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EXPLORING INTERPRETATIONS

Do you think Terry can ever truly be at peace with the death of his brother? Is it possible for Edie to completely forgive Terry for his involvement in Joey’s death? Will Tommy and his friends view Terry as a hero for breaking the waterfront code of ‘d and d’ to expose Johnny Friendly? Etc.

Charley and Terry: 'I could've been...' Is it really Charley's fault that Terry chose to throw his fight?

Terry and Edie: Everything appears just hunky dory, right?

Student Task: Use one of the suggestions provided to
develop a new scene for On the Waterfront. Your new scene will express an interpretation of the text.

THE 1954 SHOOTING SCRIPT

INTERPRATIVE SCENE OPTIONS:
Work with one of the following options to develop an interpretative script to perform 1.
EDIE Don't turn away! Look at it! You're in this too— don't you see, don't you see? You're in this too, Father. FATHER BARRY (defensively, sincerely)Edie, I do what I can. I'm in the church when you need me. EDIE (bitingly)"In the church when you need me." Was there ever a saint who hid in the Church? She turns from him angrily, toward the covered form of Joey. Father Barry stands there jolted and troubled.

Imagine Father Barry has returned to the church after this interaction with Edie. His fellow priest enters the church to speak with him. What does Father Barry have to say about what has happened, how it is making him feel? How does the other priest respond?
BRAINSTORM/BEGIN SCRIPT:

2.

FATHER BARRY (taking a handkerchief to blot the blood on Nolan's face)Nice fellows. NOLAN (rubbing his head angrily)Those blood suckers. How I'd love to fix those babies but— FATHER BARRY But you still hold out for silence? (Nolan hesitates). FATHER BARRY You still call it ratting? NOLAN Are you on the level, Father? FATHER BARRY What do you think? NOLAN If I stick my neck out, and they chopped it off, would that be the end of it? Or are you ready to go all the way? FATHER BARRY I'll go down the line, Kayo, believe me. NOLAN Baseball bats— that's just for openers. They'll put the muscle on you, turned-around collar or no turned around collar. FATHER BARRY And I still say you stand up and I'll stand up with you. NOLAN Down to the wire? FATHER BARRY So help me God!

Imagine everyone is outside the church after Kayo’s funeral. Develop a conversation between Edie, Pop Doyle and Father Barry. How are they feeling about the death of Kayo? How can they show support for each other. Do they mention Joey and Andy? What do they say about Johnny Friendly? Is Johnny Friendly or any of his goons there? Would Terry have made an appearance at Kayo’s funeral?
Brainstorm script ideas here:

3.

TERRY Waterfront— Crime— Commission— ? (pushes wallet back indignantly) What's that? GLOVER We're getting ready to hold public hearings on waterfront crime and underworld infiltration of longshore unions. TERRY (automatically) I don't know nothing. GILLETTE You haven't heard the questions yet. GLOVER (pleasantly)There's a rumor that you're one of the last people to see Joey Doyle alive. TERRY And I still say— I don't know nothing. GILLETTE We're not accusing you of anything, Mr. Malloy. GLOVER I hope you understand that. GILLETTE We only want to ask you a few things about people you may know. TERRY People I— You mean sing for you. Get out of here before I— GILLETTE (with a slight but confident smile)I wouldn't advise that, Mr. Malloy.Unless you want to be booked for assaulting an officer of the law. TERRY Listen, I don't know nothing, I didn't see nothing, I ain't saying nothing.So why don't you and your girlfriend get lost. GLOVER (gently) All right, Mr. Malloy, you have a right not to talk, if that's what you choose to do. But the public has a right to know the facts, too. GILLETTE (nodding in agreement)We may be seeing you again. TERRY Never will be much too soon.

Imagine Glover and Gillette have returned to their offices. They are recounting their encounter with Terry to colleagues. How do they view Terry? What do they feel they need to do to get him to ‘sing’, to manipulate him? What are their feelings for the longshoremen? Etc. When developing this scene consider the conversation the W.C.C. has with Terry on the rooftop, where he asks him about his boxing career.
Brainstorm:

4.

TERRY Charley... you wouldn't take me to Gerry G... .? (Charley continues looking at him. He does not deny it. They stare at each other for a moment. Then suddenly Terry starts out of the cab. Charley pulls a pistol. Terry is motionless, now, looking at Charley). CHARLEY Take the boss loading, kid. For God's sake. I don't want to hurt you. TERRY (hushed, gently guiding the gun down toward Charley's lap) Charley... . Charley... . Wow... . CHARLEY (genuinely) I wish I didn't have to do this, Terry. (Terry eyes him, beaten. Charley leans back and looks at Terry strangely. Terry raises his hands above his head, somewhat in the manner of a prizefighter mitting the crowd. The image nicks Charley's memory.

The famous ‘I could’ve been a contender’ speech follows on from this piece of the script. At its close Charley directs his driver to take him to ‘the garden’. Pretend that Charley has an opportunity to see Terry again before he is murdered. He makes a visit to the rooftop where Edie and Jimmy are also present. Present insights into Charlie and Terry’s relationship through the dialogue. What would they say about Johnny now? Would Charlie be encourage Terry to ‘rat’ or advise him to save himself? How would Edie and Jimmy respond to this. Etc.
Brainstorm script ideas here: