Academic journal article Theatre Research in Canada

A Sketch for "Radium City": The Story for Act One

Academic journal article Theatre Research in Canada

A Sketch for "Radium City": The Story for Act One

Article excerpt

Presented as a Staged Reading by Zuppa Circus Theatre of Halifax, Nova Scotia during the Shifting Tides: Atlantic Canadian Theatre Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Conference, Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto March 2004

Written with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

Performed by: Ben Stone, Kiersten Tough

Directed by: Alex McLean

Musical Composition and Performance by: David Christensen


He's a powerful man. He does powerful things. At night he dreams powerful dreams. Immortality. In this perfected world of progress and more progress and more progress all that remains is to live forever. Everything as far as he can see and further still belongs to him, everybody everywhere doing everything they can to bring about the future he desires, but all of that means nothing if THE TYCOON cannot live forever. One day there may come a day when his mirror no longer announces the glory of his physical perfection. That day will never come: The Tycoon has the best minds working 'round the dock till they find the cure for death.



DR. SAVATINE VOX is not mad, not yet. But he knows things no one was meant to know. He knows that time is a virus. He knows that he is very close to finding the antidote. And he knows that it is through his own research that his daughter FLORA is dying. For it was in his laboratory that she was exposed to the most deadly strain of the time virus, and now it blooms like a hundred flowers in her belly. The science that Dr. Vox has discovered has made the world what it is. Thirty years ago he found a doorway to the place where ideas come from and now there is no closing this door: His fabulous inventions spawn more and more fabulous inventions each day almost without his guidance. And he is so close to finding the antidote to time. And he knows he will arrive too late to save his girl. And he is not mad, not yet.



We need a monument. Nothing we've made has ever been enough. This is THE ARCHITECT speaking. She has a vision for a building that goes beyond anything built before. Laughing at gravity. Soaring high into the clouds. Reminding us never to stop. Radium Tower! Celebrating the human spirit. Celebrating The Tycoon and this city he's made. She has blueprints. He destroys the blueprints. Nothing she's said is new, The Tycoon tells her, he's seen a hundred other proposals just like hers. He tells her to leave. She will not go. He tells her if she stays then her life belongs to him. She stays. He will humiliate her, he promises. She will stop being her own person and in the end will build exactly the monument he desires. And in exchange she will learn the things about the world she always suspected were true but was too scared to discover herself. She stays. She knows he knows how much she desires to be exactly like him. And he knows she knows how much he needs to share his corruption. The pretense is entirely gone. And the happiness she feels is like a sickness. What is that feeling? Shame. Build that, he says. Build it high.


They are poor mostly. Some of them call themselves artists. Dr. Vox pays them well for their time. Sometimes they stay for days and days at his laboratory, taking his latest wonder drugs in little white rooms, all their reactions closely monitored by machines, recorded by men in white coats. As the future is made, they test its toxicity. Willing to fall deathly iii for a few hours so they can be cured by his miracle science. Taking pills and potions designed to push the body and the mind beyond their limits or to cripple them entirely. X-ray drink. Perfect memory drug. Lobotomy in a tablet. TOM VIOLENCE is always hungry. He is a thief and a hustler and an enthusiastic test subject for Dr. Vox, willing to stay for days and days in the laboratory taking anything they'll give him. …

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