Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

In a Dark Dark House

In a Dark Dark House

by Neil LaBute

See All Formats & Editions

Two brothers meet on the grounds of a private psychiatric facility. Drew, has been court-confined for observation and has called his older brother, Terry, to corroborate his claim of childhood sexual abuse by a young man from many summers ago. Drew's request releases barely-hidden animosities between the two: Is he using these repressed memories to save himself


Two brothers meet on the grounds of a private psychiatric facility. Drew, has been court-confined for observation and has called his older brother, Terry, to corroborate his claim of childhood sexual abuse by a young man from many summers ago. Drew's request releases barely-hidden animosities between the two: Is he using these repressed memories to save himself while smearing the name of his brother's friend? Through pain and acknowledged betrayal, the brothers come to grips with and begin to understand the legacy of abuse, both inside and outside their family home.

In a Dark, Dark House is the latest work from Neil LaBute, American theater's great agent provocateur. The play will have its world Premiere in May 2007, Off Broadway at New York's MCC Theater.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“There is no playwright on the planet these days who is writing better than Neil LaBute.” —John Lahr, The New Yorker

“The most legitimately provocative and polarizing playwright at work today.” —David Amsden, New York magazine

“[LaBute's] view of modern men and women is unsparing . . . [He] is holding up a pitiless mirror to ourselves. We may not like what we see, but we can't deny that--if only in some dark corner of our souls--it is there.” —Jacques le Sourd, The Journal News (White Plains, New York)

“Like a chiropractor of the soul, LaBute is looking for realignment, listening for a crack.” —John Istel, Elle

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
Second Edition, Revised Edition
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

In a Dark Dark House

A Play
By Neil LaBute

Faber & Faber

Copyright © 2008 Neil LaBute
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780865479838

