Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Gabriela in References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot (José Rivera)

Now THAT is a title.

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I can see it.

 

The plot must be read to be believed:

“The play opens on a hot summer night in the desert town of Barstow, California. GABRIELA lies in the grass talking to the MOON, who is depicted as a mysterious violin player perched on top of an old refrigerator. As GABRIELA falls asleep, her dream world materializes before us, in a wonderfully seductive scene between GABRIELA’s pampered house CAT and CAT’s wild suitor, a feral COYOTE. While these characters may be fantastical players in GABRIELA’s dream world, their animalism is rich with humanity. COYOTE shamelessly solicits CAT, swearing to make all nine of her lives orgasm, and CAT ultimately gives in to his wild lust, despite her distaste for the undomesticated.

As they howl in heat, GABRIELA wakes up (or is she still dreaming?) and runs out of her house with a shotgun, paranoid that the cactuses are closing in on her. Her desperation and confusion lead her to tears, and she turns to the MOON for an explanation. Deeply moved by GABRIELA’s sadness, the MOON descends from the sky, shaking the earth with his gravitational force. He and GABRIELA begin to dance, and she is utterly seduced by his celestial being. As they dance, GABRIELA’S perverted 14-year-old neighbor MARTIN appears and declares his love for GABRIELA. He and the MOON enter a duel, and the MOON knocks him unconscious. As GABRIELA comforts MARTIN, the MOON returns to the sky, and the two mortals fall asleep together in the backyard.

The next morning, GABRIELA awakes to find her husband BENITO, standing in her kitchen. He is a soldier in the U.S. Army, and she has not seen him in over two months. They greet each other with strained silence, then exchange a quick kiss. BENITO is immediately aroused by his wife’s heavenly figure, unable to keep his hands off her after having been away for so long. But GABRIELA, feeling like a cheap army whore, shoves him away. The two struggle, each in their own way, to rekindle the romance that once consumed them; GABRIELA aching to crawl inside BENITO’S head and rediscover the man she fell in love with, BENITO longing to reignite their once fiery passion. The army has damaged them both, and they are strangers to each other’s misery. Gabriela’s surrealist dreams elucidate her painful reality.

Rivera seamlessly weaves together GABRIELA’s dream world with her real one, blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality in a remarkably clever and compelling way. His language is lyrical but unpretentious, described by critics as being both earthy and poetic. He uses magical realism to provide subtle social commentary. Though it touches on issues of war, the play is surprisingly light, witty, and entertaining. REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT is a beautiful script, charged with romantic imagery, lyrical wit, and a sexual pulse that never ceases.”

Thank you to an old Yale production for said synopsis.

I doubt References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot will play Kaysville, Utah anytime soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a Finnish production’s preview:

 

In case you don’t know who Salvador Dalí is, he made this:

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WARNING: Salvador Dalí reference.

It’s easy to see why Gabriela has such good monologues. It’s her story and her liberation.

She has a couple of monologues with Youtube videos.

For some reason, a scanned copy of the play is available here.

Rivera won an Obie for writing. John Ortiz won for acting.

The actress who played Gabriela (the one and only Rosie Perez) won a Theatre World Award.

The play’s Off-Broadway run is here.

José Rivera has had a pretty good career writing for stage, film and television.

Audiences may recognize titles such as Diff’rent Strokes, Eerie, Indiana, Goosebumps, Family Matters and The Motorcycle Diaries.

Here’s happening poster art for various productions:

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Now playing in Pomona!
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Michigan State University.
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In Long Beach.
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contains suggestive material
large
By now, I should make some posts about theatre poster art.

 

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Meanwhile, in Austin

Let’s get back to the monologues…here’s the first one…Gabriela is telling her cat NOT to go into the desert…

Stupid you…

A

 

B

 

C

 

In class…

 

Before you’re born…

Gabriella having a chat with the moon.

And there you have it. Three Gabriela monologues.

Just as long as we don’t have a References to Bob Ross Make Me Hot play, the world is safe.

Current Playwrights, Dude Playwrights, Unknown playwrights

Ryan Bultrowicz

This week we return to living playwrights with the oh-so-prolific Ryan Bultrowicz.

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Our dapper playwriting hero ordering a mob hit pizza from the prop room. And is that a dead squireel in the background?

How prolific? The man has 18 plays (and counting) on the New Play Exchange.  That’s a few to choose from. So I decided to lead with his comedy-romance-drama-horror I Found Her Ear and She Stole My Heart because…it’s entitled I Found Her Ear and She Stole My Heart.

