THE WHITMAN PIECE

A Touchstone Theatre Production

Written by
Bill George

Directed by
Christopher Shorr

Movement by
Cathleen O'Malley

Stage Manager
Emma Chong

In collaboration with
Moravian College Theatre

The Chronicle is bits and pieces--photos, back story documents, video and confessions--documenting the emergence of The Whitman Piece from little more than a notion of the mind, through it's various incarnations, workshops, readings, and finally to its first public staging April, 2011.

5th September 2010

Quote

With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn;
With all the mournful voices of the dirges, pour’d around the coffin,
The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs—Where amid these you journey,
With the tolling, tolling bells’ perpetual clang;
Here! coffin that slowly passes,
I give you my sprig of lilac.

DANNY
(Screaming.) No! Hold off! Stop! Don’t… (The music comes to an abrupt halt.)
He’s not dead! You fools. Get away. Get away from him. Open this.

CHADD
Danny! (Chadd tries to stop Danny and he clocks him.)

JB
Whoa, whoa, there Danny.

DANNY
Get the fuck away. (The coffin is entirely his now.) Don’t touch me. Don’t touch this coffin, do you hear me!

CHADD
O.K., O.K., we won’t touch it.

DANNY
Get out! Get out! (He throws Ann.)

CHADD
Stop it! Danny! O.K., we’re getting out, just don’t hurt anybody.

MARY
Danny!

DANNY
You too, Mary; don’t get in my way.

MARY
No one’s going to do anything, Danny. It’s alright.

DANNY
It’s not alright! It’s not alright! You’re burying my son, can’t you see that? And he’s not… He’s not… …Garland! (He’s trying to pry the top of the coffin off.) Garland! Do you think you can fool me? Oh, you laugh! You laugh! Do you think you can stop me? I know what you’re doing! You think you can bury him when I’m not looking? You don’t know. You don’t know my child. I know my boy, and he loves me. He loves me, alright? Open this up! Now!

JB
Just step back Danny.

DANNY
This is my son you’ve got here! My son! You’re not putting him in the ground. You’d kill him; you’d kill me too, if you could, wouldn’t you? Don’t say you wouldn’t. (He gets the lid off…it’s empty. Long pause.) It’s empty. (Silence.)

JB
Danny? (Silence.)

MARY
Danny? (Silence.)

FRANCIS
(Coming forward through the crowd, offering Danny a cigarette.) Hey, Danny…smoke? (Danny looks up.)

DANNY
Yeah, sure. (He slowly climbs out of the grave with a hand up from Francis, takes the cigarette.)
I thought they were burying Garland.

FRANCIS
Yeah, we know.

MARY
Wha’do you say I take you home, Danny?

DANNY
O.K., thanks.

MARY
…get a cup of tea.

CHADD
(In a whisper…) You sure that’s a good idea?

MARY
(Waving him off.) Shhh. Get Beau. I’ll meet you back at the theatre.

— The Whitman Piece (Draft 2.2)  Act III, Scene 1  The Graveyard Scene