New Light Shine [NOOK Book]

Overview

When he was twelve, Joe snuck into the field on the edge of town and saw the Town Mayor with his sister Peregrine. This one moment has overwhelmed and transformed his life, becoming the only thing that holds any importance to him. Years later, in jail for murder, Joe waits for Peregrine so that he can explain his plan for her future, a plan so intricately assembled that he has given it a name—New Light Shine.

Four characters in Shannon Murdoch's bold new play are trapped in an ...

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New Light Shine

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Overview

When he was twelve, Joe snuck into the field on the edge of town and saw the Town Mayor with his sister Peregrine. This one moment has overwhelmed and transformed his life, becoming the only thing that holds any importance to him. Years later, in jail for murder, Joe waits for Peregrine so that he can explain his plan for her future, a plan so intricately assembled that he has given it a name—New Light Shine.

Four characters in Shannon Murdoch's bold new play are trapped in an argument of memory that threatens to turn perception into truth. Their task is to dig through years of silence and half-truths to arrive at a future that may at last bring peace. In the ensuing struggles, disturbing questions arise—about female and child sexuality as well as the responsibilities of government and community in raising children.

Selecting Murdoch's New Light Shine from more than 800 submissions that arrived from the far reaches of the English-speaking world, contest judge John Guare praises the distinct voice of this play and its challenging subject. "I read it, put it aside, went back to it, couldn't get it out of my head," he recollects. "This raw, haunting, richly poetic, deeply emotional play affected me as no other entry did."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300186048
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Shannon Murdoch holds a first class honors degree in Theatre and Creative Writing from Griffith University, Queensland, and is a graduate of The Playwrights Studio at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney. She has been a professional playwright for six years. In addition to the Yale Drama Award, her play New Light Shine was selected for the National Play Festival 2011 in Sydney. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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Read an Excerpt

New Light Shine


By SHANNON MURDOCH

Yale UNIVERSITY PRESS

Copyright © 2012 Shannon Murdoch
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-300-18604-8


Chapter One

New Light Shine

Characters

Anna

Peregrine

Joe

Oscar

Staging

The lounge room of a small house. A couch.

A jail cell. A bed.

The meeting room in a jail. A pot plant in the corner.

A field on the edge of town.

The bedroom of a small apartment.

An office.

A large sash window hangs between all the spaces.

ACT I Scene One

JOE stands in the jail cell he shares with Old Billy (unseen).

PEREGRINE stands in the field, smoking a cigarette.

ANNA, half-dressed for work, sits on the edge of the bed in the apartment.

Silence, stillness.

And then ...

JOE ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

PEREGRINE puts out her cigarette on the ground.

PEREGRINE and JOE pace in their own spaces.

JOE I mean, had it sorted you know. I mean fuck, had it sorted. All in my head and I was ready. I was fucking ready.

JOE stalks over to the window. He tries to look through it. Walks away.

JOE Fuck it, you can't see a thing. Is this part of it? Is this on purpose? Because I don't understand. I'm not ... A fucking real window. That you can look out of ... I'm asking. I'm standing here asking.

PEREGRINE exits.

JOE Because it's simple, isn't it? Because it's simple ... Because if you are going to have a window, if you are going to go to all the trouble of putting a window into a fucking wall, which I imagine, I'm only imagining is not a simple thing, then wouldn't it make sense—Am I crazy? Am I the crazy one?—to put in a window a person could actually look out of ... They really want it all, don't they? Think you're a bunch of clever bastards but you won't get me. I'm strong. And I got plans. And you can do what you want but neither one of those things is going to change.

JOE goes back to the window. Stares, rubs it vigorously, gets frustrated, walks away.

JOE Had it in my head. You know what I mean? Went through it, bit by bit, so I could be ready ... Cause this is just a moment. Just one, and it will be over before you know it and then ... then the future will happen ... So say what you want, Killer, Killer, Killer, say it all now because this moment is this close to being gone and when it is, the only person speaking will be me.

JOE goes to the window again.

JOE My sister is coming. Peregrine. You ever heard of a name like that? You ever heard of Peregrine? ... Story goes, it's a great story, you wait till you hear this. Story goes Dad went on his first and only bushwalk just before Peregrine was born. Said he hated it. Said it was for people not in the know. Cause the greatest inventions that had consistently proved crucial to man's contentment was the television, the couch and the stubby of cold beer. Nothing in nature, he said. And then he said it again ... Never did say why he went on a bushwalk. If you had known him you would have said straight up he was the least likely person. But he did, did the whole thing, hated every second and when he had just about enough, well of course that's when he saw it ... Said proof there was a God. According to Dad and this is not a word of a lie, the Peregrine Falcon was God's work. Wouldn't be talked out of it. Wouldn't even discuss it. Sat down on the couch with his cold, cold beer and said ... We are honoring God.

