Academic journal article TheatreForum

A Human Interest Story or the Gory Details and All A Play for Six Voices

Academic journal article TheatreForum

A Human Interest Story or the Gory Details and All A Play for Six Voices

Article excerpt

CHARACTERS:

The play is to be performed by an ensemble of six voices, three male voices and three female voices. The breakdown is as follows:

Male Voices:

VOICE NUMBER ONE, who we will call KELLY, a voyeur. He is also the voice of:

TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATIST-WANNABE

LARRY

VOICE NUMBER TWO, who is the voice of:

R. OWEN ROBERTSON

THE ANONYMOUS MAN

NAMELESS CHICANO CAMERAMAN

VOICE NUMBER THREE, who is the voice of:

THE EMRGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM

BRUCE DOUGHERTY

KIPPER RUSSELL

MALE ANCHOR

Female Voices:

VOICE NUMBER ONE, who we will call PAULA, a voyeur. She is also the voice of:

MELANIE

VOICE NUMBER TWO, who we will call MARSSIE. She is also the voice of:

MOTHER OF THE TEENAGE CYBERPUNK

FEMALE ANCHOR

VOICE NUMBER THREE, who we will call MARY. She is also the voice of:

ANTOINETTE

Notes:

All of the text in the play should be spoken, or at least heard by the audience. Attempts to "recreate" or "reenact" things that are described should be kept to a minimum, if not avoided completely.

The actors firing Male Voice Number One and Female Voice NumowTwo should use their own real first names when performing the role of "Kelly" and "Paula." Kelly and Paula are used in this text as they were the first names of the actors who played them in the original production at Walk-about Theatre in Chicago.

A Human Interest Story (or the Gory Details and All) was written and first presented at Seattle's Annex Theatre during their 2001 hothouse. The play has been workshopped at the New York Shakespeare Festival and A.S.K. Theatre Projects in L.A. The play was presented in the summer of 2003 by the Lab Company at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, and premiered in Chicago at Walkabout Theatre Company in January 2004.

PROLOGUE

PAULA: THE BIG

BLACK

COCK OF DEATH: a prologue.

Kelly?

KELLY: Thanks, Paula.

The harsh,

metallic sound of

the EMERGENCY BROADCAST

SYSTEM,

followed by a voice:

steady,

calm,

reassuring the masses that this is only a test.

THE VOICE OF THE EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM: Warning. No attempt should ever be made to actually stage the following stage directions. The following stage directions should be spoken by the TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPRATIST-WANNABE's MOTHER, who testified in a court of law that she never heard quote, all that racket, unquote going on upstairs.

PAULA: A television pops on. The audience does not see the images on screen. You only see the flickering shaft of light emanating from it, slicing through the darkness, illuminating the TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATIST WANNABEs MOTHER.

MOTHER OF THE TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATISTWANNABE: That would be me

PAULA: Sitting in a metal chair,

watching.

The images she watches are from a videotape, shot on a home video camera by the TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATIST WANNABE.

MOTHER OF THE TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATISTWANNABE: My son

KELLY: the home video camera she bought as a gift for his sixteenth birthday.

PAULA: The home video camera she bought hoping to encourage the expression of his creative impulses.

KELLY: The authorities have requested that she watch this particular tape, as it is crucial evidence. It is one of several hundred tapes like it found in the wreckage of the bedroom of the TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATIST WANNABE.

PAULA: The tapes form a video diary of sorts, documenting his waking and sleeping existence. The tape she watches is the very last one he made.

KELLY: This is what she sees on the screen before her:

MOTHER OF THE TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATIST-WANNABE: The bedroom

of the TEENAGE CYBERPUNK SEPARATIST- WANNABE

my son

in the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska, as seen from a video camera fixed on a tripod in a corner of the room. …

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