Mexico. Gertrude Stein.

Mexico - a play by Gertrude Stein.


Part of a series looking at the beginning of plays.

When does a poem know it is a play? When does a play forget and become a poem?

The layout of the text immediately grabs you. It predates Sarah Kane, but perhaps both writers have more in common than might be thought (I'm sure I will write more on Kane later, I wrote about her in 2005 on Cleansed  and how her path helped me with Lost In Peru).  No set division of dialogue, a lack of stage directions adds to a poetical, elliptical and dream-like nature.  I'm not sure it is getting through a reader at a modern theatre today, but perhaps if enough confidence in language is displayed...


wiki on Gertrude Stein.   Review on Mexico based on Curious Theatre Branch 2011 Chicago production. 

"...coworkers caught in a humdrum cycle, the monotony reinforced by Stein’s famed use of repetition. Given their heavy outerwear, wherever they are, it is cold. They come and go. They recite seemingly random facts. Occasionally, they talk of exotic locations, or of boats that travel the open sea. Occasionally, someone will mention Mexico. Mexico is certainly far away from this unnamed place. Mexico is a fantasy built out of potential reality, the kind of fantasy that can keep a person slogging forward when they have nothing else.

After this group of three has cycled through their business together for a time, Matt Test is added to the mix — the interloper, the newb. Test’s character, strangely Vincent Price-like, does not understand the call and response of mundane day-to-day life in this community. He does not understand the importance of the fantasy of Mexico to the functioning of these three. Will he assimilate into the group? Will he irreparably damage the dynamics?..."

See debbie tucker green and other Beginnings    Cross fertilise. Read about the autistic mind here and ideas on the arts here. On investing try a thought on stock valuations

dirty butterfly. debbie tucker green.

dirty butterfly by debbie tucker green  


Part of an ongoing series examining the beginnings of plays.

Modern playscripts typically start fairly differently from other writing art forms.

Today, the play has to grab a reader (to bother reading on, probably a director or aspiring director before you find an artistic director or producer) but also an audience.  A bad start is hard to recover from.

While a good start is important in the poem, pop song, journal article, novel etc. I think a play has a unique challenge matched only by its sibling the film script.


Review (Lyn Gardner, Guardian) of dirty butterfly.  The wiki on debbie tucker green.   

You know the playwright is making a confident statement straight up by her use of lower case, where one might expect upper case letters. There's an immediate sense of rhythm and an ear for language, out of the ordinary.

From the review: " Debbie Tucker Green's debut play will not suit everybody, especially when the playwright has a distinct way of saying things. In particular this play will not suit those who are weary of tales of urban fragmentation, think that dramas using monologue and giving voice to the internal should be restricted to radio, and get irritated when characters stand around discussing their relationship rather than dialling 999 for the ambulance that is so clearly and urgently required.

For the rest of us, this play, set in an all-too-familiar world, in which lives interlock but never connect, will do just fine. I cannot say that I enjoyed it very much, but I liked it a great deal. And now I cannot get it out of my head."