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THE ABSENT OTHER: Absent/Present Characters as Catalysts for Action in Modem Drama


Daniel W. Kulmala B.A., University d f Akron, 1988 B.A.. University o f Akron, 1989 M.A.. University o f Akron, 1992

Submitted to the Department of English and the Faculty o f the Graduate School o f the University of Kansas in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

. Befgeron

Co-Ctrair. Paul Stephen Lim

Richard Hardin

i_y ^4- ^ —


Bernard Hirsch

heodore Johnsoni Date Submitted:

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MAY 2 1 ?nnn
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Daniel Wayne All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17. Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company 300 North Zeeb Road P. UMI* UMI Microform9985117 Copyright 2000 by Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.UMI Number 9985117 Copyright 2000 by Kulmala. Box 1346 Ann Arbor. United States Code.O. All rights reserved. Ml 48106-1346 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. .

Copyright 2000 -Daniel W. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Kulmala Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. .

Martha’s father from Who's Afraid o f Virginia Woolf? and Mitch and Murray from Glengarry Glen Ross were removed. providing an active presence even in their absence. . How we influence others even when we are not in their presence will remain unknown unless we become conscious o f our influence. and/or understand the characters who appear before the audience. In other words. April in Akron. uses living absent characters. I will focus my primary attention on living absent Others who occupy an absent iii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. This reflection on absences provides worthwhile interpretive possibilities for the study o f drama. In fact. And given that my own play. What do we make o f the absent characters who nonetheless wield tremendous influence on the action and contribute to the conflict o f a play? What would Waiting fo r Godot be without Vladimir’s and Estragon’s waiting for Godot? What might happen to a play if all references to the absent— yet present— characters were omitted? If Martin from That Championship Season . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. identify. then what kind of play do we have? I suggest that a play loses the crux o f its conflict and the catalysts for action if one eliminates these absent characters. these absent characters function as the absent Other—they act as a form o f reflective consciousness which helps the audience to understand the motives and identities o f the characters who are physically present in the play. the concept o f the absent Other applies to those characters who do not appear on stage but serve as a mirror by which we judge.Abstract Knowledge o f our own absences often escapes us.

iv Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. . Jason Miller’s That Championship Season and Edward Albee’s Who's Afraid o f Virginia Woolf?.presence in four American plays: David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross and Oleanna.

Further reproduction prohibited without permission.To Anne Turner —my temple o f sun. . my pathfinder: my deserts bloom in her grace To Paul Stephen Lim —who taught me the action o f words and the drama o f graceful discordance To David Bergeron —who taught me the hospitality of ideas and the grace o f words o f stone Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

His provocative and inventive production and direction o f April in Akron remain forever fertile lessons in my career as a writer o f plays. Whenever I have needed a lift to investigate a new window o f opportunity and learning. . and confidant. And depending on the height the ladder scales. my “intrusion” has been met by the open arms o f Paul Lim. Although I have felt like one who has crept into the house o f drama. His love o f words and ideas imprint every step I take. I wrote most of it during stolen moments from the general activities o f teaching and literary critical research. to secure the foundation. Paul Stephen Lim made this play possible by encouraging my writing of something I believed in. I am doubly grateful and thankful for the time others spent reading my work and viewing April in Akron's production. mentor. his fatherly guidance have always provided a sturdy ladder.A c k n o w le d g m e n ts Because much of this dissertation involves creative. every play I write bears his love for words and drama. I have been imbued by the testosterone of his encouragement. And to the coach of my creative steps. I thank with heart-felt fondness Bud Hirsch. Therefore. that we remain friends even after he suggested that I eliminate fifty pages o f the first draft and start over while building on the remaining fifty pages is a testament to his exceptional qualities as a teacher. his nurturing. To those who have kept the ladder on its mark vi Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. dramatic work. every climber needs someone to hold it still. his concern. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I cannot thank enough the encouragement and devotion o f David Bergeron.

No one could temper my fantasies into reality the way Anne does. I am always amazed at the way she “bears" my late-night Sami steps into abstraction and guides me toward fruition. for she takes hold of my far-flung thoughts and embraces the magic I endeavor to produce. keeps the eyes ever-aware o f new possibilities. vii Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. and Jim Hartman. Anne Turner. New Mexico. their continued interest in my work keeps the imaginative fires burning. Her passion for life and living is as powerful as moonshine on a dry desert night outside Truth or Consequences. Amy Devitt. Ted Johnson. my essence would not be complete without my love. . My vision. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Through Anne I am discovered. I have known no comfort like her generous. Jim Carothers.I thank Richard Hardin. enfolding arms.

.................................. iii Dedication ...............................v Acknow ledgm ents.....................................................56 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.. ..................................... The Absent Other in Modem D ra m a ..... vi 1....................................................................T a b l e o f C o n te n ts Abstract ................................................................. Further reproduction prohibited without permission................. 1 Increasing Cloudiness: Reflections on the Writing o f April in A k r o n 38 April in Akron .................................................................................................................... 3....................... 2....................................

then what kind of play do we have? I suggest that a play loses the crux o f its conflict and the catalysts for action if one eliminates these absent characters. What do we make o f the absent characters who nonetheless wield tremendous influence on the action and contribute to the conflict o f a play? What would Waiting fo r Godot be without Vladimir’s and Estragon’s waiting for Godot? What might happen to a play if all references to the absent—yet present—characters were omitted? If Martin from That Championship Season. providing an active presence even in their absence. 1 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.The Abrent Other in Modern Drama “At me too someone is looking” Waiting fo r Godot Knowledge o f our own absences often escapes us. the concept o f the absent Other applies to those characters who do not appear on stage but serve as a mirror by which we judge. Martha’s father from Who's Afraid o f Virginia Woolf? and Mitch and Murray from Glengarry Glen Ross were removed. identify. And given that my own play. In fact. and/or understand the characters who appear before the audience. . This reflection on absences provides worthwhile interpretive possibilities for the study of drama. these absent characters function as the absent Other—they act as a form of reflective consciousness which helps the audience to understand the motives and identities o f the characters who are physically present in the play. How we influence others even when we are not in their presence will remain unknown unless we become conscious of our influence. April in Akron. uses living absent characters. In other words. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

During our conference in my office. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I want to relate an experience that underscores my perspective and understanding o f the concept I have identified as the absent Other. If one were to sit where Chet sat. About three years ago I came upon the idea of the absent Other after a discussion with a 101 English Composition student. “What’s up?”— meaning. . I noticed that Chet kept looking at the book shelf behind me. “The books?” I asked. what was he reading? “I’m just reading. “Back in 5 Minutes” Office Note Before I begin my essay proper. of course.” Chet replied quite casually. Jason Miller’s That Championship Season and Edward Albee’s Who 's Afraid o f Virginia Woolf?. I’m reading your notes. Chet liked the colors. I’ll call the student Chet. Thinking that he was more intrigued by the titles and types o f books on my shelf than in my continued blah-blah-blah about the significance of a strong thesis and the importance o f eliminating comma splices. one would see my head encircled by a rainbow of sticky notes. I asked him. “Books?!” Chet indignantly answered. being startled that I might accuse him o f having an interest in books.” I looked behind me.” “Return in ten minutes.” Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. “No.I will focus my primary attention on living absent Others who occupy an absent presence in four American plays: David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross and Oleanna. and sure enough a wreath o f notes was taped on the book­ shelf behind me. But what proved intriguing and useful to me were the messages on those notes: “Back in 5 Minutes.

otherness. expect to meet with me to discuss their work or progress in class. and distance. or puzzlement—“It’s his office. See Me after Class. Sartre refers to absence as a certain type o f reality called a negatite. then my absence refers to both my existent and non-existent state o f affairs. relief—they really did not want to talk to me about their poor grade. Those notes made me think about my own absences.“No Office Hours Today. Back in an hour. isn’t it?” The possibilities are limitless. negation is necessary. I couldn’t help but to comment on the rather humorous and paradoxical nature o f the notes which signified my absence versus my physical presence in the office. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. But the messages on them clearly informed others of my absence. Chet found little to laugh about. other negatiles include change. frustration—this has happened again.” and “At Lunch. if someone comes into a room and sees my book bag and books at a table. But in each case. But for them to exist. . and only encounter a note telling them o f my absence? Perhaps they experience a series o f responses: anger—they need to talk to me. my absence prompts the beginning of something new for them.1 These concepts involve being and non-being in a state o f affairs or relations. and I am not there. What do students think when they come to my office. For example.” I had saved those notes and various other ones so that I might save myself from rewriting a new note. When another person anticipates our presence and we are not in that locale. we can only imagine the possible array of emotions and thoughts that the other person Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

The body is its own metaphysical and ontological frame o f reference.4 experiences—unless. o f course. then our consciousness of our absence—our need to be some place other than our present location—anticipates the response by the other person. Thus. Jean-Paul Sartre. I anticipate the other’s objectification o f me. we have knowledge o f our absence. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. the body-subject. According to Sartre.” and life has no meaning other than the fictions we construct about it. we only come really to know things through our interaction with our immediate environment. “Hell is other people” No Exit Any discussion o f the idea o f the Other needs to address the primary initiator o f this concept. . “What must he be thinking of me?” The language I use underscores the move in subject— / —to object— me. we exist through the body. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. In this case. And for Sartre physicality is an essential component for cognition.2 Therefore. and what one experiences one experiences through the body. For Sartre two fundamental “truths” explain our existential situation: we are “condemned to freedom. Sartre is very phenomenological in his belief that an individual is his body in a way that he is not anything else. This experience illustrates the absent Other—a conscious awareness o f oneself in relation to some other person who influences and affects our behavior despite the separation o f space and/or time. as I reflect upon the other person’s response to my being late or absent I might wonder. since our interpretations o f the world and our knowledge o f the world around us depend upon our individual perspectives. Freedom as an individual.

For Sartre. Sartre claims the shame I experience when captured by the regard of the Other is a confession that I am this self. I can recognize and acknowledge this self as myself. . I subject another body to my own. I have subjected my freedom to another. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. physical presence o f the Other. The Other for Sartre occurs when one has consciousness of the self as an object. If I allow another to invade my body. Garcin. The self I become aware o f through my experience o f the other’s gaze is a self that escapes me and exists for the other. In fact. Sartre’s No Exit dramatizes the experience o f the Other. and Estelle make countless attempts to manipulate each other with the intention o f gaining Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. the feeling o f shame is an awareness of oneself as seen by another.3 This self-consciousness for Sartre depends upon the active. If. my freedom has become another’s freedom. then I have robbed another o f freedom. According to Sartre. on the other hand. can only be maintained by repelling others. the ego. Thus my body is not given merely as that which is purely and simply lived. take it over. one experiences the Other when one becomes self-conscious o f oneself: The shock o f the encounter with the Other is for me a revelation in emptiness o f the existence o f my body outside as an in-itself for the Other. Inez. absolute fact o f the Other’s existence—extended outside in a dimension o f flight which escapes me. shame is one way we experience consciousness. rather this “lived experience” becomes— in and through the contingent.then. This self is the objectified self.

“Hell is— other people!”5 “Hell” is the state of affairs where one imposes one’s will upon another. You here. there’s someone absent here. each o f us stays put in his or her comer and takes no notice o f the others. they are unable to escape each other’s presence and the self-consciousness ofeach other. in fact. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. underscores Sartre’s concept ofbad faith. and behind characters’ motives for action. Forced to spend eternity in one room together. Without that other person. each of us has plenty o f material for self-communings. For Sartre’s concept of the Other requires the physical presence o f another person. Like soldiers at our posts. “In short. their hell will be to torment each other. the official torturer” No Exit My readings o f plays with “Other-glasses” has led me to consider characters who do not appear on stage. in the characters’ memories. living a lie that one is conscious of. you here. we remain in a pre-reflective state o f consciousness— a consciousness Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. yet their presence remains in the script. His “solution” could actually make the situation worse. the solution’s easy enough.6 an upper hand. for how does one forget a person when one consciously tries to forget that person? Their continued torment o f each other leads Garcin to the famous dictum. Also. behind the conflict. we m ustn’t speak.4 Although this self-imposed retreat into isolation from the others seems to be a solution to their hell. and I there. That won’t be difficult.. . Garcin’s solution.. Not one word. At one point Garcin offers a solution to their torturous fate: .

Sartre believed that the only meanings that exist are those that human beings create. an authentic. Therefore. absent characters direct and influence the present characters precisely because playwrights have a conscious purpose for those characters. . Despite my understanding o f Sartre’s need for the physical presence o f the other person’s gaze to make the experience o f the Other complete.7 “that is directed toward something other than itself. positional experience with the Other requires a physical presence. and tormented about on the stage do provide a physical presence in the conflicts and actions in their respective plays. a person might be self-conscious o f something. and so its awareness o f itself is only non-positional. I could not reconcile his definition with my own observations o f the absent characters who inhabit many scripts. . Therefore. fixated upon.”6 In other words. but he is not really self-conscious o f the Other in relation to himself unless the other person is present. I argue that the absent characters referred to. for example. The study o f absent characters in Shakespearean drama has proven to offer scholarship several avenues for exploration. Life itself has no meaning other than the fictions we construct about it. David Bergeron argues. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. . that The W inter’ s Tale “turns on the performative absence yet presence o f Apollo. Like Nietzsche and Camus. And what I find after repeated investigation is that the absent characters act as mirrors by which other characters’ identities are reflected and by which the audience comes to know the truth about the controversy brewing beneath the conflict o f the play.”7 Finding Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Perhaps unlike real life.

8 that Shakespeare goes to great lengths to connect characters and action to Apollo, Bergeron suggests that we clearly see on Shakespeare’s part an authorial choice to include Apollo in this play, unlike his principal source for the play. Bergeron’s analysis o f Apollo's purpose in The Winter's Tale provides a solid study o f what could be defined as the absent Other. From Leontes’s name deriving from Apollo to the

representation o f Time to the restoration o f Hermione at the play’s end, we see how the many associations connected to Apollo, the time-keeper and representative o f the apothecaries, weave their way through the text. In this respect, it is easy to imagine why the University o f Missouri, Kansas City would include Apollo in its production o f The Winter's Tale} The text permits Apollo’s presence even if the cast member list does not include him. Three other Shakespearean scholars. Coppelia Kahn. Stephen Orgel, and Avi Erlich, have also explored the realm o f absent characters. All three of these scholars use Freudian, psychoanalytic interpretations o f King Lear, The Tempest, and Hamlet, respectively. While focusing on the absent mother in King Lear, Kahn notes that Shakespeare diverges from his immediate dramatic source King Leir which begins with a lament for the death o f the queen. So she looks for ways that the queen exists in the play. For example, Kahn argues that Shakespeare’s audience would have recognized Lear’s wailing as feminine, especially when he characterizes his sorrow as hysterical: ”0! how this mother swells upward toward my heart!/Hysterica passiol down, thou

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climbing sorrow!” (2.4.56-57).9 Lear, then, sublimates the mother, trying to keep the inner woman down inside. And since these traits are feminine, Kahn explains why Lear wants to keep them in their place. Kahn writes: Women and the needs and traits associated with them are supposed to stay in their element, as Lear says, “below”—denigrated, silenced, denied. In this patriarchal world, masculine identity depends on repressing the vulnerability, dependency, and capacity for feeling which are called “feminine.” 1 0 Kahn sees this masculine, patriarchal need for control as a crucial aspect o f King Lear, for not only must men control the “volatile female element” o f hysteria, but they must also control women.1 1 Avi Erlich’s Hamlet's Absent Father performs a psychoanalytic overload of interpretation o f Hamlet, with an embarrassingly rigorous attention to a therapeutic analysis of Hamlet’s psychological milieu. Through Erlich’s interpretation, not only do we find that father figures fill Hamlet , but the play contains an “ambiguously strongweak father” (King Hamlet) who contributes to Hamlet’s unstable superego and his wanting a strong father.1 2 Stephen Orgel suggests that the absence of Prospero’s wife “constitutes a space that is filled by Prospero’s creation o f surrogates and a ghostly family”—the witch Sycorax, Caliban, the “good child/wife” Miranda, Ariel, Ferdinand, and the spirits o f the island.1 3 All four o f the studies above demonstrate the interpretive possibilities for absent

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10 characters. But only David Bergeron performs the type o f interpretation that I would endorse as a viable direction for the study o f absent characters. In the three

psychoanalytic interpretations, the scholars base their perspectives on the expectation that the families in these plays need to be complete families. Therefore, if no one makes mention o f a mother or if there is a vague reference to a mother, there had to be a mother, and her absence is present in other forms, such as Lear’s hysteria. Bergeron’s study, however, focuses on the text and the way Shakespeare uses Apollo as a device in the play— as an allegorical representation o f Time, as a connection to shepherds when Florizel justifies his disguise, and as a provider o f aid for the restoration o f Hermione. However, if I were to follow Kahn’s, Orgel’s, and Erlich’s lead, then I might make something o f Martha’s mother in Who s A fraid o f Virginia Woolf? For in that play, Martha only mentions her mother once in regard to her dying when Martha was young. I could provide a discussion about Martha’s imaginary mothering o f a nonexistent child and how she wants to reclaim or identify with her own mother whom she never knew. But I do not want to create an interpretation based on an abstraction that exists (or does not exist) outside o f the play. The absent characters I focus on contribute to the plot, action and conflict o f the play. Some imaginary characters, however, can function as the absent Other. In No Exit, Sartre does not list among the cast one character whom Garcin, Inez, and Estelle repeatedly anticipate seeing in Hell— the torturer. A torturer in Hell is to be expected.

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but Godot has a function rather than a meaning. a purpose. a benefactor. whatever we think he is and not what we think he is: he is an absence .”1 5 But Michael Worton offers an explanation of Godot that closely connects to my idea o f the absent Other: . asks the Valet. Vladimir and Estragon cannot do anything else. for example. . we do not learn o f the alternative. death. Without Godot. offers hope o f an identity. But. even Pozzo. he “would have said so in the play. then. the most obvious example o f the absent Other occurs in Beckett’s Waiting fo r Godot. He stands for what keeps us chained to and in existence. o f course. . . who can be interpreted at moments as God. the lord o f the manor. Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot to appear at the appointed tree. Yet we are left to determine who Godot is. he is the unknowable that represents hope in an age when there is no hope. . and in existential terms. existential hell these three characters put themselves through. if they cannot act or do something. The racks and red-hot pincers and all the other paraphenalia?” u It’s an expectation the audience has as well until we learn the truth as the three characters torture each other without the help o f anyone else. “Where are the instruments o f torture? . . Godot. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. In this case the absent Other acts as a device of reflection which enables us to understand the philosophical concepts Sartre intends to dramatize. their identities remain stagnant since doing defines being. he is whatever fiction we want him to be— as Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Beckett himself stated that if he had known who Godot was. But without the initial expectation o f the torturer.11 Garcin.

a gap. For Mitch and Murray and Jerry Graff are the catalysts for the criminal acts in this play. Glengarry Glen Ross begins with a man behaving in a most unmanly fashion: Levene begs. I had not put much thought into their importance until I connected them to the absent Other. And if the agents cannot close the deal. the play relies solely on the personal motives o f the real estate agents who try to make a living off their lousy leads. In that course we study David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. one that resists closure and a clearly defined meaning. Mitch and Murray pose the biggest threat to Levene. For a play where manliness underscores success. . and Aaronow. Jerry Graff. Godot is a variable who compels us to complete the algebraic equation.1 1 Throughout this play we hear the names of significant characters whom we never meet: Mitch and Murray and Jerry Graff.12 long as he justifies our life-as-waiting. I was teaching a course called Crime Literature. In fact. is what fuels our interest in this play.1 6 Perhaps seeing Godot as an absence. for Mitch and Murray represent the angst-ridden boulder o f downsizing. they suffer something even worse than their jobs: their masculine identity. and he needs them desperately to get Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Without them. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. He wants Williamson to give him the good Glengarry Highland’s leads. provides “the out” from beneath that boulder—albeit by illegal means. ready to drop on any employee who cannot close a deal. “Whoever told you you could work with m ertT' Glengarry Glen Ross When I first thought o f the concept of the absent Other. Moss. however.

? He came in. The Seville . Sixty-five. Having nothing to show for his worth in the present. but he fears the loss o f his male identity. Nothing. “You bought that for me Shelly. This rule ultimately places Levene in a catch-22: he needs the leads to survive. when we were there. .13 back to the top o f the board. . As a representative o f Mitch and Murray. He insists that his “job is to marshal [the] leads” and only give them to the successful salesmen. “ . Shelly Levene turns to his past. Mitch and Murray’s business tactics threaten Levene’s identity in vocation and sexuality. who paid for his fuckin’ car? You talk to him. talk to Murray. . In this real estate business-world. to be a closer is to be a man. There’s more than one man for the ”1 8Levene not only fears the loss of work. This situation is akin to telling a drowning person that he cannot have a life preserver unless he proves that he can swim. When we were on Peterson. . then by reputation alone the business and Mitch and Murray do not see Levene as a worthy agent and as a man. . with Glen Ross Farms? You call ’em downtown. Williamson bears the brunt o f the struggling real estate agents’ frustration. but he cannot have the leads if he does not prove himself worthy. put a closer on the job. And Levene tries to secure his manly identity when he tells Williamson. . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. .1 9 Anyone who falls below a certain mark o f success will not receive the premium leads. Therefore. venting his frustration upon Williamson: . If Williamson does not give him the good leads. Talk to Mitch.” Out of what? Cold calling.20 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

?”~ As Moss and Aaronow think about the easy-money o f the past. underscores the concept o f the absent Other: “It isn’t me. Shelly Levene wants to ensure the good graces o f his past. . Williamson’s reply. .”2 1 Only a messenger. Moss: Well. Mitch and Murray are present in the rules enforced upon them. . while the use of “me” directs the responsibility to some other aspect of oneself. His past performance even put him in one o f the manliest of positions. . they fucked it up. not the / but the object (me) who operates under the absent Mitch and Murray. . . but they are absent from any direct contact. Moss and Aaronow lament the loss o f a glorious economic past. . W illiamson’s language does more than place the blame on Mitch and Murray.. they also address those who ruined it— the very same people who make their lives a Hell now: Aaronow: They came in and they. working the tension and conflict o f the play. though. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. telling Aaronow “. you k n o w . Moss recounts the wealth o f Glen Ross Farms. Such a perspective intensifies the frustration felt by all the characters in this play. didn 7 we sell a bunch o f th a t. Their absentpresence acts like invisible strings. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. . “It” refers to Mitch and Murray.14 Like an appeal to an oracle to speak to the gods in control. . Also fearing the boulder o f capitalistic ambition ready to drop. it deflects the responsibility on to Mitch and Murray by avoiding the use o f the first person pronoun. that o f the father whose hard work enabled him to buy a car for Mitch.

. We hear their motive for action as they explain how Mitch and Murray have ruined what was an easy life o f business for them. this shi t . And we enslave Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.. Moss tells Aaronow that they must leave the firm and act on their own no matter how hard that might be: To say “I’m going on my own.-1 3 Although Moss and Aaronow engage in obvious venting over the ineptness of Mitch and Murray’s business operations. . . . The anonymous “they” deflects the blame from themselves to others who are absent from the reality o f their hardships.” ’Cause what you do. Moss: They killed the goose. Moss expresses his resentment and his desire to escape their oppressive methods in terms that voice a consciousness o f the absent Other. . Aaronow: They did. George. . . Aaronow: W e’re stuck with this .15 Aaronow: They did. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. let me tell you what you do: you find yourself in thrall to someone else. . yet “they” have left them (Moss and Aaronow) to deal with the “fucking shit” of poor leads and financial failure. Moss: W e’re stuck with this fucking s h i t . . Aaronow: . they also operate under the control o f the absent Other. Moss: And now . With the pressure on from Mitch and Murray. .

However. To Moss. With the promise to buy the premium leads. in the play we are Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. the exposition provides important information about them. Graff is the new golden goose. Financial security and revenge motivate Moss’s actions against Mitch and Murray. As opposed to Mitch and Murray. for Graff got his hands on a list o f nurses as leads. . . Only Roma. . To win some fucking toaster. Graff represents the new direction of real estate sales. Jerry Graff. not those of others. According to Moss then. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. GrafF s practices are innovative. who sits happily on top o f the selling board. has no motive to steal in a criminal manner. Therefore. and that list has made him a bundle selling to them. Jerry Graff provides the means and the opportunity should Moss or anyone commit the crime o f stealing the leads. Once these first two scenes introduce Mitch and Murray and Jerry Graff. Moss. And in words that echo the Sartrean concept o f the Other—“Hell is other people”— Moss wants to be free by repelling himself from those who force him to conform to their rules.16 ourselves. To please. His treatment o f Lingk is a superb example o f the Other at work as Roma manipulates Lingk into buying some property. . Mamet shows how Roma steals in another way in his real estate dealings with Lingk. and Aaronow are set. 2 4 Moss wants to play by his own rules. Moss explains this need to be free to Aaronow while having knowledge of another absent character. the conflict and motives for action on the part of Levene. Later. I think that the typical nature o f these absent characters provides the groundwork for much of a play’s plot.

the Mitch and Murray characters are so important to this play that Mamet’s film version provided a messenger for them. In fact. by the end o f the play when Levene is revealed to be the thief o f the leads. Hence.17 introduced to another absent Other when Lingk tries to back out o f the deal he made with Roma. in a sense. Lingk’s wife handles the money in their relationship and forces Lingk to get their check back from Roma. for she needs hospital care. Although entirely speculative on my part. the man from downtown pulls a pair o f brass balls from his briefcase to show them. I like to Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Besides Lingk’s wife. Alec Baldwin plays the man from downtown who tells the real estate agents that if they don’t sell. The absent characters I have addressed in Glengarry Glen Ross figure in the plot in such a way that much o f the drama is lost should they be eliminated from the script.”25 the implications o f his question refer to Mitch and Murray as some absent force who have given Williamson the position o f authority. brass balls. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. . that he has them. he asks them what does it take to sell real estate. if they don’t close. and Levene must support her. he taunts and attacks the agents with accusations that they are women if they cannot do the job they are supposed to do. Levene’s daughter also acts as an absent Other. Again. When Roma angrily asks Williamson. At one point. “Whoever told you you could work with men?. they will be fired. we see that he has the strongest motives for committing such an act. And just as he and Williamson dangle the premium leads before the agents. an emasculated man (Lingk) must beg his way out of trouble. During his tirade. His answer.

suspended briefly before the other agents but out o f reach. creates absent characters who influence the place of John and Carol as well as the action and conflicts o f the drama. And in this play about place.26 However. “The Tenure Committee. And John and Carol express a self-consciousness o f their selves in relation to their absent Others. Mamet. John and Carol in Oleanna appeal to the ideologies of their groups as a means o f securing an “ideal” place within an academic institution. In many respects. John asks his wife. begins with a burst o f tension about place as John expresses his frustrated concern over the buying o f a house which coincides with his getting tenure at the university. John. as he does in Glengarry Glen Ross. The Bad Tenure Committee” Oleanna Both David M amet’s Glengarry Glen Ross and Oleanna are about place— actual physical places— and what they signify as profit—and place as status and position o f authority. the educator. whereas the characters in Glengarry Glen Ross primarily concern themselves with the selling o f “ideal” properties as a means o f securing their place in a ruthless business world. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.18 think that those two brass balls represent Mitch and Murray. delivers his “best” lesson to Carol when Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. in fact. Come to judge me. Oleanna . “And what about the land?”27 This possible loss o f place foreshadows his loss o f a tenured-position later in the play. For the absent Others in Oleanna — the tenure committee and John’s wife and Carol’s group— not only remind and inform John and Carol of their place but also define them as people. Fearing the loss o f the property. .

they had people voting on me I wouldn’t employ to wax my car. John offers the Tenure Committee as an example: Look at me.” Do you see? They put me to the test. to puke my badness on the table. The “Test. The Bad Tenure Committee.28 Carol. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. to show them: “I’m no good. Look at me. to. to. believing in an ideal core o f knowledge. In an attempt to underscore what he means. to vomit. John remains mindful of the committee that influences his Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I go before the Great Tenure Committee. Come to judge me. John explains to Carol that idiots (the teachers) design tests for idiots (the students) to retain and spout back the misinformation provided by them (the teachers).19 she visits him in his office. The language Mamet uses helps to underscore this relationship— “Look at me”. Why. does not want to accept the possibility that knowledge depends upon the perspectives and ideologies o f those in power. And yet. and I have an urge. The Tenure Committee. . The Tenure Committee. Why would you pick me?”2 9 John’s self-conscious awareness o f himself and the role he plays before the Tenure Committee underscores the relationship with the absent Other. Aware o f the role he must play in order to secure tenure. The information he provides for Carol—the fictive quality o f the rules and standards of education and the attainment of tenure as a means of securing his place in the institution— teaches her that power resides in those who control the rules of the game. John asks Carol to consider him as an object in this game o f place he must play.

” “He told me he had problems with his wife. John’s culpability becomes apparent as he reads from her accusations: “He said he ‘liked’ me. He objectifies the practices of the game.”30 John reads the list o f complaints launched against him by Carol and her group. In this sense. being ever aware o f him self in a role that is other than who he really is. if I could come back oftener to see him in his office. and that he wanted to take off the artificial stricture of Teacher and Student. John’s identity becomes re-fashioned by Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. he slips back into the role he is supposed to play. He put his arm around m e . . . however. Once Carol files a complaint against him.’ He’d let me write my examination paper over. but it also underscores her group’s attempts to undermine John as a fixture o f the entrenched elite at this academic institution. But the irony of these accusations rests on the way in which Carol takes John’s actions out o f the context in which they occurred. ”3' Audience members will re-account the truth o f all of the accusations. Carol’s fabrication o f the truth not only demonstrates how well she learned her lesson from John about the fictive nature o f power. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. That he ‘liked being with me. .20 behavior. . And although the list takes his actions and words out of context. telling Carol that the tenure process is a “good process” and that the Tenure Committee comprises “Good Men and True. and John gets into trouble with Carol's group and the Tenure Committee.

Carol’s group shoulders much of the reason for his predicament. John has lost the land he wanted to buy because his tenure did not pass. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. The final climactic clash between John and Carol results from the pressures o f the absent Other.21 Carol’s group. has been transformed by her group and into a spokesperson for her group. John and Carol would be at an impasse. and we would be left to speculate the outcome. And the audience understands John’s sudden change in role-playing as being due to the absent characters who now wield power in this situation. Oleanna could end at that point. To John. However. then they might be willing to drop the charges. Although his own actions are largely to blame for these losses. To eliminate his book would not only destroy the academic legacy he wants to leave his son but also take away the one thing which has assured him tenure. If he removes his own book. Carol’s group gives John a way out o f the sexual harassment lawsuit pending against him. along with other books her group has outlined on a list. . John refuses and stands his ground. By the Second Act John and Carol have new identities because o f absent Others. his book is his tangible link and offering to the absent Others with whom he wants to identify and by whom he wants to be accepted. John’s friend Jerry calls on the phone and informs that Carol has filed rape charges against John due to his grabbing her Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Yet Mamet ends his play with a confrontation which amounts to a clash o f absent Others. from off his course list and replace them with books her group advocates. Carol. herself. and he now faces the loss o f his job.

and as John tries to console her. we discover that these men continue to cheat in their life as a means to succeed. the absent Others we hear via the phone. the play ends in a stand o ff o f violation o f place.22 previously. Just as Martin broke an opponent’s ribs so that they could win the championship. But as Carol leaves. If Carol dictates the rules o f engagement with the absent Others in John’s life. he calls his wife the pet name “Baby. When John violently lashes out against Carol. once John stands up for himself and no longer wishes to accommodate the demands o f Carol’s group. his absence Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. John’s wife calls.”32 Now. And our final understanding of the true nature of the clash between John and Carol rests on our knowledge o f the absent Others who influence their behavior.33 In a play where the present characters identify each other as champions and winners. Martin’s presence would confirm their champion identity. Therefore. when Carol tells John not to call his wife “baby. Martin’s absence underscores the irony that they are not winners but cheaters. . she threatens his identity. John reacts to Carol’s command out of survival. The violence at the end o f this play occurs as a result of the violation o f the absent Other’s place. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Martin. John wants her to leave. he establishes his allegiance and his identity with his own group. “Magnificent! My boys standing around me again!” That Championship Season The meaning behind Jason Miller’s That Championship Season depends entirely on an absent character.” she invades the place o f his absent Others and dictates the rules by which he can communicate to the absent characters with whom he identifies.

And he proves to be an inept deliverer o f the truth. George’s wife cheats on him and he is a very poor mayor. Martin’s continued absence signifies the corruption and the dysfunctional direction o f his former teammates. illness pervades That Championship Season: Tom is an alcoholic. Phil is an adulterer and his business practices are killing the town. As in Oedipus Rex . In the opening discussion between Tom and George we discover that Tom has missed three reunions.” If a Teiresias-like seer were to appear. George cannot imagine missing any reunions because the winning o f that high school championship has proved to be more important to him than even being mayor o f his town. The absent Other for That Championship Season offers a means to judge the other characters as we soon learn why one would want to be absent from them. . George’s inability Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.23 makes them suspect. Martin’s absence explains all the hardships these men endure and underscores the corrupt and dysfunctional plans they continue to make. and Coach suffers from an “ulcerated stomach.34 Within the context o f this conversation we discover that Martin has never been to a reunion. he would probably provide some clue based on Martin and the truth which might set these men on the course to restitution and rejuvenation. relying on sarcasm and wit to undermine the big plans the other men make while using alcohol to build his spirit so that he can reveal the truth. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Ultimately.” which in fact might be cancer. Many other problems abound for this dysfunctional “team. But instead the only character who presses the truth about their “championship” is Tom. James has lost his teeth.

this team faces a tough opponent and are certain to lose the election. the “Brilliant playmaker. “Magnificent! My boys standing around me again!” when not all Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . Coach remains blind to the truth about his team. Coach refers to this former opponent as “an eight-foot nigger.”3 5 Martin’s absence creates a gap in the “team.”3 6 To the present day.” And the mystery o f his disappearance makes the audience want to know why he is absent. This “black mark” becomes their new elbow to the ribs. Throughout the play. In other words. Again. that George is running against a Jew named Sharmen. We discover. Coach’s racial discrimination continues. Sharmen wants to clean up the town and make it prosperous again. [who] jumped like a kangaroo. George.24 to understand Tom’s absence from a reunion that signifies the happiest moment in his life counters the extended absence of Martin. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. But Coach has a plan of attack that is based on discrimination—Sharmen had an uncle who was a communist. though. He excitedly exclaims. even though Phil and Tom see the ridiculousness o f trying to blackmail someone for being a communist in the postMcCarthy era. as they plan George’s mayoral election race. Martin’s absence forces us to search for closure. Clues to M artin’s absence quickly accumulate. For as long as that question remains we scrutinize the situation of the reunion and the behavior o f the men at the reunion. Early in the play we discover that the opponent whose ribs Martin broke was an African-American. banks his support on Phil whose strip mining operations pollute the town.

Deny it. “Well.” Again. they stand as hollow examples o f the virtues o f teamwork they proclaim to follow.25 of his “boys” stand around him.37 Martin’s absence. and that they stole the championship. . But in Edward A lbee’s Who's Afraid o f Virginia Woolf? Martha and George free themselves from the absent Other.” Who s Afraid o f Virginia Woolf? By the end o f That Championship Season. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. It has weight. o f their “championship. When they rally together at the end o f the play after a good round o f verbal Martin bashing. Unable to confront the truth o f the fraud. D addy knows how to run things. demonstrates how little o f a team they really are. Coach turns to the trophy and puts it into Tom’s hands. that they are not champions. You can feel it. Martin’s absence underscores the irony of Coach’s belief in his team and in his reliance on the trophy as the proof that they are champions. Read the names in silver there. as signified by Martin. when George “kills” their fictive child.”38 Coach sees the trophy as hard evidence that they are champions. we realize that the only thing holding them together is “that championship season. the “team” led by Coach remains in the grip o f the absent Other.” they live in a continued state o f absence themselves. But in reality the trophy is as insubstantial as Martin’s physical presence. Martha’s father.39 One might imagine that their fictive son is the absent Other. heading in an Augustinian-like direction of nothingness. wielding control over the spectacle o f events o f the night. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. When Tom presses the issue that Martin told the truth. then. stating: “Deny that. And as we see them bicker and fight among themselves.

. her “Daddy” performs as the absent Other who is the catalyst for conflict and the reason behind the games Martha and George play. Martha asserts that George has an “extraordinary opportunity” to be someone important. He has become a nothing. her belief that her father can “run things” and that George cannot seize an opportunity imply that George does not have the masculine traits necessary to be a leader. Others see both characters as failures in their profession and in their sexual identity. he knows “how to run things. Here. however.”40 In comparison to Martha’s father. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. George. George is in a similar situation as Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross. Who's Afraid o f Virginia Woolf? concludes with Martha and George freeing themselves o f the absent Other. In fact. Unlike That Championship Season which ends without truthful closure. due to the tremendous influence o f Martha’s father on and over George and Martha. taking an existentially heroic step toward freedom in spite o f the fear of isolation and uncertainty. And because George does not have much “push” and isn’t “aggressive.” Martha sees George as a “FLOP!”41 M artha’s emphasis on action. The epitome of control and power. Martha expresses high regard for her father in masculine terms. does not capitalize on the opportunity. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.26 But the “son” is only a manifestation o f the ideals and expectations o f Martha’s father. George has become a disappointing heir-apparent for the president o f the university. And in both cases. While explaining to Nick and Honey George’s situation as the son-in-law o f the president o f the university. the expectations o f an absent authority figure provide the rules for judgment.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. stating that he has the same green eyes as her father’s: “Daddy has green eyes. then their “son” could prove to provide some hope for the future.”42 And when Martha states that some “men would give their right arm for the chance!” George admits that he has had to sacrifice a “more private portion of [his] anatomy. too. George and Martha are ever conscious o f the roles they play as “prisoners” of not only the college that Martha’s father built but o f the ideals to which they must conform under his rule.”4 3 These jokes reflect the ideals of Martha’s father who as the absent Other dictates the direction and expectations o f their life. he confides to Nick that “there are easier things than being married to the daughter o f the president of the university. the pervasive irony o f this play centers on George and Martha’s infertility versus the many fictions they devise to assert their fertility. Unable to live up to the ideals established by the father. O f course. . That their eyes are green further implies the fertility of their vision. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Martha herself constructs their son in the image o f her father. the son’s having the same eyes provides a fitting metaphor for the absent Other. In this respect. on the other hand.”44 In a play where Martha’s father dictates the direction and vision of the college and the lives o f those connected to it. Martha’s father continually watches over George and Martha. sees his position as a less than opportune one. and the fictive product o f the father’s ideals (the “son”) also keeps watch. If George is not a fitting replacement for the father.27 George. The “son” Martha and George “have” represents the ideals of the institution built by the father.

