Brainkill

category: short play
genre: black comedy
running time: twenty minutes
setting: an unnamed urban location
period: contemporary

characters:
Alex, who is evil
Bobby, who is ambiguous
Carmen, who is powerful
Darcy, who is weak
Elliot, who is good

story:
Alex convinces Bobby to kill people and take their stuff as a way to succeed in the world. They do this, and then attempt to court Carmen and Darcy. Darcy rejects Bobby, but takes up with Alex, who soon grows bored of Darcy and tries to force Bobby to kill Darcy. Bobby, however, has taken up with Elliot, and has come to see that Alex is morally corrupt and Darcy is a victim who needs to be saved. Bobby kills Alex, saves Darcy, and is then arrested by Carmen, who was an undercover cop the whole time, and knows Bobby killed people for their stuff.

author’s comments:
After Housebroken this is probably my favorite of my short plays. Fast and furious, this piece was crafted to accomplish two things: be stageable anywhere, by anyone, with virtually any level of theatrical assets; articulate the incredible frustration and anger I was feeling towards the whole world at the time I wrote this. Fashioned after a medieval morality play (Bobby as Everyman, Alex and Elliot as the Devil and the Angel, respectively, Carmen as God, Darcy as Sacrificial Lamb), I made it a point to give all the characters unisex names, and in the entirety of the script there are no pronouns anywhere- meaning it can be done with any combination of male and female actors. Additionally, the minimal stage directions encourage as much creativity as possible on the part of directors, provided they keep the breathless, break-neck pace of the play going. Slick and dangerous, I was able to use the style of the piece to make what is arguably the most hateful thing I have ever written into something easily digestible, if perhaps unsettling once in the stomach. I’ve been told by a number of people it both makes them laugh and makes them feel a little bit sick, and that kind of rocks, in my opinion. The discussion of why we should be good people isn’t one we should ever take lightly.

Productions:

Kate Jones, Giovanna Marcella, and Dave Levine in the SF Theater Pub production.
Kate Jones, Giovanna Marcella, and Dave Levine in the SF Theater Pub production.

San Francisco Theater Pub, April 22, 25, 27, 29, May 3, 5, 6, 9, 11 & 12, 2012, part of the Bay One Acts Festival 11 at The Boxcar Theater in San Francisco, California. Directed by Sara Staley; Lighting by Wil Turner IV; Publicity by Rob Ready; Artwork by Cody Rishell. Cast: Theresa Miller (Alex), Dave Levine (Bobby), Giovanna Marcella (Carmen), Kate Jones (Darcy), Travis Howse (Elliot)

Theresa Miller and Dave Levin in the SF Theater Pub production.
Theresa Miller and Dave Levin in the SF Theater Pub production.

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