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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Daniel Talbott, Excerpt from Slipping

Daniel Talbott,
Playwright, Actor, Dramaturge,

by Daniel Talbott

I loved him.
Short silence.
When we did.
When it felt right.
The few times.
It felt like kids. Like little kids.
Like eating dog food or stealing shit from a store.
I’d think about him.
I’d think about the ocean.
About the sun.
His skin.
Changing behind the passenger door of his car.
Stuffing himself inside his wet suit.
His navel. His abs.
I’d think about sharks.
The water.
How deep it was.
I’d imagined cuts all on his body.
Him swimming out to sea…
His blood mixing with the salt and the tide.
Short silence.
I’d think of a shark falling in love with him the way I did.
His body. His blood.
Short pause.
I’d listen to it devour him.
His screams being sucked up into the surf and air.
Sinking together. To the bottom.
Into the darkness.
Short pause.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Martin Epstein, Excerpt from Vera Similitude

Martin Epstein,
Playwright and Master Teacher, 2006



Cinema is the true religion of everyone I know. Regardless of how we were raised, or what we profess ourselves to be, the gods we love the most and would die for are all movie stars. If you think I'm joking, try to go three days without talking about movies. If anyone else brings the subject up, keep absolutely silent. If they persist, walk away. But prepare to be ostracized like a bad odor. I tried it once. Two days later, I was ready for the loony bin. (SHE KISSES PAVEMENT AGAIN, AS A FIGURE IN A BLACK SKY MASK ENTERS BEHIND HER) And this is why, my first day on American soil, I take this special moment to pay tribute to the star-spangled universe of celluloid bandits who stole my heart and kept it from despair through so many difficult years. Katherine Hepburn and company, god bless you. And thank you, America, for putting the idea in my head that the great adventure in this life is to find that special someone you can go to the movies with! Not just once, but over and over and over again, regardless of what's playing! (THE MASK ADVANCES) Yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Mystery Man! (MASK STOPS) My shy, as yet invisible moving going pal--You jumbo jet sized egotist, who long long ago roared into my life and made yourself the absent center of all my sweetest dreams...(MASK ADVANCES) Shame on you! (MASK STOPS) Shame O shame for making we wait so long! (MASK ADVANCES) Shame for making me waste my time with incompetent boys from 17 different countries before I realized you just had to be an American guy! (MASK ADVANCES) Shame most of all for still keeping yourself hidden when I've practically thrown myself at your feet! (MASK ADVANCES) But be forewarned, Sir. When you finally choose to make yourself known, I'm going to punish you, and how! Even if you turn out to be as gorgeous as the Marlboro Man and twice as rich, you're going to pay for every second you kept me waiting. For every second you kept me waiting, I'm going to drag you deeper and deeper down, until you've gorged yourself on the pleasures of the damned! (THE MASK GRABS HER HAIR, PULLING HER HEAD BACK. IN HIS OTHER HAND, AN OPEN RAZOR) Stop!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Lynn Nottage, Excerpt from Ruined

              The Playwright Lynn Nottage, 2010

He called me a filthy dog, and said I tempted them. Why else would it happen? Five months in the bush, passed between the soldiers like a washrag. Used. I was made poison by their fingers, that is what he said. He had no choice but to turn away
Do you know what I was doing on that morning?
I was working in our garden picking the last of the sweet tomatoes. I put Beatrice down in the shade of a Frangipani tree, because my back was giving me some trouble. Forgiven? Where was Fortune? He was in town fetching a new iron pot.
"Go," I said "Go, today man or you won't have dinner tonight!" I had been after him for a new pot for a month. And finally on that day the damn man had to go and get it. A new pot. The sun was about to crest, but I had to put in another hour before it got too hot. It was such a clear and open sky. This splendid bird, a peacock had come into the garden to taunt me, and was showing off its feathers. I stooped down and called to the bird. "Wssht, Wssht." And I felt a shadow cut across my back, and when I stood four men were there over me, smiling, wicked schoolboy smiles. "Yes?" I said. And the tall soldier slammed the butt of his gun into my cheek. Just like that. It was so quick; I didn't even know I'd fallen to the ground. Where did they come from? How could I not have heard them?
One of the soldiers held me down with his foot. He was so heavy, thick like an ox and his boot was cracked and weathered like it had been left out in the rain for weeks. His boot was pressing my chest and the cracks in the leather had the look of drying sorghum. His foot was so heavy and it was all I could see, as the others..."took" me. My baby was crying. She was a good baby. Beatrice never cried, but she was crying, screaming. "Shhh" I said. "Shhh." And right then...
(A moment)
A soldier stomped on her head with his boot. And she was quiet.
(A moment. Salima releases-)
Where was everybody? WHERE WAS EVERYBODY?!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playwright Portrait, John Patrick Shanley, Excerpt from Celllini

