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"Sleeper from Atlanta"

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Kelly, Thomas M. (aka Thomas Michael Kelly, American playwright, artistic director, 1940-____), “Sleeper from Atlanta,”

a 90-minute drama in English, in ten scenes, set in a family kitchen, Atlanta, U.S.A., Friday and Saturday, December 20, 21, 2002,

2m2f (+ 2m voices)

;  •  © 2003 by Thomas M. Kelly;  •  in Thomas M. Kelly’s Sleeper from Atlanta (Sacramento, California, U.S.A.: The Author, 2003);  •  script/rights available from Thomas M. Kelly, Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, 1901 P Street, Sacramento, California 95814, U.S.A., telephone (home/work) 1-916-444-8209, fax 1-916-444-6258, e-mail tom@thistle-dew.net.  •  Cited by Thomas M. Kelly via ftp May 7, 2003; Kelly says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Jerry Blotz (m), 33, native of Atlanta, Georgia, husband of Sara; Phil Rosenberg (m), 37, native of New York City, playwright, screenwriter, husband of Luci; Sara Blotz (f), 33, childhood friend of Luci, transplant from Croton-on-Hudson, New York to Atlanta, Georgia; Lucille/Luci Rosenberg (f), 33, a native of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, a successful attorney.

  §  Synopsis “Phil, a talented, and busy playwright agrees to take a short vacation with his wife, Luci, to visit her high school classmate, Sara, and Sara’s husband of four years, Jerry, in Atlanta, Georgia. The trip involves flying from New York City to Atlanta and returning Sunday on a sleeper train to New York. In Atlanta, he engages in seemingly innocuous mental fisticuffs with Sara, until the situation becomes unbearable, only to discover that the contention between him and Sara is her desire to convince Luci to advise her and to take her legal case against her former husband for custody of their two boys, Jacob (10) and Elias (5). Sara and Luci for seventeen years since high school have maintained a best-friend relationship despite living in different states. However, Sara, with her obnoxious attitude of superiority in all things, her undiagnosed borderline personality, her narcissism, and histrionics, cannot retain other friendships. Sara, after leaping from one job to another avoiding process servers, begins anew as a part-time grade school teacher in stark contrast to Luci, now a successful attorney, with a family law practice in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Jerry, an executive in a startup computer company, immersing himself in cyberspace, has relinquished decision-making regarding their marriage, their lifestyle, the maintenance of their house and their sex life. The true feeling of Sara and Jerry emerge.

  §  Comment Chronology: (scene i) Friday 11:45 a.m. (scene ii) Phil, as narrator. (scene iii) Sara is on the telephone with Edgar, her former husband. (scene iv) Phil, as narrator, discusses his anal personality, and Jerry’s ironing his own shirts. (scene v) Sara derides Jerry for not ironing a shirt and to change his slacks for dinner, and the plumbing. (scene vi) The next morning, Saturday, at dawn. (scene vii) Phil as narrator discusses breakfast and the N. Y. Times crossword puzzle. (scene viii) Sara is on the telephone leaving a message for Mr. Berenstein, Edgar’s attorney. (scene ix) Jerry is on the telephone with Sara. (scene x) Sara arrives home.  •  Sara Blotz mixes Georgia drawl and New York accent in an excessively-impressionistic pattern of speech that lacks detail, shows self-dramatization and theatricality as well as exaggerated emotion and pseudo-authority. Her strong, dramatic opinions lack detailed, factual support, having underlying vague and diffuse reasons. Suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by circumstances, she often misinterprets relationships as intimate until she has attained what she wants. Displaying rapidly shifting and shallow emotions, Sara flaunts her physical appearance for attention. She frantically avoids real or imagined abandonment, suffering anxiety attacks that vary from minutes to hours. Her frequent outbursts often involve inappropriate, intense, or poorly-controlled anger and temper tantrums. Almost uncontrollable anger drives Sara to hurt anyone unless she senses that exploitable person can suit her agenda; once that person denies, or reneges on, a promise to help, Sara lashes out in retribution. She displays fragility or seductiveness or faked dependency to control a partner, be it Edgar, her former husband, or Jerry, her current husbandFurther, she uses deceit, repeated lying, even aliases to attain what she wants. An undiagnosed borderline personality, Sara impulsively spends, profligately seeks sexual partners, and abuses illegal substances.  •  Jerry Blotz, who speaks with a Georgia drawl, is obsessive compulsive: he likes his toys. Unaware, at the time of their marriage, that Sara is manipulating him for her own needs; he is flattered that a beautiful woman has consented to marry him.  •  Lucille (Luci) Rosenberg, a native of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, is an attorney with successful family law practice. Luci has not seen her childhood friend since the wedding seven years ago of Sara and Edgar Hershowitz, her former husband, in Atlanta. Their only contact has been e-mail and an occasional greeting card. Luci and Phil did not attend the wedding three years ago of Sara and Jerry, her present husband.  •  Phil Rosenberg, a native of New York City, is Luci’s husband. Other than what his wife has told him, he knows little about Sara and Jerry. Phil, a workaholic with his own problems, is a very selfish person. He is anal about proper English, his personal dress, and the environment: specifically, the waste of natural assets such as water and air. I use him here as something of a know-it-all stand-up comedian wanna-be. Phil doubles as a narrator when he feels that the situation needs interpretation or clarification.  •  Jacob and Elias Hershowitz (voices) are sons of Sara’s marriage with Edgar.  •  An intermission could follow scene v and turn the script into a two-act play.

 §  Themes abandonment, anxiety attack, borderline personality disorder, desertion, emotional blackmail, false authority, flaunting of self, longtime friendship, marriage, self-dramatization, suicide.

See also Thomas M. Kelly’s

  • "The Butterfly Within" a 55-minute drama in English in five scenes (translated into Yiddish and Korean), set on a rooftop of Lower East Side tenement, New York City, at or before dusk Friday and Saturday, 2004, 1m1f
  • "Fana!" a 90-minute drama in English set in a theatre, June 4, 2002, 4m (+ 2f voices)
  • "Too Late to Waken," a 35-minute drama in English, in thirty-eight scenes,set in a dining room, home, 1964-1984, 3m1f


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Page mounted May 21, 2003, October 14, 2004, by the Webmaster.

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