In Arabia We’d All Be Kings – Stephen Adly Guirgis

As noted in the intro post at the beginning of the month, I have a soft spot for this play. I’m not sure if I think it’s the best in this collection, only because I was so impressed with Jesus Hopped The A Train. But it has my favorite ending of the three and two of my favorite moments.

Favorite moments: In scene one there is an exchange that boils down to:

  • Did you hear about the black guy killed by the cops?
  • Last Friday?
  • No the other one.
  • Oh! Tuesday.
  • No the other one

When you read the beginning notes and find out the play was first performed in 1999, the dark humor in this exchange becomes even more of a ‘same shit, different day’ head-shaker when you think about everything that is still happening.

And in the course of the play a character goes missing. Watch how it’s handled. It will break your heart.

Even if I’m still on the fence about favorite play, I think this narrative involved my favorite characters, the folks who manage to stay just above rock bottom. They’re not homeless or not for long. They always manage to beg, borrow, steal or work just long enough to stay drunk or high, or not get evicted this week, or place one get into debt with the bookie again. There are a lot of people on this margin. And it is a pleasure to see them more fully –aspiring, taking action– and not just what happens when the threadbare rug comes out form under them again. And it becomes clear how hard it is to change one’s circumstances, particularly without any of the support and modeling many of us get to take for granted.

Cast: 12 9M  4F (one male part doubled). Multiple Settings but can be broken into interior and exterior and simplified. Themes: Some days in the lives. Or the perpetrator-less crimes of bad circumstances.



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