I Found Her Ear and She Stole My Heart

Part of the genius of the work is that the synopsis is built into the title. Do I really need to tell you what I Found Her Ear and She Stole My Heart is about?

The writing in this play is smooth, smooth, smooth. Let’s explore.

Bringing up shades of Blue Velvet, Edward tells his brother about an ear he found. A woman’s ear.

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Tyler is a pimp/low-level criminal and all-around dick. Edward is the nicer of the two. And more romantic, too.

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He might just be very, very lonely, too.

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Bultrowicz does an amazing job with the exposition. We know one brother is a criminal/jerk-ass and the other can fall in love wth a severed ear.

 

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Did I mention the play incorporates magical realism? We’ve touched upon magical realism before in Benjamin Gonzales‘ and Yolanda Mendiveles‘ work before.

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Did he write a play entitled Three Women and an Onion? Of course he did! It played at Madlab.

So Tyler promises Edward he can find the woman, but only if Edward will do him a favor: dump a car in a lake.

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That trunk contained one of Tyler’s many enemies.

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Edward may have killed someone.

Now look how Bultrowicz sets up this dialogue…it’s like 1-2-3-twist. That twist takes us in a new direction.

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Thus Madalyn appears with a bandaged ear, but Edward suspects all is not as it seems.

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And in a part I found disturbing, Edward, who thus far has been meek and mild, turns into his brother…kinda.

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Edward is being a horrible human being right now.

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I see Jon Stewart’s retirement is going well.

Tyler of course was outside waiting, like all psychopathic pimps…

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He’s not finished.

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Sounds like Tyler has made the blackmail official. Again, Bultrowicz throwing us that curve in the dialogue he does so well.

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Unsure if this is about the guy Edward supposedly killed or someone in their past, like their father…or a random rodeo clown?

Caroline – the lady following the crow, makes her way to Edward’s room. She’s missing an ear. Edward is certain they were meant to be together.

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As long as murderers have a good reason , I guess it’s OK.

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And now comes what I feel is a great monologue, for a great character, for any actress:

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And that explains a lot!

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Edward is still kinda low in the self-esteem department. BUT he’s in love. And he did do something horrible to Madalyn.

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Oh that dialogue!!!

Caroline tries to convince Edward to stand up to bad-boy brother Tyler.

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Spoiler alert: Tyler doesn’t make it to the end of the play…alive.

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Strangled and gutted by a crow. Damn.

Edward and Caroline live happily ever after.

Now, for random fun, here’s a video of Ryan’s play Dream Date:

And some pictures:

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Next, we’ll look at Gentle Strokes, a short play that is actually a hilarious stroke of genius.

Gentle Strokes

This has a lot going on. Particularly an indictment of how the male gaze continues to dominate art – and maybe what people can do about it.

Full disclosure: I once pitched a thriller with a female protagonist to a female Hollywood executive who rejected it and told me she “really likes” the male gaze.

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The antagonist in Bultrowicz’ play not only likes the male gaze, but likes being a creepy-ass male.

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I can see it. From a production of Gentle Strokes.

Emily is receiving a painting lesson from Stanley, who first comes off like Bob Ross. A creepy Bob Ross.

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Of course once a guy gets going…

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Did you know there’s an emojipedia?

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Again, Bultrowicz with that punchline. His dialogue is like a four punch combination in boxing. 1-2-3-BAM! Here’s a great link on how to throw an actual 4 punch combo.

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Incidentally, Stanley is available at Wal-Mart.

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Emily asks what is wrong with him. Short answer: everything…

Stanley’s actions make her question her marriage…

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Emily agrees to Stanley’s bizarre proposition.

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1-2-3-BAM!

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And now I reached a point where I was totally ready to review another short of Ryan’s – maybe it was The Audience Disturbs Marcel’s Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All – which is becoming popular. A trailer for that play is below:

We’ll have a photo dump of all the stills from The Audience Disturbs Marcel’s Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All at the end of this post. 

Perhaps it was The Rabbit’s Hole which is about magicians who have died while doing magic – and which I have reviewed on the New Play Exchange and you can too!

You can also view The Rabbit’s Hole in its entirety here:

And there’s a second video here:

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Or was it People Are Just Furniture With Emotions which I read and is brilliant and contains the line “I’m not being shy. I just…why would I sit on him?

I was prepared to review one of those when a very special Ryan Bultrowicz play caught my eye:

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It gets even better.

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Two-Timing Loaf of Bread

The set up feels superficially similar to Matthew Weaver’s Arguing with Toasters. Must be the Zeitgeist.

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Pictured: a two-timing bastard.

Carol tells bread about a vision she had. Of them being all nice and happy.

