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Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse

Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse

Автор Fiammetta Rocco

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Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse

Автор Fiammetta Rocco

оценки:
3/5 (2 оценки)
Длина:
237 страниц
3 часа
Издатель:
Издано:
5 июн. 2012 г.
ISBN:
9780374709655
Формат:
Книга

Описание

Two plays—hilarious and searing in equal measure—by one of our most essential and original authors

In his poetry, short stories, novels, and plays, the National Book Award-winning author Denis Johnson has explored the story of America—especially of the West, land of self-made men and self-perpetuating myths—with searing honesty and genuine sympathy. These two plays, written in verse at once hypnotic and clear, confirm his position as one of our great verbal stylists and a literary conscience for our times.

In Soul of a Whore, a lively cast of characters—faith healers, pimps, strippers, actual demons—converge, with unexpected hilarity, as Bess Cassandra awaits execution for the murder of her infant daughter. Purvis's seven reverse-chronological scenes catalog the fall and rise of Melvin Purvis, the G-man who brought down John Dillinger and Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd. Johnson takes us from Washington's back rooms to a Midwestern cornfield, dramatizing the seductive allure of power and our own human capacity for both pettiness and grace.

In these furiously entertaining, occasionally terrifying works, Johnson chronicles and questions America's myths, heroes, and everyday realities with verve and elegance, revealing himself once again to be at the height of his linguistic and insightful powers.

Издатель:
Издано:
5 июн. 2012 г.
ISBN:
9780374709655
Формат:
Книга

Об авторе

Denis Johnson is the author of The Name of the World, Already Dead, Jesus' Son, Resuscitation of a Hanged Man, Fiskadoro, The Stars at Noon, and Angels. His poetry has been collected in the volume The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly. He is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award, among many other honors for his work. He lives in northern Idaho.


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Soul of a Whore and Purvis - Fiammetta Rocco

Soul of a Whore

Soul of a Whore was developed by Campo Santo, the resident

theater company for San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts

(executive director Deborah Cullinan; founders Margo Hall,

Luís Saguar, Sean San José, Michael Torres), and premiered at

Intersection in February 2003, with the following cast:

Design Team: Suzanne Castillo (costumes), James Faerron (sets),

Jim Cave (lighting), Drew Yerys (sound), Dan Hamaguchi (graphics),

Jim Roll (original music: If I Had a Nickel).

Production Team: Jeff Fohl (photography), Melyssa Jo Kelly

(assistant lead), Michaela King (assistant), Lena Monje (sound operator),

Adam Palafox (research), Honey Roberts (assistant), Elizabeth

Rodriguez (costumes assistant), Elizabeth Scott (properties).

Directed by Nancy Benjamin

Characters

Masha

HT

Bill Jenks

John Cassandra

Clerk

Granny Black

Sylvester

Simon Blaine

Nurse Vandermere

Will Blaine

Jan Blaine

Stacy Blaine

Dr. Nasum

Jerry Cavenaugh

Stevie

Bess Cassandra

2 Bus Drivers

O.S. Female and Male Voices

O.S. Voice of Jimmy Boggs

O.S. Voice on Radio

Texas in the years 2000–2002.

Scenes might be set through the use of props and a few backdrops.

An ellipsis […] beginning a line is meant to suggest a pause.

Part I

Dark stage.

HT’s voice [sings]: Let the Midnight Special

Shine a light on you

Pinpoint spot lights a sign, overhead left: SURPLUS STORE.

WOMAN [O.S.]: Guys, I need your papers of parole

And state ID to cash that check, OK?

MAN [O.S.]: Dump your whites up there on the second level.

The second level is where you dump your whites.

Use the changing room, sir, will you please?

WOMAN [O.S.]: Your middle name is printed on that check,

Then go ahead and spell your whole name out.

Sign the back side: first name, middle name

If middle name is printed on your check,

And then your last name; and I want your writ

Of discharge or parole certificate

And your official Texas state ID;

Or else your check will not be honored here.

HT’s voice [sings]: Let the Midnight Special

Shine a ever-lovin’ light on you

Lights up: Greyhound station in Huntsville, Texas. Plastic

pews; standing ashtrays; Coke machine; door to Surplus Store;

ticket counter; pay phone.

CLERK behind the counter, silent. On the counter a handbell.

He bangs it when the mood strikes. Sometimes furtively he nips

clear liquid from a screw-top canning jar. He’s got a little radio.

MASHA talks on the phone. Very brief shiny blue sleeveless

dress and big blue platform sandals with white straps. White

sunglasses; great big blue-and-white purse.

HT, a black man: wants the phone; needs change.

HT [sings]: Shine a mothaluving light on you…

MASHA [on phone]: I won’t come back till you stop making me—

OK! Come on!—you just come zooming up

To Huntsville like some crazed, spawning salmon:

I’m on my bus before you hit the highway.

