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“A Little Lear and Laundry”

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Casner, Howard W. (American playwright, 1954-____), “A Little Lear and Laundry,”

a 50-minute drama in English, set in a laundromat, 1993,


  •  © 1993 by Howard W. Casner;  •  script/American rights available from playwright Howard W. Casner, 619 West Stratford, 304, Chicago, Illinois  60657, U.S.A., e-mail hcasner@aol.com, telephone (home) 773-871-7860; or script/international rights from agent at  byrn@hollowhills.fsnet.co.uk.  •  Cited by Howard W. Casner, via e-mail April 2, 2001; Casner says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Cordell (m), 21, very young non-professional, not much money; Larry (m), 35, young professional, thinnish, signs of money; Reggie (m), 35, young professional, signs of money, Larry’s lover.

  §  Synopsis “Cordell is doing laundry. At the laundromat, he strikes up a conversation with Larry, someone Cordell is surprised to see doing his own laundry since Larry is the owner of the most popular bar in Chicago and should be paying to have such things done. Larry tells him he just felt like doing more things for himself the way he used to, trying to get ‘closer to the earth.’ Cordell takes this with a grain of salt, but when he wants to know what Larry’s lover thinks of this Thoreaurish approach, Larry gets agitated and changes the subject. Since Cordell is an aspiring playwright, Larry tells him of the time in high school when the English/drama teacher took on the ridiculous task of mounting King Lear, with herself in the lead, even achieving a certain amount of dignity for herself. The production was, of course, disastrous, but at one point, during the mad scene, the teacher had grown so furious at all the mistakes, she somehow became King Lear for that moment. At the end of this story, Reggie enters, furious because when the laundry truck arrived, no one could locate Larry. Reggie was finally called away from business negotiations and while searching he saw Larry here doing laundry. While trying to get Larry to come home, the two engage in a tug-of-war over the laundry. Larry falls and Reggie is mortified. He learns that Larry is sick and dying. But Larry still refuses to return home with Reggie, wanting the dignity of doing the rest of the chores on his own. Reggie reluctantly relents and they agree to meet for dinner. When he’s gone, Larry asks Cordell not to judge Larry too harshly, that he’s just very scared and doesn’t always know how to react to the situation that they’re now facing together. As Larry leaves he quotes King Lear: ‘As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, they slap us in their fun.’ Cordell agrees with this assessment, and Larry leaves.

  §  Comment “Only a table and chairs are needed. The machines are pantomimed and, except for one sheet as described in the script, all folding of sheets is pantomimed. The play combined with two other plays, ‘A Cold Coming We Had of It’ and ‘A Misreading of Camus’ for a highly-successful evening called Random Acts: Three Tales From Boystown.  •  These three plays have been published on-line by Hollow Hills Publishing of the U.K.  •  Casner’s plays have been seen in the U.S.A. in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York

  §  Themes AIDS, death, dignity, gay, illness, King Lear, laundromat, Shakespeare.

See also Howard W. Casner’s


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Page mounted April 7, 2001, and updated June 14, 2001, by the Webmaster.

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Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online


the more-extensive print volumes

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