THE SACRIFICIAL KING: A PLAY FOR JOHN LENNON
Full length drama in 2 acts; running time: approx. 2 hours
Characters: 8 +
This play about art, creativity and imagination parallels scenes from the life of John Lennon and a teen girl who is a Beatle fan and an aspiring young artist herself. As she comes of age during that explosive era, the teen daughter’s idealism clashes with her mother’s common sense realism. Amidst the social and political turbulence of the time, both artists find family expectations and loyalty to best friends test the creative paths they must follow. Ultimately, both must confront what fame, or its lack, means to them. Does fame create an aura of obscene ownership? Was it ever different? The play’s over-riding question: What in our nature causes us to build up and then tear down our heroes? The play explores an ancient part of the human psyche – our need to “scapegoat”– acted out in our own contemporary culture.
THE YOUNG GIRL
The play is her coming of age story, taking her from 12 years of age through her mid-20’s, on her journey from childhood to womanhood and her life as an artist. She is the artist on her path. Imaginative and dreamy, she’s also a rebel, aching for something more than small town life is preparing her for. In some ways, her journey is one from arrogance to humility.
On one hand, she’s The Young Girl as an adult, speaking to us through time, as a wise -woman. She “leads” The Tribe; She’s the wisdom that all of us have gained, having lived through and witnessed our own era in history, the part of us that is “above it all” – our higher self, older and wiser. In another sense, she’s an oracle speaking to us outside of time. She is the ultimate witness, commenting on our collective unconscious as a race and what drives us. In that respect, she speaks as the most conscious voice of The Tribe.
THE YOUNG GIRL’S BEST FRIEND
She is the Young Girl’s sounding board and co-creator in their childhood games. More of a follower than a leader, we sense she will leave behind the life of the imagination with her childhood. Unlike the Young Girl, she wants to fit in. She is the friend from the past we loose or leave behind, or out grow.
THE YOUNG GIRL’S MOTHER
Working class, one of The Greatest Generation. Believes in God, Country, The President, when our country / society had shared values and common goals. Lives by hard work and faith. The ‘salt of the earth”. Her emotional intelligence and common sense are in contrast to her daughter’s visionary but often untested ideals.
YOKO (OCEAN CHILD)
An enigma. A mystery. The artist who strives for artistic purity. John’s inspiration. The artist as a creative and political force for change.
The artist and visionary who becomes the reluctant Rock God. The abandoned child who takes over the world, only to find he still must search for the love he misses. His growing awareness that his unprecedented fame is a trap and a kind of artistic death leads him to walk away from his mates and what they call “the best fuckin rock band in the whole godamned world.” The play’s central questions hinge on him: Does fame create an aura of obscene ownership? What in our nature causes us to build up and tear down our heroes? The play suggests that it’s an ancient part of the human psyche we all must confront- hence the ritual of the Sacrificial King in ancient societies and the play’s title.
The bright boy. The day boy. The optimist. He is also the Young Girl’s image of the ideal masculine, the “prince who is finally awake”. He represents prolific creativity and creative flow. He doesn’t find the creative process a burden or a struggle – unlike how John sometimes describes the creative process. Although fame may stress him, it doesn’t seem to trap him the way it does John. Genuine puzzlement / bewilderment and a true sense of betrayal fill him when John leaves. Why not make music all together?
In one sense, he is the “shadow” of the Young Girl – The Fan gone awry. He is our shadow and the shadow side of “celebrity culture”, what we project onto our celebrities and heroes. What we project onto others. The need for “15 minutes of fame” at all costs. The need to be special without having to do anything special. The need for acceptance and approval. The need for sure answers at all costs.
MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE
A type of chorus. The voice of the public living through that tumultuous era. The fickle public and the ever-changing voices of the media they consume. The voices of those times in transition.