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Reviews from
Harry: A Parenthetical Enigma


A Play in Three Acts

  22 total reviews 
Comment by
--Turtle.
 
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Review Stars
  Rank:  194
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Rating of Chapter 3 -
Self-Completion of the Enigma
Hi, Jay,

I finished through your play. I really enjoyed reading through it. I went with a six, because I couldn't not read to the end. At times, I feel my soul is too shallow or unworn to fathom the underlying Form and nuances that drive the characters... the end all ... What does it all mean? Sometimes I am left with just the itch of trying to understand what they are doing or motivated by, making them stick in my memory. Harry is young... and he's taken on a big responsibility, Mayree... and she's also a temptation. He cares about her... yet he's also a human male. Will Harry succumb? Maybe not tonight, but eventually? Who knows... Nice attention to details, and a sadness for Harry that he seems to grieve while also growing.


my hundred-watter God.
(a dramatic return home... like a man kissing sand after a long bout at sea)


minutes of--ha!--flame.
(Ha! I like the pun, and believe he is clowning for Mayree's entertainment... as well as a slight exuberence of his own joy for the the warmth)

gravestone, remember? And put the flower on her grave?
(This is a hard thing to do... in dialogue, relate for the audience something both people know and make it believable. Helps that Mayree is supposed to have the intellect of a child, some mental stunting, but this scraps the edge of expository. I like that Harry is doting toward her... patient beyond patient ... a pope/ saint, indeed.

At least you took Mama's letter.
(So Zach left him the money after all...? That is what I'm taking this to mean. It will help... they can afford heat and a second bed now.)

Auntie Irenia was nice to me.
(She's portrayed as very special-education. Kind of sad.)

{It was when(after?) I came home from mowing lawns.} I was just tired, Mayree. And I opened that big summer electric bill that I hadn't made
(maybe move the it was when I came home from mowing the lawns...? The flow of )

No I didn't cry, Mayree. And I'm sorry.
(This part is strong and effective... I liked it, drew me in... and I get the picture that Mayree threw away the funeral information because of a misunderstanding over the mail, he's setting the foundation to seeing how much mail might have been lost)


for you to hit the sack.
(The interaction between these two is charming and full of loaded alligators... between the challenge of her mental issues, and him not wanting to cause her grief, yet the endearing warmth and her trying to keep him from being sad the only ways she seems to know how)


hands as he manages to quietly subdue his sobs. Straightening,
(I figure the letter his aunt sent him? Or a letter from his mother?)

top of the clock, he removes two Band-aids that had been stuck there.
(These all seem very grown up things to do... a death of his inner adventurer, and a preparing for the future in a desk job caring for a girl who has some baggage, but he cares for.)

he undresses to his underwear, draping his pea coat, his pants
(I probably wouldn't sleep in my undies if I were him, but okay, he's too poor for jammies... right now. He's sleeping with a naked girl with the mind of a child who likes to cuddle. Sucks to be him.)

HARRY'S eyes pop open. His face is a study of conflict.)
(odd way to end it, but at least addresses the position he has placed himself in, that I was noting above. If this girl was abused, wouldn't she have an inkling that there are certain things that might court interest? I don't know, I've not studied abuse so... she seems to trust him, but is there some intent in her actions? Not sure. Might be tough to pull off on a stage... just as, Harry would have to be facing the audience to see his face... thereby Maryee would be harder to see...behind him or His face would be hard to see, if not faced to the audience. Not sure if the subtly of expression will be easy to capture. Not sure why to end it on the point of him being tempted... where I go, what does it all mean? My take, obviously, he's tempted... but the girl's like a child. That makes it creepy. Maybe he's wondering if he can be the man he is thinking he wants to try and be... a man at a desk, not having sex with the girl-child with the adult body.

I would like more certainty on if Harry is taking the job. I think yes... but he didn't cover it with certainty. And maybe that is what he's partially conflicted on. Settling.

I was very interested in the end and I like the scene. I was satisfied with the outcome... I like the focus on him almost bearing a cross in his not being there for his mother, he will be there for Mayree... and the end of his quest for his father.

Will he end up in a relationship with Mayree? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not for awhile. At least I figure he'll have some funds to start, even if he doesn't take the job.