…I just don’t want to. Things like that, they aren’t—

Huh-uh, not demeaning, just, it’s more—

Unnatural. I mean, for me. Or, well,

For anyone. And I’m not even sure

I really do it, even when it happens,

I mean in any verifiable…Uh!

Uh uh uh uh uh!

Can’t you get that worked on, ugly man?

Can’t they drill your head and fix that stutter?

…Your bank account is real. I realize that.

I truly just don’t have the gift. I don’t.

There’s such a thing as luck, you know—like isn’t

Luck what everybody’s betting on?

Wait a minute, got to feed the baby,

Baby’s hungry—[to HT] Sir, it’s gonna be

A little while—OK?—’cause I’m addressing

Certain urgent business—so, could you—?

HT: Man get crazy when his bus don’t come.

MASHA [on phone]: If you can hear me, I’m depositing—

HT: I just live in Willard, but the bus

Won’t go there. Got to go see Houston first.

MASHA: "You ever get to Houston,

Boy, you better walk right."

HT: I will. I do. I got no sheet in Houston.

MASHA: It’s just a song.

HT:                              I never been arrested

Any way or shape or form in Houston.

MASHA: It’s just a song. It’s just a song.

HT:                                                     Lead Belly.

Sure. I know the song. But I’m just saying.

—The guys get outa prison yet today?

CLERK: At noon, like always. Bus already left.

HT: Uh-oh. The Houston bus?

CLERK:                               The Dallas bus.

MASHA [on phone]:—No, no! I didn’t say the Greyhound station!

My cousin—good ol’ Cousin Gus is coming,

Not the bus. I wouldn’t go by Greyhound

Ever except in abject desperation!

Meanwhile, an old woman in black enters from street door.

GRANNY BLACK: Hot! Hot! And while I fry in my own fat

I hear my dead relations singing in Heaven.

I ain’t a-gonna drive on that highway!

You don’t get me behind no chariot wheel!

Ninety miles of carburetors steaming

Like cauldrons in a line from here to Dallas.

Is it carburetors, now? Or radios?

Or what’s the things that steams, where you put water?

CLERK: That’d be the radiator.

GRANNY BLACK:                    Radiator!

Well!—unless you like that funny music,

I guess you’d best not wet your radio.

This is eighteen twenty-five for one

To Dallas. I won’t give a penny more.

They like to raise the rates with every breath

They drag, and someone’s got to hold the line.

MASHA:…No! It ain’t the money! Money stinks!

I haven’t got the gift! I haven’t got the power!

Just a minute, let me feed this thing—

[Deals with coins, etc.]

Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? HELLO!

My call is what? Well! You sound sweet as pie!

You sound just like my mother, operator—

I want my dollar ten, or you can kiss

My Rebel ass.—Hung up on by a robot!

This is how the vandalism starts!

CLERK: Now, honey, don’t molest my telephone.

[To HT] No. Don’t ring the bell. The bell’s for me.

HT: Lemme have it all in quarters, please.

CLERK: Try the change machine.

HT:                                         It doesn’t work.

MASHA [offering coins]: Two bucks for a fistful. Gamble.

HT:                                                                      Thanks.

You didn’t see a guy…

CLERK:                                       A dozen guys.

A couple dozen guys. The usual—

You know. The Dallas took the most of ’em.

The usual recidivists in transit.

HT: You see a guy, a white guy, maybe looked

A little not so much a criminal?

CLERK: All human beings look like criminals.

HT goes to the phone.

GRANNY BLACK: Hot! Hot! Hear how this poor old woman

sizzles!

I pity the crappies and crawdads on account

I feel now what it hurts like to be cooked.

CLERK: It’s twenty dollars fifty cents to Dallas.

GRANNY BLACK: Eighteen twenty-five. No more, no less.

CLERK: It doesn’t work that way.

GRANNY BLACK:                        It used to do!

It used to was a twenty-dollar bill

Counted!—once upon a memory.

I’ll sit down here and let you ponder that…

I’ll let you ponder where the whole world went…

MASHA: I’m not worried if he’s after me.

By now he’s probly halfway out of Texas,

Blazing a trail for Huntsville, Alabama.

CLERK: Huntsville was named after Huntsville. You knew

that.

MASHA: Uh—no. I didn’t. But it stands to reason.

CLERK: After the one in Alabama. That’s

The explanation for all the confusion, see?

HT [on phone]: Hello? It’s all—It’s jammed. Hello?

Completely.

Fine. You busted it. Are you content?

MASHA: I’m just as happy as a clam in shit.

HT: O yeah? I think you got that saying wrong.

MASHA: I think you never saw a clam in shit.

HT: When’s the Houston come?

CLERK:                                    It comes as scheduled.

HT: Scheduled when?

CLERK:                     It’s not that type of schedule.

It’s theoretical. Four a day.

