The Will of Bernard Boynton: A Play

The Will of Bernard Boynton: A Play

by Mark Perry

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Bernie was once a promising country singer, but he lost nearly everything--his career, his home, his marriage--and retreated to a rural village in Maine. His two sons are a chip off the old block. There is Rich, who relies on his acerbic wit and libertarian grounding to guard him from entanglement, and Evan, whose spiritual longing moves him out into the world far from his New England roots. So when Bernie dies years later, the brothers' estrangement is engrained. Now middle-aged, they must come to terms with each other and the mixed legacy handed them. The Will of Bernard Boynton is a soft-hearted tribute to a rock-hard people.


"Maybe the best we can do in this life--no, maybe our work is to undo the karma our ancestors have built up. Someone has to atone. Their stories... all stored up inside of us, moving us, making decisions for us we would never agree to otherwise."


The play takes place in summer in 2012, and Christmas time in 1993, at the home of Bernie (Bernard) Boynton in Liberty, Maine--a rural, inland community, pop. 927. The home is basically one room, and crammed with the wreckage of his previous life. There is also, briefly, a visit to a morgue and a crematorium in the nearby small city of Belfast.


BERNIE: Father of Evan and Rich, twice-divorced with a son from each marriage. 50ish (in 1993), he has a kind, honest nature but has lost his vigor and much of his will. When sober, he is withdrawn, depressed and prone to anxiety. Alcohol seems to be his avenue back to feeling. There is next-to-no aggression in him towards his sons, except an irritation that rises when their presence impedes his relationship with Lisa, his ex-wife. In the present, his spirit lingers, unable to move on, slowly moving through a sequence of supplicating gestures, his coming and going tied to a distant bell.

EVAN: Bernie's son by his first marriage; half-brother to Rich. Early 40s, married with no children, teaches Philosophy and Religion at a community college in North Carolina, speaks Turkish, some Arabic. He is generally intent, incisive but soft-spoken, kind but melancholic. At 23, he is more animated, more sure of himself and of his mission in the world. He has the writer's habit of jotting down ideas in a small notebook. In the present, he records such thoughts on a smartphone.

RICH: Bernie's son by his second marriage; half-brother to Evan. Late 30s, divorced with two kids, runs and co-owns a machine shop in Kingston, New Hampshire. He didn't finish high school despite a powerful gift of a memory. He is guarded with his feelings, but quick with a retort. At 17, he is loquacious and libertarian, attributes overshadowed by his boyish grin and good-nature.

LISA: Mother of Rich, ex-wife to Bernie, now married to Phil. Early 60s at present, early 40s in 1993, and in her 30s in Bernie's memory. She is sweet and giving, with a carefree, country nature, but having her priorities continually ignored will drive her to break her emotional connection with a person. While she is practical about most things, her need to avoid conflict or unpleasantness can prove counterproductive.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940151276573
Publisher: Drama Circle
Publication date: 06/05/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 106
File size: 517 KB

About the Author

Mark Perry teaches in the Department of Dramatic Art at UNC-Chapel Hill and serves as a dramaturg for Playmakers Repertory Company. His plays include A New Dress for Mona, Band of Gold, and On the Rooftop with Bill Sears, published in The Lover at the Wall (Drama Circle).

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