Servitude to Martha’s father. The relevance o f George’s story o f a son killing his parents is not as important as the novel itself which serves as George’s academic offspring.” his fiction. Their entertainment o f Nick and Honey serves as an initiation into life at this college as well as how to survive. sacrifices have been made. Motivated by fear o f exile from New Carthage. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. George’s novel does not live up to the respected. and so has George: his novel. George’s “killing” o f Martha’s son sets Martha and him free from the expectations o f Daddy. But should the games Martha and George play continue. Therefore. underscores much o f the action in this play. George sacrifices his novel and ends up in servitude to the father. in this case. also as infanticide. so will George take Martha’s “son” away— it becomes an act o f liberation. then they would remain in servitude to the Martha’s father. conservative ideals o f Martha’s father.But because o f the father’s demands. Martha’s loving a lawn boy did not meet her father’s expectations o f a suitor. Martha has lost a child— due to an abortion o f a child conceived by her amorous encounter with the lawn boy. And if academic emasculation exists—and I am certain one could name types o f administrative knives— then Daddy’s refusal to allow the publication o f George’s novel should count as a form o f emasculation or. . a way o f freeing themselves from the absent Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. so George is told to withdraw the manuscript from publication. Although the “death” o f the son can be read as an act of retribution on George’s part—just as Martha and her father took away his “son. in fact. So the “son” she has now could be seen as the son she lost.

. relying on their own resources for survival rather than the restrictions o f another’s expectations. and Adam must come to terms with who they are now versus who they were when he actively engaged in their lives. JD. George becomes the heir apparent he is supposed to be. . sure. Martha: J u s t . Bob. us? George: Yes. . I see this ending as a killing off of the absent Other. . Hank. And together they will face life on their own.45 George takes charge at the end and assures Martha that their life will be better facing the truth rather than living a life o f fictions. Cal. Martha: I don’t . Martha: I’m . . In the final moments o f the play.29 Other who controls the roles they play. George: It will be . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. George: No. we hear Martha’s fear of facing the uncertainty o f living a life without fictions: George: It will be better. And like Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. maybe. . . By standing up to the absent Other. “Luke’s been in the house since October” April in Akron The reclusive Luke in April in Akron is the absent Other who controls the behavior of the other young men who are forced to redefine themselves because o f his absence. . . know. n o t . . . the one who wields control and power over the actions o f Martha and George. Without Luke.

Luke influences the behavior of Cal more than the other characters in the play. His true desire is to get the old Luke back again— the Luke who guided them through parties and women. If we see Cal’s character in terms o f the absent Other. But given what Cal knows about Luke’s bisexual or multi-sexual past— even though he denies such knowledge from time to time— he also offers Adam as a sacrifice in two ways: Adam’s virginity and Adam as sexual toy for Luke. he organizes a party as a means o f renewal. we come to know that Cal’s “blindness” to the truth o f Luke Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Yet he harbors the truth about the dangers o f Luke’s irresponsible and aggressive behavior towards women. So Cal is caught between the allegiance he owes Luke and the desire to go somewhere and begin anew. Cal spends most o f his time trying to get Luke to join the group again. The party he organizes can be seen as an attempt to offer a sacrifice to Luke. Women and booze satisfy the basics offerings o f the carnival. the desire to be free o f Luke underscores the motives for the party more so than the desire to devirginate Adam or celebrate the arrival o f Spring.30 the sequestered dying grandfather in Scott McPherson’s Marvin's Room and the atticroaming John Gabriel Borkman in Henrik Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman. . For Luke represents the sexual aggression against women— the type o f aggression that uses women as objects for personal gratification. In fact. Luke looms about the house like a spirit who invades the psyche o f its inhabitants. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. This exorcism o f Luke is necessary for the other men so that they can get on with their lives and face the reality of the dangers o f masculine aggression. To recapture the past.

Yet his fear does not necessarily stem from knowledge o f Luke’s sexually aggressive past. . it comes from a classic case o f Kierkegaardian angst. so Luke influences their behavior by the sheer mystery of his own peculiar transformation. Luke. Bob. and JD have the least knowledge of Luke’s recent behavior. when Adam recounts his own sexual adventure not only are his stories a variation o f what he heard from the other young men. Ultimately. But he also fears such aggressive behavior. and checking out cyberspace pom sites. Adam has the least amount of historical knowledge about Luke. Hank. Bob. as is evident in his over-protection o f his sister. feeling women up. Julie. perhaps. but he provides a tale of virtual devil-like aggression. In other words. Bob fears what he most desires. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Adam becomes in the moment of his first sexual experience the absent Other. Not surprisingly. fears Luke the most. but he also knows the most about Luke’s most recent behavior. Bob Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. That Cal perceives Adam’s virginity as black mark on the house should be seen as ironic given the sexually aggressive behavior of Luke and the crime he committed in October. Bob wants to be Luke in the way that Luke can party and get women. And Luke who watches and guides his protege sanctions all o f his behavior. At times feeling trapped by Luke’s odd behavior—sitting on his bed naked—and being wowed by stories o f Luke’s sexual prowess. Adam is also caught between a desire to follow Luke and to break from him. questioning one woman’s religion.31 is really an attempt to bring Luke back to the group. The other three characters.

His livelihood is sports. And when he enters the “Carnival o f the Sun” party. Bob lashes out against the absent Other. and it fuels his ow n desires to behave aggressively against Luke at the end o f the play. he operates under the auspices of the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. His marriage is a failure because he has not grown up. he comes to the party expecting to be the father-figure. And in his attempt to free himself from Luke. Bob feels he has the power to take dow n that which he fears. but he proves to be a poor surrogate. Ultimately. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. as a salesman fully immersed in the investment of organized sports and pornography. especially given the support o f the other men of the tribe. involving a casual. Hank is the messenger o f masculine aggression. having learned further o f Luke’s questionable sexual predilections and his culpability in a sex crime. he offers for Adam the most realistic type o f story for a first sexual experience— a rather un-climactic event. In an act o f paternalism. And he finds solace in reliving the glory years o f his undergraduate youth among the young men who live above him.32 operates under this angst throughout the play. Arriving from work and bringing sporting goods as gifts to the boys. But his whole speech about Sue’s dissertation and its anti-game message is his way o f asserting to the men that he does not follow her philosophy and that he has not come under the spell o f feminism. and as we will find out later. beer-induced encounter. Despite Hank’s all-knowing attitude—his sense that he is the voice of experience —he is the most clueless person among the tribe o f men. his hobby is the collection of a whole history of pom. Finally learning that Luke is truly vulnerable. .

JD has lost his position as a member o f an organized sport. the track team. This point becomes clear when we hear o f Luke dressing up as Aurora. The final act o f aggression occurs because this group o f men sanction it. Whether or not Aurora was Luke does not matter as much as the way in which the act underscores Luke as the absent Other. Therefore.” he organizes his own sport against Luke as a means to bring him down. JD pokes and prods the others with reminders o f their deficiencies and o f stories detailing Luke’s dysfunctional past. Every act JD performs attempts to exorcize the absent Other from the house. And his telling o f his first sexual encounter intends to make a mockery of the others and their stories. the absent Other. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. venting his frustration with the oppressive regulations o f feminism and its anti-“deposit slot” message. then Luke maintained an absent presence in the transsexual role. A non-inhabitant o f the house and coming to seek revenge upon Luke for a past wrong. the disembodied self who looms over their party o f self-indulgence. No rush to the upstairs to take Luke down would have happened had not every member Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. when he comes to the “Carnival o f the Sun. If Luke was Aurora. In fact. . his assertion that when he had sex with Cadillac Shannon that he disconnected himself from himself to have his own private fantasy underscores all of the m en’s relationship with Luke.33 absent Other. Since Luke will not come down and join the party. JD provides the biggest challenge to Luke. Because of Luke’s criminal high jinks.

When they decide to attack Luke. The truth that Cal could not “perform” when he had his first chance at sex turns Cal into an object for the absent Other. The absent Others I have focused on in the discussion above are living characters who loom over a significant part o f the plays’ action and drama. characters who are dead— including ghosts— (Shepard’s Buried Child and Miller’s Death o f a Salesman). Luke’s continued absent presence works like a mirror for the victimizers to see themselves as a reflection o f him. Cal remains as the last hold out. However. Their Us versus Him attitude does not necessarily need a specific target for their aggression. This discovery of Cal’s does more than catch him in an embarrassing lie. but any available. Cal’s initial reaction is to lash out against the one who has revealed the truth: Bob. they seek out a scapegoat. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. But as JD makes clear. because they are unwilling to admit their own culpability. .34 agreed to it. Luke is the one who has been causing all the trouble. And not until he discovers that Luke has revealed the truth about Cal’s false claims to a magical first-time sexual encounter does he agree to act against Luke. they attempt to arrive at a truth. But it is possible to categorize several types o f absent Others to include: characters who are absent but return for the latter part of the play (O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh and Jonson’s The Alchemist). When the victim is revealed to be a woman and not Luke. vulnerable person will satisfy their desire for restitution. I think that the concept of the absent Other has far-reaching interpretive possibilities. and characters whose absence forces Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

directs our attention to the absent Other as a means to find closure. creates a gap that forces the characters and the audience to become consciously aware o f the issues. In each one o f these plays the absence o f a character. even if the character is conceptual. circumstances. I am thinking o f Joe in Ed Graczyk’s Come Back to the 5 & Dime. This paradoxical absent presence.35 the other characters to wait and search for answers (Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search o f an Author and Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead). Texas as Joanne. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. then. Jimmy Dean. or conflicts associated with that absent character. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. The absent Other can also be applied to characters who have undergone a transformation of some sort and yet refer to their former self. Jimmy Dean who returns to McCarthy. .

p. 1983). 1977). 461. 5. 16. p. 17-18. 41. p. 9. 4. Vickers (Chicago: The University o f Chicago Press. 36. and Nancy J. 30. 70-71. p. 4. 17. 6. Mamet. 13. No Exit. p. ed. 21. p. Sartre. Maureen Quilligan. Mamet. Kahn. Jean-Paul Sartre. Wider.” in Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses o f Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe. 18. Sartre. Ferguson. p.” in The Cambridge Companion to Beckett. 1986).” in Beckett at sixty (London: C alderand Boyars. 362. 20. Glengarry Glen Ross. Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology. . 15. 1985). “Existentialist Philosophy and Literature: Evolution o f an Historical Movement. Margaret W. trans. 1994). pp. David Mamet. 49. Glengarry Glen Ross. p. 45. Michael Worton. Albert Rabil. Maurice Hunt (1995). Kathleen Wider. “The Absent Mother in King Lear. I thank David Bergeron for reminding me o f this production which he saw. Barnes (New York: Simon and Schuster. 7. p. The Bodily Nature o f Consciousness: Sartre and Contemporary Philosophy o f Mind (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. “The Apollo Mission in The Winter s Tale. 11. H am let’ s Absent Father (Princeton: Princeton University Press. David Bergeron. “Prospero’s Wife. Kahn.” in Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses o f Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe. John Pilling (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 19. p.” Southern Humanities Review 16 (1982): 309. ed. 51. 33. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 17. “Waiting for Beckett. p. 38. See Alan Schneider. 1986). Mamet.36 Notes 1. and Nancy J. Mamet. 48. Glengarry Glen Ross. Quoted in Kahn. 19. p. Ferguson. 1967). Margaret W. 12. 10. in The Winter s Tale: Critical Essays. “Waitingfor Godot and Endgame : theatre as text. p. Avi Erlich. Maureen Quilligan. 1989). ed. 3. Vickers (Chicago: The University o f Chicago Press. 14. ed. 1997). Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Hazel E. No Exit. Glengarry Glen Ross (New York: Grove Press. Glengarry Glen Ross. p. p. Glengarry GlenRoss. 2. 15. 18. p. 8. Jean-Paul Sartre. p. 22. p. Stephen Orgel. 34. Mamet. No Exit and Three Other Plays (New York: Vintage Books.

34. 1962). 5. 5. 45. p. Mamet. Lee A. 39. 35. 240-41.37 23. 28. 27. p. 96. 38. Oleanna. 1633. 30. Mamet. Mamet. Mamet. p. p. 27 43. Miller. p. Oleanna. Who s Afraid o f Virginia Woolf? (New York: Penguin Books. Miller. 1997). 16. 24. Mamet. p. 41. p. Jacobus (Boston: Bedford Books. 30. 36. 1627. 25. 40. p. Miller. 28 44. Albee. Albee. ed. 33. 3rdedition. Mamet. 1622. 32 Mamet. Mamet. p. 42. Edward Albee. in The Bedford Introduction to Drama. p. p. Mamet. Albee. 1972). 35. Miller. pp. p. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. p. 27. That Championship Season (New York: Atheneum. Oleanna. 31. 1613-33. Oleanna. respectively. David Mamet. p. p. p. Oleanna. 1617. p. Oleanna . p. . 117. 37. Jason Miller. Albee. Glengarry Glen Ross. 22. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. 75. 1626 and 1627. p. Albee. 1622. Glengarry Glen Ross. Miller. 29. 84. 26. p. Glengarry Glen Ross. Albee. Oleanna.

Increasing Cloudiness: Reflections on the Writing of A pril in Akron When I first started to write April in Akron I wanted to tell the story o f a house I lived in as an undergraduate student at the University o f Akron. Six o f us lived together in what has been one of the best experiences of my life. We played, studied, and partied together in a house full o f music, laughter, and mischief. But real life seldom has the drama that makes for a good story. And as I worked on the script, my focus centered on one particular event: a small adventure taken on a dismal April weekend by two roommates, Mark and Joe, who ended up bringing a young woman home with them. Mark and Joe were fed up with the cloudy weather; so they decided that they wanted to “Get the fuck out o f Akron” and go south to West Virginia and get drunk in the first bar they saw when they crossed the border. In the course o f their travel they ended up meeting a young woman who invited them to several parties. By the end o f that night, she had passed out in their car; and rather than leave her somewhere in the street they took her back to Akron with them. She stayed in Akron for a day, mostly in Joe's bedroom, and then went back to West Virginia on a bus. This one event interested me because of the way the rest o f us behaved while this young woman remained upstairs in Joe’s room. We sat around the living room, music blasting heavy-metal from the stereo while MTV played silently on the television, trying to figure out who she was. Soon, we began to joke about different women we all knew who might be in Joe’s room. The fictions we concocted about this unidentified woman 38

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39 were amazing. But when I began writing the play, I wanted to turn the woman into someone the characters all knew. And I had the idea that she would have been there for a week based on two events which happen every late April and early May in Akron, Ohio: Katherine Place party and May Day. The May Day festivities in Akron have been a tradition ever since 1902. Originating first as Tree Day— a time for parades and May Queens— May Day has become a huge excuse to drink and freely party. Some suggest that it is a Yankee Mardi Gras, but on a much smaller scale than what one would get in New Orleans. Most who try to explain the reason behind this huge beerfest will point to the effect o f northeast Ohio weather on a person’s psyche. In fact, a 1999 guideline passed out by the

University o f Akron on how to party safely during May Day begins its advice with a reference to the weather: Typically, the winter months in the Snow Belt seem to dampen the spirits of students. In addition to the frigid temperatures and the snow, the Akron area is also blessed with rain. So, inevitably, when the weather in Akron begins to break, the natives begin to get a little restless.1 I have witnessed and participated in this restless spirit o f the “native” Akronites. The heavy cloud cover lingers from November until April and May. At times when the sun came out from under the clouds in January or February for a few days or hours, I used to resent the sunshine because I knew it wouldn’t last. After being under the clouds for

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40 so long, I also hated the brightness of sun. It hurt my eyes, and everything about me would have a jaundiced glow. But once late April and May came along and the weather warmed and stayed warm for more than just a day or two, one felt like busting loose, doing something that celebrated one’s freedom from the oppressive clouds. I have heard that northeast Ohio is the cloudiest region in the United States. Much o f the problem has to do with wind flow from Canada and Lake Erie. Moisture rises from the lake and sweeps over northeast Ohio to become clouds. But the

cloudiness does not evenly develop; for pockets o f clouds form heavier coverage over some parts o f the region rather than others. These pockets explain why various snow belts exist in northeast Ohio. Ashtabula County, in the far northeast comer, gets hit the hardest by lake-effect snow. And the Hinckley and Akron area get hit the second and third hardest. These snow areas also explain the heavy cloud cover in these regions. Sometimes I could drive from my home in Sharon Center, Ohio— about twenty-five miles west o f Akron— and experience light cloud cover, but by the time I would get to Akron the cloud cover would be so thick that you felt as if your lived in a gray shadow. Needless to say, many anxiously await spring. And in Akron two traditional parties occur: one the week before May Day and the second during May Day weekend. These two weekends are exercises in debauchery: much alcohol, much drugs, and much sex. On the weekend before May Day, a huge party occurs at Katherine Place— a short dead-end street o f about twenty houses. Every house has kegs o f beer, and the street

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Further reproduction prohibited without permission. no loud music. kidnap a young woman from the Katherine Place party and keep her in their room until the May Day party. SWAT trucks came and a militia o f police officers in riot gear began arresting anyone they could get their hands on. At the last Katherine Place party I attended in 1990 when the fire trucks came to put the fire out. Why do the students behave in such a manner? Does it have to do with more than just some meteorological phenomenon? Does it have do to with looking for an excuse to behave badly but in some socially sanctioned Mardi Gras manner? When I began to write April in Akron I wanted to use Mark and Joe’s adventure plus the festivities o f the May Day activities to create the occasion o f the play. such as no more than one hundred people at a house party. Soon. Adam. students launched bottles and cans at the fire officials who tried to put the fire out. I have always been fascinated with the event o f May Day. a search in the city would have been launched to find Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. But my initial plan for the play was to have the Luke character and the virginal character. A friend o f mine and I ducked into a bar a block away from Katherine Place to seek refuge. . and no public nudity. the city and the University o f Akron have created rules which attempt to regulate the partying. Meanwhile.41 becomes filled with Akron University students ready to let off some aggression before finals. With no chance o f stopping this tradition. This party usually culminates in a two-story high bonfire o f old furniture and trash. The city o f Akron remains at a loss o f what to do about the students at this time of the year.

I kept wanting the girl to represent something.42 the young woman. Violence and fertility and my near obsession with Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” kept rolling over and over in my mind. I continued to think about the weather in Akron. But that plot did not really work for me. I decided to use the weather as an element o f oppression for both its meteorological effects and as a metaphor for feminism. And it was difficult to work that information in without providing a lot o f exposition. I had planned to work in this whole Dahmer-like incident where Luke or Adam had either killed the girl in the heat o f some kind o f lustmord or that she had died by accident. I saw Mona as Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. The more I thought about these ideas. fertility and all that stuff. . I love Jackson’s story for the way the reader is invited in to this small-town gathering only to witness a brutal. In this respect. the more I wanted to write a play that provided a variation o f these Spring elements I had come to know. I also thought about some associations o f Spring from my own youth on the farm in Sharon Center: the Spring-time slaughter o f cows and pigs. But as I worked with the script. The idea o f the performance o f a Spring ritual even when the participants no longer know why they participate in it has proved to explain some o f the reasons why humans justify socially sanctioned violence. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. ritualized killing o f one of its own people. and the idea o f Spring rituals— May poles. and Luke and Adam would keep her hidden in their room. and he did not know what to do with the body.

I wanted him to be some pseudo-fertility. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Julie influences Bob. I could not help but to see Mona's initial weather report and the report of Anita Hill’s coming to Akron as the pronouncement of fate upon these men. much to the annoyance o f the other characters. someone who has read a good amount o f drama from the Greeks to the present. tells on him by reporting his activities. Linda. I have made little o f the many absent Others in April in Akron . Sue. and Luke. but perhaps now would be a good place to begin explaining how I see multiple absent Others. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. in this sense.43 an oracle-like figure broadcasting the claustrophobic conditions. To me. Adam is fixated on Mona and Anita Hill as he anxiously awaits their coming. but she also has a hold on Cal who wants her despite his angry attitude about her. I realized how very important it would be to have Mona report that not only is the weather continuing to remain cloudy but that a feminist is coming to town to discuss the problematic nature o f aggression in our society. a person who was randomly distributing pornography on the doorsteps of the people o f Akron. I have stockpiled this play with absent characters: Mona. Suddenly. Linda influences Cal. Yet they are blind to the truth o f their problems with aggression. Julie. Pan­ like creature passing out modern-day aphrodisiacs to a rather sterile world. . But Paul Lim suggested that I eliminate the Pomo Delivery Man and replace him with a report of the coming o f a feminist to Akron. I also wanted to suggest that Luke was the Pomo Delivery Man. Anita Hill. Mona. At first I had the Pomo Delivery Man in the headlines.

