The Bad Guys – Alena Smith


First performed on June 6, 2012 by the Second Stage Theatre.

Original Cast:

Noah—a filmmaker (31/32)                           James McMenamin
Paul—a bartender (23)                                 Raviv Ullman
Fink—a banker (31/32)                                 Michael Braun
Jesse—a drug dealer (31/32)                      Tobias Segal
Whit—a Marine (31/32)                                 Roe Hartrampf

Director:  Hal Brooks
Set Design:  Jason Simms
Costume Design:  Jessica Pabst
Lighting Design:  Seth Reiser
Sound Design:  Ryan Rumery
Stage Manager:  Kyle Gates

Publication:  Smith, Alena. The Bad Guys. Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 2013. Drama Library Stacks PS3619. M537 B33 2013.


Setting:  A brick patio and the surrounding lawn outside a large house in upstate New York.  One afternoon in September.

Language:  Contemporary


(furious) He’s an ignorant Podunk tweaker with A.D.D.!

Genre/Style:  Serio-comedic

Plot:   Noah has directed an independent film exposing childhood secrets his friends and family would rather leave buried.  On the eve of his escape to LA, Noah, his stepbrother, and two childhood friends wrestle with betrayals old and new.  The play explores the meaning of and the bonds—and limits—of male friendship.


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:  Jesse blows up over the losses his family has sustained due to the bursting of the housing bubble and rails against the government bailout of big banks.


Fuck society. I’m talkin’ about my family. You know Fink was the one who kept telling my dad to build those shitty spec houses! Oh, everyone’s doing it. Easy money. Get in the game, Glen. ‘Cause houses aren’t for living in anymore. They’re for flippin! Like burgers. But then the big burger bubble blows up. [Lines cut] An appetizer—no, an appeteaser. That’s what they call it at Applebee’s, right? And you know what they call it at KFC. (Beat.) A Double Down. Yup. That’s what we did here, America. We just doubled the fuck down on this bullshit.

p.35:  Whit recounts losing his best friend, a fellow Marine, in the Iraqi war.


He was my best friend. Kid from Concord, Mass.—on his third tour—supposed to go home in a month—and then he got shot. And he died. And when he died, I died too. (Beat.) And then I realized—things are different when you’re dead. Things don’t hurt as much. [Lines cut] So, you know—if you want to ask me whether this is a good war—I honestly gotta tell you, I don’t know. But for me, while I was out there—that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was doing my job. Being a good Marine, taking care of my guys. What mattered was that I was strong. So for me—this was a good war. And that’s about all I can say on the subject.



Representative Scenes:  Scenes con­tain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the scene in its entirety.

p. 9-11:  Noah explains to Paul that he made his movie so that he could forget about the past and escape from his childhood home.  Starts with


(Grudging.) Okay, fine. We can have one beer. But then we have to get out of here. If my mother comes back, she’ll go into hysterics again. I don’t’ know how that woman is going to survive without me.

and ends with


Yeah, I’m working on losing them.

p.25-27:  Fink explains that he and his friend Ash are soulmates and how Noah betrayed their friendship by snitching on Ash back when they were kids.  Fink doesn’t realize that Noah’s movie is about that very incident; Paul tries to keep it from him.   Starts with


[Right.] (Beat.) How come nobody ever found out Ash was there?

and ends with


(Laughing.) So ridiculous! No—but I like that. Loyalty. That’s good.



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

Isherwood, C. (2012, June 7). Boys being boys, with beers and guns. The New York Times, pp. 6.

Stasio, M. (2012, June 6). The bad guys. Daily Variety, pp. 3.

Vincetelli, E.  (2012, June 5). Unexpectedly wise ‘guys’. The New York Post, pp. 32.


Aalst – Duncan McLean from original texts by Pol Heyvaert and Dimitri Verhulst


New Scottish version first performed at Tramway, Glasgow, on Wednesday March 21, 2007.

Original Cast:

Cathy Delaney                 Kate Dickie
Michael Delaney
             David McKay
Voice (offstage)                Gary Lewis

Director:  Pol Heyvaert
Assistant Director:  David Overrend
Sound Engineer:  Matthew Padden
Stage Manager:  Paul Claydon

Publication:  McLean, Duncan. Aalst. Methuen Drama, 2007. Drama Library PR6063.A2486 A64 2007.

Setting:  The play is performed on a bare stage with the two actors seated in chairs with microphones in front of them.

