"America: The Dream"
I really like the changes made to Lily's monologue. I wanted to see images of the aftermath of whatever it is that these boys did. I like the use of the video footage and projector images. This time around, there was a more developed relationship between Lily and Joseph (i.e. "Joseph asked me out once. He was a nice guy."). I felt there was too much repetition toward the end with the "We could have prevented it."
The new characters that were introduced, Brandon and Chris, were a little too cliche for me. I didn't find them believable. They seemed dehumanized to the point that they were just a conglomeration of of every bully that has ever existed on paper.
I think the new title, the images of the American Flag, and the songs at the end of the play, give new meaning to the play that wasn't there before. I think it puts it on a much larger scale.
I also liked that you added the principal character, a figure of authority. (i.e. "your system," "attack on us by us.") There is definitely a sense of defeat.
Some of the most powerful images/ideas:
When dialing 911, the phone rings but no one answers.
The students/principal are bloody and beat up. Dead but walking.
"We are America."
I have one question, and maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but are they all singing at the same time at the end of the play? I think that could be cool. To have their voices overlap.
"Summon the Blood"
I really like this title. Very strong image. I thought this play was interesting because peoples' reactions to and thoughts on war are so varying. I've been reading a lot about the American Widow Project, a support organization for war widows who have lost husbands mostly in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These are all very young women, early 20's mainly. And maybe it's because the relationship between parent and child is such a sacred thing in comparison, but all these women are extremely proud to have been married to the men they've lost to war. They're proud of their men for serving their country. And maybe it's taken them time to reach that point, I'm not sure.
Or maybe it's the difference in the world of the war in your play and the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan. The idea of children being taken from their parents. It brings images of the draft, of controversy. Like how much more controversial Vietnam was compared to the wars in the Middle East.
Some of my favorite images/quotes: The idea of their children being "wrapped in some loathsome symbol." And "next time, next war."
Overall, I really like the subject matter and how it presents the relationships between parent and child, citizen and state, husband and wife, etc.
I enjoyed this play too. The plot in general, the use of the doll named Alice, the Barbie book, the tape recorder. Does that exist by the way? Do you have a copy of it?
I think the creation of three different "worlds" was very effective. The reality of the past, the fantasy and then the real time reality of the play. Very cool.
I also loved the dialogue between Ken and Barbie, especially when Barbie asks Ken, "Must I think?" And of course the irony when Ken calls her doll face.
I have a couple of questions: Why is the granddaughter called "the student?" Also, do we ever learn her real name?
This was a super creative approach to revealing a secret, the idea of a live confession. Speaking of which, this play was full of confessions. The peoples' confessions, Jim's. I think you made some good choices with this play. For example, the title of Jim's Pulitzer Prize-winning (novel, story?) "Red Handed." I think most writers will feel a little like Jim over the course of their career, even if they don't do something as unethical as bribing a priest to record people's confessions. "What gives me the right to tell their stories?"