And Luke. In keeping with the idea of being trapped. “innocent” female who loves to party and whom all the other men want. I see his sister as representing the young. Luke is the alpha male who has deserted the pack. as the one-time alpha male o f the pack. But because he has not entirely exited their lives. Therefore. this pack o f men fears being trapped or pinned down by the women who threaten to invade their home. For Bob.44 but JD also wants her. In a sense. the women the men in this play obsess over represent a paradox of sexual desire. my creation o f the relationship between the men in this play is based on what I have learned from documentaries about w olf behavior and the hierarchies of power. wants desperately to fit in with these other guys. especially Cal. Sue has Hank by the balls. but Cal despises and resents her. to have a familiar woman present at the party would objectify their very behavior and render the men “impotent. controls all the men below him . I wanted to create the sense that the women who “threatened” to come to the house were perceived as an invasion o f the truth that lies behind the young men’s sexual aggression. Bob.” But to have a woman they know at the party who might witness their sexual aggression would ruin their intentions for having the party. I feel.” unable to behave aggressively. the butt o f the jokes and ridicule Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. the other men are trapped between the allegiance they owe him and the desire to form their own pack. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. O f course. these men want as many women as possible to come to the party in order to increase the chances that they might “score. yet he remains the scapegoat. In fact. .

a collector o f men. Linda keeps Cal at a distance until she needs him. I had considered trying to work in a brief moment where Bob would try to negotiate with JD the possibility that he would “give” Julie to JD as long as no one else got their hands on her. Cal’s real father. he really cannot protect her. on the mothers o f several friends I knew in college. a pro baseball player. Cal’s mom. Cal feels a Kierkegaardian angst about her. . The sons o f these mothers went through hell every time a party was planned because o f the jokes and taunts at their expense and the expressed desire that their mothers come to the party. This type o f relationship underscores the very treatment o f these young men with other women. But because o f Bob’s omega-dog status. they want to keep them at a distance until they need them— which is typically a sexual need. But I wanted Linda to represent a kind of erotic mother. I based my creation o f Linda. His sister. Their mothers were in their late thirties and early forties and looked like models— two were models at one time. and I decided that for simplicity’s sake and in keeping with Bob’s rather superficial character to not include it in the play. In many respects. To me. Cal’s mother exiles him (Cal) each time she gets a new husband. though. JD could have her in return for her protection. And when she rids herself o f that Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. has in a sense exiled Cal and his mother. is a highly prized item among the men in the house. the Cal and Linda story is a modem variation o f the Oedipal story. But the working o f this panderous activity into the script proved too difficult.45 expressed at his expense. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. a Wife o f Bath-like character. she is someone he both fears and desires.

to pursue their sexual desire.46 husband.” The non-virginal men can care less about the message. but for the sound o f her voice. The decision to have a party as a means to de-virginate Adam is an attempt to break him from his idealized views o f the world and initiate him into the Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. but they care about Nature. moan connects to the possible sounds o f the wind about the house as well as the sound o f moans for either regret and despair or sexual satisfaction. My selection o f her name is deliberate. the weather. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. for this reason Mona also delivers the message of the coming o f a leading feminist to the university. Mona continually reminds the young men o f the oppressive weather. This speaker will discuss the ‘"problematic nature o f aggression in our society. That he connects with her voice but not even the meteorological message suggests that he is not in touch with his sexual self. But I wanted to couple the idea o f nature with social. He loves and admires Mona not for the messages she delivers. then. underscores their impulse for the party. Adam’s relationship. To act naturally. and ideas o f sickness. Mona is the voice for Mother Nature. he lives in an ideal world o f innocence. political correctness in order to create a blend of nature and nurture. they end up in another trap. Oedipus Rex has influenced my writing of this play in several other ways: Mona. To me. . she returns to renew their relationship. Yet if they follow their natural sexual inclinations. especially if the social climate dictates that such forms of aggression are wrong. with Mona forms a basis for the conflict in the play.

In order to belong in this masculine world. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. sums up the findings as follows: [The] research results are clear.47 world o f men. do. . delivering the truth and predicting the downfall of the men who do not listened to her. then Sue’s is one o f reason. In this respect. Adam will sacrifice his ideal views of the world— which include the socially appropriate views o f political correctness he has learned at the university— to become a complete member o f the pack. the more rape that state has. The more that aggression is treated as a legitimate or legal behavior in a state. one cannot merely be. Arnold P. Legal violence does spill over to illegal violence. act. My emphasis on the ideas of performance and sexuality is deliberate. Goldstein.2 Of course. the Director o f the Center for Research on Aggression at Syracuse University. That her dissertation is made a mockery of by her own husband who has become numb to her work underscores my impressions Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Her thesis on sanctioned aggression expresses a well-researched truth about the connection between the number o f rapes and the level of legitimized aggression. And as testimony of his sacrifice he will deliver his story of his performance just as all the other men in the pack did the previous day. or the more a state’s citizens approve of noncriminal aggression. This initiation is also a sacrifice. I see Sue as a Cassandra-like character. one must perform. Hank and the others do not listen to the lesson she has for them. If Mona’s message is one ofNature and nurture.

which is an historical work in progress. When he tells o f Sue’s theory about deposit slots. sex is seen as an act of unwanted aggression or as a disruption of her purity. sporting goods. and I have heard and read worse theories at various conferences I have attended. but they have not learned the lesson. and a hat with “No Fat Chicks” written across the front o f it. he does not have a sexual relationship with his wife. Barbie dolls. Whether or not her theory is an actual one she holds was not a concern of mine. Hank and Sue represent a marriage o f that confrontation between the attack against sanctioned aggression and the investment into it. I also want Sue’s living below to suggest that she forms another basis for an Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. These men have heard all the talk about the sins of masculine aggression. Quite simply. I also had deliberate reason for making Sue live below this group of men while being married to Hank who sells sporting goods for Nike. Hank invests heavily in a sex substitute: pornography. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. When Sue dumps his pornographic collection. but he cannot live by it: games is his livelihood.48 of the male response to feminism. Hence. He brings to the party the required items for its thematic success: spring flowers. Based on his reading o f his wife. he offers the one lesson that he seems to have truly listened to. . on the lawn. But that Hank latches on to this theory o f deposit slots should tell more about his sad relationship with his wife. she purifies their domicile o f the items that represent the exploitation o f women. Hank proves that he can recite her thesis. I created what I hope to be a parody of bad feminism.

Further reproduction prohibited without permission. chooses none o f the above. who is a bit o f an outsider himself since he does not live with the others in the house. In fact. So I created JD. or do nothing as he has for the past six months. JD was the last character I created for this play. he has acted on will with little regard for the outcome. But he decides upon another: have a party which is to act as an exorcism o f sorts for the problems o f the household. And I Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal experiences the most conflict. eliminated about sixty to seventy pages o f text. . Adam. I needed someone else to provoke the characters into action. And Sue’s constant regulation of his freedom causes him great tension. Dawn. Given their friendship and long history together.argument between her beliefs and Luke above. Positioned between Luke and Sue. join Luke on the roof. I stripped the play down to just Cal. Cal. and rewrote a whole new first act. he has four possible choices to make: he can give in to the regulations o f Sue and feminism. given what he knows about the criminal and peculiar behavior o f Luke in the past and in the present. Under Paul Lim’s suggestion. when I gave Paul Lim an early version o f this play I had originally scripted all the female parts in the play. and Bob. Luke has always represented total aggression. he has the strongest allegiance to Luke o f anyone else in the group. Hank. For me. The way I see Cal’s position. But the new version o f the play lacked the tension that the other characters added to the original script. including the stripper. though. Before I address some o f the specific ideas I have about the meaning o f Luke in this play. I should address the significance of JD. vacate the house.

50 decided that since Luke came from a wealthy family, JD would come from a disadvantaged, lower class than Luke’s in order to create a class conflict in the play. Unlike Bob who fears and dislikes Luke because o f Luke’s mistreatment o f women, I wanted JD to be the voice against the reason Luke has been able to take advantage o f so many women— money from his parents. I had hoped, though, that once the final act of aggression occurs the audience would see that such violence is not solely at the hands of any one class. Fault for the violence knows no class boundaries as JD is as much a part of the violence as all o f them. JD, to me, is the most intelligent character in the play, knowing how to push the right buttons to manipulate the other men. He has the most legitimate and concrete reason to want to get back at Luke since he lost his track scholarship because of a robbery of beer taps he took part in at the urging of Luke. Since he wants to get back at Luke, I found him to be an appropriate vehicle for exposition. He wants to uncover valuable information so that he can use it for his advantage. However, I did not want him to deliver monologues in Iago-fashion to the audience, proclaiming his scheming ways. Such techniques seem to be too heavy-handed for modern-day audiences, so I tried to demonstrate his conniving in subtle ways, such as his asking for information and in his suggestion o f ways in which Luke has messed up in the past. For example, his telling the other men about Luke’s cross-dressing as Aurora is his main attempt to get them to turn against Luke.

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51 In a play that is based on both sexual tension and sexual anticipation, I wanted Luke to be the loaded gun from whom the others wait for some sign of action. To me, Luke embodies the sentiment expressed in John Donne’s poem “The Indifferent.” Luke can “love” anyone so long as that person does not expect him to return devotion. The other men, Cal, Bob, Adam, Hank, and JD, have relied on Luke for good times. But his peculiar behavior has forced them to come to an impasse, a moment o f necessary change. In play where I have tried to be as realistic as possible in the activities and stories o f the characters, Luke and his absence are more allegorical or symbolic than realistic. He represents behavior that will not be accepted any more—the transgressions o f masculine aggression which have come under fire by feminism. I suggest in the play that Adam’s first sexual encounter is with Luke. I prefer to keep that act ambiguous. Whether or not Adam had sex with Luke is less important to me than the way the other men respond to the possibility that Adam had sex with Luke. For all o f their heterosexual stories about their first sexual encounters could not prepare Adam for a homosexual experience. But I wanted to place Adam’s first sexual experience within the context o f a possible rape; should Adam have known that he was having sex with Luke, it would have been an unwanted encounter. Because most young men see sex only in terms o f pleasure and they often place rape in the category of sex and not as a crime, I have found that they do not understand the violation o f rape. I need to ask them to imagine that some huge man violates them in a sexual manner before they

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52 grasp the reality of rape. By the end of the play, these young men engage in an act o f chivalry that goes wrong. I like to think that they are trying to capture some monster who has gone hay­ wire and that they think that they are saving other women from the dangers of Luke. But in reality, they are really thinking that they want to save their butts. Non o f them want to be associated with a sex crime, let alone a possible homosexual in their attic. Their fears mount; they mount the stairs; and they attack whatever moves. Only Cal has the right idea— why do they have to do anything? And that attitude o f passivity is the one I prefer to ask. Why do we always feel as if we have to do something? Perhaps my question has something to do with being in graduate school where doing what feels like everything is often not enough. Regardless, these men act. And they act violently mostly as a means of letting o ff their frustration. When their mistake is revealed, I had intended for the pervading feelings to be regret, despair, and confusion. In general, I was pleased with the response to the production o f the play. I knew that the play would push some buttons, especially among women who might not believe or want to believe that young men behave in the manner the men in the play do. I also had male students come to me after they saw the performance and tell me that they know the guys in the play. What interested me, though, was that none o f them wanted to admit to being those men. These men felt ashamed after seeing the play, and I had hoped while writing it that some men would respond with shame over the way men treat

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To this day. I could not have been happier with the production o f April in Akron. Perhaps the angry responses are the more fitting ones.53 and speak about women. I did not intend to write a feel-good play. presented papers at fourteen academic conferences. and the way the play has influenced their perspectives human relations. I continue to get snubbed looks and cold shoulders from people I used to have very friendly conversations with before April in Akron was produced. for example. . I consider Paul Lim’s direction and creation of the life of this play to be inventive and spectacular. Yet I was not prepared for some of the responses I have and still receive from those who have seen the play. the characters. people approach me and tell me that they continue to think about the play. But not the entire collection of responses to those papers can ever match the attention that the production of April in Akron has brought to me. For years I have been Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I wanted to write a high-octane launch into the impulses for aggression as a means o f bringing an awareness to some of the problems with violence we have in our society. This influence on me exceeds any other academic experience I have had prior to the performance o f April in Akron. I find this sphere o f influence exciting for its implications. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I have. suggesting how uncomfortable she felt while watching the play. At this writing. At this writing. A female friend o f mine who does still talk to me said that the play made her feel as if she were sitting naked in a burlap bag. I still live with images and sounds o f the production. Ultimately.

. reacting to. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.54 preaching to my students the importance of the lesson taught to me by writers like Chaucer and Shakespeare that good literature not only entertains but educates. The production o f drama has shown me how to apply my knowledge so that people begin responding to. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. and discussing the serious issues that define our culture and our times.

1999. p. Arnold P. May 4. S4. “Guidelines for Partying Smart. Dana Durbin.” in “May Day Millenium Madness. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 2. 178.55 Notes 1. “Rapist.” Special Advertising Supplement to The Buchtelite. Where Are You From?” in Violence in America: Lessons on Understanding the Aggression in Our Lives (Palo-Alto: DaviesBlack Publishing. . Goldstein. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. p. 1996).

"Sunday Morning” 56 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. a ring of men Shall chant in orgy on a summer mom Their boisterous devotion to the sun. Naked among them. Not as a god.April in Akron A Play in Two Acts by Dan Kulmala Supple and turbulent. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. but as a god might be. like a savage source. —Stevens. .

Although this part was not written with any race in mind. Sporting goods salesman for a large corporation (like Nike).57 April in Akron A play in two acts C haracters: Cal: 23 years old. The most perceptive and insightful member o f this pack. He relies on them to define his place and identity. College student. Very protective of his sister. Julie. Bob’s younger brother. Adam: Bob: Hank: JD: First Act: Saturday late afternoon. Adam’s older brother. The omega dog. . Could be treated as the pup of the group. NOTE: The characters above need not be white. Manipulative and playful. 18 years old. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. He feels as if he is the paternal member o f the pack 23 years old. Second Act: Sunday morning. the play was written to be gender specific. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 27-28 years old. not race specific. and Linda can all be the same person with different voices or three different people. some readers have suggested that he be played by a person o f color. Female voices Mona. College student. He over-compensates for his deficiencies by acting tougher than he is. He also feels that he is in a failed marriage. Good friend o f Luke's and JD’s. He is trying to fit in with the place o f his new friends. College student. The most philosophical o f the pack. 24 years old.

we might see Luke's shadow as it passes a sky-light window from the roof. etc. The main features for the apartment include the couch. liquor bottles. we hear creaks and footstep sounds that come from the roof and attic where Luke walks— these sounds should be choreographed with the action and pauses o f the play. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. We hear Mona’s weather forecast as the play begins. near the steps leads to the back bedrooms and kitchen.58 April in Akron by Daniel Kulmala SETTING: An apartment in a three-story. recliner. while Adam tosses a basketball in the air near the stereo. . various types of balls (basketballs. An emphasis should be placed on an industrial or post-industrial nature of the city (Midwest. A tribal-like spear leans against the wall near the stereo. kickballs. The apartment belongs to four college-aged men. but later for the last scene it should also be covered with beer cans. Act One AT RISE: Cal hangs his banner. coffee table. This apartment should have steps that lead to the upstairs—only three steps or so need to be showing. pomo magazines. and bouquets o f flowers.” The decor should be shabby and beat-up. footballs. Another doorway along the back wall. In another comer of the apartment hangs a birdcage filled with Barbie dolls. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. and stereo. On the floor and around the room. In the apartment a sign hangs with this phrase: "‘Carnival to the Sun. tennis balls. as well as junkyard parts of cars. If possible. large home from 1900s-1910s style—reconstructed for student living. From time to time. red brick. small tv. rust-belt home in a city). The stage depicts the living room o f the upstairs apartment—the only setting for the entire play. A window should also be a prominent feature where gray shadows and shading come from—also others might look out of it as well.) clutter the area.

“Masculine Pronouncements: Verbal Aggression and the Transgressions o f Authority. Adam Man! I can’t wait to go. She’s cool! Mona Hill's lecture entitled. I get extra credit i f . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Adam What?! Sold out! No way. Don’t you love M ona’s voice? Mona At this time. Cal (interrupting) Come on.” will complete a year-long series o f programs intended to educate students and the public about women’s issues . . . . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal Shut up. this cold trend will continue for the next five days . the weather. and the problematic nature o f aggression in our society. . . I wanted to go to that lecture. Adam Oh God. Cal. tell me the weather! Mona . Adam! Mona According to our exclusive “Weather-Flash” forecast. . . Hill’s Monday night lecture is sold out. Her voice.59 Mona And in local news. Mona Now. The University of Akron will wrap up its Humanities series Monday night with Anita Hill’s lecture.

Then Cal looks up at Adam with a fake smile. Cal. I just want to hear Mona tell me the news and weather. (Cal is noticeably distraught over the weather forecast. Mona! I wonder if that’s her real voice or just her news voice. Well. This is exactly one reason why we're having this party. You know what would be a good idea? Tape her voice. It’s her job. increasing cloudiness with a chance o f rain turning to sleet by tomorrow . Cal Yeah. Adam turns off the news. I love her voice! Cal Have I slept through the sunshine? We haven’t seen the sun since October.) Adam Cal.60 Cal “cold trend”? Mona For tonight. . . I’m not gonna let it bother me. you okay? (Pause. (Cal moves to the window and opens it. Cal She has no right to report such shitty weather with that come-fuck-me voice. Adam Oh. Mona. Forget music. God. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I don’t think she does it on purpose.) Adam Mona.) Cal Increasing cloudiness? How can there be increasing cloudiness? Adam At least she’s pleasant about it. . Am I right? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Like an old ritual. This party is just the thing we need this time of year. Something spring-like. Cal Why not? Adam It’s like they’re bringing the flowers for me. Booze. And one of them has your number. It’s just a gimmick. Women! (Adam gazes up at the sign in wonder) Adam Women! Cal Women.) We’ll frame the sign with the flowers our guests bring. (Cal picks up the spear and moves to the front window and looks out. What do you think? Adam Hey! That says it. That’s it.)) Cal You better believe it.61 Adam Right! Cal Like my sign. man. that’s right. . (They stare at it for a while.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal Don’t be stupid. (Pause. bud. Then Adam and Cal return to their party preparations. Adam I'm not too keen on this flower thing.

Adam I know. your being a virgin. (Pause. Cal Good. It’s .) Cal Hey. . Sure. (Adam takes a big gulp o f tequila. (Cal finishes the phrase.) Cal .) Adam and Cal . aren’t you? Adam Yeah. And I can’t wait. maybe you could set me up with Mona. bud. . a black mark on the house . Cal Mona? Forget her. . I know.62 Cal This fucking gloomy weather.. . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Huh? Adam You betcha. Don’t get smart.) Hey. . She’s just a voice who tells us bad news. (Adam chimes in simultaneously. you’re gonna do it this time. 'Cause this party’s for you. . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Remember? Adam Late October. It’s been too long. Much too long. Cal No fucking sun since last fall. . We’re setting you up. . This time I will.

