4M/2F

The Bridge Party

110 min, dark comedy
Single, two-level, unchanging
...ambitious and compelling...
-Playwrights Horizons, NY.
..powerful language and characters...
- A.S.K., Los Angeles.
...amazing craft.. ...rich and evocative language...
- Sonoma County Repertory Theatre
...challenging, ambitious, intelligent...
(Top 10) Plays for the 21st Century.
Work shopped at New American Theater (now Riverfront Theater).

A portrait painter, who wants to lay to rest the demons of his past, gives free reign to his shadow and persona only to discover that acceptance and forgiveness are fleeting commodities.

Óge lives a quiet life as a portrait painter in his modest studio in Ireland until his landlady, Sophie McCran, brings bluebells into the house. This triggers a melt down from which appear Shaw* and Parson. Shaw is the keeper of the Shadow, the artistic part of Óge that has been trying for many years to entice Parson to admit to the sins of the past and thus release Óge from his guilt.

The bluebells also invite the arrival of Óge's friends of old: Waxo,Myles and his erstwhile sweetheart, Deirdre. The protagonist, Shaw, strives to get his antagonist, Parson to accept the Shadow (i.e. what happened) as real. But Parson will not accept anything until he knows what he is accepting, and Shaw is reluctant to recall the real event that caused all the current torment. Waxo, Myles, and Deirdre help Shaw to discover and Parson to accept the truth.

But all is not what it appears to be. There is more to the truth than anyone expects and ultimately more than Óge is willing to accept. His non-acceptance means that, this time next year, when the bluebells bloom once again, Óge and his friends are destined to repeat The Bridge Party.

* Shaw and Óge are played by the same actor.

Cast - 4M/2F

ÓGE (M 50+) An artist. Contained.
DEIRDRE (F 20+) An old friend of Óge. Sweet.
PARSON (M 50+) Óge's Persona. Fastidious.
SHAW (M 50+) Óge's Shadow. Earthy. (Doubles with Óge)
SOPHIE McCRAN (F 55+) A new friend of Óge. Rabelaisian.
WAXO (M 20+) An old friend of Óge. Cunning.
MYLES (M 20+) An old friend of Óge. Simple.

Structure

The action takes place in six frames over the course of 24 hours. The play itself runs about 110 minutes.

Frame 1 Morning.
Frame 2 Forenoon.
Frame 3 Afternoon.
Intermission
Frame 4 Evening.
Frame 5 Night.
Frame 6 Morning.

Stage

Rooms under the Arcadia Art Gallery somewhere in Ireland.

At least two levels: upper and lower. A stairs or ramp runs between the levels.

The upper level bears some resemblance to a bridge or one pier of a bridge. On it are a small table, one chair, a reading lamp, and a door. Outside the door an unseen stairs ascends to an unseen art gallery at street level.

The lower level has a strong feeling of claustrophobic enclosure. It contains a rudimentary artist's studio, a table, a portrait sitting chair, an easel with an unseen painting mounted on it, and an unmade bed. The place is littered with the trappings and bric-a-brac of a confused existence. Various finished and unfinished paintings hang on, and lie stacked against, the walls. On the table are: an empty flower vase, a lighted candle, a bottle of liquor and a couple of shot classes.

 

In rewrite...
The play has nothing to do with the card game. The Bridge is a dilapidated railway trestle on the route Parson took to and from the swimming hole in his teenage years (this is not a coming of age story). An ill-remembered event that occurred on the bridge is the force that drives the play.