In a Dark Dark House
First PartSilence. Darkness. 
A manicured stretch of lawn surrounded by trees.Several areas to sit (benches, chairs, etc.) on two levels, with stone steps leading down from one to the other. It feels well hidden from the rest of the world. It is, in fact. 
A man--DREW--staring out at the coming morning. Sound of wildlife. Maybe just a hint of traffic in the distance. 
DREW goes over and checks a high hedge, trying to look through it. He wanders down a set of steps and studies a different wall (unseen). Stands on tiptoe. 
Another man--TERRY--appears out of the forest. He stands and watches this for a moment. Silent. Finally: 
TERRY Go for it. Make it over and you're outta here. 
Startled, DREW turns around and then smiles--he takes one step forward; TERRY keeps his distance for the moment. 
TERRY Or you can fall back on your ass and I'll say I found you that way. Broken collarbone or however you wanna play it. / (Beat.) Should buy you an extra few weeks ...DREW You're funny. / Right! Hey, man, what's up?TERRY Not much 
DREW smiles at this and waves TERRY over--another step from DREW but he doesn't commit just yet. TERRY doesn't move. 
DREW No, come on, dude, seriously ... what?TERRY Nothing. Really. (Beat.) And don't say that, call me dude. Grown-ups don't use words like that--not if we can help it, anyway ...DREW Whatever.TERRY That one, either. (Beat.) Time to grow up, dude ...DREW See?! (Smiles.) You said it.TERRY Yeah, but who says I'm a grown-up?DREW True ...TERRY ... I stopped doing that shit years ago. Growing up sucks. 
The two men smile at this. DREW seems content to grin for a while, but TERRY calls it quits pretty quickly. Listening. 
TERRY The road's close ... the highway or whatever that is. Freeway. / Place is right off the exit, almost ...DREW Yeah. I noticed that--I mean, not today but, you know, like, at some point. Sitting in one of the, ahh, six hundred groups a day they make us go to here! / I heard traffic ...TERRY Huh. / ... Probably five hundred yards's all.DREW Which is really stupid, right? I'm not gonna do anything--I was just looking around--but a bunch of the people they've got in here? If they knew civilization was just over there--man, it could really get messed up in this joint ...TERRY S'pose so. Crazies all running up and down the road, dodging cars ...DREW Exactly! (Laughs.) / That'd be cool.TERRY Uh-huh. / Pretty funny ...DREW Although nobody around here likes it if you use that word, crazies. Just so you know.TERRY Thanks for the tip.DREW I'm just saying ... 
DREW shrugs--TERRY nods but doesn't say anything. 
TERRY Great. (Beat.) ... So.DREW Yep. So, so, so. (Beat) So, you gonna stay for lunch or what? I mean, they'll let you in if you want some; chow's pretty decent.TERRY Sounds good. (Thinks.) I need to be back at six, but otherwise, fine.DREW Too bad, gonna miss movie night ... It's On the Waterfront or some shit. Black and white. (Beat.) Work?TERRY Uh-uh. 'S Friday. I'm off Fridays and Tuesdays ... unless I get hooked up for some overtime, but usually no. / Fridays're mine.DREW Huh. / Then what, some lady ... ?TERRY Nah. Got a Little League game at six, I'm doing some umping this year--but I'd be happy to have a bite with you. Sure.DREW Cool. (Beat.) I think it's stuffed peppers or something today ... plus they've always got their sandwich bar. Loads of cold cuts and crap. / It's tasty ...TERRY That sounds fine. / Good.DREW Nice! (Beat.) Just like old times.TERRY Not really. Mom's cooking was the worst. / Christ help us if she did anything like a stuffed pepper!DREW True! / That's totally true ... Thank God for Swanson's, right? 
They smile at this--apparently Mom wasn't much of a chef. 
TERRY Yeah ... (Beat.) So, I'm not sure I can find the right ... whatever-you-call-it ... segue for this, so I'm gonna just jump right in--what's going on? / Huh?DREW Nada. / Nothing.TERRY Nothing's gonna come of "nothing," Drew, so try again. (Beat.) You're in the hospital, little brother, okay? The psych hospital, so don't do the whole "it's cool" thing ...DREW I'm serious, I'm just ... you know. (Tries to grin.) Anyway, this isn't the real hospital. It's only the addictions unit--for us overzealous wine drinkers ...TERRY I'm not your wife, okay, so I don't need all the bullshit excuses ...DREW ... Terry, I'm not ...TERRY I got called to come down here and do some family therapy, Drew, so don't tell me I drove a bunch of hours to have you play games with me. I got a game tonight--I need the truth from you ... (Waits.) I don't give two shits what you do with these folks up here--that is your business and if the insurance pays for this, then all the better--but do not mess around with me because I'll come over there and kick your fucking ass, I swear to God.A silence grows after this--the dynamic between these two is now pretty obvious. 
