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TURNED TABLES
© 2000 by Hugh Aaron
A 12 minute one act drama in English set in Rio de Janiero

CHARACTERS
BILL: About 45 years
BILL'S WIFE: Same age as Bill
TALL SKINNY MAN: Any age
SQUAT FAT MAN: Any age

SETTING:
A room without windows, one door, 3 lawn chairs, a couch

SYNOPSIS:
Bill, a computer salesman, has just arrived in Rio to call on a customer when he is met by two men whom he mistakes for the customer's emissaries. They take him to a brightly-lit cell with grey walls and interrogate him mercilessly (one is a mime who reveals his thoughts by actions only) asking him for ‘the right answer.' Not knowing the ‘right answer,' he seeks to discover it by querying the interrogators who say that only they are permitted to ask questions, not Bill. In frustration, he turns on them, beats them to the floor, and discovers that the interrogators are shams, that they have ‘sawdust souls.' At this he awakens from what has been a dream; and his wife, with whom he hasn't made love for months, tries to comfort him. He realizes that all the characters in this drama are himself, that he is the one with the ‘sawdust soul.'

COMMENT:
Although the play is realistic, it has a surreal quality that the audience quickly recognizes from the language and the behavior of the participants. This feature must be exploited to the hilt by the actors. Only a single set is required, simulating a bare room with a bright light in the center, furnished with three chairs and a couch. In the transition from the dream to the awakened state, the stage briefly goes dark, permitting the Wife to enter and sit on the couch comforting him before the lights return. The physical appearance of two of the actors is essential: one must be tall and thin, and the other short and fat.

THEMES:
Dreams, psychology, self-realization, love, marital problems, truth seeking, anger, violence.


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