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“’Round the Bend”

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Douglas, Fiacre (Irish playwright, actor, 1965-____), “’Round the Bend,”

a 30-minute drama in English, set in Ireland, 2001,


  •  © 2001 by Fiacre Douglas;  •  script/rights available from Fiacre Douglas, 1001 Thomas Avenue N, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411, U.S.A., e-mail fiacre@usinternet.com, telephone (home) 612-521-0954, (work) 612-521-0954, fax 612-521-1915.  •  Cited by Fiacre Douglas via ftp September 7, 2001; Douglas says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Pat (m), 55, the patriarch of the family; Blaise (m), 25, Sheila’s dead brother; Sheila (f), 28, developmentally disabled (not institutionalized); Peig (f), 52, mother of Sheila and Blaise.

  §  Synopsis “(Scene 1) Sheila, in her ‘imaginary car,’ anticipates a trip to Spain with her mother and father. (Scene 2) Next morning, 11:00 a.m., Peig comes in and clearly reminds Sheila that she is not going to Spain but to stay with her friend Maura (in a ‘home, if only for ten days’). Sheila is not impressed. (Scene 3) Flashback to a time with Blaise: he and Sheila go for a wild trip together in Sheila’s car; Blaise pledges to her that he will always be there for her. (Scene 4) Pat enters. Peig eventually tells Pat that she doesn’t think it’s right for them to vacation without Sheila. Pat tries to convince Peig that the ten-day separation is the best thing for them all. Peig remains unconvinced. Sheila enters and explodes, her tantrums reaching a new level. Peig, physically threatened here, begins to see that perhaps the time for change has come. (Scene 5) Sheila in her car (Blaise in the background—in spirit only) realizes having made a mistake, and she uses her driving to talk herself through her frustrations. Peig  enters to take Sheila to the home. Peig knows this is for the best and realizes the stay in the home may be the beginning of a long good-bye.

  §  Comment “Requirements include a bedroom setting (simple) and a kitchen setting (simple).  •  Pat is exuberant, gregarious and hardworking. He is the sort of man who hands in his paycheck at the end of the week. He loves life and family. Semi-retired, he continues to work and keep himself busy. Extremely personable and entirely informal. Strong-willed and used to taking care of things. Blaise has been dead for almost three years. Blaise was incredibly loving toward Sheila and took an interest in what she did. He is eager to take a role in her imagination when asked. Sheila is argumentative, ready to fight for what she wants—prone to tantrums (not violent), adored by family. Peig looks after Sheila, whose lethargy and tantrums are wearing on her nerves. Peig copes as best as possible. She is prone to guilt. She is recuperating from a recent ‘breakdown’ brought on by fatigue. Peig continues her adjustment to the death of her son, Sheila’s brother Blaise. Peig is feeling guilty about taking this first trip away from home without Sheila in tow. This is the first vacation for Peig and Pat alone in more than 30 years.  •  This play won the playwrights’ one act series at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota. It was produced by MetroState, April 1, 2001, by Camille D'Ambrose. More information about production history is available upon request.  •  I wrote this play with my sister in mind. She is one with an imagination that I’ve never experienced with any other living being. Sheila is an incredibly big persona—complex in all ways with mood swings that resemble a roller coaster. A sideglance could set her off. Her imaginary car has opened my life to looking at things in the simplest and sometimes the most imaginative light. This play (for me) explores a decision made many years ago by my parents to raise Sheila at home rather than putting her in an institution. Sometimes those choices come back to haunt you later in life. It is now thirty or so years later—is this still the right decision? . . . Parents are older now, what is to become of Sheila? How or when do we start to say good-bye?”

  §  Themes choice, death, disability, driving, family, guilt, imagination, long good-bye, mother-daughter relationship, promise, separation, tantrum, threat, vacation.

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