DREW Great to see you, too, man ...TERRY You're a dick.DREW Yeah. It's my specialty ... just ask Judy. She keeps a running list of my failings in her purse ...TERRY She should. / And I don't have time for your dumb-shit act, either, Drew.DREW Thanks, dude. / I know that, bro.TERRY I really do not.DREW All right, cool. I get that, and it is totally respected. / Totally.TERRY Then fine. / Drew! God ... you sound like an episode of one of those, you know ... some bad TV show.DREW What do you mean?TERRY You know, those, like, California-type television programs. With the surfer kids and that sort of deal. / 9-0-2-whatever-the-fuck-it-is ...DREW No, I don't. / Uh-uh ...TERRY Bullshit! "Dude, bro, totally ..." All your crap. I hate that. (Beat.) Did you used to do that in court?DREW Sometimes ... Forget it, man. Sorry.TERRY Don't be sorry, just stop. / Stop doing it when I'm around you ...DREW Fine. / Okay.TERRY You're not a kid, all right? You are not some teenager who can run all over doing that, because it sounds stupid. You sound childish, Drew. You just appear goofy and it's a little embarrassing ... (Beat.) You are a grown man.DREW Thirty's the new twenty ...TERRY Yeah, well, you're thirty-five.DREW So? That only makes me twenty-five then. Still young ...TERRY Right.DREW I can't help it--I've got a lot of young people working for me. They rub off on you.TERRY Yeah, and how does Judy feel about that? Having a husband who sounds like that Tori Spelling girl ...DREW We're ... I try and keep it to a low roar around her--this little midlife thing I'm dealing with ...TERRY So that's what this is? / This.DREW Hmmm? / What ... ?TERRY Why I'm here.DREW No, its ... (Beat.) What'd they say to you? I mean, do you have any idea why I'm ... What'd they say?TERRY Nothing. That you were here and in for a while, that's all. 'S court-appointed or something ... right? It doesn't really matter--you've done so much shit it all just blends ...DREW I'm sure.TERRY They said you mentioned some stuff in session that ... stuff that also would be of interest to me.DREW Ahhh. Got it.TERRY Yeah, and so I drove down. I drove here today so that we could ... you know. Talk about it.DREW ... they didn't really say "stuff," did they? No offense, but that's not very professional if they did.TERRY Drew ... don't bust my balls, okay? It was something like that ... "issues" or "problems" or some damn thing. I don't remember now. It sounded urgent so I hopped in mySkylark and dragged my ass down here for four hours. / To be with you ...DREW Thanks, man. / I appreciate that.TERRY Yeah. You know ... yeah.DREW Not that I want you to see me in this place, but hey, that's part of my recovery, to get past the whole vanity thing. Be in touch with the "real" me ...TERRY Sounds good.DREW Don't lie--that sounds gay even to me and I have a far greater threshold for that stuff than you do ...TERRY Well, that's true! 
For the first time in a while the two brothers laugh at something together. DREW suddenly pounces on TERRY. Bit of horseplay erupts-pushing and shoving. Wrestling. 
TERRY ... Faggot! / Get off me! / Well, you always did know, right?DREW Come on! / Ohh, dude! / What's that?TERRY When something's queer or not ... you've got this, like ... / Yes!!DREW Gaydar? / Oh yeah, I'm the king of that kind of stuff. The gay-osity of things!TERRY I figured.DREW I'm super-gay when it comes to all that crap!! / Curtains and cologne and shit ... I'm a Pottery Barn fag.TERRY Exactly! / Ha-ha! When you gonna do the ol' "out of the closet" deal? I still got all that part to look forward to, don't I?DREW Fuck yeah! / We'll have ourselves a big party and everything ... fly Mom out for it, even.TERRY I knew it! / ... Sounds great ...DREW She can make some stuffed peppers for us ... (Falls to ground.) Ahhh!TERRY ... and you can help her--being the big queen that you are now. (Pins DREW down.) / Slip on your Crate and Barrel apron and just go to town!DREW 'Course! / You got it ... 
The two men slowly stop, letting the moment pass--trying to keep it light. The silence gets uncomfortable. 