. (Pause as they listen. Listen. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. man. then a few creaks from the roof.63 (Cal gets the bottle o f tequila. I think he’s up. we were out with Luke. Adam Yeah. I bet that’s the last time he’s been out. he’s been out. He could be gone right now. Remember the deal? Cal What deal? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . Wait. how about some music? (Adam moves toward the stereo. Let’s get him down here. Now that’s freaky. Cal Oh.) Cal Hey. Luke! Paaaarrrrtyyy! Come on down. What do you know? Luke’s got that fire escape . . Cal moves from the steps. man. Luke’s been in the house since October. Adam In fact. out his back window. . Put on some Stones. Adam Negative. You know. (Cal moves to the steps. “Gimme Shelter” or something. Hey. .) Cal Fuck him. Cal moves to the window.) Cal Yeah.) Cal That Indian summer ni ght . but stops to address Adam’s question. Silence. Forget about him.

okay. If this is my party. He doesn’t want her to come. He’s pacing like some animal in heat. . what the fuck is your stupid brother doing down there? Adam Where? Cal Down there at the end o f the street. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. You know. Adam He might be waiting for our sister. Last night.64 Adam The deal. Cal Okay. Bob’s pacing back and forth.) Cal Hey. (Cal reaches the window and looks out. Cal Didn’t he get her message? Adam What message? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. he’s protecting her. Cal Julie? Adam They’re meeting for lunch. and he doesn’t want her to come in the house and see that we're having a party. then it’s my music. Adam Isn't he supposed to get the booze and beer? Cal I can’t believe this.

I’m really sorry about this. . I can't make it to lunch. Bob. really. . . . Cal Or me. Adam He doesn’t want her to get hit on by a bunch o f guys at the party.. I’ve got . I’m really. Julie left a message for him. Julie Hey. Bye. Right?! Adam I didn’t say that. Bob. he’s afraid that Luke and JD are gonna seduce her.) Cal This one. Hey. . Plus. . . doesn’t he? Adam I didn’t say . Adam. Let’s do lunch tomorrow or something. She never gets out o f bed before one. . he loves it. . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. really sorry. . Cal He still thinks I tried to rape her or something last spring. (Cal responds to Julie’s voice. . but I . I’ve got this meeting to go to that I completely forgot about. Adam I didn’t say that he did. Please forgive me. Cal Well.) Adam She probably wanted to sleep in. .65 (Cal moves to the answering machine. Bob should check his messages. Um . I . Cal At that party . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. You’re such a sweety.

) Cal. I know b u t . Julie passed out on the couch and Adam I know.66 Cal How many times do I gotta explain myself. We all know that Bob’s overly protective o f Julie. . (Cal sits down. . She was picked on and made fun o f a lot as a kid. Cal. . Cal . Adam Well. He’s proud o f her. music? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. he’s protecting her even more. that’s not what Julie told Bob. . Stop it. just drop it. Cal What?! (Adam is slightly exasperated. Cal With that attitude he’s gonna ruin the whole game plan o f the party.) Cal Fuck him. man. (Pause as Cal looks about the room. . You gotta understand her history. Okay? It’s no big deal. And now that she’s become this beautiful woman. She was so damn skinny and goofy looking. Cal. Adam Oh come on.) Adam Oh.) Adam Hey. all I did was try to make her more comfortable. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. (Pause.

Adam She’s nice to me. (Cal pounds on the floor with the spear. right. Adam Well. we got Sue downstairs trying to shut us up all the time. I don’t know how Hank puts up with her. she’s busy. Sue will complain. . That won’t be for long.67 Cal What? Adam Music. . (Cal slumps down in the recliner. We gotta wait. if we don't have Luke on the roof. (Cal lightly laughs. You’d think she could put it down for one day. Cal What time is it? No. Cal I don’t give a fuck. She gave us the okay to begin in about another hour. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. God damn it! You know.) Adam She’s just trying to finish her dissertation. Cal Damn Feminazi. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. .) Adam At the last lecture .) Cal Yeah.

. Cal It will pass. Adam. . I wish I never met him. last fall.) Adam Cal. . the stuff that went down. Cal What’s your problem? Adam I can’t stop thinking a b o u t. you know . Adam How's that? Cal She hates men. . . Give it time. . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal. Adam After what happened last fall. (Luke-sounds on the roof.68 Cal Tell you what. After a while you’ll see it for what it was. . Cal Forget it. Cal About what? Adam Luke. An unfortunate mishap. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. just look at Sue. There’s nothing to worry about. Maybe we should talk about Luke. That thing . If you ever want the exact definition o f a cunt.

Cal. Cal Luke threw you that party. As soon as the sun comes out again. Adam. I don’t it’s healthy.69 Adam ‘'An unfortunate mishap”!? You gotta be kidding me. Cal So what o f it? Adam Well. . upstairs. . Bu t . I know. Luke . That poor girl . Cal. Adam I don’t think this is some meteorological phenomenon. . . . We’re all closed-in here. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. .) Cal Stop! Do I need to hear this? Do I? Huh? (Cal tries to calm down. officer. Cal Forget about it! Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. but Luke’s getting worse.” (Cal puts his hands over his ears. Adam I know. we’ll all be fine. .) Cal You know there’s such a thing as loyalty to a friend. He barely comes down stairs anymore. “Luke Hardacre-Bates? Yeah. remember. but we don’t really know him. Adam I know. When you moved in. he lives with us. I'm surprised the cops haven’t been here. Cal It’s the weather.

70 Adam Forget about it? Luke fucked up and I want . Once the party rages on. It’s getting worse. Get our heads together. We gotta face up to the truth. Perfect. Adam. and it’s beginning to creep me out. Now are we done here? (They look around the room. Cal And what about that thousand bucks Luke gave you? Adam I know. But we’re not doing Luke any good by sheltering him. . We got a party. His hiding all the time. The weather’s got all o f us strapped in here. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Do you know what he does up in his room? Cal Just shut the fuck up. we’ll all come back to life. Cal..) Cal Listen. Cal Remember Cedar Point?! Luke paid for everything. Come on! It’s too late to do anything. We rode roller coasters all day. get things together. It’s tearing all o f us apart. .) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . . Cal It’s not getting worse. Adam! You know shit! Luke will be fine! (Pause in the tension. We just need a little sunshine to . . and that’s what we gotta focus on. . Let’s just wait. to affirm our life. Adam That's different. Adam I'm about the only person Luke talks to anymore.

you better let me in now. Bob races into the apartment with JD chasing after him. Go away. He’s running. Let’s get out o f here. (JD laughs a little while Bob continues pushing on the door and on JD’s arm. (Adam looks out the front door and peers off in the distance. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Let’s get the kitchen and bedrooms straightened out. but JD gets an arm through and tries to get into the apartment. Adam Where? Cal Back there. Bob tries to close the door on JD. or so help me I’ll beat your ass as soon as I get in there. here comes Bob. I gave you a chance. JD Bob. JD Okay. I’m too pissed o ff at him to see him right now.71 Adam Looks good.) Bob Go away. (They exit.) Adam Hey. Cal Oh fuck. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. JD. Bob No. .) Bob The party’s not until later.

) Bob Where’re your flowers? JD My what? Bob Your flowers. The spring ritual. JD smiles. JD catches Bob. puts him in a headlock. Both are out of breath.) Bob I hate it when you do that. Bob If you’re staying. Bob picks up and throws a football. JD Next time. and rubs his knuckles on top o f Bob’s head. Bob and JD stare at each other for a brief moment. and a tennis bail at JD. Bob It’s part o f the party theme.72 (JD easily pushes the door open. you got to bring a bouquet of flowers. (They catch their breath and take off their coats. yes. JD only laughs. don’t make me do it. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. JD Oh. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. JD chases him around the room. . Bob backs away slowly. JD I’ve got time to get the flowers. Bob pushes away from JD. a basketball.

You’re gonna piss him off. You must have been waiting for your sister.) JD Is that Luke up there? Bob Yeah. Bob. Bates! Master Bates! Don’t fall! Bob JD. Let’s see. Goddamn free-loading freak. Bob I’m just saying. JD So what were you doing out there.) JD Hey. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. stop calling him that. .) Bob What’s it to you? (They hear Luke’s footsteps on the roof. Quit beating it to death. (Bob responds in a slightly paranoid manner. I know. I'll get the fucking flowers. JD Oh. huh. Bob? Bob None of your beeswax. (JD yells up to Luke.JD What the fuck. Says he’s looking for the sun. that’s all. None o f my beeswax. JD For the sun.

tonight! Adam Bob. anyway? Bob You don’t want to know. JD. He should know a few things about our man o f privilege. JD Now. stop that! Why do you call him that. . ‘‘Master Bates” ! Adam Hey. now.) JD Hey. when are you going to the store? And you. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. JD What? He doesn’t want me to yell. Luke had this thing for a cheerleader in high school. Bob Fuck you. Adam’s been living with Luke and you guys for almost a year. it’s the party boy! Gonna get you some. Missy Dobrowski. I don’t want to do that. do you have to be so loud? Cal says to stop calling Luke that name. You see. Bob Everyone did. (Adam enters from the kitchen. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Luke Hardacre-Bates.74 JD Piss him off? Oh my. JD So Little Adam doesn’t know about pretty boy’s past achievements? Bob Cut it out.

that he didn’t hear a damn thing. . Adam Who was it? JD It was her mom. old habits are hard to break.. on the roof. Adam Oh shit! Then what happened? JD She screamed. . she turns o ff her light and sees him standing there. In fact. he confided to me once that his dick was getting calluses from his daily love-bash with his right hand. . Naked! He hid for three days. it wasn’t Missy. but Luke jumped off the roof. I would have loved to have been there to see it. . his eyes closed tight. stroking his calloused trouser-snake. It wasn’t her. And he was so busy beating-off. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. But Luke had his hormones raging at full tilt over her. There he is. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. everyone did. Missy’s Old Man tried to get a hold o f him. JD .75 JD Yeah. he got so obsessed that one night he went over to her house. took off all his clothes while watching her undress. and just when he’s spewing all over her window. Adam Her mom? JD He was so fucked up he couldn’t tell who was in the room. Bob As you can tell. Bob But get this. and he beat off. Well. climbed up on her ro o f.

And Luke’s mom straightened everything else out. So it didn’t really matter. JD Missy’s Old Man worked in his parents’ plastics factory. Little rich bastard doesn’t get in trouble. he messes up big. . I always thought Luke was this All-American.76 Adam Did he get in trouble? What happened to him? Bob Nothing. (Adam gathers their coats. The Dobrowskis wanted Luke to go to a shrink. But Luke’s mom had other plans. Adam Wow! It all figures. JD Like he don’t have his own mind. (Pause as they look up at the roof. though. Bob You don’t know that for certain. He’s had more women than I’ll ever meet in a life time. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.) Adam Hey. She got Missy a company scholarship to Kenyon College. you know? All those awards in school. we gotta get to the store. But when he messes up. Great looking. Bob I’m waiting for Julie. He’s smart.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. JD I know enough. Bob Luke told me that you put him up to it.

JD Sure I will. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. You better not touch her! Adam Come on. If we hurry. And you know what? If you hurry. Bob But she might still come by. Let’s go. I’ll only have time to fuck her once. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Well. . JD Hey. Bob I’ll kill you.) Bob You asshole! JD Yeah. I just want to make certain that she knows that she’s not welcome at this party. Adam Come on. we’ll be back in time for . I'll give her the message. but Adam stops him.77 Adam She called. JD doesn’t flinch. but laughs uproariously. Bob Fucker! JD Hey! That’s exactly what I’ll do. Bob. Bob I bet you will. Bob. (Bob runs toward JD for a fight. Okay? She’s got other plans. . yours is big enough for all of Akron to shit out of. .

H ow 's party preparations going? Cal Keep it down. He gets pissed at me because Luke is late with his rent.) JD Hey. Why doesn’t he deal with Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. shut up. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. my man. he just left. will you! (Cal enters. JD So why don’t you move out? Cal It's just been the last two months. .) JD Don't hurry on my account.78 (Adam pushes Bob out the door.) Cal JD. (JD finds a basketball or football and plays around with it.) Cal Is that fuckin’ Bob gone yet? JD Sure. Cal He’s been driving me crazy lately.) JD Cal. Always getting on my case about Luke. JD greets Cal with great warmth. (JD looks around for a bit. Luke! Luke! God damn it! You can't hide up there forever! Luke! (Cal yells to JD from the kitchen.

JD He needs to be reminded that you can’t rape the willing. . He doesn’t want you or Luke or me anywhere near her. and then he’d pace some more. So I ran after him. he’s against it. one moment he’s for this party. Doesn’t like the idea that we’re fixing Adam up with a Betty. Pacing on the sidewalk.79 him? And then. JD Probably because he can’t get any himself. Cal You know it. Thought I’d have some fun. Cal You’re telling me. the next. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. He’s been like some fuckin’ bitch on the rag. JD What does he know? Cal What does he know?! JD You should have seen the way he acted when I saw him outside. Just last night he got on my case for inviting those guys from Brainicide to the party. JD That’s what I figured. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal He was looking for Julie. Said he didn’t want any heavy metal heroin addicts at the party. Then he’d rim up the street as if he saw something. He saw me coming and he ran. Cal He’s afraid that she’ll get raped at our “sex” party.

on top of all that. tonight. That I’d see her tomorrow. dog.80 JD Hey man. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal. JD Linda? Cal Yeah. God. But it’s funny.) Linda Hey. JD Wow. She’s getting her fourth divorce. she’s the bomb. Her fourth one. JD Ah. Party. I have an older sister. Cal Yeah. my mom’s coming to town. Adios. boys. (Cal turns on the answering machine. I’m coming into town. And. I’ve got Sue downstairs banging on her ceiling every time we’re too loud. I keep thinking about Linda. Then bam. This party just doesn’t feel like a party. Cal Forget it. She wanted to party with us. I don’t have a mom. Cal Besides Bob. Here. for an older woman. I don’t know what it is. and I’m ready to party\ I’ve got great news. . listen to her message on the machine. man. I don’t want her here. especially if she’s coming off a divorce. I told her I was busy. JD You probably just sensed the divorce. Hello. so call me back in the next hour— it’s nine now—or else I’m coming anyway. Like something weird is about to happen. I’d love to party with Linda. she calls. you seem edgy. Linda. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Fourth one.

boo fucking hoo. . she won a contest. I called him. Got anything to drink around here? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. JD Let’s face it. Old Fart Bud. I’ll never forget i t . Cal Did you know she used to model bathing suits? JD Yeah. JD You Little Slugger. said I was her little brother. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.81 Cal I’ve never understood her.” Just Linda. She gets knocked up when she’s a baseball groupie in Florida. . . I couldn’t stand seeing him touch her.) When she was nineteen. (Pause) She had me when she was fourteen. JD Well. Thank God for a massive blood clot in the aorta. she has never allowed me to call her “mom. One o f the owners of a bathing suit company comes over. But when he first came over to us and he saw me. widowed once and divorced four times and rich as hell. You know. Always keeps me at a distance unless she needs me. (Pause. . fuck you. That woman works like clockwork with men. Like a fuckin’ five year old would want an autograph from a bathing suit model. he assumed I was some kid after her autograph. I’m twenty-two and she’s thirty-six. He became husband number one. And Linda . Cal Fuck you. Cal Yeah. Fourteen. Now. Cal What? JD Nothing. . I got a couple o f her pictures under my mattress.

Beer. JD Td settle for mouthwash at this point after hearing all this sentimental load of shit.82 Cal What? JD To drink? You know? Booze. JD Listen to you? Cal Yeah. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . and you ignore me. Go on m otherfuckin’ Oprah. I don’t see you ripping up those juicy checks she sends you. you could listen to me sometimes. Your mother’s a torching saint compared to my mother. you got mother issues. JD What the fuck do you know? I’ll give you one example. Cal No. here. Cal Your mom wasn’t that bad. five years old I used to get these terrible headaches. So your mom loves to have fun. Big deal. Cal Mother issues? JD Sure. Talk to someone who gives a rat’s ass. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal You know. At four. Okay? When I was four. JD Hey man. I’m saying something important. You’re living a good life. Migraines. Adam and I finished o ff the tequila. At least she’s not like my mother.

Cal I’m not bothering him with Sue down there. Good. man. What? What do you mean I’m talking too loud? (Pause) You gotta be kidding me. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.) Cal W hat’s the problem? JD He’s paranoid.” (Silence as they listen to Luke on the roof. I was bothering her. He’s supposed to pick up the stripper. . . . Afraid that Sue’s gonna find out about us getting Dawn to strip for the party. right? Cal Yeah. She hates us. And you know what? She’d get pissed. Come on up. That’s right.) JD Screw her. (JD gets on the phone. ask her for help. .) JD I tell you what. you probably have brain tumor. She’d say. Cal How’s she gonna find out? She never comes up here. We gotta talk about the party You said. (JD hangs up. Let’s get Hank up here. I’d cry to my mom. JD Hank! What the fuck. (Pause) Then come on up. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . You said you’d pick up the stripper.83 My head felt like one o f those exploding cartoon heads. . Ready to bust. .

Cal He told me once that the happiest years of his life were spent in college. that’s just sad. But I made him promise he won’t bring back any more stuff from the junkyard. listen to Luke on the roof. Cal He says he’s looking for the sun. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. These old houses must still be covered in all the sulphur and soot from the rubber factories. JD Well. (They hear Luke on the roof. But climbing roofs? Especially here in Akron. .) Cal Man. JD I see no reason to criticize a person’s obsessions. and now the plastics. JD He’s fuckin’ crazy. JD Has he been helping you with the party? Cal No. he’d try to fly. I doubt he’d gotten anywhere. JD You know if his parents weren’t so stinking rich from that plastics business they run.84 JD That’s odd. Like Icarus. They paid his way through so much shit. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. All the rest have been a slow slide into hell’s toilet. considering how much time Hank spends up here. Cal Yep. If he had wings.

And I dare you to honestly tell me otherwise. Cal Luke told the police it was your idea. was it. Cal That was as much your fault as Luke’s JD Oh. money. . kept him in. I was caught red-handed. JD I’ve never denied that. I do. Yeah. Lost my track scholarship and everything. And everyone knows that his parents’ money .. JD . Cal There goes the money again. so was Luke. Cal Well. You know damn well it was Luke’s idea. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal Both you and Luke stole those beer taps from the student union. his dad cut him off after that. . JD Like hell. .85 Cal What are you so pissed about? JD Last September. motherfucker. . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. and I just stupidly went along. But Luke doesn’t get kicked out of school. No more extra funds and no more bailing him out until he graduates.

) Cal Not really. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. You know I’m just screwing with you. . . and Luke . JD Sure you do. remember Luke’s twelfth birthday party? (Cal responds from the kitchen. Then while we were swimming he told us he liked Donny Aldridge. Once you rich fuckers get in bed together there’s no getting you out.86 JD Big fuckin’ deal. His twelfth birthday. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal JD. Do you? I’m just trying tell you about his . Cal You go too far sometimes. yeah.) Cal Oh. JD Ah. you don’t know when to quit. He wanted everyone to go skinny-dipping. (Cal reenters. I mean. Donny climbed on his shoulders. hell. . everybody liked Donny. JD Then Luke wanted everyone to have chicken fights. (Pause.) But you know what really pisses me off is the way you always back Luke up. ended up pulling a Willy he got so excited. We didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. (Cal exits. At his pool.) JD Oh.

JD His mom. Suddenly Bob and Adam burst in. his parents thought they broke him o f that habit. Cal I don’t think so. They whip off their winter coats. Grabbed him out o f the pool and swatted him with the same cake spatula she just got done cutting his own cake with. B u t . JD Sure. Cal You told everyone he was peeing in the pool. I did. JD Hardly. JD I don’t think Shaker Heights has been the same since. And you got him in trouble. (Pause as they look up to listen for Luke. . Cal And Luke went streaking down the street. Adam carries a twelve pack. What a show. she was a riot. . . JD How else could I bay him some time so he could get rid o f his hard-on? Cal Man. Bob’s pants should be wet.) Bob You're an asshole! Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. that was hilarious. I tried to save his ass from further embarrassment. yeah. yeah. Bob addresses his anger at Adam. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Not that he was gay or anything like that.87 Cal Yeah.