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Bread, being a typical male, fears commitment like he does a toaster. Carol doesn’t take kindly to this.

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Bread is mean to her.

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Bread asks her the time. He wants her to leave.

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Why could bread want her to….OHHHHH.

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There’s this really cheesy Clint Eastwood movie where the clue to catch the killer is literally spelled out “N-O   O-N-E” – it’s really sad. This play is like 10x better than that movie.

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Bread doesn’t know how to love. If only bread knew about Quora, we could’ve avoided all this mess. There’s even a song about it.

 

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Victimizer playing the victim. Typical.

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Well, bread. I have a feeling shee’s not really caring about what you say.

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I’m scared.

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Wow. Bread had Mommy issues. This is the second scene of Bultrowicz’ that reminds me of Blue Velvet.

Bread’s dead.

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Carol and Sophie are alive. I just hope they ate some of their ex and fed the rest of him to ducks at the park.

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If you are anyhwere near Mary Baldwin University, Two-Timing Loaf of Bread will be performed there soon with Marcel AND Three Women and an Onion!!!

For those of you who would like a healthy relationship with bread, here is a recipe on how to bake banana bread – because banana bread would never hurt you.

 

The Playwright

So I basically stole his biography off his New Play Exchange page. I’ll hyperlink and [add emphasis] where necessary.

“Ryan Bultrowicz is a [badass] Mexican-American playwright based out of Washington D.C. and Virginia. He’s interested in creating [hilarious] innovative, experimental, and magical shows. His works have been produced all over the world. He is the author of Dream Date (Queensland University, Australia), The Rabbit’s Hole (Baumholder American School, Germany), Shower Thoughts (Network Theatre, London), The Audience Disturbs Marcel’s Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All (Tiny Dynamite, Philadelphia), Three Women and an Onion (MadLab, Ohio) and many more. His acting credits include playing Macbeth (Macbeth), Vincent Cradeau (No Exit), Creon (Antigone), Scoop Rosenbaum (The Heidi Chronicles) and many more.

He is a Communication Studies major with a concentration in Mass Media at Longwood University. He spends his free time there working with the theatre department in numerous ways that include acting and writing. He is passionate about theatre and hopes to create works that will force audiences to question their comforts and beliefs.

I love talking with fellow playwrights, actors, or artists of any kind. Feel free to reach out and start a discussion with me, I’d be thrilled to hear from you. [You should do this. He really is a good guy.]

Ryan was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

How did you start playwriting?

 

I’ve been doing theatre since I was in the eighth grade and was writing short sketches everyonce in a while but not taking it very seriously. Eventually, my sophomore year of college, Iwas unsatisfied with the amount of acting opportunities around me. I go to college in a verysmall town and theatre isn’t really a big part of that towns culture. So, there basically weren’tany more ways to get involved with theatre for the year but I still needed it as an outlet.That’s when I started taking playwriting seriously and once I did that I realized what anincredibly freeing art form it can be.

 

What are your influences?

Sara Ruhl, Martin Mcdonagh, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, William Shakespeare, Arthur Miller.

 

What is your most memorable production and why?

Recently, I got the chance to go see a professional production of my show “The Audience

Disturbs Marcels Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All” in Philadelphia and that

was so amazing. It was also an incredibly unique theatrical experience that even I, the

playwright, had not had before. It was really cool to be able to experience that for the first time with an audience.

 

What is your least memorable production and why?

I’ll just say…if you choose to produce one of my shows please don’t change the lines and

please don’t break the fourth wall (unless it’s one of my plays where I break the fourth wall) to ad-lib to the audience.

What’s your funniest theatre story?

In February, I actually self-produced a production of “The Audience Disturbs Marcel’s Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All” where I played the titular character, Marcel. To really simplify the play, it’s basically about a man trying to take a bath, noticing an audience in his bathroom, and proceeding to yell at them and call them perverts. We were fortunate enough to sell out! The show started, I danced, spotted the audience, and started going in on them, awesome, right? Well, this older couple that randomly stumbled into the theatre that day without knowing anything about the show was clearly not expecting to be directly addressed. After being called perverts by a rabid shirtless man they left almost immediately.

 

What are your writing habits like?

 

Ideas can hit me from any direction and I never know when it’s going to happen. Generally, I get the idea and then I think about it for a few days or weeks, and then once it’s been stirring around in my mind I can usually knock out a first draft in another week or two. Then I rewrite it, have some trusted readers go through it with critiques, rewrite it again, prematurely submit it somewhere, rewrite it again, and so on.

 

What advice do you have for new playwrights?