TERRY Here. (Helps DREW up.) Anyways.DREW Yeah. Anyway. (Beat.) Nothing like a couple fag jokes to help break the ice, right? / (Smiles.) Yep.TERRY Good times. / So ... (Beat.) What's up?DREW Nothing.TERRY Uh-uh, try again. Now.DREW I'm ... dude, you are a tad intense, anybody ever say that to you?TERRY Don't call me "dude." Really ...DREW Whatever.TERRY I mean it. (Beat.) I'm waiting to hear, Drew, so come on ...DREW It's not a big deal! I was in for a seventy-two-hour observation and they ... you know, chose to extend--at gunpoint. (Grins.) ... So I'm embracing the thing and I'll be here as long as it takes this time. I promise.TERRY Fine. / That's great, Drew.DREW I'm gonna kick the pills and everything. / Yep. Simple as that.TERRY Nothing is simple. "Simple's" not even simple anymore ...DREW 'S that right?TERRY Yep.DREW Sorry, didn't get the memo ...TERRY Yeah, well, you best keep up, bro. World is changing on us, each and every second, so it pays to keep a close eye on things ...DREW I hear ya.TERRY Uh-huh ... (Beat.) So?DREW What
DREW stares at him for a minute, a grin rolling off his face in waves
DREW You're right, man ... you are shit at transitions.TERRY Yep. So I'm gonna ask you again ... and then after that, that's when I'm gonna get pissed and start in on the angry part of this.DREW Terry ...TERRY Drew--why the fuck am I here right now? Tell me.DREW ... Come on, dude.TERRY You're pushing it, seriously. You are, like, really pushing me here. Just-say-it.DREW It's embarrassing.TERRY I'm sure it is ... I mean, wait'll this gets around your office! I don't care if it's a private wing or not--people are gonna talk.DREW I don't mind about that. / Who do I know that their opinions are gonna matter to me? Huh?TERRY Oh, sure ... / ... Somebody ...DREW Who?! (Grins.) I don't have a boss, I'm fucking rich ... and my wife and kids've already heard. (Beat.) Only person I was nervous about telling was you.TERRY ... And here I am.DREW Exactly.TERRY And why is that?DREW What?TERRY Why am I here, Drew? At this place with you, out in the woods, right now?DREW Because, man ... Because ...TERRY Good, that's good. Get it out.DREW Don't patronize me, big brother.TERRY Then just fucking say it, okay? This is getting a little silly ...DREW Okay, fine. Okay. I need you, all right? That's why ...TERRY What's that mean?DREW I'm ... what does it usually mean? / I'm reaching out here ...TERRY I dunno. / Fuck you are.DREW That hurts, dude ...TERRY Yeah, well, then put a bandage on it because it's already starting to stink ... (Beat.) You don't need anybody, not one person, and you have proved that a thousand times over, baby brother ...DREW WOW.TERRY Uh-huh, wow's right. I get about two calls a year fromyou--and since it's not Christmas or the week after my fucking birthday--why don't you go ahead, enlighten me.DREW Fine. (Beat.) I need you to do something for me. Is that what you were looking to hear? Huh? 'S that better?TERRY "Better" is pretty relative--but at least it's honest. You need for me to do you a favor, that sounds more believable than this other ... shit you've been pitching my way. / Right?DREW S'pose so. (Shrugs.) / Yep.TERRY So tell me, I'll see what I can do ... if it gets me back for the first inning, you can probably count on it happening. 
DREW sits down and fiddles with his ID bracelet for a bit. TERRY waits, silent
DREW I just need you to tell 'em the truth about something, back me up here on some stuff and that's all. / That is it.TERRY "Truth." / Well, that shouldn't be too hard ... for me.DREW What's that mean?TERRY Well, the "truth" is not exactly your specialty, is it? / If you've got the whatever-you-call-it--woo/--pulled over their eyes then that wouldn't surprise me. Par for the fucking course.DREW Dude ... / You know what, man, forget it.TERRY Fine.DREW Seriously.TERRY Happy to. Take care, pal ... enjoy the fucking cold cuts. 
TERRY starts off but DREW jumps up out of the chair and moves in front of him. Not blocking him exactly, but in the way. TERRY steps back.DREW Terry, come on.TERRY Don't suppose you wanna go to your art therapy with a broken nose, so I'd step outta my way.DREW Whatever.TERRY "Whatever" is what they're gonna use to pick you up off the grass with in a few minutes, you don't back the fuck up and let me pass. 
Stalemate as the two men stare at each other--in the end, DREW steps aside and lets his brother go. Just before TERRY disappears, DREW speaks: 
DREW It's about Todd. Todd Astin. 
TERRY comes to a quick stop. Freezes. He slowly turns