JOE starts pacing again.

JOE Peregrine'll come when she hears this. She'll read the paper or watch the TV. Probably got herself a little box. It's on everywhere. Every channel. Murder is still pretty interesting isn't it? ... Yeah. Yeah.

JOE goes to the window.

JOE Thought I might watch for her. Had it in my head. Just stand at the window and see her. Just see her appear ... That would have been something, wouldn't it?

JOE sits down on his bed.

JOE Yeah. That would have been something.

Scene Two

ANNA sits in the same position on the bed. Today's newspaper is on the bed next to her.

ANNA Puss Puss ... Here Puss Puss.

Offstage, a box collapsing to the floor is heard.

OSCAR (Offstage.) Fuck.

ANNA You are going to clean this up aren't you? All this mess? ... Oscar? Oscar, you are going to get rid of the mess aren't you? ... Today? ... It won't feel like home until the mess has gone ... You're not going to start writing today are you? I mean, I don't want to ... If you are then ... I'm fully supportive. I think writing a novel is ... well, it's wonderful, isn't it? It's just really ... We'll be at the Booker dinner this time next year. Don't you think? Because it makes sense. It just really makes sense. As a life choice.

OSCAR enters holding an old ratty teddy bear and a thick psychology textbook.

OSCAR Were you talking?

ANNA Mess.

As OSCAR talks, ANNA hides the newspaper. She tries a few spots before finding one that suits her.

OSCAR I know. But what can you do? It's so big it's magnificent. It's almost a form of careless art.

ANNA What?

OSCAR Careless art. It's a thing. We went to that exhibition back when we lived in civilization. But what can you do?

ANNA Clean it up?

OSCAR Because you get to a certain age don't you? And when that day comes, maybe it is the day that your girlfriend, although I hate that word. Makes me think of Chelsea Livingworth who let me feel her breasts because she "trusted me," and was this close to sucking me off until her mother read her diary and sent her to live with her grandmother. That's a girlfriend.

ANNA Oscar—

OSCAR So not one's girlfriend, one's ... partner? No. Too clean. Too pure. Too nothing like me at all.

ANNA Oscar, do you think we're getting away from the point?

OSCAR Lover?

ANNA What?

OSCAR I'd like to call you my lover ANNA. I'd like that a lot because you are the greatest person in the world to fuck. But I get the feeling if I started dropping the "l" word into conversation, your skin would blush all over and you'd tell company I am overmedicating myself.

ANNA Yes. Probably.

OSCAR God, are we going to have any company here?

ANNA ... I don't know. Can we talk about the mess Oscar?

OSCAR That day, when your ... significant other?, god help us, turns to you, and says, "Oh by the way, and let's not make a huge deal of it, but I've taken a job in some god forsaken hole that I used to call home." And you look at her in a weird, slightly creepy way, because you can't seem to find the words "That is a fucking terrible idea" or "Nice. Have fun. Send a postcard." You look and you notice for the first time, is it the first time? It seems like it although you can't be sure of anything because you have some small child inside your brain and it is screaming. In pain. Or out of boredom. You can't tell because this little demon also has its feet in your chest, and it's thumping on it good and hard and you are pretty sure that you are three little seconds away from your heart and your mind quite literally exploding. Then someone tells you, maybe it is your mother, that what you are experiencing is love and the threat of that love being taken away ... You've always been convinced that one day your mother will utter something bordering on wisdom, so maybe today is that day. So you believe it, you believe it with everything, and it's wonderful because the screaming and the thumping stop. Stop dead. And in the silence you can see, you can finally see just how much stuff your life is.

ANNA That's mine. Not the bear but the book. Is the bear yours? You seem like a tucked up tight in bed with a teddy bear kind of person.

OSCAR You don't know why, and you really don't want to, so you quickly shove it in some boxes, quit your job and declare that you are going to write THE novel. You shove it all in and drive you and your ... other half? ... your unstarted novel and all this STUFF to the god-forsaken place that your ... girlfriend, yes your fucking girlfriend, used to call home and now ... now you do too ... It's hot. Is it always this hot?

OSCAR rushes to the window and opens it.

ANNA stands up.

ANNA The cat.

OSCAR And the cat. On top of it all, a cat.

ANNA moves around the bedroom, looking for the cat. OSCAR follows her.