This is for all artists, but I think it’s especially important for playwrights, if you have the opportunity to go sit in an audience and see a play…GO! Other than that, write every day. I know that sentiment is expressed so often but it’s a good one. Don’t kill yourself doing it but at least try to think about writing everyday, or jot down one line of dialogue, or something. Oh, and if you have an idea for a play or you don’t and you want to write a play anyway…start now! You’ll be glad you did in the future. I know, personally, I’m glad I found playwriting at a young age because I imagine in ten years I’ll have a lot of writing experience under my belt and my work will have really benefited from that.

 

Who are some other writers you feel should get more attention?

Scott Mullen, Matthew Weaver, Karen Fix Curry, Jennifer Kokai, Steve Martin.

What are common themes in your work?

Death, life, love, loss. Anything that scares me or anything that excites me. Who knows

which is which!

What is one thing you wished you knew now, that you didn’t know starting out?

That I didn’t have to try and write plays other people had already written. I’ve had the most success writing the plays that I would want to see myself.

I love looking at vulnerable individuals and putting them in situations controlled by arrogant individuals.

How did you come up with a play about a guy falling in love with a severed ear?

 

It’s been awhile but I’m almost positive I was inspired by a dream. That’s usually how I find a good starting point for my shows. I let my subconscious mind do the hard work!

 

Other times I can be inspired by hearing fragments of sentences from strangers, but I really hope I didn’t hear anyone talk about how they’re in love with a severed ear.

I Found Her Ear and She Stole My Heart has some effective magical realism. What advice can you give playwrights who want to infuse their plays with magical realism?

The brilliant thing about the stage is the unsurmountable possibilities for what can be done. As I have fallen deeper and deeper into the craft of playwriting this is an idea I’ve been unyieldingly pursuing. I crave to create those instances that I have felt a few times before in the theatre, watching a fantastic play, becoming so enthralled in its world, and never wanting to leave. For my plays, like I said, a lot of them come from dreams and I think magical realism can be used as a successful way to capture that feeling for an audience. If you’re someone who wants to learn how to do magical realism better then please go see some plays that utilize it or even just read some!

Gentle Strokes is flat-out hilarious (as are many of your other plays). What are some tips you may have for writing comedy?

I owe a lot of my comedic sensibilities to having studied improv comedy since I started

doing theatre. The core principles of improv and especially long-form have really helped me with writing comedy. I think at the core of a successful comedy there should be something honest about the world being exposed. If anyone is interested, there’s a fantastic book called “Truth in Comedy” that is wonderful and can sum this up in a way better way than I can.

 

What can American theatre do to be more welcoming to playwrights of all backgrounds?

 

More local theatres need to start getting involved with playwrights! Read their work!

Produce their work! Help enable them to spread the passion!

 

What’s a question you’d like to be asked? Go ahead and answer it.

This may not ever come to fruition, but I want everyone to know I’m working on a play about a woman who goes to Hell to try and rescue her dead yoga instructor.

I say this because now you will constantly be having to check my NPX page to see if I’ve uploaded it!!!

Wow, Ryan. Thank you so much. I’m sure we’ll never trust a loaf of bread again.

As promised, here are a bunch of pictures from The Audience Disturbs Marcel’s Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All – I think a few have our playwright. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, links to any and all things related tp Ryan Bultrowicz:

His New Play Exchange page.

His Lindkedin page.

The Rabbit’s Hole production.

The Drowning Star, published at Lazy Bee Scripts.

Extensive interview regarding Marcel.

A Cold Blue Place shortlisted by a UK theatre.

Broadway World review of Marcel.

Review of Marcel.

Gentle Strokes at Mildred’s Umbrella.

The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus and Juliet.

More Marcel.

Marcel, Marcel.

Upcoming event featuring Marcel, the Loaf of Bread AND Three Women and an Onion!

Yet another Marcel review.

Dream Date.

Interesting entry for Gentle Strokes.

Marcel!

Three Women and an Onion.

Someone didn’t like Marcel.

A poem.

Another Dream Date.

Shower Thoughts.

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Allegra in Pretty Theft by Adam Szymkowicz

Hello everyone and welcome back to Monologue Monday.

This week we bring you Allegra in Pretty Theft by Adam Szymkowicz. In the playwriting community I think Mr. Szymkowicz is most famous for his blog where he has interviewed more than 1,000 playwrights.

The play’s synopsis is as follows (from backstage.com):

“Pretty Theft is a play about ballerinas, boxes and the dangers of beauty. After losing her father, Allegra falls under the wing of bad girl Suzy, only to find an unexpected friendship with Joe, an autistic savant. When things take a violent turn, Allegra and Suzy escape cross country and befriend Marco, a mysterious thief who claims he cannot be caught.”

