Turvin, Mark S. P. (American playwright, 19__- ), "Selective
a 25-minute drama with adult language, set any spring after
January 20th, 1981,
© 1989, 1993 Mark S. P. Turvin and Goldfish Publishers;
script/rights available from Mark S. P. Turvin,
1901 E. Apache Boulevard #175, Tempe, AZ 85281-7508 or via e-mail
at firstname.lastname@example.org Cited by playwright via
e-mail email@example.com July 12, 1995; Turvin says,
Dramatis Personae "Jeff Kleins (m), 46,
tall, dark, wears a formal tuxedo; Matt Kleins (m), 21, tall,
dark, also wearing a tux, Jeff's son
Synopsis "Jeff sits at the table, waiting.
His son, Matt, soon enters, carrying two coffee cups. After a
stiff exchange of salutations and a pre-planned congratulations
by Jeff about Matt's graduation from college, the conversation
sinks to a series of near-misses on both sides about a myriad
of topics. They discuss Matt's attending of graduate school for
theatre writing and directing, which Jeff obviously has trepidations
about. Matt describes how he was accepted into the program at
Boston University. They discuss sports, Jeff forgetting the Matt
enjoyed baseball. Throughout, Matt keeps bristling and Jeff grows
more and more annoyed at their inability to communicate. Matt
finally launches into a tirade against his father. He points out
his father's general lack of interest in his activities, and how
his father has forgotten the things that are important to him.
Jeff eloquently explains why he is the way he is, talking about
choices that were denied him by the times and situations he grew
up in. He tries to justify his reactions to Matt's current situations.
Matt lays into his father one last time, stating that his father
never was around for him when he was growing up. "The tide
of the conversation turns when Jeff starts pointing out the things
that Matt has forgotten about his childhood, and how much time
Jeff spent with him when he could. Jeff reminds Matt about their
car trips together, and his sons interests in certain toys and
books. They settle into a nostalgic, easier conversation for a
short time, while Matt concedes that they both seem to have a
selective memory. The tensions ease, until Matt begins to complain
that he needed more time. Jeff tells him that this is impossible:
Matt should be happy that they managed to get this far along.
He advises him to learn from this, maybe write about this. Matt
remains upset. Together, the father and son take the cups and
candle off of the table top, then the tablecloth. A flat-topped
coffin is revealed underneath. Matt opens the top of this coffin,
and Jeff gets in. Matt closes the lid, then takes both coffee
cups and exits.
Comments "This universal discussion explores
links between fathers and sons, and its poignant ending is a reminder
of how simple misunderstandings can lead to a lifetime of regrets.
Setting is a dim stage. Center is a seven foot long, flat-topped
coffin, set as a table with a starched white tablecloth, almost
floor length. On the center of the makeshift table is a single
candle in a beautiful silver holder. At each end of the makeshift
table is a chair. In this somber setting, a father and son discuss
the twenty-one years that have passed between them. Matt, who
has just graduated from college, is readying to go to graduate
school for playwriting and directing. His business-oriented father,
Jeff, has obvious apprehensions about his sons artistic tendencies
and what is in his future. Amidst an atmosphere of hesitation
and suspicion on both parts, the father and son attempt to find
a bond that will allow them to make up for the time that has led
them to their current standoff. Seated at opposite ends of a long
table, the two men try to get past the only connection that remains
between them, the mother, to find something, anything, that will
link them by more than an accident of birth. As they search, they
discover how each has missed the other at many opportunities.
They now realize that they have to rely on a selective memory
to try to find where they lost their understandings of each other.
Production and Publication History: 1987-1st (shorter) draft written
and workshopped: Boston University; Boston, MA; 1988-1st draft
produced: Emerson College; Boston, MA; 1990-1st prize: Arizona
Commission of the Arts Playwright's Contest; 1991-1st draft produced:
Stagebrush Theatre; Scottsdale, AZ; 1993-2nd (current) draft produced:
Playwright's Workshop Theatre; Phoenix, AZ; 1995-2nd draft produced:
Aurora Dinner Theatre; Abilene, TX; 1995-2nd draft published:
Alabama Literary Review; Troy, AL" Turvin's home page
has additional information.
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