The Playwright John Patrick Shanley, 2008

Adopted from the Autobiography of Beuvenuto Cellini
CELLINI: Now it pleased my glorious Lord and Immortal God that at last I had brought whole to completion. The Duke was stationed at a window low upon the first floor of the palace. Just above the entrance to the piazza. There, half hidden, he could hear everything that folk were saying of my statue. So on a certain Thursday morning, before the sun was fully in the heavens, and before such a multitude as I have never before or since seen, I exposed my Perseus to the public gaze. Florence! Florence! (The lights change. The company sees the Perseus. We do not. The, as first, have no reaction except to draw back ever so slightly, Then, one by one, led by Bandinello and Riccio, they begin to applaud. One breathes, “Bravo” another “Che Bella,”another “Magnifica” another “Grandiosa” another“Bellisima”Cellini faces the Pope and genuflects, He faces the Duke and bows, He throws Caterina a kiss. She returns it. Then he signals them tosilence and speaks to us). There are those who say I worked the metal too much. That my Perseus has failed the terrible test of greatness. Some flaw of proportion in the work. Perhaps. But I say to you, as I prepare to tell my life, no man can will himself to excellence. No fool or hero, of his own, can climb from the sky to Heaven itself. Such things are the province of Almighty God. But God looks down with favor on those who are merely animals, eating and drinking and fucking and dying. God looks down—and Time is nothing to Him, and our doubts are nothing to Him—He looks down with favor upon the fellow who tries his hand, who never gives up, though upon the wheel of the world turns against him and reveals to his mortal eye the insufficiency. The Creator of us all looks down upon our lives and hopes for us that we are not animals only. But that we behave in a way that does us merit on the level of divine. Whether that be in Kindness, or in Justice, or in Erudition, or in Workmanship, or in Love or Teaching or, in my pitiful case, Art. My Life has saved me, my Nature has uplifted me. I am ashamed of nothing, I have killed men and beaten women and ridiculed my enemies and I am ashamed of nothing. I will tell you. God will judge me. I have already judged myself. Write this, (the boy opens his book and poises his pen) I am happy that I was born. I have dwelt in the presence of greatness> Hold there a moment. (To the audience) Pray upon the telling of your tale, that you can say the same. Across 443 years, and all the way from Florence, buona sera. And Benvenuto.
COMPANY. (simultaneously) Benvenuto. (The lights fade. Darkness. Celebratory music. Curtain call)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Bill Bowers, Excerpt from It Goes Without Saying

Bill Bowers Playwright and Mime, 2007
When people find out that I am a mime,
it usually begs the question, "Why?"
"What got you interested?"
"How could this have happened to you??!"
I’m a mime because I'm from Montana. Not that Montana is known as a hotbed of mime action; but still, it is BIG and QUIET. All that sky and all that land…it can render you …speechless. And that moon. There is nothing like a Montana Moon. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time looking up at that moon. I thought it was there just for me. That it followed me wherever I went. And I thought it actually changed shape from night to night:- from half to whole, crescent to quarter. I remember the night when I was about eight, I first saw the whole of the moon…when I saw the dark side too. I thought I was the only one who knew. It was our secret. Just between us.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Nilo Cruz, Excerpt from Anna in the Tropics

The Playwright Nilo Cruz, 2006
Anna in the Tropics.
Everything in life dreams. A bicycle dreams of becoming a boy, an umbrella dreams of becoming the rain, a pearl dreams of becoming a woman, and a chair dreams of becoming a gazelle and running back to the forest.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Will, My Nephew and Godson


The Playwrights Lee Blessing and Melanie Marnich, 2008

The Playwrights Lee Blessing and Melanie Marnich,  2008


BLUR by Melanie Marnich
Scene: Apartment. DOT and JOEY. JOEY has a present for her.