For reviews of the 2009 production, please check here.

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A college production in Wisconsin. Looks intense.

 

Allegra leaving her mother

In this scene, Allegra is leaving her mom after her dad’s funeral and has a lot to say before she goes. The monologue itself can be found right here.

Allegra’s other monologue can be found below after these.

A

 

B

 

C

 

D

 

E

 

F

 

G

 

H

 

I

 

J

K

Allegra talking to dad

Of course there’s more than one monologue in this play. This next monologue is Allegra talking to her unconscious and dying father about how life is going.

This monologue can be found here.

A

 

B

 

C

 

D

 

E

 

F

 

I hope you enjoyed this monologue offering. We’ll be back on Thursday with another unknown playwright. Check in next Monday with another thrilling monologue…

Cheers!

Female Playwrights, Playwrights of the Past, Unknown playwrights

Milk as Theatre (Rae Abraham, Estelle Silverman, Isabella H. Huggins, Victoria Heindel, Minnie H. Niemeier)

Today’s play is brought to us by the Child Health Organization of America which in 1921 published Health plays for school children as developed by teachers and pupils in public schools of Greater New York.

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It’s every bit as entertaining as the title implies.

The purpose is good, teaching children to be healthy through drama. However, it lends itself to supreme goofiness, especially considering half of the plays are pushing milk onto little kids.

They forget to mention that cows’ milk is linked to both higher rates of acne AND prostate cancer.

And about 2/3 of the planet are lactose intolerant.

In fact, there are so many of these milk plays, that today we’re doing a “milk only” special.

Unknown Playwrights: The Milk Edition

The Wizardry of Milk

Our first play, The Wizardry of Milk by Rae Abraham is a doozy.

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Today’s word of the day: Farmerette.

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She obeyed The Milk Wizard.

And now something for the ladies:

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Until the cows…never mind.

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This play is exceedingly basic. The Milk Wizard shows up and telles everyone to drink guess what? And like a bunch of sheeple, they agree.

In the aftermath of the massive bloodletting known as World War I, patriotism was high on milk’s virtues:

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At the end the Milk Wizard lectures the audience, because everyone loves self-righteous plays:

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Of course oat meal makes one strong. Just look at it.

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Yep.

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I just want to throw out there that Milk even makes cameos in the other plays. For example, in Estelle Silverman’s The Carpenters’ Union – milk shows up at the end…and the children are forced to write the word MILK with their bodies like some twisted, calcium-rich version of YMCA.

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Caption unnecessary.

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Estelle Silverman was assistant principal of PS 39 in Manhatten in the early 1920s.

Moving on…

Our Friend Milk

Isabel H. Huggins can claim the next piece, Our Friend Milk, which is slightly more entertaining than Our Friend Formaldehyde. 

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A couple of things: That girl dressed like milk is nobody’s friend.

And how often did the poor child have to break their bones until mommy “tired” of it? Like 5? 12?

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I wanna throw balls…

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Know thy enemy.

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Side effect of not drinking milk: Dreams of being chased by a bull.

So the Happy Children confront the Unhappy Children.

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Say what??? If the Happy Children are all like this dweeb, no wonder the other children are unhappy.

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All the Happy Children use peer pressure.

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Milk obtains another innocent child’s soul.

Isabella H. Huggins is listed in the 1920 NYC school teachers’ directory. She graduated from what is now Drexel University in 1900 and in 1904 was listed as a teacher of cookery in NYC. She apparently resigned in 1909.

The Magic Milk Game

Nor nearly as entertaining at The Skin Game, Victoria Heindel’s The Magic Milk Game offers the following:

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Well, your name is Fat. Just sayin’.

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Dr. Milk Bottle

Minnie H. Niemeier’s Dr. Milk Bottle is a bizarre climax to this little book of plays.

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Run, “vitamines” – RUN!!!!

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Seriously. This character looks like the offspring of Dr. Giggles and a milk bottle.

 

 

I can see it.

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Mary gets doublecast. “Pale Mary” vs. “Red-cheeked Mary.”

Pale Mary, full of grace…

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Again, milk doesn’t agree with 2/3 of humanity. But does Lillian care??? NO.

The other girls abandon her to the clutches of Dr. Milk Bottle and his goons.

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God, Protein. So judgmental.

teach her to like the thick curd of sour milk –” <<<< greatest line in Western drama since 1500.

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Hands cold; eyes lifeless…” Yeah, that’d be because she’s in mortal fear of the good doctor.

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“- a smooth, creamy sweetness -” When sugar starts talking to you, it’s time to lay off the mushrooms.