ANNA Have you seen Puss?

OSCAR ANNA, I am knee-deep out there. Knee-deep.

ANNA Puss? Puss, are you there?

ANNA gets down on her hands and knees and looks under the bed.

OSCAR It does it on purpose. You know that don't you?

ANNA crawls further under the bed.

OSCAR I know. The cat has abandonment issues. We have to be compassionate toward the cat. The cat needs time. The cat needs love. We're doing something good. For a cat ... You know if I ever find those fucking idiots that left it in a plastic bag, I'll thump them with this very large textbook of cognitive behavior. Cognitive that, you bastards.

ANNA wiggles her ass trying to get further under the bed.

OSCAR notices. He stops, watches ANNA's ass move.

OSCAR Anna.

ANNA He's under here. Puss? Puss, come out now.

OSCAR You don't really have to front up to work today, do you?

ANNA Puss? Come on ... (To OSCAR.) What?

OSCAR Nothing ... I'm just thinking how nice it would be to fuck you right now, amid the rubble of our lives. What do you think? A welcome to the end of it all fuck?

ANNA Oscar?

OSCAR Yes?

ANNA Would you mind terribly not checking out my ass, and perhaps instead, doing something useful, such as going to the kitchen and getting some Kitty Bits so I can try and lure out our very confused and frightened cat?

OSCAR Ours?

ANNA Oscar!

OSCAR Fine.

OSCAR exits.

ANNA remains under the bed.

ANNA It's alright Puss. Oscar has gone to get the Kitty Bits. You'll be fine once you get some Kitty Bits, won't you? Kitty Bits solve everything. Sorry Puss. It wasn't meant to go this way. There was a plan. There is a plan. Don't worry Puss. I'll get you back home. I'll ... Jesus.

Oscar? Don't do that Puss. Don't ... Oscar, where are the Kitty Bits? Just hold on Puss. Oscar? I think ... Oscar I think the cat is starting to chew off its own paw.

OSCAR rushes in, holding a photograph.

OSCAR THERE ARE NO KITTY BITS!

ANNA What? Of course there are Kitty Bits Oscar. There are always Kitty Bits.

OSCAR No Kitty Bits. Not a one. Which is a shock, I know, but on the bright side I did find this rather delectable picture in a box marked kitchen. Of you and a mysterious and somewhat familiar boy.

ANNA scrambles out from under the bed.

ANNA Give that back. Give that back right now.

OSCAR Oh look. You've gone red all over. Just like you do.

ANNA Oscar. Oscar, I'm warning you.

OSCAR stops.

OSCAR Warning me? ... It's just a picture ANNA. You're not even naked in it. Although you do look like you want to be.

ANNA This is unbelievable. That was locked. A locked box Oscar.

OSCAR No. It wasn't.

ANNA Is that who you are? Is that really who you are?

OSCAR ... I never picked you for the naughty schoolgirl. Shame you weren't Catholic or else you'd be perfect.

Completely perfect.

ANNA Give it back.

OSCAR Why?

ANNA Just ... You can't go just ... Rifling—

OSCAR Rifling? I've never rifled.

ANNA Rifling through other people's belongings. Especially when there is a padlock on them. Some things are private.

OSCAR Private? Oh no. No, no, no. Going to have to correct you there ANNA. Nothing is private anymore. Not between you and me.

ANNA Just give it back Oscar.

OSCAR Because what we are, what we now stand here as, in this place, this ... What we are ANNA is two hearts that have become one soul.

ANNA You can be such a fuck.

OSCAR A pulsating, slightly quivering soul ... Why do I know this boy? Have I met him?

ANNA You're going to make me late. On my first day of my first proper job, you are being a fuck and making me late.

OSCAR I'm just trying to make the point ANNA that we now stand before each other as open books, willing and eager to be read out loud by the other. We are a team.

You and me against the world, and all that. All that ANNA!

ANNA stops.

ANNA Fine.

ANNA turns to the mirror and puts on her makeup. OSCAR looks at the photo.

OSCAR He's cute. He's one of those cute boys. I wasn't like that. Although I begged God on a very regular basis.

ANNA You're making too much of this. Again. You get hooked on the tiniest things and then ... He's just a person Oscar. You know, how there are just people? They come into your life and for a moment it's everything. It's just every last thing ... But then you go, or they go, and it is over. And it doesn't really matter. It ends up just not being anything much at all.

Beat.

Lights up on PEREGRINE. She sits on the couch in Ma's house. She squirms, she fidgets, she stands up and paces around, sits back down again.

OSCAR puts the picture next to ANNA and then sits on the bed.

