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“Commentaries of Death”

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English, William S. (American playwright, writer, actor, 1952-____), “Commentaries of Death,”

a 60-minute modern drama in English in the genre of Poe in ten scenes, set in the house and stage of a theater, there and then,

3m (+ 5 extras in audience)

; • © 2003 by William S. English; • in William S. English’s Commentaries of Death (Alamogordo, New Mexico, U.S.A.: The Author, 2003); • script/rights available from William S. English, 1304 Indian Wells Road #15, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310, U.S.A., e-mail bill.english@cybernet-cafe.org, telephone (home/work/fax) 505-437-0923. • Cited by William S. English via ftp March 31, 2004; English says,

§ Dramatis Personae Death (m), middle age, Victorian type character; Life (m), indeterminate age, upbeat, perhaps gay; 21st Century Death (m), 35, modern, erudite; Audience Members (5 m or f non-speaking), various ages.

§ Synopsis “The play starts as soon as theater patrons enter the theater. As they enter, they are scanned by a security guard and then allowed to go to their seats. Scenes one and two set the basic mood, but the play is best performed either as the only show or the last show in a series of one-acts. The play starts with 21st Century Death coming from the back of the house yelling over his shoulder and coming to the front of the stage apron. He establishes that a bomb has exploded and destroyed the theater and that they (the patrons) are either dead or dying and that he is Death. Death, 21st Century Death, and Life talk to the audience, commenting on and observing life and death. As they do, they take on a human quality, showing that they, too, are concerned about life and death in all its aspects.

§ Comment “One act with ten scenes. There is a surprise ending. The stage is set in basic black with pools of light shooting straight down interspersed at various points around the stage. Lighting is fairly simple but includes the house lights. Props consist of tumblers with ice, one or two cigarettes, and three stools stage center. • A staged reading of this play occurred at NMSU-A's Rohovec Theater, performed by members of Professor Connie Breding's Dramatic Arts Class, March, 2004.

§ Themes death, dramatic reading, life, Poe (Edgar Allan Poe, American critic, poet, short story writer, 1809-1849).

This Website continues under construction and welcomes new citations and comments.

Page mounted March 31, 2004, and updated May 30, 2004, by the Webmaster.

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1/2/3/4 for the Show: A Guide to Small-Cast One-Act Plays

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