DOT: What is it?
JOEY: Open it! Open it! Open it!
(DOT tears into the package and pulls out a beautiful globe. In relief. So she can feel the continents, borders, countries.)
JOEY: It’s in Braille, in relief, so you can feel the places.
(JOEY spins the globe and her fingers travel.)
DOT: Kiss me. I’m through the roof.
Kiss me, I’m crossing the river.
I’m climbing the Empire State.
I’m on the Blue Ridge.
I’m swimming the channel.
I’m crossing the parallel.
I’m over the Great Wall.
(They kiss.)

A Body of Water. by Lee Blessing

AVIS: . . . this morning when I was getting dressed, I thought . . . I
might be up here trying to get you to marry me . . . But then
I found out we were married. And we have all this. For a
moment, anyway . . . And we have a lovely daughter too,
who does so many things for us . . . apparently.
. . . And you know what else I was thinking? I was thinking
that maybe this is what happiness looks like. If we could see
it, I mean. Does that make sense? Perhaps we're simply
caught in . . . a state of happiness. And there's no need to get out.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Nilaja Sun, Excerpt from No Child...

The Playwright Nilaja Sun, 2007


No Child...

MS.SUN. Hi. I’m Ms. Sun. Take your seats now. And as of today and for the next six weeks, when I’m in this classroom, you will not be using the word faggot or bitch or nigga or motherfucker or motherfuckerniggabitchfaggot. Anymore, Dominicans shall not be called and will not call each other dumb in a cans or platanos.
COCA. Ah, y pero quien e heta? Esa prieta?
MS. SUN. La prieta soy yo, senorita (Coca is speechless)
BRIAN. Shrimp fwy why? Shrimp fwy why! (no one else laughs)
MS. SUN. We will respect our teacher’s ethnicity.
BRIAN. Shrimp fwy why??? (no one else laughs.)
MS. SUN. Ladies will not call each other heifers or hos.
SHONKRIKA. Shoot! That whay I’m talkin’ about.
MS. SUN. We will start class on time. We will eat our breakfast beforehand. And from now on we are nothing but thespians.
XIOMORA. Lesbians? I ain’t no Rosie O’Donnell.
MS SUN. No no! Thespian! It means actor, citizen, lover of all things great.
XIOMARA. I love that hard cash bling-bling.
MS. SUN. Say it with me class, thespian.
XIOMARA (Bored) Thespian.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Bekah Brunstetter, Excerpt from Oohrah!

The Playwright Bekah Brunstetter, 2010


Regina from my pilates class, her husband makes real good money, he works for Krispy Kreme, he’s a regional manager. (Beat.) You could do that, you could work there.
You want me to fuckin sell doughnuts, Sara?
They’re not JUST doughnuts RON, they’re best doughnuts ever!
Sides, You love doughnuts! It’s a good job!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Tommy Smith, Excerpt from Sextet

The Playwright Tommy Smith, 2007

NINA: I'm so afraid when you're gone.
TCHAIKOVSKY: Why are you afraid?
NINA: The last couple nights. I've been having these terrible dreams about you. I'm in the concert hall playing the violin. I don't play the violin, I know, but in the dream I could play very well. And no one's there, just space filled with sound and I play louder and louder and faster and faster and the strings break off, just whip right off the instrument, and they cut my forearms and I try to brush it away,brush the blood away like dirt but the cuts grow bigger and I call out but the space swallows the sound. But then I can hear you. I can her you in the silence. I'm coming. I'm coming. But you never do. You never come.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Playwright Portrait, John Clancy, Excerpt from Fatboy

The Playwright John Clancy, 2008


Never a thought for poor Fatboy. Never, what would you like, sweet Fatboy? Always this way, all my life, all my lives, every tick of time. As a boy left to riot, as a man left to rot. Cocksuckers. Asshole fuckheaded cocksuckers. Always the burden. Always the load. I'M EATING A CHAIR! HAS IT COME TO THIS? Well I say no more. I say fuck all y'all and fuck you twice from behind. I am not a beast of burden. I am not a servant or a slave. I am Fatboy and I AM GOD. I will take what I need, I will take what I deserve, I will take whatever I see. I shall be rich, I shall be respected and I shall be fed.