Language:  Contemporary


He slapped me in the face, burnt me with cigarettes, with a razor he… carved my legs up. And as well, in my pubic hair, he wrote the letter M.

Genre/Style:  Drama

Plot:   In January 1999, a Belgian couple checked into a motel with their two children, aged seven and three months.  A week later, the children were found dead in the room.  The three-month-old girl had been suffocated and the seven-year-old boy had been stabbed with a pair of scissors.  The parents were arrested and a Belgian judge sentenced them to life in prison.  The play, transplanted to Scotland, is a fictionalized examination of the parents, now named Cathy and Michael Delaney, which moves beyond the bare facts of the case in order to try to understand how two young people who appear to be, on the surface, non-violent losers could murder their own children. The play refuses to see them as victims, despite their history of childhood abuse, but it doesn’t outright condemn them for their heinous actions.




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.26-27:  Cathy tells the Voice what happened the night her son, Matthew, was killed.  Very long monologue, can be edited. 


I went downstairs for a packet of cigarettes, and then I lay on the bed… I woke up. I heard noises in the street outside— traffic, singing— and then I thought:  it’s true, I’m not at home, we’re in a hotel room.

[Lines cut]

My father always used to light a cigarette just after he had come inside me. And I’d look at him, lying on his back, slowly blowing smoke at the ceiling. Smoking is a form of sighing. I was twelve when I started smoking, and I smoked my first cigarettes exactly like my dad did. I blew the smoke out just like him.

‘If our Matthew gets a bit older, he’ll end up a smoker too.’ That’s what I was thinking then.

p.27-28:  Michael tries to explain why they killed their kids. Long monologue, can be edited.


What were we supposed to do? Every parent wants the best for their kid. When I was a wee boy, my mother used to slap me in the face, and straight after she’d say, ‘That’s cos I love you.’ I’m telling you, every parent wants the best for their kid.

[Lines cut]

There aren’t many things I know for sure, but one thing I do know is: no one will ever put any of my kids in a home. Over my dead body.

What were we supposed to do? We wiped out our kids. Don’t tell me we didn’t want the best for them.




Representative Scenes: 

p. 18-22:  The Voice interrogates Michael about the death of his infant daughter, Ellie. Starts with


Was she asleep, or was she crying, or…?

and ends with


Yes, and then I told her she was a child murderer!

p.46-48:  Cathy and Michael offer up last defenses for their actions.  Starts with


I’ve been hurt too! It’s strange, isn’t it, sir, we were never taught anything about ‘life’ at school. Never. All you got was: ‘What’s the capital of Peru?’

and ends with


I would like to say that I miss my children very much and that I’m very sorry about what happened. And that I wish I could turn the clock back, because what we did was not exactly brilliant.



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

Brown, M. (2007, Mar 26). Staccato descent into murder. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 029.

Cooper, N. (2007, Mar 26). Theatre aalst, tramway, galway 4/5. The Herald, pp. 18. R

Gardner, L. (2007, Mar 17). The guide: Theatre: Aalst glasgow. The Guardian, pp. 39.

Gough, S. (2008, Feb 2). Monster couple a profound act. The Courier Mail (Australia), pp. 50.

Hallett, B. (2008, Jan 1). How to remake a killing; theatre. Sydney Morning Herald, pp. 27.

Harrowing look at human cruelty. (2008, Jan 24). Canberra Times, pp. 8.

Koenig, R. (2007, Apr 23). A murder mystery without motivation ; theatre ++ AALST ++ soho theatre LONDON. The Independent, pp. 1.

Marlowe, S. (2007, Apr 23). Aalst. The Times, pp. 17.

McMillan, J. (2007, Mar 30). The death of innocence:  Is there such a thing as outright evil? This infanticide drama doesn’t provide an answer, but it is certainly a highly compelling way of asking the question. The Scotsman, pp. 14.

Smith, G. (2007, Dec 21). Shedding light on dark crime:  Sydney festival 2008. The Daily Telegraph (Australia), pp.72.

Turpin, A. (2007, Mar 18). When the underclass kills children. The Sunday Times, pp. 7.

Decky Does a Bronco – Douglas Maxwell


The site-specific play was first performed at Brodie Park on July 28, 2000.