Adam Oh. Bob picks it up while telling these three chicks about the party. his pants are pretty wet. As soon as he lifts it. . Bob Fuck you! This idiot drops a case o f beer and leaves it on the floor. Adam You guys shoulda been there. I’d never think that. Cal I don’t know. didn’t I? Bob I thought you said that because you thought I couldn’t lift it. shut up! JD Bob. did you wet your pants? Cal Jesus Christ. Bob. Bob. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. JD An accident! (Bob turns back to Adam. It was an accident. Adam. Well.88 Adam For the fiftieth time. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. wear your Depends when you leave the house. beer squirts everywhere.) Bob This asshole didn’t tell me the bottles were broken! Adam I told you not to lift that case of beer. now would I. Bob Very funny. never telling me. Bob. I did not wet my pants.

.) Cal So where’s the beer and booze? Adam They're delivering it.89 JD Yeah. Cal Out on the roof.) Bob You guys are about as funny as this fucked-up abortion. JD How about ice? Gotta have ice to keep this shit cold. but once Bob spilled beer all over himself they just laughed and walked away. (JD. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. We just brought this twelve pack for now. and Adam pour the ice in a large cooler in the apartment. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. here. JD What? Adam We still have ice from the last party. Weather being what it is. (Bob exits to change his pants. it never melted.) JD (to Adam) Did you guys ask those chicks to come to the party? Adam Yeah. There was too much to carry. are you sure he just didn't piss himself over those women? (Bob indicates Adam. Cal.

. (Bob reenters. open the door. not today.90 (Hank comes to the door. Adam.” Cal Yeah. “What the fuck do you want. you guys.) JD Go ahead. JD No wait. Open up. Bob Come on. Hank God damn it. Let me in. Hank Come on. Adam. He’s carrying a bouquet o f flowers. (Adam looks nervous about being asked to perform this task. say it. Adam. when you open the door. say. trying to imitate a woman. Say it. Bob Hey. some Barbie dolls. and a sweatshirt draped over his arm. Hank knocks on the door.) JD Who is it? Hank Fuck you. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. and he’s wearing a cap backwards on his head that says "No Fat Chicks” across the front. Practice first. you pathetic piece o f shit. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.) JD Sorry. JD answers in a high-pitched voice.

Cal Oh come on. especially at the site of Hank and his flowers. Bob. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I’m not gonna do this if you’re gonna laugh at me. who stands with flowers in hand. There’s an old woman down the street selling these from out of her cart. Bob. and JD crack up.) Adam What the fuck do you want. (Adam weakly mutters the statement. you pathetic piece o f shit? (Hank looks surprised. you pathetic piece o f shit?” (Cal. Adam Okay.) Hank Come on.) Hank Real funny. (Adam figures he might as well do this. but to his chagrin he realizes that he does look rather pathetic standing there with his bouquet o f flowers. real funny. I’ve got stuff! Adam Hey. alright.91 Adam Okay. I’m game. why don’t you set her cart on fire? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.) Adam “What the fuck do you want. okay. Yeah. and JD look at each other and then break out in laughter. . Adam. Cal. so he opens the door and weakly utters the statement to Hank. Hank enters. For your next joke. It will be fun.

dog. Sue got your balls strapped to your ankles. . You know. Fuck all o f you. Hank Fuck you. She’ll kill me if she finds out that I’m picking up the stripper. Adam What’s this about a stripper? JD It was gonna be a surprise. again? Hank No. but maybe it’s better you know about it now. You know we got love. She has other talents. Cal. plan B. When you got balls of brass like mine. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.92 (Hank throws the flowers at JD. Hank This party doesn’t help matters. come on. Adam I don’t need that. Cal A little tense. Cal Oh. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. you gotta strap them to the closest appendage. you wish. Adam Why do we need a stripper? Cal Well. Dawn’s not just a stripper.) JD Oh. Hank. Hank. Jesus! Bob She’s just a back up.

where’s Luke? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. By the way. Adam needs some pussy. Like Cal says.93 Cal Just think o f her as a ringer. JD How about if she just dances? Hank One fifty. didn’t you guys think about what the other women would say if there’s a stripper here? JD Adam. I got you guys covered. . listen. Bob God damn. Adam I don’t know if I like this. Cal Five hundred dollars? I’d fuck Adam for three hundred. Adam Geez. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. she has other talents. Hank Five hundred. But it will cost us five hundred dollars to get her to do her routine plus play razzle dazzle with Adam’s racket. Hank Yeah. but I don’t think he needs it at that price. Cal That’s fine. JD Where’s the money? Hank Don’t worry.

Adam puts them in the Barbie birdcage.) Adam Ah. JD How about us? Bob Yeah. But first. (Hank shows it to the others and then tosses the hat to Adam. (Hank tosses the sweatshirt to Cal. here are a couple old Barbies Sue doesn't need for her studies anymore. .) Hank And Cal. Bob Put it on. Adam. Adam! Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.94 JD On the roof. (Hank tosses the Barbies to JD. I’ll get you guys a new line of jerseys and shoes. “No Fat Chicks”!? I’m not wearing this. man. Where else? Hank Well. Hank. here’s the latest in Nike wear. I got you this hat. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Bob You know where Luke keeps the Barbies.) Cal Thanks. JD tosses them to Adam. how about us? Not good enough for Nike? Hank Next week. Cal That’s hilarious.

(Pause. work is orgasmic. I’m not wearing this hat. ” Bob “ .) Hank I got it at a truck stop outside of Columbus. I had to get it. And in the background “Working Man” is playing while Adam bangs away. . I hear about it plenty. Can’t you see Adam screwing for the first time with this hat on? JD Yeah. Cal Something about games. So what’s the game plan? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . blah. huh.) What would Sue say? Hank About sex and work? Sex is labor. JD So she's working.” Adam You guys are gross.95 Adam No way! You guys are disgusting. . We don’t need to talk about it. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. (Cal and Bob sing some o f the lyrics to “Working Man” while pretending to screw some chick. that’s what I am. Blah. (Adam tosses the hat away. Hank Yeah. Her dissertation..) Cal “They call me the working man . blah. right? Hank The social impact o f sanctioned aggression and games. .

Bob We’re saving you from the hassles we went through. do we? Adam Why. I wish someone would have done this for me. (Bob tries to sneak out to the kitchen. you don’t want to go through what Bob did. I really don’t like this stripper idea. Cal Adam. what a disaster story. JD Hell.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . Hank Oh God. what happened? Cal You don’t know about your brother’s first sexual encounter? JD More like an alien encounter. don’t worry about it.Bob Get the stripper! What’s her name again? Hank Dawn. let’s get Dawn. Adam Hey. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal Yeah. do you? Bob We don’t need to bring this up.

thank you. Adam. Kara Osgood. Bob I wanted real sex. . I think Adam deserves to hear your story. Afterwards. Cal You see. in fact. “What the fuck.97 Cal Adam. what was her name? Kara . . Cal Luke was gonna fix him up with plenty o f women who’d give him a hand or blow job. come on. . gets me out o f bed. . She played skin the beaver with him that very night. and that’s what he got when he m e t .) Bob I think I’m gonna be sick. . Kara Ahhhgood. Bob Oh. Bob didn’t have a healthy first-time sexual encounter. Let’s stop here.. he comes home. . and tells me that he is now a man. . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. he didn’t have sex until he turned 21. Cal Yeah. did you just get a sex change or something?” Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. (Bob returns to sit down on the couch.) Cal You too. (Cal yells to Bob without looking. JD Yeah. sit d o w n . Bob. I said. Cal He met her down at the Sun Lounge.

Bob falls in love with her. Bob Fuck all o f you. Right. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. JD A couple days later. “I have to do the right thing. your brother’s got major itch action. Like sanitize the bitch. no. it bums. JD Do the right thing. But no. but when he pees. Cal You want to know what’s even grosser. Adam Gross. That’s only the beginning. screw you. Adam That’s sick. then they have sex a week later.98 Bob Ah. Only thing is. Adam So that’s it? Hank Oh. Bob. Bob! You had gonorrhea? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal Lovely Miss Ahhhgood o f Akron gave Bob the crabs. Bob Just shoot me. not Bob. He decides to take her out on a date and help her to get rid o f her crabs.” he tells us. Bob don’t itch any more. Cal Right. .

99 JD Chlamydia. Can’t play football without a helmet on and not expect to get hurt. Fuck all o f you! Adam Are all o f your stories that sad? JD Nowhere as sad as Bob’s. and get all her shots. Nothing all that eventful. take the bitch to the health department first. I was leaving for college. . .) Hank Me? That was . But there was this one Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I was really shy in high school. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. And fuck you. . JD And before you fall in love. . don’t let me be the play-of-the-day. Adam You are one sad man. Bob Fuck you.) Bob What about you. Adam. . Hank Don’t be a Bob. there’s a lesson to be learned here. Cal You see. (Hank stands to get a beer. Hank? (NOTE: Throughout these speeches the actors should feel free to ad lib responses to these stories with the intention o f poking fun of the storyteller. ten years ago. You all have your battle stories. Bob Well. So I didn’t date.

Adam No passion? (JD and Cal begin tossing a basketball between them with Bob in the middle on the couch trying to catch the ball. Jenny Colter. (Pause) Listen. It’s just not natural. Like so many being given by graduating seniors. and I’m traveling for Nike. she starts crying. Really hates sports. Hank Well. I’m basically a sporting goods salesman. I remember thinking. anymore. Whatever. “Don’t go anywhere. And then she leaves. She works all the time. Adam That’s terrible. “I don’t know if want to do this. Or more likely I’m finished. Soon the smell o f mothballs and beer and sweat mingle with our sex. (Pause. Especially at first. I wasn’t expecting anything. We start making out. I hope that sex has been better with Sue. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. The passion dies. That’s it. she comes in. we have to plan romance. We work at love.) Here. We’re finished. since I can’t find the exit. For Sue and me there’s a major conflict that might explain the problem. And they’re trying to make certain that she’s doing the right thing. After a while I was pretty drunk. It’s gonna be her first time. . And Sue? Sue is a feminist who hates sports. We had sex all the time. It was. let me recite something from her dissertation. It was just a party. I spot a light under the door to the room. I’ve never seen her since. While I was on top o f her. It has to do with game behavior and sanctioned aggression.100 girl who liked me a lot. And Jenny drags me into this room. She tells me. too. There’s a politics to love for us. I left. These days. But I was also very thirsty. doing sales promotions. I don’t know. She invited me to a party. Suddenly. I pull up my shorts. yeah. After awhile. I remember it smelled o f mothballs and cleanser or something. nice and soft. And as I leave for another beer. I remember her stroking my back.” And I try to look for my beer. It’s different. Just leave. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I can hear her talking to her friends in the hallway.) Hank It’s more complicated than that.” Like where am I gonna go? But I’m so drunk that I can’t navigate myself through the darkness. But we’ve been married for four years now.

will provide a focal point o f this study. I see her point. Oh yeah. Exactly. per se. especially violent games. Sue would say it’s political. Everything is turned into a game. Let me see. . Further reproduction prohibited without permission. But. Sue would say : “M y study involves a localized investigation on the connection between the incidences of rape and the levels o f sanctioned and legitimized aggression. Games. Cal What the fuck? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. It’s just the way a male-dominated society operates. into sports. JD Like spending thirty million to renovate a football stadium rather than offer scholarships and such for education. the m ore rapes occur in that area.101 (Hank stands on a coffee table or beer cooler. God. we invest too much interest. And w e’re not dealing with a rational animal. Sue also advocates the elim ination o f all deposit slots. Everything is political. Hank It’s political. I mean.” Cal What has she got against games? Hank It’s not games. here. hey.) Cal You have to stand to say this? Hank Believe me. social and economic. I argue that the more aggression is accepted as a legal or legitimate means o f behavior. it makes it easier. sports is my livelihood. . (Hank sits down.) Bob It’s just entertainment. Hank Oh. . And .

Adam No. Cal Adam. she doesn’t believe this. . come on. Our male-dominated society sees fit to deposit things we no longer need into it. shut the fuck up. Hank Thank you. Adam.” it sounds like “sluts. Hank is married to her. Her logic is quite clear. Cal Oh.) Adam No. this sounds kinda cool. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Bob. JD And if you slur “slots. JD Actually. the disruption o f the womb. Bob Um hello. women as prostitutes. you’re wrong.. what do you know? Adam I had Sue for a class. Or we deposit money into it. . The deposit slot is the image o f the vagina. Hank The deposit slot is the ultimate symbolic site o f masculine aggression against women. hence.” Cal JD. She would never say anything so ridiculous. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.102 Bob No deposit slots? (Adam responds in protest. .

house rules. Cal Yeah man. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Hank . Adam Do you think Sue could get me a ticket to her lecture? Cal Forget it. Exactly. Bob No way. (Hank lights up a cigarette. . she’s going to dinner with Anita Hill Adam Oh. Adam All o f this is rather confusing. And to top it all off. not in here. wow. (Hank goes to a window. After tonight the last thing you’re gonna want to do is go to an Anita Hill lecture. Adam Why not? Hank Because after tonight you’ll be the next member o f the supreme court.) Bob Hey Hank. JD. opens it. and smokes. Adam. . Monday night before the lecture.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. .103 Hank Exactly.

She told me she didn’t want to be a virgin before going away to college. So she suggested that we drive to the store and she would get more. I was shocked. man. JD Well. Cal We’ve heard all about your sexual adventures with Maria Checa. I mean. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. kissing me. Since Shannon was our neighbor. I was squirming under two hundred and fifty pounds o f lust. are you gonna listen? It happened when I was fourteen. Soon all the bourbon was gone. when all o f a sudden she was on top o f me. you know. Bob Fat girl tears? JD Yeah. Cal Cadillac Shannon? Bob You had sex with that monstrosity? Cal Why did you sleep with her? She’s like five years older than you and twice your size. JD No. looking at the cows. There we were. . So she began to cry. let me tell you about my first experience. so I was home alone. my parents asked her to check on me from time to time.104 Adam Can someone help me out? JD Adam. fat girl tears. I couldn’t. On the way back from the store she pulled down an old dirt road and stopped the car in a cow field. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. She came over one time and caught me drinking my dad’s bourbon. But instead o f getting mad she joined me. Maybe this will clear things up. I did nothing. My parents went to Disney World. I never told you about Shannon DeVille. But real big fake tears.

The game was to not let her know that I knew. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.” You know? G et the imagination working. Bob Go figure. Soon there she was. pulled me on top o f her. I was the stud I ever imagined I would be if I were Bruce Lee having sex with me as a woman.105 Adam No way! Did you like her? JD Hell. if I fucked her. and we’re going at it like V-8 pistons in a crank shaft. (Pause. “You know what I need. Naked. So I began thinking that I am her. no. and nothing worked. My own private fantasy. You see. That worked a little. four times in that cow field. anyway. As if I were some innocent guy she could seduce. . So to speak. Look who you were with. I started thinking of ways to become aroused. Then. In all her cellulite glory. It was intense. JD It wasn’t like that at all. (NOTE: Depending on effect and intended meaning. . And then she stripped me. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. But I wasn’t getting into it. she was practically raping me. I disconnect m yself from my self. But she had me intrigued. I need to get rid o f her. . We had sex three.) I undid her shirt. I knew what she was doing. And I thought. You see? The way I saw it. Cal But why mercy fuck her? Come on. Anyway . and not only Bruce Lee having sex. I imagined that I was Bruce Lee. but Bruce Lee having sex with me if I were a woman. Tom Cruise can also work for Bruce Lee in the speech below. and I’m doing all the things that I want Bruce Lee to do if I were him having sex with a woman. I mean. You know.) JD Well. I thought I might as well see how big her titties were. I’d be one up on her. I’m much more into myself. I mean it was kind o f cool that she was trying to manipulate me.

(Hank puts out his cigarette and closes the window. How could I tell you guys about it? You’d ruin it. Hank? It’s freezing in here. You were you as Bruce Lee would be. But the first time I had sex. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. we were all being honest. JD. I thought that I’d tell it like it was for me. why try to confuse the kid? JD Hey. Bob So did you have some Penthouse magazine love-bash with Carol? Cal No. At that time. . Can you believe it? Love! By the time I came to college. But in college all my talk o f love and commitment scared women away. we never had sex. or you were Bruce Lee as you would have Bruce Lee be if you were a woman? Cal Forget it. it was magical. Even though Carol and I dated for two years in high school. Cal. though. how about you. aren’t you special. How about you? Cal My first experience was a little more special than the rest o f you. I believed in a loving commitment. Adam. (Hank moves to sit down.) Bob Well. Cal Are you done with that cigarette. I was ready. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I’m just.106 Adam Wait. loverboy? Adam Yeah. I’m just trying to catch up. I got dumped so many times that I didn’t care anymore.) Hank Well.

Cal Well. Adam Shut up you guys. Don’t you see? I was worshiping her. She was beautiful.107 Bob Well. Bob Again with the magic. she was talking about Ayn Rand to a bunch o f these real artsy-fartsy guys. JD That feeling has a remedy. Cal But there was a big problem. . JD Sorry to make you live a lie. Adam Be quiet. my friend. on campus. So I thought that there’s got to be this connection between us. back and forth. She was talking to some people outside the library. That very night. Her feet were planted solid to the floor. I thought there’s this chance-fate thing going on. Just as I had all those other women I tried to date. on the dance floor. her arms circled and spiraled in magical motions about her head and body. while her hips moved seductively. Then after that day I kept seeing her. I couldn’t believe it. I saw her. so I walked by to overhear her conversation. This is cool. anyway. All the while. And her dance was incredible. she’s there. Cal First time I saw her was in the student union. And her knees bent slightly to the music. I want to hear this. Mysterious. I couldn’t stop staring at her. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Bob. pardon me. Until one day when I was leaving the library after doing research for an Ayn Rand essay. I really felt something between us. up and down. And sure enough. It was terrible. Dancing. at the Sun Lounge. She had long black hair and deep dark eyes. as if she were having sex in the air. No woman wants to meet Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I’m out with Luke at the Sun.

Soon. So I waited until she finished her drink. Later that night. naturally. Bob Cal. At one point she went to get a drink. I walked over to her table. Luke was eating it up.108 a man who has gone to that point of desperation. what happened after that? There has to be more. And I walked away. Her face softened into this charmed smile. Cal I’m getting to it. At the bar I noticed that she bought a margarita. . and I said. I’d just say stuff like she had existentially dark eyes. Hank Well. “I bet you know everything there is to know about Ayn Rand. She puts on some Rolling Stones. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I smiled back. give him a chance. she came over to my table. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. before I knew it. Exile on Main Street. I bought her a margarita. Finally. I figured just as much. Ended up she had a boyfriend. She wanted to know how I knew she was into Ayn Rand.” I handed her the drink. we’re walking all over downtown Akron. I was just happy following her around. until we stare into each other’s eyes and just fold into each other. she kept looking at me. we had a blast. we were walking up to her apartment. and stuff. And right off. And I played it cool. Adam Go on. I would say lovingly. So I followed her. touching each other. JD Yeah. It all happened. I could have expanded on my story a bit more. movies. where’s the sex? Hank You know. testing the limits. just talking about music. He kept telling me that I played a cool hand. I was determined to say one thing to her. It was an adventure. She took the drink. I never told her. And I’m still not thinking sex. I need to tell it all. Cal For the next hour. We start playing around. even if she laughed in my face.

Adam Man. His music. Bob Something other than this retro crap? Adam No. Let’s start this party right now. someone special. I want to meet someone like that. How about some music? (Adam turns on music— Alicia Bridges singing “I Love the Nightlife. I thought she had a boyfriend. I can’t wait for tonight. Stick to the deal.109 Bob A ren't you making some of that up? How come I never saw her? Cal I wish I was making it up. Emily is her name. Everything was so perfect that I didn’t know what to do. Adam What was her name? Cal Emily. Hank What deal? Cal His party. Adam I just think that disco puts you in a groove to have fun! Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. we’ve started something. I don’t know. What happened after that? I don’t know. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. then I wouldn’t have to compare every woman I date or have sex with to that night. .”) Hank Now.

The others watch as he develops his routine. The dance does not need to be perfectly synchronized.110 (Adam turns the music louder. Dancing Queen! Adam There you go! Cal I say. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Five guys having fun at their own expense. I should have brought my bell bottoms. (Adam dances around the room. Fade to black. in fact. let’s disco! Hank Damn. . But a briefly choreographed dance would suggest the togetherness of the pack.) JD I can dig it. it might be better if they have fun with the music. one-by-one the others follow in step. At this point there are two possible breaks before the next act: Intermission or Interlude. Intermission: They exit the stage in a chorus line. and Cal can exit. Adam. Might also try a choreographed dance to “YMC A”—the characters who remain for the next act could strip down to their boxers and t-shirts. Interlude: They continue to dance on the stage and audience members might be invited on the stage to dance as the dance could serve as a segue to the next act without an intermission as the music breaks into “ YMC A” by the Village People. Soon. Bob.) End of Act One Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. disco fashion.

He crosses to the stereo. while he makes his way to the stereo. enters from one of the back rooms. beer is ready at hand. . I was watching that. (Hank gets up and turns off the tv. In addition. Disheveled and wincing in slight pain. Hank Time to get saved. what time is it? (Hank and JD pay little attention to him. Long pause before Cal speaks again. etc. Cal. . Several bottles o f booze are scattered about the room. he is trying to shake off his hangover. The tv is on. bouquets of flowers. beaten and wilted. JD relaxes on the couch and surfs through the tv channels. bathrobes. stepping on beer cans and kicking bouquets out o f the way. . clutter the room and dangle garland-like on the back wall. Cal Is there . When the men appear. Hank sits in the recliner with a stack o f magazines by him.) JD A little after ten. also in boxers and sweatshirt. The tv station stops on an evangelist who is preaching. Cal Oh man.) JD Hey. he picks up a bra—with no surprise on his face—and tosses it at Hank. they are in various states o f undress—boxer shorts. Hank and JD do not respond.Act Two AT RISE: The apartment after the party. t-shirts. is there anything left in that bottle? Ill Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited w ithout permission.

112 Hank Here. Cal What? JD Your mom. (He swallows a big gulp) Cal Oh God. .) Cal A bit o f the hair . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Hank Yeah. She was here. Cal Is it cold in here? (pause) (He addresses the bottle. and my mom is coming by today. Partied around. trying to knock his hangover out) JD What do you mean by today? She was here last night. (Cal hits his head. Cal She was here? How’d I miss her? Hank She came in before Brainicide got here. Linda. . what am I doing? I’ve got work to do. .

it’s been like this since November. your mom is one hot number.) Cal It’s fucking toxic waste for Christ’s sake. How much more are we supposed to take? Have you heard the forecast from Mona? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.) Cal Jesus. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. (Cal goes to the window and flings it open.) Cal Oh. . Cal Geez. man! Hank Ahhh. (Hank farts loud and long. No break. man. No fuckin’ break.113 JD She and Luke did shots o f tequila. Still cloudy. and then I think she left. Said she was gonna look for you. that was a good one. (We hear Luke on the roof. JD He’s been doing that all morning. did you blow chunks with that one? (Hank lights a match.) Cal Hey. Hank And I might add. what’s the weather like? JD No change.

(JD points up. (Pause) Don’t you have a wife to go home to? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal and JD look at Hank. JD He was in-and-out last night.) Cal Still looking for the sun.) Hank What? JD We’d like to know who called the cops. Hank I certainly did not. Cal Maybe you should get your toxic ass back to your wife.114 JD Mona stopped giving the weather report. Hank She only mentions the regular news and that Anita Hill lecture. (With a hunch of accusation. Then he was gone. Cal Anyone else up? JD Bob and Adam are still crashed. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal Stopped reporting the weather? Mona? No way. . until the cops showed up. And Luke’s on the roof.

Break this slump. Hank Sue locked me out. I think Luke bagged a Betty last night. (Pause.115 Hank What really is “a wife”? JD Get the fuck out o f here! Hank I can't.) Cal Cool! Maybe the OF Luke is back. I’ve got some good news. Break the slump w e’re all in. Cal Are you too drunk? Hank No. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Jesus. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. (Cal shuts the window and moves to the couch— new found hope.) JD Well. Cal Then what? Hank Tm locked out. . Cal Oh.

You wanted to give them an offering of food. Little Sleeza!” Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. (Hank burps. You told her you didn’t believe she was 48 DD. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. .. That’s where this bra came from. Cal Where’d that come from? Hank Last night. And when she was leaving with her friends. Curealls for cabin fever. where’s my banner? My carnival banner? Hank Want some chicken? (Cal runs to his banner and tries to fix it) Cal What? Hank Chicken. “Praise the Lord” and professional wrestling. You thought it would keep them here. Remember? Cal All I remember is that one chick’s tits . man! Those tits . We were gonna pretend to have a picnic. Hank Amazing. Cal Hey.) Hank Beer. saying shit like. . . While the party was goin’ on. And food. you were yelling at them to come back.116 Hank Always got Ernest Angeley. . yes. Remember? We got two cases o f beer. “Come back.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.117 JD Soon after that Adam started yelling for Mona. I swear it’s like the sky’s puked its old gray brain out into the air. JD Don’t make me laugh. did any o f you get anything last night? Hank Nothing but this chicken. Hank Hey. JD? JD Me? I had a magical sexual adventure I prefer to keep to myself. Colonel. where’s the fuckin’ sun? It’s April for Christ sakes. .) Cal Alright. Let’s not fight. I’m eating. they have technology that tracks tiny meteors. cold. alright. Cal Well. You know. You in one com er going “Sleaza! Sleaza!” And Adam across the room going “Mona!” “Mona!” Cal Mona. (To JD. Hank What? JD Dawn had more than one of your drumsticks. Hank I don’t know what you’re talking about. they can program a missile to go through a bathroom window in fucking Saddam Hussein’s palace. Everything’s gray. But we can’t do anything about the weather. What about you.

I got major news. I just feel like I’ve either got to get out of here or join Luke on the roof. something happened. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. well. JD Well. Everything feels so disconnected. sordid details. if that’s the way it’s gonna be. Adam . Adam got lucky last night. The party worked! JD Yeah .. Is she still up there in his room? JD I don’t know. . Cal No way. I’m not certain. . . JD And go where? Cal I don’t know. Don’t know the . (Cal stares off. But I know that he scored a Betty last night. this might call for another party. Cal Oh God. (Pause) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . Hank I haven’t seen her. Adam come down here! (Cal starts laughing to himself) Doesn’t matter anyway.) Cal I've got to get out o f here. She might’ve left this morning when I dozed off a bit.118 Cal Okay. Cal Besides. . .

Bob Give it to me. it’s warm. (Pointing over to Hank) Bob Give me that beer. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Hank Dude. adjusting his glasses. Do you have to wake everyone in the house? If he’s with a Betty. (Bob comes in from one of the back rooms in his bathrobe.) Cal I’m counting on it. Cal Fuck. don’t do this. monotoned. who crosses the stage and sits down on the couch. . Bob Beer. The Betty might still be there.119 Cal Don’t make me come up there and beat your ass! Hank Man.) Bob Don't fuck with Bob this early. (Cal turns and sees bathrobed Bob. Have you seen Adam? Do you know if he’s with anyone? (Bob remains a bit stiff. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.) Cal Hey. Bob. leave him alone.

120 Hank Here. JD Work? On a Sunday? (Cal begins playing around with balloons. Anyone want to join me? Cal I’ve got work to do. Maybe I’ll bury myself in a bar today. I wanted her and her friend. But who was her friend? Cal Your sister. God. right there and then.ih. What’s her friend’s name? JD Wouldn’t you like to know. Julie Bob Fuck you. She was hot. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. sure. Tell me. I don’t care if it’s cloudy forever as long as I can drink. trying to fit two in the cups o f the bra. Bob Ye. man.) Hank Hey. Bob Thanks. Oh. . that’s good. Bob Oh. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal They danced like they were in some tribal ceremony. what did you guys think of Dawn’s dance? JD It was fucking sweet.

Bob Yeah.121 JD I think her name was Aurora. guys. . Look at this. Then happily. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Hank Knows the entire history o f the tribe. (Hank and Bob offer the balloons mock actions o f ceremonial worship. Hank You know. man! That’s cool. the party’s still in my head. Hank Now that’s good enough to worship. (Luke moves around upstairs. she was. His chest has noticeable scratch marks.) Cal Hey. WHAT A PARTY! Huh? What do you say? Cal/Bob/Hank/JD Adam! Adam Did you see the women? Where’d they all come from? At our house. Man. wearing boxer shorts and a robe that is left open. Dawn was really cool.) Adam Guys. Cal has finally gotten the balloons in the cups o f the bra. And get this. Bob Ah. Didn’t I tell ya the moonshine would be a hit? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. she’s got season tickets. Our party. She really digs the Cleveland Indians. Adam bounds down the steps like a victorious boxer.

(Cal knows that Bob’s sister showed up at the party) Bob What? (Adam cautions Cal) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. . . didn’t they? Adam Did you see what Brainicide brought me? Hank Heroin. I can’t believe you invited them.Bob Yeah. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. . (Bob points to Cal. They did show up. (Adam to Bob. right? Adam No. .) Bob “Brainicide.. . you’re right.” What a name. in their dreams. Cal Or maybe somewhere else. oh God. JD Well.) JD Yeah. they brought. Bob In their dreams. you know it’s a great party when a band like Brainicide shows Bob You're right. I should have stuck to beer. they were looking for Julie.

(Adam reenters. here. Bob Well. Cal Lord knows what would happen. Bob Well. if Luke got his hands on her. (Cal responds sarcastically) Cal Not with Big Brother here to watch her every move. Nothing else. admits to his sexual attraction for his sister. . say. what of it? I don’t want her hurt. What’s wrong with that? Hank Nothing. Bob. . Nothing. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. You certainly took your shot at her. whatever. ri ght . there’s no chance that she’ll ever be around a band like that. . She’s not going to.) Cal Yeah. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. (Adam exits to the kitchen. . right? Bob Yeah .) Cal Fuck you. well. . Bob! Adam Will you guys cut it out! Cal As soon as Bob. I ’ll leave him alone.123 Adam He means nothing. fat chance that that will ever happen. Believe me. Just ignore him. Bob.

JD Did you roll on them? Adam I was trying to keep them away from Luke. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. don’t you think it’s kind o f weird? I mean. Adam. Bob Look at those scratches on your neck. Cal Adam. Shoot. It’s her way o f thanking me for all the fan mail I send her. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Don’t you want to know about the gift I got? Cal Sure. Adam Roses. you two. But that doesn’t matter. for someone who was a bit uptight about the flower thing in the first place.124 Hank Oh come on. Roses from Mona. . Bob What the fuck do you know about me and my sister? Adam Come on. The guys from Brainicide brought them from Mona! They know her from the radio station. I’d kinda worry if Brainicide brought me roses. JD Wow. and I must have got scratched up. Emissaries bearing gifts o f great joy. Adam They’re from Mona.

Further reproduction prohibited without permission. He wanders around naked most o f the time. I mean. It’s freezing and he’s on the roof. Bates’ Motel? The guy’s psycho. Adam. or he sits on the roof. Adam Well. and only coming out to talk about the weather. what is this. sealing off your windows. on the roof. Adam What would you know? I’m the only one up there with him. Bob Transitional period? Is that what you call it? Painting the attic black.) Adam It’s ju st weird. He’s just going through a transitional period.125 Bob You should worry more about Luke. Cal Luke will be fine. Sometimes he sits on my bed naked. Cal Luke's fine. . . he’s creeping me out. (Pause as they stare at one another. What’s that to us? He isn’t hurting any o f us. Bob Naked? Cal No he doesn’t. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Naked. he’s outside . Adam His room is like a black hole in our attic. And now. Cal So what? So he’s shut himself off from the world for a while. .

Always have. Cal. Okay. Bob. So he always squats to piss. Cal Luke told me something about you. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Let’s hear it. Adam The last thing I’d make up is Luke sitting on my bed. Hank That boy definitely needs help. How many o f you can truly say you love anyone? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Sure.126 Bob Oh no. Adam Cal. sure Cal. You got me. I could say some things about all of you. naked. But I love my sister. just think if the neighbors saw him. Bob Yeah. (Pause as room is silent. stop it. Cal Adam’s just making this up. But I don’t play that game. I know I’m an easy target. . Cal Do you guys know that Bob can’t piss standing? Bob told Luke all about how he couldn’t stand the thought o f his sister hearing his piss in the toilet.) Bob Okay. Bob What a freak! Cal You want to talk about freaks.

But you could use some tact. Like her shit’s too good for the shithouse. (Bob exits to the kitchen. It’s just not right the way he talks about her all the time. why don’t we get to more important things? Hank Yeah. why’d you do that? Cal I’m tired o f it. Him and his fuckin’ sister. Couldn’t think her way out o f a Sheldon novel. Julie and I don’t get along. (Bob comes back with pizza. we hear you had some action last night? Bob Wait. . Little slut. Dead-to-the-heart knockout. Adam. Hank So who’s it hurtin’? Cal I’m tired o f hearin’ it. And it’s just fucked.127 JD Hey. you know. Adam.) Hank Man. I agree. I’ve always been the outcast between the two. And how many guys did she give numbers to last night? Adam Hey! Now. Then her. Is there anymore o f that pizza left? Hold on until I get back. Like she does no wrong. How in the hell did that guy get a sister like that? I mean look at him? That cheap robe he got from some freakin’ Frederick’s of Hollywood toss out sale. And you know what I want to know. Cal Sorry. Hank to Cal. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. not your sister. I’m mad at Bob.) Hank Have you said enough? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

(Cal. . shoot. hip. our little Adam. JD puts his arms around Adam. Before you know it. Adam. MAN. . Guys. That was too early. Adam! JD He’s so young. I am. Yeah! Oh. Not her. Adam Gentleman. having fun at his expense. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal Yes. .128 Bob Alright. Cal Which one was it? (NOTE: The actors should ad lib responses to Adam’s story. . it seems like just yesterday that he was our innocent youth . I know. but I can say with full confidence that I did the proverbial “it. three cheers for Adam. No. blotting their eyes as they look at Adam) Cal/Hank/Bob Hip. hip.) Adam Well. It was this other chick with really real blond hair.” My loins were engaged in fortuitous fornication. you guys remember that one chick whose tits I grabbed when we were scrunched up in the kitchen? Wait. as I have heard by many who are no longer virgins. Hank. Adam. seeing as how all of you stumbled o ff to lonely beds in a drunken stupor. hooray! Gooooo. a . hooray! Hip. Bob and Hank pretend to cry. hooray! Hip. I hear we have reason for further celebration. After the cheers. and Bob stand and put their arms around each other’s shoulders. . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal Good show. Wait! I know. Hank Why. they’re grown up. I do not mean to brag. hip.

I kept looking at the pomo sites Then this little brown-haired chick came up. yeah. Not her. And she told me something really sweet. but I can’t remember her face now. wait.129 yeah. Said he had a surprise for me. . so I thought I would be clever if I went up and asked her if she really believed in all that crap. I’ve seen her around campus a lot. you know where. I know now. . I thought it’d kill me. I couldn’t make out her face so well. Checked out the pomo sites. . Yeah. what did you do? How did it happen? Bob Don’t spare us the sordid details. and she like kept me from hittin’ Luke. W a i t . I picture her clearly. Well. stick to the important facts. she was pretty. Very illuminating. Adam Oh yeah. I thought I heard Luke laughing in the hall. He looks confused) Adam No. who kept laughing and teasing me. Luke was there. . God. He was sipping some moonshine and offered me a shot. isn’t it? She was so nice. . Then the reality o f the consequences of his question hit him. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Then we played on the Internet for a while. come on you guys. and I was about to pass out when she grabbed me . Luke left. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. but I can’t remember it now. She was wearing this like cross. She took a shot of moonshine. Or maybe she wasn’t so little. (Adam laughs for a moment at his cleverness. I don’t know. that’s fine. She left. I thought I might find a site for Mona. That’s really kind’ve sad. JD Was it hard? Adam Jesus. And I kept thinking she was so pretty. Cal Okay. Now. Cal Adam. straight.

. The weather. I think so.. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Oh.” We talked about the sun and clouds. Cal Don’t interrupt. The weather. . .130 Adam Hmmmm. And then it pretty much happened. didn’t go down on her or nothing? Adam Y eah.. You might as well have been talking to Luke. su re.) Hank Dude. we talked about the weather. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Some kind o f pre-crop planting appeal to the gods. JD Oh. Go on. Hank. Then we joked about performing some ancient sacrifice to get the sun to shine. Adam. like. Let’s see. she’s like some messenger from Mona. and Bob look at one another. Cal Get to the point. God. Adam What? Cal The fucking. You know. yeah. (Cal. Adam Adam Let’s see. you. We started kissing. . The room kept spinning. . “Man. you know what? She told me she’s a close friend o f Mona’s. And I thought. . Adam Umm . and I kept my eyes closed. Yes. Well. And here I am. so I wouldn't get sick. . The screwing. confused and dissatisfied.

and joyous—except for Adam. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal and Hank start dancing around him. trying to get them to stop. .131 Cal Did she. taunting Adam) Cal and Hank Adam’s in love. . This scene should be comical. Bob Are you in love. Brief pause as we hear the roof creak from Luke.. . laughing whenever he hits them or tries to cover up their mouths. Finally. like. sure. I’m gonna get sick. You guys stop that.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.. . (They ignore him. sto p . JD jumps up on an upstairs step to get out o f the way. and Adam begins to look sicker and sicker.) Adam You guys. give you a blow-job? Adam Yeah. . I’m not.” Adam tries to escape. JD joins in on the dance. he exits to the kitchen. While the others continue to dance and laugh. throwing beer cans and trash around. Adam? Adam What?! (Cal and Hank begin singing. spinning him around and pushing him back and forth between each other. . Adam No. They sing words from “I Love the Nightlife. Adam’s in love . playful. (Adam chases them around the room. . we hear Adam vomit offstage. as the spinning is making him ill. Cal and Hank begin dancing with Adam. Bob eats his food and laughs at the activity. O f course.

) Cal Hey. Hank Sue locked me out. huh? (Bob finds Hank’s stash o f magazines. Out on the lawn.) Bob Hey. Bob Away free. Threw them out. My whole collection nearly ruined. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Luke should be down here. Cal’s mom was giving it away free to everyone last night. Bob That’s too bad. JD There's nothing left to drink. whose magazines are these? Hank Mine. . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. JD He really freaked out when the cops got here.132 Bob I can use a drink. She found my stash o f magazines. Bob Did you bring them last night? Cal No. (Bob and Hank begin to look through the collection.