TERRY What'd you say?DREW I told them about him. 'Bout what he did. / Come on.TERRY What? / ... I don't follow.DREW Todd Astin.TERRY I know his name, you don't have to keep saying the name, okay? (Beat.) I wanna know why you just said it ...DREW It's about when we were kids.TERRY And?DREW ... and nothing, except for all the, you know ... his ...TERRY What?DREW I told 'em about the stuff that we ... I had to--had to, you know, get it off my chest.TERRY People don't have to do anything. Not at all--live, die,breathe, okay, but other than that, you don't got to do much of anything else ...DREW Yeah, well, if I wanna keep Judy and the kids in my life, then I do. I had to ...TERRY Huh.DREW She made an ultimatum on me, like, a week ago ... said if I didn't get honest with her about myself--my history and all that--then she was gonna leave me. Take the kids and go. Judy does not say shit like that without meaning it. Unlike me. (Beat.) She's at the end with all this ... surprised she lasted as long as she did.TERRY Me, too. You got a perfect family there and you piss 'em away ...DREW Yeah, well it's over now, dude--this here is the last chance I got, so that's why I need your help on it. I'm coming clean ... about all my past and everything, that's what I'm saying. 
TERRY nods at this, considering what to say next. Waits. 
DREW What?TERRY I'm a little lost here, Drew ... he never did anything with you. Right? 'S what you said.DREW No, he ... I mean, yeah. We ...TERRY You told me that, years ago. / You looked me right in the face and said that he never touched you ...DREW I know ... / I know I did, but ...TERRY Then I don't get this ...DREW That's what I'm trying to tell you here, Terry ...TERRY I warned you about that guy, like, a billion times, I told you that you needed to stay away from him and you said you would, you said that to me--said it over and over and over. (Beat.) Now, was that a lie or not?DREW It was, yeah.TERRY I see.DREW I'm sorry, but yes.TERRY So, after all I did to tell you that, getting sent away and, and--basically tossed out in the fucking trash by our dad--you still went off with him? / Hmmm?!DREW No, I ... / No ...TERRY Bullshit! Bull-fucking-shit!! You said you're gonna get honest, then fucking do it! You and Todd spent time together, right? Even after I specifically begged ya not to ... Right?!DREW NO! Not after, no--before, It was before you ever told me.TERRY What? (Beat.) Drew, what?DREW Sorry. It was already too late and so I just, you know, pretended. / I acted like everything was still okay but by that point ... no, it wasn't.TERRY Oh. / Ohh ... shit ...DREW I couldn't tell you, I'm sorry. I was too scared about it ...TERRY It was before?DREW Yeah, a lot before. (Beat.) All that stuff Todd did to me was before that. Way before ...TERRY You're kidding me ...DREW No. I mean, why else would I be in here right now? Talking about it?TERRY Ahhhh, about a thousand reasons ... Look at your life, little brother.DREW Dude, I'm trying to get myself on the straight and whatever, okay, so the truth is spilling out--I can see now that a lot of my behavior can be linked to this. Things that happened to me when I was a kid ...TERRY Well, that's convenient ...DREW Man, what a shitty thing to say!TERRY I'm not saying anything. I'm not saying it didn't happen--saying it's very useful for you to fall back on now ... so ...DREW Hey, look, I don't need you so bad that I gotta sit here and take any ol' crap that rolls out your mouth in my direction ... (Beat.) I'm not the greatest person, fine. I have lots to make up for in my life and with my family, well, all right, I'll work on that, but I don't have to swallow a bunch of your shit, too. I really don't, Terry ... 
This seems to actually land for TERRY--he nods at DREW and lets it soak in. Considering. 
TERRY Look, if that is the truth, that he and you ... then I'm very sorry and ... I'll do anything I can to help you here. All I can do. I just wish you would've said something to me, like, back in the day ... when I could've done something about it. / Saved you.DREW Well ... / ... you can help me now.TERRY I know, but ... I just ...DREW That's all that matters.TERRY True. Yeah ...DREW It's all the past. I'm just gonna put that behind me and move ahead. / That's what I want ... I do.TERRY 'Kay. / 'S very forgiving of you.DREW You have to, bro. Have to forgive to take the next step ...TERRY I see. You learn that here?DREW Nah ... people been telling that to me for years! Therapists, a few doctors, but I was, you know, too out there to listen.TERRY I bet ...DREW Keeping it together for the kids, but just barely ... a little rehab here, some ladies' undies on the floor of the Porsche ... always just sneaking by. Wanting to get caught, really, but people letting it go, forgiving me, and all the time just handing me a free pass to do it again. A little smoother the next time, so it's harder to get busted ... and then fucking up again. Bigger and better. Hoping that this'll be the one, this time somebody has got to stop me! But they don't, they never do. (Beat.) Until I ran a traffic light with some chick from work