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Borderlines

Borderlines
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: John Bishop
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 72
Pub. Date: 1989
ISBN-10: 0822201356
ISBN-13: 9780822201359
Cast Size: 4 women, 5 men; 3 women, 6 men

About the Play:

Borderline has long been a favourite of acting teachers for female/male scenes.

Borderlines is the umbrella title for two one-act dramas by John Bishop. A closely integrated program of two highly imaginative and challenging plays, respectively, a witness being grilled about murders, and a police stakeout, which explore the male mystique and penchant for violence, and the havoc this can cause in relationships with the opposite sex. The plays may be presented separately or as a double bill to create a full evening of entertainment.

The first half of the program, entitled Borderline, is a compact and powerful one-act that chronicles the psychic disintegration of Charles Graham, a young marketing executive who, it would seem, "has it all" – a good job, a loving wife and children, a comfortable home, etc. But, beneath the surface, he is beset by a gnawing dissatisfaction, which is triggered into active hostility when is questioned by a detective about a double murder in his neighbours' house. Drawing away from his alienated wife and children, and allowing his career to falter, Charles becomes embroiled in a series of disastrous extramarital affairs, culminating in the ultimate violence of murder. Meanwhile, a character called the "lecturer," with maps and slides, traces the genealogy of his self-destructive conduct back to his forebears' involvement in the violent Scottish border wars to the settlement of California. (Cast: 4 female, 5 male)

The second portion of the bill, entitled Keepin' An Eye On Louie, again focuses on male violence, but this time the action involves a "stakeout" where two policemen and a policewoman are holed up in an apartment with a gangland informer (sneaked into the building disguised as a woman for security reasons). They are monitoring the criminal comings and goings in an Italian restaurant across the street. Both policemen are having trouble with their wives – one is impotent, the other suspects his wife of infidelity – and, again, their simmering unease leads both to sexual confusion and destructive, fatal violence, albeit laced with moments of antic humour and wildly funny dialogue. (Cast: 3 female, 6 male)

Borderline premiered in 1986 at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles to glowing critical reception, and received six Drama-Logue Awards. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops. It was part of the double-bill Borderlines that premiered in 1988 at the famed Circle Repertory Company off-Broadway in New York City and then on the West Coast in 1991 at Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.

What people say:

"John Bishopkeeps extending his range and getting better and better from play to play." — New York Magazine

"There is white-hot excitement here, and, speaking for myself, I hung on every word Bishop's people spoke." — New York Post

"Bishop's crisp dialogue, believable characters, succinct structuring, and worthwhile thematic underpinnings make for absorbing theatregoing." — BackStage

"Borderlines ... delves with compassion into the composition of the clay feet of the heroes most men consider themselves." — Los Angeles Times

About the Playwright:

John Bishop (1929-2006) was an American playwright and screenwriter. When Marshall W. Mason, founder of the acclaimed Off-Broadway Circle Repertory Company, saw a performance of The Trip Back Down, he invited John Bishop to become a member as both a writer and director. Circle Rep would become his artistic home for nearly 20 years, producing many of his plays. He later founded the Circle West theater company in Los Angeles. He also used his knowledge of and interest in male behaviour and police procedures to do rewrites on the big-budget thrillers Sliver, Primal Fear, Clear and Present Danger, and Beverly Hills Cop III.

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