Jackie TwoSticks

 "Jackie TwoSticks, the real me." -John O'Brien, 2011, Chico, CA. 95926.

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The Plays

Nixon: Perfectly Clear cover

Richard Nixon is given the chance to become President of the American Sector of Hell. But before he can win the prize, Nixon must not merely audition for the Devil but revisit the most painful hell-spots in his own heart: his failures in love.

Based on forty years of research and thought about the life and character of Richard M. Nixon, not once in this play will the reader find the words “Tricky Dick,” even if he did deserve that label. Indeed, his dirty tricks could fill a book. Come to think of it….

To my thinking, the average American would be as likely to join a Manson family as commit the numerous crimes done by Nixon or under his watch. Old Nick, the Devil’s assistant in the play, elucidates many of these crimes against humanity, of a scale (I would hope) unimaginable to us average folk. What we can grasp, what even a little child can instinctively get, are the smaller crimes against the human heart: the acts of cruelty and the impact of fear and lies.

The play attempts to follow the human scent into those hidden, wounded places of the Nixonian heart and offer the healing of the Cosmic Orgone. Perhaps when we truly understand that hatred and fear are no less powerful a bond as love, perhaps then….

Nixon’s long opening monologue is concatenated from numerous Nixon speeches. Many of the lines of dialogue spoken by Nixon (and Pat Nixon and Ola Florence Welch, Nixon’s first love) are verbatim quotes from various sources.

 

RENO & 2 other 1-act plays cover

The plot thickens, so to speak, in Swelling. Co-winner of the “In a Surreal Vein” new works contest, the then-artistic director called the play “...the best new play they'd ever gotten.” For certain people who would easily get and appreciate The Annunciation, Swelling may be more of a challenge, the “surrealism” label being perhaps the shakiest bridge over the river. But take heart: the surreality of Swelling is perhaps another term for “poetry,” a language to take us from here, the “normal,” to someplace on the other side.  

In RENO we do not come to the other side but watch the bridge disappear, plunging us into the dark, roiling waters of Dreamtime. The author, again, offers a guarantee: you will go down laughing. And in fear. And when you rise again to the surface you may well experience delight and peace.

The Annunciation

Who could have foreseen Mary's refusal because her plans did not include being Mom to Messiah?

Swelling

Will gimpy Bob escape the brothel and the threat of the giant teddy bear (Ursus theodorus giganteum)?

RENO

Will The Woman, at last, reveal the mystery of her name and so consummate the fever-dream marriage of Tennessee Williams and Kabuki Theater? 


What, Gentle Reader, will your investment of money (lol) and time (precious) yield when you read these three wee plays? The Author GUARANTEES: a) a reaping of heaps of health-beneficial Laugh Out Loud amusement;  b) your personal, genuine Key to the Door, and c) the Author's personal assurance that the door, unscrewed at long last from its hinges, will serve much better than any raft of the Medusa in floating you into the Forms of the Mysteries.

The Annunciation and Swelling are New Play Contest Winners (both instances at the Blue Room Theater in Chico, CA:. receiving full production in 2009 & 1998, respectively). RENO has been staged in 1974, 1975 and twice in 1983.


The three plays together present
, in several senses, an increasingly complex realm of experience. Mary, in The Annunciation, is a simple young woman, caught up in a simple conflict (or more accurately: a profound conflict told simply).

The human race is dying off. A plague is destroying intelligence, language skills and memory, slowly turning victims into vegetables. Maryann, housed in a relocation Center, is painfully aware of her condition. Determined to escape, she is certain that she will find someone who has the right idea about the good medicine. If it is there then she will find it. Only one problem, though: the plague has taken away her ability to tie her shoe laces. 

Characters (in order of appearance):

THE PRIVATE: part of the Patriot Corp; she follows orders, usually; (will also play "Sybele"); any age.

CAPTAIN HOOKER: part of the Army of the Federation of Western States; his face is covered by a surgical mask. The actor will also play "Paul," an older man.

MARTIN: old enough to have lost his wife and young child to the Plague. He has found refuge in politics (running for President of Camp Ron) and language (belongs to the "True Wording" cult: those who believe
that speaking in rhyme
will stop the world
from dying in time.

MARYANN: about Marty's age. Smart enough to be aware of her increasing stupidity and the need for a remedy.

TOAD: older than Maryann; her brother or so he claims; aggressive, vicious and cunning: perfect for running for President.

PAUL: an older man, a Nobel Prize winner but appears to be the most damaged person, until his appearance at play's end.

SYBELE: Paul's wife, an old, quiet woman

THE SETTING: Act 1, Scene 1: Captain Hooker's office at headquarters, The President Ronald Reagan Civilian Relocation Center, Grand Junction, Colorado.

Act 1, Scene 2 and Act 2 take place in Marty and Maryann's living quarters at Camp Ron.

TIME: November, Year Six of the Plague. [A genetic experiment gone awry, the disease has caused, and continues to cause, irreversible destruction of intelligence and memory. While some victims display the gait and tone of lobotomy patients all display distinct and tell-tale language impairment.]

Act 1, Sc 1. Around four in the afternoon.
Act 1, Sc 2. The same day, around two p.m.
Act 2. The same day, around 3:30 p.m.

 Images of home,

northern California.

Molly,

my darling daughter,

long years ago