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"30 Minutes"
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Musgrove, J. J. (American playwright, Fine Arts Recruiter, Admissions, Graceland College, August 30, 1969-____, "30 Minutes,"

a 30-minute drama in English set in a death row prison cell with a few flashbacks, 1997,


©1997 by J. J. Musgrove, script/rights available from J. J. Musgrove, telephone (home) 515-784-7397, (work) 515-784-5123, fax 515-784-5480. Cited to this site by playwright via e-mail, February 3, 1997; Musgrove says,

  §  Synopsis "Logan, a death row inmate, is awaiting execution in thirty minutes. Beckett, a sadistic guard, tantalizes Logan about a possible governor's pardon. Logan during his four years on death row has been told that it was "the night" four times. He determines to take his life into his own hands to deny the guard a form of victory.

"Beckett senses that Logan may try to attempt suicide, so he puts nineteen-year-old Joey into the cell with Logan. This goes against all rules since death row inmates have solitary confinement. The guard does this to see what Logan will do: kill himself, kill Joey and get another trial to stay the execution, or let Beckett win. Beckett's excuse for putting Joey with Logan is that there are no other rooms for Joey and that Beckett is overseeing preparation of Joey's cell. Joey has murdered because of his having a pregnant girlfriend at home and his asking his mean boss for a raise (both scenes are flashbacks). Logan hates Joey at first, but Joey somewhat wins him over.

"Logan explains his being on Death Row and his planning to kill himself. Joey fights Logan, saying that a pardon may still arrive. Logan attempts to kill himself with a knife wrenched from the bedframe. As Joey and Logan fight over the knife, and Logan is killed. Logan thanks Joey for allowing him to achieve death. Beckett comes in, sees that Logan is dead, realizes that he has both won and lost. The guard tells Joey that the room is now ready: Logan's cell is the room. When Beckett strides away leaving Logan's body in the cell with Joey, the youth starts to look at the knife.

  §  Comment "This show premiered in a student production at Graceland College, in Lamoni, Iowa, then had a workshop performance at Central Missouri State University, in Warrensburg, Missouri. It has been performed in arena staging with lights suggesting bars as well as in proscenium staging; the latter was good but not nearly so visually interesting.

"Despite the locale, the show has humor. Minimal, appropriate profanity occurs. Joey ridicules the profanity of the situation and language; that should alleviate concern in some departments or companies.

"The show needs insignificant revision to alleviate inactivity during monologues. All in all, this is a good show with much meat and humor."

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Page updated February 27, 1997, and updated April 3, 2003, by the site Webmaster.

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