Pretty Theft – Adam Szymkowicz


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
  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


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. 


(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. 


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. 


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


                This sucks

and ends with


(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]

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.