) Adam I'm glad they only told us to turn down the noise level. What have we got here? (Cal calls for Luke from the bottom o f the steps. Bob Hey! Look at this! (Bob shows them the magazines) Adam What? Bob This is quite a collection. Let’s see. Bob Man. more women! Bob Let's see. Now.) Cal Luke! Luke! Come down here. He bolted to his room and locked the door. look at this! You’ve got all the classics. (JD moves toward the window.133 Cal We all freaked out. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.) Adam Wow! A lot o f women last night. . JD Not as bad as Luke did. (Adam reenters. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

man. wasn’t she? Adam Killed? Hank Yeah. JD. Adam Hey. man. I’ve got Jayne Mansfield.134 Hank My collection goes way back. Look at her. Bob And that’s an injustice. Barbi Benton. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. She was killed. Dorothy Stratten. Don’t you want to look? JD Not really. murdered by her husband. Bob Oh. Adam Let me see. Kim Evenson. She’s the bomb. dude. Bob Dorothy Stratten? Let me look at that one. . Do you have her? Hank Right here. my friend. Bob You know who was always one o f my favorites? My boyhood fantasy girl. Adam Why? Hank Shit like that happens. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

Cal. Bob Yeah. JD You know what excites me? The real thing. A whole history o f bathing suit models. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. (Cal exits up the steps. sure. Listen up boys. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Adam From Barbie dolls to Barbi Benton. Adam. Adam Bob I’m impressed. Cal I'm gonna check on Luke. Hank Very good. It works. JD You guys find that stuff exciting.135 Cal Do you guys think I should check on Luke? Hank Not before you check this out. . huh.) Yo mama. JD Is Linda in there? (To Cal.) Hank I keep thinking someone needs to do a whole history on this stuff. Adam How about Sue? Hank You’ve got to be kidding.

Her body is warm and glowing. and it’s left open as she walks into the bedroom. Then her hands move over her breasts.136 (JD moves in closer to them and stands in front o f them at the couch. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I’ll check. the hallway door at the top o f the steps is locked. That turns me on. Why? JD Maybe he's with a woman. A sensual woman who has ju st come out o f the shower. Soon both hands are spreading out the lotion. Her slick hands rise higher on her body in a circular manner.) JD Picture this.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Bob You think there’s a woman upstairs? Hank I’ll check. Luke has locked the upstairs door. The room is filled with the aroma of lotion and her warm body.) Cal Hey.) Cal Listen to me. There she takes out some lotion that she’s gonna spread on her body. First. I live here. and she’s rubbing her chest up and down until she collects whatever lotion is left on her belly and spreads it down to the inner parts o f her thighs. (The others ignore him. (Adam suddenly responds to C al’s question with great fear. . with the lotion. Bob Wait. stroking the lotion under the cusps o f her breasts until her hands rise full on her breasts where she gently plays with her nipples. She puts her robe on. she puts some on her belly and begins rubbing it in a circular motion. (Cal reenters.

Hank Maybe she locked the door. she’s someone we know. . Bob I’ll check for you. (Bob repeats the phrase in a playful sing song. Bob? Bob Yo mama! Cal Fuck you.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. But I also think someone was in the bathroom. maybe. I thought that she went home. . what do you mean by you think she’s up there? Don’t you know? Adam I woke up when she left my room. she’s up there! Hank What? Adam That girl. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I think she’s still up there. Cal Like who. Cal Adam. That girl.137 Adam Oh my God! Maybe . then how are we gonna know? Bob Maybe if she’s still up there. and she’s too embarrassed to come down. . Did any of you guys see her leave? Hank If you don’t know who she is.

The black-sweater-woman. I didn’t sleep with . Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. . High heels. Bob How do you know? You can’t remember shit. I remember her going with Luke upstairs. . All in black. I mean. .138 Bob Yo mama. yo mama . . but I don’t recall her leaving. I didn’t have sex with .) Adam Who was Cal’s mom? Bob That older woman. My mom cares for Luke like she does for me. stop it. Adam What? I didn’t do Cal’s . man. . God. I don’t think she left. . (Bob stops his taunt. . Hank I know she said that. Bob If you ask me. The black sweater. That’s all. Bob. I mean. seeing that no one else is joining in. JD I think she left to look for Cal when he chased that one chick who went to the Sun Lounge. You’re not funny. Will someone shut him up? Hank Bob. I didn’t do anything with Cal’s mom. Adam Oh. . Maybe Adam did her and now Luke’s got her. Cal Forget it. . Cal Shut the fuck up.

right. Bob I was not. Cal Besides. Bob. right. You were so drunk you didn’t know that Dawn’s dancing partner was Luke. (All respond in quizzical amazement. Cal Nope. Besides. . I know who’s up there. It’s already been established that Julie was not here last night. JD I know one thing. She cares for him. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Bob Can too.139 Bob Yeah.) Hank No way. Bob Your mom and Psycho Luke. Cal Bob. I partied all night. Bob Yeah. Your sister. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal You can’t drink worth shit. you were too busy chasin’ every T & A that was too slow and too drunk to outrun you. what do you know? You were passed out after your third beer.

) Julie was here. He’s been planning it for a week. Cal It wasn’t Luke. JD Why would I make this up? I’m just trying to straighten things out. JD ’s making this up. I want to forget about it. Okay? Let’s just drop it. Okay? I’m just glad that Julie wasn’t here. you guys. You’re the ones with the problem. here. Cal It wasn’t Luke.) Adam Bob. . Bob Forget about it. We thought you guys would recognize him. JD Sure was. not me. He thought he’d have a little fun at the party. JD Sure was. (Pause as they stare at Bob. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.140 Bob That wasn’t Luke. But when you didn’t. (Pause. it just made it funnier for us. Bob No way it could’ve been Luke. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. JD’s making this up. If I was or wasn’t staring at some guy’s ass last night. Hank How do you know? Cal How could Luke do all the things we’re saying? Come on.

141 Bob What? Adam Julie was here. Why didn’t you tell me? Adam You know Julie. is because I decided to be the gracious host and let all the other guys have a crack at her first. He can’t tell tits from asses. Bob I’m gonna break your neck! (Bob lunges after Cal. Bob God damn it! I’m gonna kill you! Get your hands o ff me. Bobby. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Bob But I'm your brother. . Cal Ha! Don’t make me fuckin’ laugh. Hank and Adam try to break Cal and Bob apart. Cal. Bob You lied to me? Adam She made me promise. All you need to do is bend over and you’d be in Julie’s favorite position. The only reason I didn’t fuck her.) Cal Come on. Cal ducks under Bob’s arms and places Bob in a fiill-Nelson. JD That’s a good one. Bob. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

JD Bob. Remember. I’m gettin’ there. puking your guts out. Cal Fuck him. motherfucker.) Adam He’s right. She was with Luke for about a half hour. Adam the Innocent got her. yeah. you’re gonna hurt him. (Bob stops struggling. Finally. She’d say.” But she never went. Adam Hey. After I cleaned you up. You were a mess. Cal. we came inside.142 Hank Come on! Stop it. ‘"Yeah. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. because I’ll get you when you least expect it. . You wouldn’t understand. wait a minute! Hank Leave him alone. It’s Julie or Luke. And she was gone. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I couldn’t tell you that Julie was inside and wouldn’t come out to see you.) Bob What? (Cal throws Bob to the ground. Bob You’d better kill me. You were out back. Cal And then later that night. shut up. I went out to help you. It’s not Cal you should be pissed at. I told her she should check on you.

I mean. Luke!? Step aside. Hank How could I have missed her? Adam Well. king o f the house. W ho’s next in line? (Bob rises. right. she was looking for you just before the cops came. Looking for you. You need my authorization. and out o f here. Adam Well. I’m gonna drag that asshole off the roof. I got them all. Hank She was here? Adam Yes. That’s all. We just had a party. . Nothing else. she was here. All o f them just waiting for Adam to take them.143 Adam Keep me out of this. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Cal Wait! W hat’s the rush? Adam That’s right. Hank Yeah. next. You guys are making too much o f this. Who knows how many more women I have up there. Angry and determined. he runs to the steps and stops. Come on. Adam. I didn’t miss her. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I’m the new man o f the house. the way things are going you might accuse me o f sleeping with Sue.) Bob I’m not gonna wait and find out. anyway.

Cal But what are you gonna do? Rush up there and bust down the door? Hank We gotta do something.144 Bob I’m sick o f this. (Hank walks to the door to leave. but do we need to rush up there as if he’s some monster or something? There’s such a thing as loyalty to a friend.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.) Cal He's alone. (Bob ignores Adam. . He’ll come down and then we’ll talk. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. They will have nothing to do with any of you. They’re all mine. Let’s give him time. Hank I wonder who? Adam Doesn’t matter. Bob Then what’s he doing? Why’s the door locked? Cal I don’t know. Cal Why? Why do we gotta do something? Hank Don't you think he’s up there with someone? Bob We should find out.

) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. JD looks around the room. afraid to disturb him. How much longer are you gonna live like this? Bob What do you mean? JD Luke’s making fools out o f all of you.) JD I just find it interesting that Sue came up to the party when you and Dawn vanished. the cops break the party up. and he’s some friend. JD Do you think it’s wise to go home? Hank What? JD What if Sue knows you were with Dawn? Hank But I wasn’t. (Hank moves to sit back down. This is too weird for me. . (Pause. His cash has made bitches out of all of you. (Bob confronts Adam. And then when she’s gone.145 Hank Well. Now she won’t let you in. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Worse. afraid to confront the bogey-man in the attic. No. How long are you gonna take this? (Pause) Oh. You tip-toe around him. You guys handle this. I don’t need to stay.) You know. you guys are a bunch of pussies.) JD And you guys. (Hank sits down on the couch. You’re bleeding assholes.

Bob We don’t know what’s gotten into Luke. Bob So? Get with the program.) Bob Are you certain? Adam Yes. Get to the bottom of this. Bob. (Cal moves to the window and stares out it. Adam So. I had sex last night.146 Bob Are you sure you did it last night? JD That's it. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Do we? Why has he been acting weird all winter? Why did he dress in drag at our party? Why won’t he let us upstairs? And why is every light out? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Bob Well. man. Adam So. Adam Need you question me? As sure as I am on this couch. the only thing you do remember is Luke. Bob. ye o f little faith. . What do you think? Cal Get off it. Leave him alone. Why ask? Bob Cuz you can't remember shit.

. Adam I know a lot. . I’m not gay. Bob. I know what happened to Luke last October. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal H e's not gay.147 Cal Get off it. . Bob And now poor Adam’s been a party to his exploits Cal Luke just likes sex . . Hank Will you cut the Little Orphan Annie shit! I want to know what’s going on. He’s j u s t . Women.. .. Adam? Cal I can’t believe we’re doing this. Adam I’m n o t . I don’t do that kind of stuff. Adam Wait a minute! Cal . . . we could get out. JD What do you know. Women! And I know the difference. Bob We should have known his tendencies from what happened at his twelfth birthday party. .. (Cal quickly turns on Adam. If only the sun would come out.) Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. I like women. it’s just sex. Luke is obsessed with sex.

He’s gonna keep his fuckin’ mouth shut. Hank I want to hear it from Adam. Adam You’re not stopping me from telling. Cal He’ll get it all wrong. Let’s hear it. . I think it’s time everyone knew the truth. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Adam It was that Indian summer ni ght .148 Cal You know nothing. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Adam. . JD Go on. the truth. Hank rushes after Cal and pulls Cal away. Bob Finally. JD It’s Adam’s story. Cal You know shit. Cal No! (Cal rushes over to Adam and grabs him by the throat. . JD Yes.) Cal I’ll tell it.

. Finally. but we did. She was so drunk she could hardly walk. Remember that small party? Bob. And then Hank you went off somewhere— I think home. There was this girl. Adam I’m gonna get it right.149 Bob Just start from the beginning Adam Well. but Cal said that we should head back. let’s not keep yourself out of this. . He wanted to take all the women home. that’s when we ran into a little trouble. We were enjoying the warm weather. So Cal and Luke and me went out. I can’t . every chick he talked to wanted him. Cal You see. He can’t get it right. Was tryin’ to get her to come back to our place. Cal Yeah. He was hittin’ on a bunch o f women and gettin’ their numbers and shit. and Luke was pissed and wasted—one foul combination. Hank Take your time. to Sue. I mean. Adam (continuing) On the way home. Cal got hungry and wanted to leave. Anyway. I thought that was cool. Like Winona Ryder or something. You know? Crossed-eyed and slumped over. We were in the Sun Lounge. And Cal and me were laughin’ our asses off. And she looked real sick. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. This girl. passed out by around ten. But it was a bitch tryin’ to get Luke to go. Like I should’ve from the start. Real cute. and after a while Luke was unstoppable. it happened that Indian summer night. . I’m just getting pissed off about it the more I think about it. Adam. Luke started scammin’ on her. Then Cal and Luke both started jokin’ about doing her. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I don’t know how we left. Bob We’ve all seen that mood.

150 Adam Fuck you, Cal. Yeah, sure, I was game. But I also started thinkin’ about how sick she was and I wasn’t interested anymore. But I didn't know what to do. I never had sex before. And suddenly this is it? Bob It was probably good enough for Cal and Luke. Cal Go to hell, Bob. JD Shut the fuck up. I want to hear this. Adam Well, she kept tellin’ us that she was sick. Cal and me were hungry, so we told Luke to forget her. Luke said no. Said he’d take her home, and then he got really pissed when we said that we’d help him. He took off with her. Picked her up and they were gone. An hour later Cal and me were finishing o ff a pizza and in comes Luke. His shirt all dirty and he smelled o f puke. Said he got sick and that he lost her somewhere. Hank So how did this change Luke? JD Oh, man! Bob I know where this is leading. Adam Well, that girl. Ended up she was that girl that was found dead. You know? Dragged in the bushes outside her dorm. Drowned in her own vomit. Luke was the one who dragged her there and left her. Cal We don’t know that for certain.

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151 Hank He did nothing to help . . . Bob That fuckin’ asshole. She was one o f Julie’s friends. She was real cool. Why didn’t you guys do something? Say something? Instead you just let us deal with Luke who got weirder and weirder. Adam I can’t believe I’ve waited this long. (Hank turns to Cal.) Hank And you. You fuck. Why didn’t you do something? Cal I’m not certain that Luke is guilty. He’s never admitted to it. Hank What? Not guilty? Adam Cal, you’re full o f shit. Cal I don’t know! Don’t you think I’d like to know? I kept thinking about doing something; but I didn’t know what. I kept thinking, how do we know Luke did it? Or maybe she crawled there on her own. As each day went by, I felt less like it. I don’t know. (Pause.) I just want to get out o f here. (Hank crouches to his knees) Hank Ah shit, man. We gotta think. JD We’ re all accessories to the crime, now.

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152 Bob How? JD Aren't we? We have knowledge of the crime or at least valuable information. To not reveal what we know makes us accessories. Bob We gotta get Luke to turn himself in. JD Something must be done. Adam Well, I know what we need to do. We need to get that asshole down here and get to the bottom o f this. Bob I'm all for that. I want to know what Luke’s been up to. Cal Leave him alone. (Hank rises and faces Cal) Hank Man, I’m already in deep shit with Sue. I don’t need to be associated with a sex crime. You know they’re still looking for the person who did it to that chick. He’s a fuckin’ criminal. (Hank calms down a little) Hank Listen, Cal, we got to take care o f this. We can’t live like this. JD Hank’s right. How long are you guys gonna take this? I mean, not only does he not pay his rent, but now he won’t even let us go upstairs. He pisses down our backs, and we just stand around asking for more. I know we used to have good times with Luke. But he’s fucked, Cal. (Pause.) Listen, I’ve got a plan.

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Adam Yeah. I say we do something now. JD Sometimes all a man’s got is what he takes. (Cal backs away. We’re all in this together. Hank What? Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Adam I want to drag his ass out of here. I won’t do it. Cal.) Hank Come on. Bob Come on. you’re not doing Luke any good by not handling this. for fuckin’ Christ’s sake Hank Cal. . Bob Oh. (They stare at Cal.) Cal No.153 i | | Cal Why do we have to do anything? (Pause) I can’t take this. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I don’t want to see him ever again. Adam Let’s get Luke out o f here! Cal I can’t. Cal.

but his anger is brewing. he isn’t. Let’s calm down a little. you think Luke’s such a good friend. (Cal responds in rage and attacks Bob) Cal God damn it. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Cal What do you know? Bob Luke told me that Cal couldn’t perform that night. Can’t hit a home rim with a broken bat. dragging them apart from each other. Bob’s revealing personal information that was confided to a friend should hurt Cal’s feelings. That story you told us about that chick named Emily. It seems it wasn’t so magical as Cal says it was.) Hank Cut it out! Cut it out! Cal! Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Let’s just wait. Bob! I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you! (Hank grabs Cal and Adam grabs Bob. Bob. .154 Cal I can’t do this.) Cal Shut up. Bob You wish you had some magic that night. Cal speaks quietly. Bob You know. (Hank and Adam should respond to this news with confusion as they look at Cal. Luke told me the truth about it. Well. Cal.

and that’s just what they are. Adam No way.155 (Hank pushes Cal toward the front door. Adam After this. Then when you got Luke imm obilized-if you know what I mean-drag his ass down here. You fill my head full o f stories o f magic and sexual exploits. And I’ve got a plan. I want to get to that asshole first. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. so you’ll have to tackle whatever moves or feel around in the dark in case he’s hiding.) JD You fuckin’ asshole. Cal and me will be down here in case Luke tries to run out. Adam Cal. you go in first. You go in first. Why did you do that? Cal What the fuck do I know. He can give a shit about all o f us. stories. . Then Bob and Hank follow behind and help Adam wrestle Luke down. Cal Whatever. don’t talk to me ever again. after we take care o f Luke. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Hank. Adam. Bob Let’s just get rid o f him. Don’t you see what we gotta do?! And you’re mad at Bob? Come on. JD I agree. Bob. But remember. Huh? Hank So far squat. Like Luke’s ever been really loyal to you. You’re fighting the wrong people. It’s time. Hank. JD Okay. you can’t see shit up there. I can’t believe this. Me and Cal will help you from here. and Adam will go up the fire escape and into Luke’s room.

All is quiet above. JD Okay. Cal I don’t think I can face him. Get set. Adam I say we do it. JD It’ll be over soon. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. I don’t want to see him when we do this thing.) Cal I feel like a fool. Good.) Cal I don’t want to see his face. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Let’s just get this over with. Wait. JD Whatever. (Cal grabs a blanket from the couch. . Adam goes through the window first while Bob and Hank follow.) JD What?! (The sound of a window breaking comes from upstairs. Cal.156 Hank Sounds fuckin’ good to me. You boys sound like you’re ready. Bob Just let me get my hands on him. Go! (Quietly. Take positions. Let’s throw this over him. They gather at the fire escape and then ascend.

Bob. Then the guys could return to the stage with hands and/or faces slightly bloodied and ad lib cries o f victory until they hear Luke’s footsteps on the roof. and Adam beat and kick the body —all are breathing heavily. Yet his involvement emphasizes the necessity of the pack to act together in order to behave violently. 2. and Hank cuss and swear at Luke. JD reaches down to uncover the body. Cal can either participate or not participate in the final beating. They look at each other. trying to see the violence. Although the body is indistinguishable. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Another option would be to have the violence. The amount o f time is crucial so that the audience gets a sense of the reason behind the violence now on the stage as Cal. questioning each other about who it is. Once they’ve finished their frenzy. it should resemble a woman’s. JD circles around them. We hear Luke’s footsteps on the creaky roof—clearly indicating that it’s not Luke’s body on the floor. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. the beating o f “Luke. There are several optional endings depending on the play’s direction and intended meaning. 1. Cal and JD ascend the steps. and there should be at least a ten count before they reappear with the others carrying the blanketed body down the steps.” occur offstage (with Cal taking part or not)— don’t bring the body down. . The fighting should continue for at least thirty seconds as the audience hears Bob. His non­ participation would be consistent with his emphasis on passivity and his wanting to wait out matters rather than confront them. Adam responds with the most violence. JD Jesus! Who is it? End of Play NOTE: Optional Endings.157 (Loud shouts and groans from fighting come from the upstairs. Hank. Adam. inciting the others on further.