Original Cast:

Decky (9-year-old boy)          David Ireland
David (Adult)                          Keith Macpherson
Young Chrissy                      Andy Clark
Adult Chrissy 
                       Craig Smith
Young Barry  
                        Ross Sutherland
Adult Barry
                            Paul Cunningham
Young O’Neil
                        Jimmy Harrison
Adult O’Neil 
                          Muz Murray

Note:  All parts are played by adult males.

Director:  Ben Harrison
Sculptor/Set Designer:  Allan Ross
Costume Design:  Alice Bee
Lighting Design:  George Tarbuck
Composer:   Philip Pinsky
Stunt Coordinator:  Jonothan Campbell
Stage Manager:  Amy Shapcott

Publication:  Maxwell, Douglas. Decky Does a Bronco. Oberon Books, 2001. Drama Library PR6113. A85 D43 2001.

Setting:  A playground in the small town of Girvan, on the west coast of Scotland.

 Language:  Contemporary with lots of Scottish lingo


And we’d still be taking the mickey out of him. Just ’cause he’s—just ’cause he’s no here people are going to be all ‘Aw wee Decky was ace, man I was best pals with him’ but they werenae. I’m no even going to the funeral.

Genre/Style:  Serio-Comedic

Plot:   Adult David remembers the events of a summer when he was nine and he and his friends hung out at the playground broncoing swings and teasing Decky, the smallest of them who was never able to bronco.  David recounts the tragic event that shattered their innocent childhoods and haunts them even as adults.  The play was originally produced on a playground and toured to playgrounds around Scotland.




Representative Monologues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.  Since David is the narrator in the play, he has a lot of monologues.

p.36-37:  David elucidates the dangers of satire, sarcasm, and irony. 


Ah, happy, peaceful days. I’m a pathological reminiscer. I was reminiscing about lost days of youth when I was still a child, really. We’d sometimes come up here and sit at the swings late at night after a community center teenage disco.  [Lines cut] I admit it, I enjoyed it. It was exciting. Things turned nasty when I needed to be sarcastic first thing in the morning. Then came irony. Before I knew it, I was lying alone in an empty warehouse on a stained mattress, mainlining satire. Just say no.

p.53-54:  David tells what happens when he and Chrissy went to Decky’s house the day Decky disappeared. Long monologue


I remember what happened next very clearly. We walked along with Barry till we got to my bit. Barry padlocked his bike to the inside of our fence and went in. Me and Chrissy walked on to Decky’s house, very, very slowly. [Lines cut] There was total silence in the living room, apart from Decky’s dad. He was sitting forward in his chair with his head in his hands. His hands were huge and battered from years of working outside. The tears were streaming between his fingers as if his entire face was made from water.

p.62-63:  David explains what he does when he now sees a story on television about a child having been abducted.  Very long monologue.


You know when you watch the news and you see the daily child abduction story; the smiling school photo in the corner of the screen and the stern-faced newsreader, unable to believe that they are saying yet again the phrase ‘was last seen alive’; do you know when you see that, you always say ‘I can’t imagine what the parents are going through’, do you feel that you’re telling a lie?  [Lines cut] You see when the news comes on and I close my eyes, when everyone else is trying their hardest not to see the truth, I have a picture in my mind. It’s the most beautiful, free, child-like, fun, important thing in the world. Because it’s then, in that blink, in that instant…  Decky does a bronco.



Representative Scenes:  This play has a lot of characters and there are very few sections that involve just two people.

p. 55-57:  Barry and David talk about Decky’s death.  Starts with


What did my mum want?

and ends with


I’m waiting till I get back to Gran’s, till I cry. I wonder if she knows? She never even met Decky though. Think about it. Think about all the people who never met him, who he would have met, the things he would have done. He never even Broncoed a swing.




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

Clapp, S. (2000, Aug 13). Arts: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL:THEATRE: Child’s play for adults: When the emotions of a gang of boys are portrayed by adults, the results are disturbing. The Observer, pp. 8.

Halliburton, R. (2001, Jun 22). More than child’s play. Evening Standard, pp. 50.

Hickling, A. (2001, Jun 09). Reviews: Theatre: Swings and roundabouts in manchester: Decky does a bronco: Whitworth park, manchester (3/5 stars). The Guardian, pp. 1.25.

Kingston, J. (2001, Jun 25). Decky does a bronco. The Times, pp. 2, 24.

McMillan, J. (2010, Jul 08). Theatre reviews: Life’s swings and roundabouts. The Scotsman, pp. 36.

Spencer, C. (2001, Jun 25). A haunting look at the leap from innocence. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 15.