"Assholes of the world, I address you as your king, as your god, as your destiny and destroyer. I see here before me assholes from every hellhole on earth. I welcome you, I call you assholes, I spit on your traditions and faiths. You are assholes, your parents are assholes, your heroes, statesmen and ancestors are complete and perfect assholes. Assholes, what I ask for here today is very simple. From this day forward, you must all agree to shut the fuck up, fuck yourselves and stay the fuck out of my way. I AM FATBOY. In short, fuck all y'all, you big, big assholes. Thank you."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Amiri Baraka, Excerpt from The Dutchman

The Playwright Amiri Baraka, 2009

The Dutchman

"I guess I better collect my stuff and get off this train. Looks like we wont be acting out that little pageant you outlined before " Dutchman , Scene two

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Playwright Portrait, David Ives, Excerpt from Variations on the Death of Trotsky

The Playwright David Ives, 2008

Variations on the Death of Trotsky

TROTSKY (with a mountain climber's axe in his head, planted there by his gardener): So even an assassin can make the flowers grow. The gardener was false, and yet the garden that he tended was real. How was I to know he was my killer when I passed him every day? How was I to know that the man tending the nasturtiums would keep me from seeing what the weather would be like tomorrow...? Sometime, for everyone, there's a room that you go into, and it's the room that you never leave. Or else you got out of a room and it's the last room that you'll ever leave. (He looks around.) This is my last room. This desk, these books, that calendar... Maybe I'll go look at the nasturtiums... (Trotsky dies. The garden outside the louvered window begins to glow.) - From "Variations on the Death of Trotsky"

Friday, May 27, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Sheila Callaghan, Excerpt from Lascivious Something

The Playwright Sheila Callaghan, 2007
copyright Peter Bellamy 2011

Lascivious Something

You and he were living out of your small car at the San Francisco Bay. You had no more food. You had not washed yourselves in two weeks besides your feet in the water. You had sex four times a day and were on pot much of the time. You were lying with your stringy head in his lap with your eyes closed. You were talking about molecules moving in your fingers and your feet. You were talking about how your skin was not solid, how the vinyl seat was not solid. You said everything was vibrating in nature at all times, and you said it scared you so much, and you said the only time you felt still was when his voice was in your ears, low and serious. And then you felt a wet drop on your closed lids, and you opened them and he was crying into your eyes. And he said your are so beautiful Liza, you are so beautiful you could crack the sky open. And you said August you are like the universe, you are so big you fill me you fill my eyes and you fill me. He brought his head down to yours and unrolled his tongue into your mouth. And his fingers wound around your hair. And you grabbed his hip with your hand and you said the word NEED, and you wrapped your thick leg around his skinny leg, and said the word NEED, and then you sank your teeth into his hip and bit so hard you came back with part of him in your mouth. And then you made love. And you fell asleep. And when you woke up you had a red smear on your face where you fell sleep in his blood. But he was gone. (A beat) That was the last you saw of him.

Lascivious Something/Roadkill Confidential/That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play: Three Plays [Paperback]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Stephen Belber, Excerpt from Fault Lines

The Playwright Stephen Belber, 2008


The reason plates shift, if I understand correctly, is that stress builds up in the rocks. Which is the same for us. Lotta stress out there: “Commitment;” “career choice;” “should we have kids?” “bizarre prostate behavior”---and when the stress gets to a threshold point, two things can happen: We either make an adjustment of some sort and thus ease the stress. Or---we fundamentally crack. What was once one solid land mass……becomes two.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Rachel Hoeffel, Excerpt from Quail

The Playwright Rachel Hoeffel, 2007

Alan: Damsels in distress. They're often wonderful and so gracious. You can't think how they get into such messes. Part lacking judgment when it comes to the character of the men they choose and the rest is just bad luck maybe. Dean likes to represent the damsels because he can smoke a lot around them to show concern. I once had a whole roster of damsels in my practice in Buffalo. And I did a lot of advocacy for dead whores. You can see where that's gotten me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Elizabeth Meriweather, Excerpt from The Mistakes Madeline Made

The Playwrigt Elizabeth Meriwether, 2007

The Mistakes Madeline Made


I wanted to know if you wanted to have a coffee with me—
I don't shower, Wilson.
Well. Turn on the water.
I can't, I can't just turn on the water. I don't shower.
Oh. Well, I'd like to see you. Um. If not for coffee maybe we could go swimming.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Young Jean Lee, Excerpt from Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

The Playwright Young Jean Lee, 2007
copyright Peter Bellamy 2010


Everything is fairly clear and straightforward, like on a balcony in bare feet with the stone of the balcony against your face, shot in the back, fallen to the ground with an arrow sticking out of your head.

