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Slow Dance on the Killing Ground

Slow Dance on the Killing Ground
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: William Hanley
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 74
Pub. Date: 1965
ISBN-10: 0822210436
ISBN-13: 9780822210436
Cast Size: 1 female, 2 male

About the Play:

Slow Dance on the Killing Ground has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues.

Slow Dance on the Killing Ground is a full-length drama by William Hanley. What will happen when an anxious young black man, an old German immigrant, and a pregnant, white teenager are thrown together on a strange, dark, fateful night in Brooklyn? They confess their innermost secrets to each other regarding racism, murder, family loyalty, and personal worth. The Broadway debut hailed by critics as a work of extraordinary power and compassion.

Slow Dance on the Killing Ground takes place in the early sixties, where three extremely different people are brought together in a rundown candy store in a desolate factory district in Brooklyn: a victim of the German concentration camps, a pregnant girl, and a streetwise juvenile delinquent. As the curtain rises, a poor, dusty shop with its dirty window obscuring the dark hostile night, with its mean little counter, and with its juke box glaring vulgarly from the side, the storekeeper is taking inventory. The door is flung open, letting in a lithe young black man, weirdly gotten up in a soft, high-crowned hat, sunglasses, a cape, short slacks and sneakers. In this "slow dance" for two, the characters make hesitant approaches, circle, feint, threaten each other with gun and ice pick but scarcely make contact. The young man is obviously a hunted man. Through the circumlocutions of his odd mixture of fast-talking and fancy literary allusions, there pants a sense of terror. The storekeeper is a non-Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, is close-mouthed, suspicious, anxious to avoid self-involvement. The third "slow dancer" is Rosie, an eighteen-year-old from Riverdale, sho has wandered into the shop after losing her way while looking for the address of an abortionist. They are the playwright's troika of sadness, three people who each see the world outside the little shop as a "killing ground," for entirely different reasons. Rosie has no illusions about her homeliness or about the encounter that has led to her troubles. The laconic German and the flowery young man react to her with a sensitivity and concern that seem to diminish the furies within them. But not for long. Finally the German is driven to revealing the truth about himself as the young man, at last, faces his inexorable fate out there on the "killing ground."

Slow Dance on the Killing Ground premiered in 1964 at Plymouth Theatre on Broadway, starring a pre-"Mod Squad" Clarence Williams III. This Tony-nominated play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been performed in regional and college theatre productions.

Cast: 1 female, 2 male

What people say:

"…the most original serious play we have had in our theatre in a long time." — New York Daily News

"…an event of forceful and steady arresting dramatic interest." — New York Post

"Mr. Hanley writes with richness of imagination and with penetration into the heart. He brings humor, tenderness and understanding into the theater, lighting it up with the ardor of his vision." — New York Times

"Mr. Hanley writes with richness of imagination and with penetration into the heart. He brings humor, tenderness and understanding into the theater, lighting it up with the ardor of his vision." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

William Hanley (1931-2012) was an American playwright and screenwriter. He won critical acclaim as a Broadway and Off Broadway playwright in the 1960s. He turned to television and went on to write more than two dozen television made-for-TV movies and miniseries over the next 30 years, receiving six Emmy nominations and winning two Primetime Emmy Awards during his career. He was educated at Cornell University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, though he never pursued an acting career. He is the author of a number of novels and television, radio, and stage plays including Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.

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