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Den of Thieves

Den of Thieves
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Stephen Adly Guirgis
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 57
Pub. Date: 2004
ISBN-10: 0822219239
ISBN-13: 9780822219231
Cast Size: 2 female, 5 male

About the Play:

Den of Thieves is a full-length comedic drama by Stephen Adly Guirgis. It's never a good idea to rip off the mob. But cracking a safe to steal $750,000 in drug money proves too much to resist for a quartet of inept thieves who try to pull off the perfect crime in this early work by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Den of Thieves is both primer and precursor for his more philosophically dense later plays, including Between Riverside and Crazy, which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Den of Thieves is a crime-caper comedy about a quartet of disorganized would-be crooks who foolishly try to rob-from-the-mob. As the action opens, Maggie is getting an emergency pep talk from Paul, her sponsor in a twelve-step program for recovering thieves. Maggie is a newly single, junk-food-binging shoplifter looking to change her life and her self-hating ways. Paul is himself in recovery for compulsive-overeating and kleptomania (among other things). When Maggie's hyper ex, Flaco, bursts onto the scene, he enlists Paul and Maggie's help in a supposedly "foolproof" scheme to rob $750,000 in unprotected drug money sitting in a safe in a downtown nightclub guarded by an easily distracted crackhead. This dubious and ragtag would-be criminal crew is rounded out by Flaco's new girlfriend, the hard-bodied Boochie – who refuses to let her troubled childhood or her third-grade reading level stand in the way of her inevitable path to fame, fortune and fur. When things don't quite go according to plan, this bickering quartet of hapless thieves finds themselves at the mercy of Louie "The Little Tuna" Pescatore, a reluctant, donut-ingesting heir to the criminal empire run by his ruthless father – "The Big Tuna" – who has left him in charge for the weekend. The penalty for stealing from the Big Tuna is death – "Ba Da Bing, Ba Da Boom." But soft-hearted Louie offers them a break: "I need one body and three thumbs, you can choose the who, whys and wherefores among yourselves." Tied to chairs and able to move only their mouths, they must now fight for their lives by out-arguing each other as to who deserves to live. Verbal gymnastics and the struggle for self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love produce a high-octane battle for survival that's not resolved until the last donut falls.

Den of Thieves opened to considerable acclaim in 1996 Off-Broadway at New York's LAByrinth Theater Company. The West Coast premiere was in 2002 at the Black Dahlia Theatre in Los Angeles. Since then the play enjoyed widespread acceptance among leading regional theatres, and is regularly performed in college theatre productions as a showcase of student talent.

Cast: 2 female, 5 male

What people say:

"Den of Thieves ... Stephen Adly Guirgis' play about criminally minded New York City have-nots involved in an ill-considered heist unfolds with crackling comic propulsion and a screwball sweetness as unexpected as it is welcome…thoroughly impressive…." — Los Angeles Times

"…smart and packed with genre-twisting humor…." — San Francisco Chronicle

About the Playwright:

Stephen Adly Guirgis is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor. Born and raised in New York City by an Irish-American mother and Egyptian father, he studied theatre at the State University of New York in Albany before being recruited by John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman to join New York City's non-profit LAByrinth Theater Company, of which he later became a co-artistic director. His screenwriting credits have included TV shows such as NYPD Blue and The Sopranos, and his play Between Riverside and Crazy won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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