And I’m sorry to have been such a disappointment to you. I mean that sincerely. But I also feel kind of like, fuck you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Mac Wellman, Excerpt from Antigone

The Playwright Mac Wellman, 2006

By Mac Wellman
Once senses the presence of an unknown god. Then another. Then another. We behold for the first time (once more) the curvature of the earth. Once more the Rock appears. Castle Rock. In the middle of air. High above us. The Rock opens. A brilliant geode, violet and luminous. Antigone is enshrined within. She looks almost like a goddess. Which one? No man can say. No man can say. No man can say. How many can stay. And I slipped out the back and I made myself very small and I slipped out the back way and when I awoke. I was in a different place, a thin place, as though it were the place of a compass focus.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Adam Szymkowicz, Excerpt from Food for Fish

The Playwright Adam Szymkowicz, 2009


Food For Fish

BOBBIE: This is the story of the boy. This is the story of the man the boy could have become. This is the story of the three sisters, Barbara, Alice and Sylvia. This is not the story of the gravedigger, who is the father of the three sisters, or of his wife, the poet, who died young. This is my story. When you have visions that beat at your brains while other people are talking. When you hear non-stop streams of screams. When synapses pop or won’t stop crackling, and when blood pumps, and the pounding don’t stop pounding. Then you look for an exit to start the ending or search sideways in vain to extract a distraction, but even then, what will curls of hair give to you, hips and breasts, lips sip out of you, in a moment, distract what abstraction pounds-pounds ’til you steal ... a kiss.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Will Eno, Excerpt from Thom Pain

The playwright Will Eno 2006

Excerpt from
THOM PAIN (based on nothing)
by Will Eno

What a mysterious scene. And somewhere in the same night another youth bleeds between her legs, staring out a window, wondering whom to tell, wondering what to tell them. What a mystery. The onset of the breeding years. Growth. The cancers are almost all in place. Nature laughs last, ladies and gentlemen, laughs hardest and best and last, deep into the night, at you. But, think of it all. What a paradise, as I have said. What a surprise to have a body.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Brooke Berman, Excerpt from Until We Find Each Other

The Playwright Brooke Berman 2007


"Welcome, Ye of the Congregation of the Broken-hearted. Welcome, Motherless Children. Welcome, you who wrestle with angels. I used to wrestle with angels. But not anymore."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Adam Rapp, Excerpt from Red Light Winter

The Playwright Adam Rapp 2006

Red Light Winter

From Matt to Chrisitna
You like walked out of your dress. And then you helped me take my clothes off. And then you took my hand and led me to the bed. It was…Well, it was more than the sex, way more than that. You were like kind. And it helped me. It helped me so much, Christina. In ways that I’d need like the twelve thousand semi-tones of dolphin language to articulate. And I’m sure that with all the guys or johns or clients or whatever you call your rotisserie of men that most of the time it’s just a series of these like fast, pound-of-flesh experiences for you, but that’s not what happened for me. It wasn’t this like anecdote that American guys go over there to collect. They eat a few space cakes and fuck a window whore and get a tattoo of like a dagger or a yin-yang sign or a fucking stallion getting struck by lightning. That’s not what it was about for me. It was way bigger than that. And it was way bigger than a play or a paperback novel or like some precious cultural artifact or whatever. It was bigger than anything I could ever fucking write about.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Playwright Portrait, Sarah Treem, Excerpt from A Feminine Ending

The Playwright Sarah Treem 2007

A Feminine Ending

"It is known, by the few that know enough to care and care enough to know, that any piece of music has one of two beginnings. They are gendered. A masculine piece begins with an emphasis or “stress” on the first beat. A feminine piece begins with the “stress” on the second beat. Or sometimes, the third. This is a feminine beginning."