and we're both high--wrapped my Boxster around a fucking lamppost--and, well, you know ... I just watched it come down. My life ...TERRY I really don't wanna know all this stuff, Drew. I don't.DREW It's just me, bro. / This is where I'm at now ...TERRY Fine, and I'm here to help you ... / I just don't need all the blow-by-blow, okay? You can save that ...DREW Too messy for ya?TERRY Nah, just not interested.DREW Well, at least you're honest ...TERRY I always have been, Drew. Always. You probably nevernoticed because you've been such a lying fuck for most of your life that you couldn't possibly recognize it ...DREW Ouch.TERRY Yeah, not so great being sober, is it?DREW Not when you're around ...TERRY Hey, you asked.DREW Guess so. That's true.TERRY Anyways ...DREW Yep. Anyway ... you think you can do that for me, talk to those doctors I'm seeing? / Tell 'em about Todd?TERRY I can, sure. / I'll answer anything they ask me.DREW Appreciate it. It'll help me out a lot, I think ... both with them and Judy. She likes you.TERRY Funny how that works, huh? Married to you and she likes me ...DREW Yeah.TERRY Wonder why that is?DREW Probably 'cause you don't stay out late and fuck around on her, that sort of thing ...TERRY Might be! (Bitter laugh.) Yeah.DREW After a while, wives just seem to be able to tell when you're lying through your teeth ...TERRY God bless 'em.DREW Yep. (Grins.) Maybe Judy's just got a crush on you. / That could be it. 
The two brothers smile at this one, maybe even a chuckle. 
TERRY Right! / Uh-huh. (Beat.) So you want me to tell 'em what? These people?DREW That I'm not making the guy up or anything, that he existed ...TERRY Okay. That's easy.DREW They're telling me that in lots of these cases it's a sibling or some family friend, a parent ... a figure of some authority. That kinda deal is the usual case. (Beat.) Not some dude drifting 'cross the country.TERRY I see ...DREW They've even, you know--they asked if it could've been Dad, or, like, maybe ... you. Implied it, anyway.TERRY Sounds like doctors--heads wedged up their fucking asses ...DREW Yeah ... but I told 'em no. I said it wasn't anybody in our house ... and it wasn't! / It was Todd . . .TERRY That's okay ... / ... Drew, it's ...DREW I mean it, though. It was! (Beat.) But, you know, can't prove it or anything. It's just true, and so, you know. They're finding it ... "difficult to corroborate." (Beat.) Mom came up already but she can't remember yesterday, let alone ... you know.TERRY Yeah, well, she's been a fucking ghost for as long as I can ever remember--how's she doing by the way? / Right ...DREW Same ... back's killing her. The eyes are going. All that shit ... / (Beat.) Anyway, she's no help, and Dad ... he's ... whatever ...TERRY Dead, I hope. Dead in some fucking alley or hit by a goddamn bus, all I care about that prick ... (Beat.) Anyway, I get it ... I'll tell 'em anything I can remember about the guy. Dates and names and shit ...DREW Good.TERRY ... and hopefully that'll help.DREW It will. / Definitely.TERRY Fine. / I'm fine with that, then ... 
TERRY relaxes for a moment now, sits down on one step
DREW You okay?TERRY Yeah, 'course. Just hearing that name again. / It's weird ...DREW I know. / Sorry.TERRY What are you sorry about? (Waits.) It's just strange, that's all. I haven't thought about him for ... you know. A while.DREW ... Really? Huh.TERRY What's that mean?DREW I'm just saying ... you guys were ... 
TERRY looks over at his brother, holds his gaze. Finally he turns and looks away. 
TERRY I mean, yeah, he's crossed my mind occasionally ... why wouldn't he? He was one of those people that--you know what he was like--you let 'em in, into your life when you're a kid ... / You remember what a huge event it was when he first came to town ...DREW Yep. / Sure. Even Dad liked him.TERRY Yeah! He knew how to do everything and he was always just ... cool. You know? Could play baseball and swim and helped us out with our chores and all that. (Beat.) I'll tellyou what ... I was only fourteen or something, but I thought he had a deal going with Mom.DREW Really? / Wow, I never ...TERRY Come on ... the way she'd fix snacks for him and dressing up and stuff? / I noticed all that crap but it was nothing I could put words to; just spotted the behavior and it made me ... I got all angry about it, but not 'cause I worried about Dad--I didn't ever care about that piece a shit--and he was oblivious, anyway. (Beat.) No, see, I just wanted Todd to be my friend ...DREW He was. You guys were ... you spent, like, the whole summer with him! / Practically, anyway.TERRY Uh-huh. / Except for camp--when the folks made me go away to a fucking scout jamboree.DREW Yeah, except for that.TERRY But by then I was, you know--I did a complete one-eighty on the guy. So ... 