HT:                                              In theory.

CLERK: No, the vehicles themselves are real,

But all the rest is veiled in mystery

Because from here to goodness idiots

Are tearing up the road and moving it

West eleven inches. Traffic’s stuck

For hours at a time in all directions:

Miles and miles of stationary drivers

Contemplating this minute adjustment.

HT: Sound like the joint.

CLERK:                        It kinda does, at that.

HT: You been inside?

HT gets himself a Coke.

MASHA:                     …He’ll hop the barricades.

He’ll ride the back roads and the shoulder, then

He’ll drive on top of all the other cars.

He will. He’s on his way. I get no rest.

HT: Gah-dam, gah-dam, gah-dam!

CLERK:                                        Excuse me, sir.

HT: I think it might be eating me alive.

CLERK: Crazy folks are not allowed in here.

HT: Crazy folks are too allowed in here.

Is this the Greyhound stop in Huntsville, Texas?—

Crazy folks get born and die in here.

CLERK: I know you, sir. They call you Hostage Taker.

HT: Yeah, yeah, it’s good to see you, good to see you.

Man, the bus don’t come and the bus don’t come.

Man, I got to get on down the road.

Man, this whole block used to jump with gypsy

Hot-shot cabs’ll take you there right now

For twenty bucks they’re gonna fly to Houston,

Dallas, anyplace on earth—and they

Got reefer, they got beer, they got tequila—

CLERK: I thought they sprung you couple months ago.

HT: Sooner or later all God’s chillun be free.

[Raises his Coke]

"Wardens, jailers, presidents and kings—

They all must bow to calendars and clocks."

CLERK: Then what puts you in Huntsville not a block

From where you did hard time? Guilt? Or nostalgia.

Or some concoction of the two.

HT:                                                     Touché!

CLERK: Touché?

HT:                    Touché! That’s what you say! You say

Touché! when someone jabs you with a word.

CLERK: I jabbed you what? I jabbed—

HT:                                                        You see…

You dig…You don’t begin your day with things

Like taking hostages on the agenda.

Things to Do: Do NOT take hostages.

You march inside, extend your weapon towards

The various faces, and receive the money.

PO-lice DO not COME sahROUND-ing you!

Megaphones and telephones and shit!

And no one’s hurt! And NO ONE GOES TO PRISON.

…I’m waiting on a guy. But I can’t wait.

CLERK: If you can’t wait, I guess you’re better off

To don’t. So see you later, Hostage Taker.

MASHA: I thought you said the bus—you live in—where?

HT: I never tell the truth. It’s too confusing.

You wanna get a drink? Or take a walk?

Something? Maybe feel the feelings of

The outside world? Fresh air?

MASHA:                                           No thanks, I’m good.

HT: I didn’t mean—

MASHA:                   I know.

HT:                                       I didn’t mean—

MASHA: But I’m just comfortable. I’m good right here.

HT exits through Surplus Store.

CLERK: Now, there’s a guy got bubbles in his brain.

…Well, looky here: The show’s not over, folks.

BILL JENKS enters from the street door.

MASHA: You are sucking on me with your eyes.

You’re staring like a laser beam.

BILL JENKS:                                          My wife was here

She’d read my mind and kill me on the spot.

…Did I hear someone singing, while ago?

CLERK: Just some bubble-brain with vocal cords.

BJ offers MASHA a smoke. She ignores it; finds her own.

BILL JENKS: You hang around the Greyhound all the time?

MASHA: Don’t mistake me, hon.

BILL JENKS:                               For what?

MASHA:                                                    For what you think.

BILL JENKS: And what am I thinking?

MASHA:                                          That’s for me to know.

She lights his smoke.

BILL JENKS [smoking]: I’m ready to believe in God again!

MASHA: Could you, like, hold the revival over there?

BILL JENKS: The gods combust our dreams for sport and suck

The fumes. Our spirits serve as censers.

MASHA:                                                        Shit.

You dudes are never right when you come out.

[Smoking] What’s a censer?

BILL JENKS:                                    It’s the—hell, you know—

Those things they burn the incense in at Mass?

Come on, don’t kid around—a name like Masha—

MASHA: From where do you know my name?

BILL JENKS:                                                    From here.

I overheard. Your lovely back was turned.

You breathed your name into the telephone.

MASHA: That was my boss! I didn’t breathe a-tall!

BILL JENKS: Masha’s Russian. You could be Orthodox:

They’re always swinging censers.

MASHA:                                              Let ’em swing,

’Cause I ain’t Russian! I’m from Texas, son.

BILL JENKS: So where’d you get the Masha from? Odessa?

MASHA: Hell if I know. It’s my name, is all…

You’re not from Texas.

BILL JENKS:                            No, ma’am. Mississippi.

But I was mostly raised in California.

Don’t get me wrong, I love you Texas

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