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Dr. Milk Bottle & Mr. Curd? Once Mary (through intense fear and self-prservation) pretends to like him, he becomes gentle.

BTW: “Please Dr. Milk Bottle, don’t let them cut me up and hammer nails into me.” is the NEW greatest line in Western drama since…ever?

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WTF Dr. Milk Bottle?

Only good Americans drink milk….because eugenics or something?

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Pictured: Pretty much the opposite of what Dr. Milk Bottle was talking about.

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Betcha didn’t know there’s THE LAXATIVE BROTHERS!

They force her from the stage.

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And thus ends the saga of Dr. Milk Bottle’s abuse of Mary.

The book of plays itself is available here.

As you may have noticed, one of the characters is Sugar. 

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This kinda reminded me of the song Sugar, Sugar by the Archies.

Except there’s a fun version in Indonesian you can listen to.

These lyrics have nothing to do with sugar.

She’s REALLY into a new bike her mom gave her.

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Grace & Dale in FOB by David Henry Hwang

Howdy all! Welcome back to our site and welcome back especially to Monologue Monday. This week takes us to legendary playwright David Henry Hwang‘s FOB. The play premiered in 1980 when Hwang was only 22. It featured John Lone and Tzi Ma, among others and was directed by Mako.

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Still from the 1980 production. So theatrical!

Here is the synopsis straight from stageagent.com:

“F.O.B. (fresh off the boat) is another of David Henry Hwang’s explorations of what it is like to be Chinese in America. Dale is second-generation Chinese and very Americanized. He introduces the notion of F.O.B. to the audience in a monologue, mocking new Chinese immigrants for their pitiful attempts at assimilation while refusing to give up their traditional ways. Grace, his cousin, is first-generation, although she has been in America for a while. She is more Chinese in that she maintains many traditional customs, unlike Dale. Their relationship is upset by the arrival of Steve, a wealthy, arrogant new immigrant. Dale and Grace both resent his arrogance but react to it differently. Dale becomes competitive with Steve, while Grace uses traditional Chinese culture to win him over. In the end, Steve and Grace leave together, and Dale is alone, still resenting the F.O.B.’s. In the middle section of the play, Hwang has the characters play out their roles through Chinese myth.”

As you can see, Hwang uses culture as conflict, pitting a Chinese American guy (Dale) born and raised in the US against Grace (part of the 1.5 generation) and Steve, someone who just showed up, fresh off the boat.

It might be worth exploring why these three should be in conflict anyways. I guess a play without conflict would be boring.

The play provides strong roles for three Asian American actors.

Hwang would go on to win some Obies, work for Disney and get stabbed in the neck by some random jerkass. The attacker was never caught. Weird, huh?

For our first monologue, Dale will explain some things.

Dale

A

 

B

 

C

 

Grace

And now it’s Grace’s turn to complain about Torrance. And talking about the wonders of bleach. Loneliness. And other stuff.

A

 

B

 

C

 

D

 

E

 

F

 

That’s it for this edition of Monologue Monday. Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for an uknown playwright and next Monday for a new monologue.

For a complete list of Monologue Mondays, please stop by here.

Ciao.

Dude Playwrights, Playwrights of the Past

J. Douglas Cook & Edwin Stoker/University of Utah plays part 2 (Edgar Allan Poe Fanfic & A Bizarro Western)

[Full disclosure: I have suffered several recent soul-crushing theatre defeats, including a playwright who nixed their 4,000 word blog profile I wrote last week as well as giving up a New York City production because the director quit. Oh, and some psycho lit my mom’s truck on fire. It’s been a stressful time, thanks.]

So it’s only fitting that I turn to the nemesis of my youth: The University of Utah. Supposedly the best school in the entire state, the state really doesn’t have that many universities…but UVU is doing a good job. You can even read my review of Shakespeare’s thoroughly dated play here. Still, the University of Utah seems to be considered number one (though not by BYU fans).

I haven’t talked about rejection in this blog, nor much about the business of writing for theatre, but I receive several rejection notices per day. These last two made me laugh. I sent them a play about a teenager who is half-potato and half-flamingo.

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Fair enough. Potangoes have a hard time being accepted, but it was followed by the discovery of another play I sent to the same theatre (a Western for seniors).

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Excuse me, I writhe when I wanna writhe…

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Whenn you google “writhe GIF”

 

Update: Last night I got rejected for an interview because apparently the theatre suffers from phone anxiety and has never heard of Skype. 

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I literally lost two NYC opportunities in two days, though actually I’ve lost nothing.

Back to the blog…

In 1928 the accurately titled book University of Utah Plays was published. The book contained the well-crafted plays of Althea Thurston, whom we recently covered. It also contained some other, lesser-crafted plays, written by J. Douglas Cook and Edwin Stoker.

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They made the paper.

I know this blog tends to feature vibrant female authors of all backgrounds – and we did feature a female University of Utah author from the same book – but every now and again old dead white males wrote awful plays that must be ridiculed. Especially in their college years.

The plays are the western The Boomer and A Man of Temperment, based around Edgar Allan Poe.

The Boomer

Not the American football player. Nor the generation that screwed up America. This “boomer” seems to refer to an itinerant worker, in this case, a wagon train guide. More on that soon.

Stage Westerns do exist. Maybe the biggest was The Squaw Man. This isn’t The Squaw Man. In fact it’s not much of anything. There is a plot.

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Later the play specifically mentions Utah as the location.

The plot basically is this: wuss-boy Hugh loves coquettish Betty, whose tastes run a bit more adventuresome. She teases tough guy/sociopath-in-dialect Black Luke – who makes advances tries to rape her. Frustrated in his rough wooing rapiness, Luke blames Hugh and challeneges him to a gunfight. You’ll have to follow this to see the ending…

Here is bachelor number one:

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And here is our unlucky bachelorette:

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Basically Hugh follows Betty around pitching woo and generally failing. Betty loudly announces she has another chaperone.

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“struck as by a thunderbolt”

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Thunderbolt or lightning bolt, it’s all the same to Pikachu.

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“petty defiance” 

That earplugging is impressive.

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Close enough.

Looks like we may be interpreting this play through GIFs, kiddos.

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Damn, Hugh. Now I’m embarrassed for EVERYONE.

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Healthy.

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Can we learn more about Betty’s “secret amusement”? It’s the most interesting part of this oater so far.

 

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Sounds like Hugh needs himself a relationship time machine. So glad Betty is smart enough to not fall for the “you would’ve married me a while ago” trick.

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Hugh….don’t tell her what to do. Seriously.

Alas, we get our first peek at Black Luke.

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“yet he is attractive”

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“But I knows what’s got under his hide.”

Lonely Luke + Bored Betty = DRAMA!!!

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Aww, Luke’s “been a-hankerin'” and Betty’s been “blocked up here like a fly in a bottle.”

What could happen next?????

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“I’ve been a-watchin’ you” Luke goes full creep.

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Millennial Luke.

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“Y’know I ain’t never done this before;” What? Use a semicolon in dialogue? Luke, please.

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Yeah. It’s not really working out.

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Is “half-menacingly” really any better than “menacingly”????

Betty freaks out and Hugh scomes to the rescue. He sends Betty away so him and Luke can have some “man talk”

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Black Luke: Self-aware villain.

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This isn’t Hugh’s day.

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Says you, Hugh.

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“Insane cry”

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This popped up as the GIF for “insane cry.”

Hugh still doesn’t want to fight/shoot/do anything so Luke gets all weird and threatens him with…the lash????

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“resentfully stiffen” Hehehe.

“red tongue of flame”

HUGH IS DEAD. 

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Don’t kick a man when he’s…oh wait. never mind.

Of course it’s Betty’s fault – as this comtemporary review points out:

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Cherchez la article here.

 

Robert Edwin Stoker was born in in Salt Lake City in 1902. His mother was born in Holladay, Utah and his father was from England. They appear to have been Latter-day Saints. He died in 1959 and has two headstones for some reason. I couldn’t find much else out about his life.

A Man of Temperment

This is actually the better play. Mostly because it involves Edgar Allan Poe, who, like so many others, was a failed playwright.

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Why can’t we use the sideburns picture of Poe more often? 1842/3.

Our play has these people hanging out, except for Poe.

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They’re waiting for Poe. Good to know we’re dealing with a “fact-based play” here. Hehe.

Cook sets up the scene….a lot.

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Everyone gets all judge-y on poor Edgar.

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That’s Mrs. Shelton defending her fiance. And as for Poe’s supposed boozing ways…

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Altree is kind of a jerk.

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But Barton is straight up Douchemeister 3000 material.

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A photo of the author from a 1918 newspaper article about teaching the foxtrot at the University of Utah.

I guess the neat thing is if you’re Edgar Allan Poe, people will actually wait for you if you’re late:

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Oh, snap! I do like that Shelton points out that Poe was a reputed drunkard – the facts are pretty mangled.

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Dude supposedly had a sensitivity to alcohol. I appreciate that the play mentions this.

White decides he knows what’s making Poe late.