DREW nods at this while TERRY catches himself, not sure how to proceed. He takes a beat. 
TERRY At that point--the last week or two before I left--he was being all different toward me. I had this bad feeling ... so I tried to tell you, to warn you to be careful. And now you're telling me that he was ... / You know ...DREW Yeah ... / Yes.TERRY ... that it was already too late.DREW I'm sorry. (Beat.) I know he was a big influence on you, so ...TERRY Fuck it. If that's true then he deserves whatever shitgets told about him. (Beat.) ... I can tell these people that much if it's gonna help you.DREW It would. It'd help a bunch ...TERRY And what're they saying about all this? Huh? About you and him?DREW Well, you know ...TERRY No, I don't. I do not. That's why I'm asking ...DREW It's what I'm saying ... I'm saying it right now--they blame most all of my behavior in the last year or so on it. / These memories that're coming back up for me--the trauma. That it sorta ... I dunno, froze me, I guess, kept me in this perpetual age ... like a teenager ... all acting out and shit, because of it. That what he did to me--all the sexual stuff he tried--had a real effect on my upbringing and is now sort of just pouring out ...TERRY Right. / No, I can see that ... that'd make sense. (Thinking.) Sure.DREW Yeah, and so ... you know, we're now getting to the bottom of all this and I think it's gonna make a real difference with the judge, on the drunk-driving charges and probably some of the other stuff, too--even the coke I was carrying! / Yeah ...TERRY That's great, then. / Good.DREW But that's not why I'm doing it--I really do want to get to the bottom of this. / To put it behind me, what happened. (Beat.) I really do, man. I wanna get past all this shit that I've been living with. And doing.TERRY Sure. / No, I mean, yeah ... I could believe that.DREW Good. I'm glad.TERRY And so ... What do I gotta do?DREW Just go over some details, fill in a few of the blanks that I left open--you're, like, a couple years older and you can probably remember him a bit better. I Just physically, I'm saying.TERRY Sure ... I can give 'em a pretty fair rundown on the guy, if that's what they're looking for ...DREW That'd be a big help, bro. Really.TERRY Okay. Bro
DREW moves over and gives his brother a hug. Unexpected--it's definitely a one-sided affair. 
DREW That's so great, dude, honestly! I Very cool of you ... Thanks.TERRY No problem. / Least I can do ...DREW Awesome.TERRY Yep. (Beat.) So, should we--where are these guys at? Back at the ...?DREW Yeah, the administration building down by the gates there--it's that Tudory-looking deal.TERRY All right. / Fine.DREW Good. / You wanna eat first?TERRY Ummmm ...DREW We can just grab a sandwich ...TERRY I guess. Don't you wanna get this over with?DREW It's ... I'm in here now, so it's okay if we wait a little. No rush.TERRY I've got that game, though ...DREW True, but that's not 'til--(looks at watch)--like, six, you said.TERRY Right. Okay, great.DREW Sweet--I wanna show you off a bit! My bro, the working man.TERRY What's that mean?DREW Nothing ... bunch of assholes up in here, you know? I want 'em to get a look at a real man ... a guy who could've been ... you know ...TERRY What? (Waits.) Been what? Go ahead.DREW Nothing. I just mean ... a dude who listens to his own drummer and that shit. You know what I'm saying ...TERRY Huh. (Beat.) You got show-and-tell today? That what's going on here?DREW Come on, Terry, I'm just saying ... I'm proud of you, isn't that okay? / (Beat.) These people are all fucked up for one reason or another ... it does 'em good to see somebody who is well adjusted. Holding down the same job most of his life, served his country, doing regular shit--you'd be, like, an inspiration for a lot of guys. Some ladies, too.TERRY Sure. / ... Okay, Drew, enough.DREW Seriously! You have always been a real flagpost for me, even when I was acting like an asshole, didn't call you for months--still admired you. Honest. (Beat.) I don't always know how to say that sorta shit ... feelings that families or, like, a relative'd have but I do get it.TERRY Thanks. / That's ... thank you.DREW Yep. / (Smiles.) So, come on, turkey sandwich on me, then we'll go find my shrink and fill him in on Todd Astin ...TERRY Okay. Sounds good. 
