AVAILABLE FROM DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY
Seventeen-year-old Owen is in love with Sarah. Sarah is in love with Sean and his rich lifestyle. Sean used to love Sarah, but now he's moved on. With the help of a mysterious, Faustian Source of information, called The Host, Sarah comes up with a plan to secure her future and unwittingly draws everyone into her tangled web of lies. Owen's friend, Tommy, is complicit in Owen's inescapable fate, and Sarah's friend, Julie, must decide between loyalty and the truth. The four young characters are portrayed individually and as a chorus who, along with The Host, offer their cryptic and often sarcastic thoughts inside and outside the action. The Tangled Web uses theatrical techniques to investigate issues that surround the consequences of irresponsible sexual activity. It examines peer relationships, influences and the boundaries of loyalty and asks the question: How far would you go to obtain your hear's desire?
CAST: 3 men 2 women 1 man or woman
More information below.
The Tangled Web was commissioned, devised with and premiered by Graffiti Theatre Company, Cork, Ireland, Spring Tour 2000, directed by Emelie Fitzgibbon
This American version was commissioned and premiered by The Coterie, Kansas City, MO, directed by Jeff Church
"The Tangled Web refuses to pander to its audience and acknowledges that "happy endings" are the stuff of storybooks... this play struck a chord with the audience. What better argument for the relevance of theatre." -Kansas City Star, 3/19/ 2003
My plays are driven by characters and relationships, not necessarily by issues, but it is crucial to connect the personal journeys of the characters to concerns of the larger world.
The main character in The Tangled Web is a teenage girl who finds herself poor, pregnant and alone. In Ireland at that time, abortion was illegal and even discussing the concept was, in many circles, culturally taboo, so as the character considers her options (ultimately deciding to have the baby), she uses the common phrase for an abortion: ‘go over to London’.
Additionally, embedded in the set design was specific information about where young people who saw the play could get help – phone numbers and websites of social service agencies. In the US, strong language is a larger issue in plays for young audiences. Gatekeepers - school officials and parents, are uncomfortable with certain four letter words in popular use. In Ireland, the language of teens, including four letter words, is expected in a play for young adults, and so I found myself unhampered in expressing this everyday language.
I don’t have the same freedom in the US. For example, The Tangled Web contains a scene in which two young adults - a girl and boy - talk about whether or not to use a condom. I wrote the scene without using the word condom because I knew it would not be accepted in the US in a play for young adults. Slang words and expressions are different as well. For example, the word ‘deadly,’ in 1997, was widely used in Ireland to mean ‘cool’. I had never heard that usage in the US. Character Names in The Tangled Web reflected popular names in Ireland in the original production but were changed in the published version in the US.