OSCAR Stay home.

ANNA Oscar.

OSCAR I don't know what I'm doing. What do I do?

ANNA Clean up the mess.

OSCAR And then?

ANNA Start your novel. And buy Kitty Bits. In fact, put that first. I don't want to come home to a cat with one less paw.

OSCAR goes to the window.

OSCAR We're really doing this aren't we?

ANNA I wish I could be here. I do. Settle in. Help. But they are desperate. You should have heard my supervisor. "We need you, like yesterday."

OSCAR I don't even know where to get a cup of coffee. Do they have coffee here?

ANNA Of course there is coffee Oscar. It's not nowhere.

OSCAR No. No, but it is one of those places. Smell it. You can smell it, can't you? Old men ... Old men with ill-fitting clothes counting down the minutes to the first beer of the day. And teenagers, so many of them they seem to breed just standing there. And that's all they do. Just stand there. Clumps of oily flesh, waiting for a new violence to end their boredom.

PEREGRINE goes to the window.

PEREGRINE and OSCAR face each other.

PEREGRINE It's the eyes. They'll look all over and right through you. Stare hard at just all of it, every last bit without shame or humiliation. Look and stare and look until there's nothing left to think but ... It's you. You're the one that must feel shame. You're the one that should be humiliated. You're the one.

ANNA turns away from the mirror and puts on the rest of her clothes.

ANNA It's not as bad as it looks. That's only the surface. Underneath, deep down, there really is something quite special. Magical even.

OSCAR turns from the window.

OSCAR Let's go home. No, really. I didn't hate being an accountant, and I'll buy us a ticket to the Booker. I'm sure they scalp them on eBay.

ANNA goes to OSCAR. She holds his face in her hands.

ANNA But I'm going to fix it. I'm going to fix it all. Dig up the magic ... You can go though. Go at any time and no one will ever hold it against you.

ANNA gathers up her things, including a very large tote bag and the newspaper.

OSCAR picks up the photo.

OSCAR I know—

ANNA Good. This place, it's not for everyone. I tried to tell you, but as long as you know now, I guess ...

OSCAR That boy ... He's the guy out of the paper. The boy. Where's the paper? The murderer. The guy in your picture, the boy, he's the murderer ... Anna?

ANNA It's good Oscar. All of it. If you want to go, just go, and all will be good.

ANNA exits. OSCAR runs after her.

OSCAR ANNA? What does this mean? ANNA? ... What do I do?

Scene Three

The meeting room of a jail. A table and two chairs bolted to the ground. JOE sits on a chair, one arm handcuffed to the table. He speaks to a guard (unseen).

JOE She is coming, isn't she? I mean ... Not some joke. That's what I'm asking. Not some joke. Because that would be ... Okay. It's okay, because she was never very good with time ... "I'll get there when I get there." That's her. That's her all over ... I remember one time—

PEREGRINE enters.

JOE stands up.

PEREGRINE Hello Joe.

JOE tries to speak but has no words. Eventually, he nods at her.

PEREGRINE goes to the pot plant in the corner.

PEREGRINE Is that ... There's a pot plant.

JOE And the windows don't work.

PEREGRINE It's actually a pot plant. A fucking pot plant in a jail ... I don't know what to say about that.

JOE Peregrine?

PEREGRINE A pot plant in a jail? That's not right. Is that supposed to be right?

JOE ... I don't know.

PEREGRINE That's not right. That ... That should not be there.

JOE Okay. Okay, well ... Okay, see—

PEREGRINE comes back to the table.

PEREGRINE What's all this about Joe? ... Joe?

JOE (To the guard.) She's a curve. Gets there when she gets there. And she does. Look. She always does. But it's a curve, and you want a straight line. You want her just there, but she can't. She just can't do it. Because she's a curve.

PEREGRINE sits down.

PEREGRINE Joe—

JOE Remember? Remember me calling up the stairs. Always doing that. Peregrine? Peregrine?

(Continues...)



Excerpted from New Light Shine by SHANNON MURDOCH Copyright © 2012 by Shannon Murdoch. Excerpted by permission of Yale UNIVERSITY PRESS. 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.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword, by John Guare....................ix
Acknowledgments....................xix
New Light Shine....................1
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    Crystalthorn

    *lays in her nest and falls asleep*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    A

    Amber curls up, careful of her paw

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Warner Den

    Another group of animals live in this slightly more well-lit den, these being called the Warners. These quick-on-their-feet creatures speed to the rescue as they warn animals of raids, attacks, and assassins. The den is large, and holes in the top let in sun.

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