DREW throws an arm around his brother as they start off.DREW ... Shame we can't find that fucker.TERRY Yeah, why's that?DREW ... Oh, nothing ...TERRY What?DREW Just ... (Shrugs.) Whatever.TERRY No. Why?DREW Because I'd ... you know ... I'd wanna beat the shit outta him, I guess. If I could get my hands on him again ...TERRY Little brother, you never punched a guy in your life. Not that I've heard of, anyway ...DREW Okay, well ... that's true. Fine, then I'd have you step in for me. / You do it.TERRY Ha! / Just like the ol' days ... I fought every battle you ever had as a kid.DREW ... I don't know about that ...TERRY Any bully, fucking beatings from the ol' man ... all of it. / I ran interference for you every day of our lives, growing up ...DREW True. / Second you stopped, my whole life went to pot ...TERRY Literally! (Laughs.) / Anyways ...DREW Exactly! / Anyway, you could kick his ass ... that'd be so sweet!TERRY Thought you wanted to let it go ...DREW Yeah, well ... nothing wrong with a little ass kicking. For old times' sake. (Beat.) Fuck 'em up a little, like you did over there in Kuwait to people. / Come on, man--chestful of fucking medals?TERRY Uh-huh. / Yeah ... for being a punk and pissed off.DREW Anyway ... it wouldn't bug you so much if it was Todd Astin, right?TERRY I dunno ...DREW Come on, bro, be honest!TERRY S'pose not, no. (Grins.) Wouldn't hate that myself ...DREW Hell yes. I'd murder the dude, you gave me half a chance ...TERRY Yeah?DREW I mean ... if I could get away with it, sure. (Laughs.) Then yeah ...TERRY Huh.DREW Drop his ass in a Dumpster and I'd still be able to sleep like a baby at night ...TERRY I doubt that.DREW 'S true!TERRY That's a lot of big talk, Drew ... but I think you'd puss out in the end. Seriously. / You're more of a "puss-out" type ...DREW Dunno. / You might be surprised ... I might just do something that'd bewilder the shit outta you ...TERRY Maybe. Figured you might sue him--if you were still a lawyer, that is ...DREW You might be very surprised what I'd do to that guy, Terry. (Beat.) Took away a part of me, you know? Part that's not ever coming back, so ... no, I don't think I'd weep if that son-of-a-bitch ended up at the bottom of a lake somewhere. 
DREW shakes this off and gives his brother another hug. He motions toward a distant building, starts off.DREW Come on, let's get you fed ...TERRY All right.DREW Maybe we can start a food fight or something ... / Have a little fun ...TERRY Sure. / Okay. (Beat.) Hey, Drew?DREW Yeah? / It was ... what do you mean?TERRY Where did all this happen ... times he came to you? / I just wanna ...DREW Why?TERRY I just ... in case they ask me. I should know some details. Right? / I mean, if I'm ...DREW I guess. / No, that makes sense. Sure. (Beat.) ... 'S the tree house.TERRY Where?DREW You know ... that one tree fort we built, like, down past the creek? (Beat.) He'd meet me up in that ... In the dark's where we'd do it--usually when you were off on your paper route. He'd get me to ... he'd get all up close to me and then he'd, he would ask me to take his, make me hold on to his ... you know, thing, and then I'd have to, I would do all these--with my mouth I had to, to ... you know. He would put his ... his dick in my ... (Cries.) He would make me suck on his cock, Terry ... that's what he did. He forced me to! Forced me as I lay there staring up at the trees. And he ... he'd ... (Waits.) 'S that enough? I mean ...TERRY 'Course.DREW I'll go on if you want me to, but it's ... you know ...TERRY No, Drew, that's okay ... I just ... / 'S fine.DREW 'Kay. / (Wipes his eyes.) I'm glad.TERRY Let's get a sandwich and then I'll go, you know ... tell'em about it. (Beat.) I just gotta make a quick call first, that all right?DREW Yeah. (Smiles.) I'm gonna run ahead and get in line. The best items're usually snapped up pretty fast ... all the desserts and stuff.TERRY Great. / Right behind you ...DREW Cool! / Thanks a lot, bro.TERRY You bet.DREW I mean it, though. Honestly.TERRY I know ya do.DREW Thank you ...TERRY Sure. 
DREW runs off down the path and disappears. TERRY stays for a moment, standing perfectly still--he then reaches for a cell phone in one pocket. 
He presses a few numbers but stops. Stands there looking out--as he does, he snaps the cover right off the phone. It's completely broken now
TERRY looks down without emotion and plops the pieces in his jacket. Remains where he is. Silent. 
Sound of traffic and the woods.Copyright © 2007 by Neil LaBute


Excerpted from In a Dark Dark House by Neil LaBute Copyright © 2008 by Neil LaBute. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Neal LaBute's most recent works for the stage include This Is How It Goes (Faber, 2005) and Fat Pig (Faber, 2004), which won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off Broadway Play.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews