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Play of the Day

Glamorgan and Other Plays by Don Nigro


I first discovered the plays of Don Nigro when I was in high school. I fell in love with "Seascape with Sharks and Dancer" which is chockfull of great monologues I had no business even thinking of performing at that age and which I memorized anyway. In college I found "The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines" which is a collection of one-woman shows that include Ophelia back from the dead to explain what happened, a girl sharing her experience doing a scene from Hamlet for an acting class and a professional actress with an odd obsession with The Scottish Play. But all this is another entry..

Glamorgan and Other Plays is Nigro in his best format - short plays and long monologues.

Glamorgan is a short play which is the first story of the Pendragon family. Most of Nigro's play, I discovered in reading this, are actually about members of the Pendragon family through history. This tells how Jane Griffith came to fall in love with the Lord of Pendragon Castle and how their progeny made the trip to America. It's a lot less academic and more poetic and strange that I've made it sound here.

The Weird Sisters is a monologue where a young woman named Grushenka explains that she's stopped reading Dostoyevsky but has developed pounding headaches which she thinks might be a sign that she has a twin living in her skull, an unborn fetus who tells her all the flaws in her looks, suggests how she might kill herself or others and urges her to "...violent acts of copulation with dangerous looking strangers on the subway."

Fair Rosamund and her Murderer is a two person play about Rosamund, one of the mistresses of Henry II. Henry was so jealous he constructed a labyrinth for her to live in but Eleanor still found out about her and sent (naturally) the Murderer to hunt her down. The Murderer, it turns out, is not a killer at all but was simply the thief in the next cell who spoke up in hopes of being hung. He was given this task instead and promptly becomes lost in the labyrinth. When he finally finds Rosamund, they become lovers.

Within the Ghostly Mansion's Labyrinth. The labyrinth is the connective tissue of this anthology. This piece is a long monologue performed by widow of the heir to the Winchester Riffle fortune. She was told by her husband's ghost that she must construct a house for all the spirits of those killed by Winchester riffles through time. At first things were fairly calm, she did things like hold banquets for all the ghosts, but now she is coming to believe that house is such a maze of rooms, dead ends and oddities because she will have to use it to hide from the ghosts looking to kill her.

Give Us a Kiss and Show Us Your Knickers. If I were taking a directing class and had to select a short play for a one-act festival, this one would be it. Amy and Page are roommates, Amy's newest boyfriend, Wes, is coming over to meet Page and Amy is all a twitter because she has had terrible luck with men and thinks Wes might finally be the right guy she needs. She excuses herself to the bathroom just before Wes arrives, leaving Wes and Page to chat for 5 pages. Plenty of time to Page to explain to Wes all of Amy's theories that Benny Hill Show contains all the secrets of life, her suicide attempts and how she once attacked a man with an ice pick for getting on her nerves. Wes, of course, runs for the hills but everything will be okay because Amy always has Page. "Always. I promise. Always."

Necropolis is another 2 person script about a man discovering his one-night stand in an unnamed Eastern European country is actually a sniper. There is a lot of meat there, but you'll have more fun discovering all of it for yourself, really.

Squirrels. Hazel delivers a long monologue about how she was rather shocked to give birth, not to babies, but to a furry ocean of squirrels. It's a great monologue I would love to do someday, just not in front of the children. After the squirrels all run away, she has my favorite line in this entire anthology "I grieved, I got psychiatric help for the cat. Now we're better."

Major Weir. A 2 person play about Major Weir, or more accurately, his ghost, He was hung for satanic practices, bestiality and for having sexual relations with his younger, barking mad sister. Or perhaps he was just an innocent man and these were all delusions placed in his head by her madness.

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