m leaving.

 

 

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

Gardner, Lyn. (2010, Friday 13). Hot mess. [open access] The Guardian.

Jones, Alice. (2010, August 11). Hot mess, hawke & hunter. [open access] The Independent.

McMillan, J. (2010, Aug 28). Review: Hot mess. The Scotsman.