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Tell you what…theatres paying playwrights sometimes pretend it’s an act of charity.

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Southern “gentlemen” and their reputations.

I love that here, everyone who was dissing him suddenly wants to be his friend. Don’t fall for it, Ed!

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The author around 1918. He wrote home about his war experiences.

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Oh no!!! He’s shown up plastered. And prays?

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So he’s not drunk after praying? Was it all an act? Or was there divine intervention?

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Oh, he’s getting published! Well hot damn! He’s got a career!

I’m actually unsure if this is a drama or comedy. Dramedy?

J. Douglas Cook was the son of W.L. Cook who was a pioneer court reporter in Utah [dude had an original copy of the John D. Lee trial]. His father was from Ogden and his mother was from Beaver. They were Christian Scientists.

He was administrator of Tule Lake after the evacuation order. Here is a photo he took of children there. More research needs to be done on this.

As a side note for those really into theatre, here are some performing artists/showbiz folk who were imprisoned at Tule Lake:

Playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Actor Pat Morita

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Yep, the US Government imprisoned Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid aka Arnold from Happy Days aka Pat Morita.

Animator Jimmy Murakami

Actor Yuki Shimoda

Actor Sab Shimono

Singer Hana Shimozumi

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Light opera singer Hana Shimozumi.

Actor George Takei

He is also listed as a “research attorney” at times. He did write a radio play out there that was broadcast in 1938. He had an article published in The Saturday Review in 1954 about composers. I don’t know when he died.

Hopefully, he had a lot of time to contemplate his role in the imprisonment of thousands of his fellow Americans.

Next time we’ll bring you a more interesting plays. Thanks for reading!!!!

In the near future you can look forward to Chilean, Indonesian and Pennsylvania German writers.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of all our playwrights.

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Chrissy & Susan in In the Boom Boom Room (Rabe)

David Rabe‘s In the Boom Boom Room somehow got nominated for a Tony back in ’74. Standards must’ve been diffeent back then.

This is absolutely one of the more blatantly mysogynistic and racist plays I’ve read in recent memory.

Feel free to read negative and more positive reviews of a 2017 production. 

Despite this, there are a few monologue videos on Youtube. 

First, let’s look at the most interesting thing about this play: the original cast.

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Madeline Kahn is pretty well-known as a comedic leading lady, especially in Mel Brooks films. She was nominated for a Tony in her role.

Mary Woronov became a cult favorite in films such as Silent Night, Bloody Night.

Charles Durning won a Tony and was nominated for two Academy Awards.

Robert Loggia was in a bunch of movies and plays and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1985.

And Charlotte Rae became famous as the housemother on The Facts of Life. She was nominated for two Tonys and two Emmys during her career.

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Oh wow!!! It’s Christopher Lloyd from Taxi and that one trilogy.

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“Gee, Doc” – it’s Marty and Doc in Back to the Boom Boom Room!

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So…before we line up the monologues, this play has a lot going against it. Basically it’s a game of “How can we abuse the main character Chrissy?” During the play these (and more) happen/are revealed. Chrissy…

  1. Is a victim of incest
  2. Is a victim of physical abuse
  3. Is a failed abortion
  4. Is a stripper
  5. Is used by all her (mostly male) friends
  6. ‘s most “normal” female friend is actually a lesbian who wants to use her for sex
  7. Keeps looking for love in some seriously wrong places
  8. Serves as a therapist for broken males especially.

No wonder the great Madeline Kahn was nominated for an Emmy in this role. Imagine the emotional hula hoops on fire one would have to jump through to deliver a good performance.

Final point: Chrissy is indeed a complex character, but is also basically a human ashtray/garbage can/dustbin/whipping girl for all of humanity’s woes.

People could find better monologues these days.

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Someone thought this would be a good advertisement.

Chrissy monologue 1: Shut up!

There are several monologues in the play. Here  is the most common one. Guy keeps talking, Chrissy gets mad – and reveals her insecurities.

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A

B

C

 

Chrissy monologue 2: I should be orderly…

The next monologue details Chrissy’s recollection of abuse at the hands of an older man (probably dear old dad).

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A

B

 

Chrissy monologue 3: Listen to me…

By now, Chrissy’s world is imploding and she’s going a little bonkers (which I blame completely on every other character in the play). So we end up with this monologue. One actor did a rehearsal version and a finished version.

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A

B

 

Susan monologue: All through my sophomore year…

Susan tells a story about a boy she dated and who also covered her in butter. She shoots him. And I thought I’ve been on some odd dates…

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A

B

 

And I have no idea what this is…but it says In the Boom Boom Room

 

For a comple list of monlogues, click here.