 Comment Written 11-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 12-Nov-2016
    I feel validated that you felt this generally hung together well. The ending being open was intentional, just as the fact that Mr. Kincade insisted on his NOT giving an answer the week before, but to wait until his next appointment. I want the audience to feel Harry's inner conflict, just as I want them to sense Mayree's need for complete trust in Harry, while on some level (perhaps unconscious) she needed a deeper fulfillment.

    At least you took Mama's letter.
    (So Zach left him the money after all...? That is what I'm taking this to mean. It will help... they can afford heat and a second bed now.) [No, on the contrary, he left the policy, took Dolores' letter. The policy can only be cashed in by the beneficiary, who was Zacariah.

    hands as he manages to quietly subdue his sobs. Straightening,
    (I figure the letter his aunt sent him? Or a letter from his mother?) [I tried to keep the narrative at a minimum as he went through the mail. Obviously, monologue had to be kept to a minimum as well, to be realistic. But I need somehow to show three envelopes were there. One about Dolores' illness, the second was the funeral notice, the third was from Western Union, including the telegram they tried to deliver but no one answered door. How many are necessary to disclose and to what extent? I have to think that through.]

    Thank you, Turtle. Your intuitive approach gives me directions that may need shoring up, places that may need rethinking.

reply by --Turtle. on 12-Nov-2016
    Was Western Union funds from his mother? or from his father? Does this mean that Harry's father doesn't cash in the money, or that he does? And then sends it to him?

reply by the author on 12-Nov-2016
    There were no Western Union FUNDS, just notification, like the letter, of her death. Neither Zacoriah nor Harry want the insurance proceeds. It was merely a device to get them together. A catalyst.

reply by --Turtle. on 12-Nov-2016
    Lol, I sure am fixated on the funds, must be the practical side of me... the logical motherly side who would expect them not to waste money... she paid for it... The true reason played it's course, but dang, I wouldn?t want the insurance company to keep the money. Oh those poetic hearted boys ...
Comment by
Stephendick24
 
 
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Rating of Chapter 3 -
Self-Completion of the Enigma
I did enjoy reading this very much. Fifteen minutes of flame-I liked that, too. I have a clear picture in my mind of Mayree throughout. It may not be the same picture as the one in your own mind, but that doesn't matter at all. The image is created by your effective use of dialogue. She is endearing and terribly vulnerable. So much so that I grew tense about Harry's treatment of her and found myself thinking I could do better. Perhaps there's a hint of jealousy there. Regardless, this reader's response was quite visceral, a tribute to your skill as a writer.


 Comment Written 11-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 11-Nov-2016
    I feel complimented that this chapter grabbed you on the visceral level. I tried to paint a mixed portrait of Mayree. Part of her wants Harry's trust--craves it really--while another part, that she may not even be aware of wants Harry's body.

reply by Stephendick24 on 12-Nov-2016
Comment by
Stephendick24
 
 
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Rating of Chapter 2 -
The Enigma Continues (3)
Although I'm not going to say a lot, I really liked this. It is my favorite part so far. I'm not going to say anything at all about,,,,,,'s.The suspense about Mayree grows. Zacariah is becoming clearer. The last line works wonderfully, it really does. This whole work makes me think about love. What is it, anyway? Is it measured by the intensity of the feeling or whether it works or not? I hope the former, for if it's the latter I've never been in it. Not yet. "A process in the weather of the heart"-I think of that often, although I don't know which of his poems it's from. It maybe the title. Who know? You probably do. Great job.Maybe fewer tears-think about it.


 Comment Written 09-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 09-Nov-2016
    Ahhhhh, the T word. Or the S word. Harry sobs. And sobs. And... Yes, I agree. It's lingered in the back of my mind as I wrote it. I keep thinking, "Damn, I'd hate to be the actor who has to go through it." Thanks, Stephen, I really appreciate the six star rating. I don't know whether you've read Act III yet, Stephen. A lot of readers bounce around, but the second (and last) scene in Act III explores the Harry/Mayree relationship. (Scene one should be read before that, though.)

reply by Stephendick24 on 10-Nov-2016
Comment by
2019 Novelist of the Year
Ulla
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Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Rating of Chapter 3 -
Self-Completion of the Enigma
Hi Ray, this is an open ended final act, which leaves so many questions to be answered. What is the future for them both, and how will he react to her sweet (bitter sweet?) demeanor? I've loved to read this play. All the best. Ulla:))


 Comment Written 08-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 08-Nov-2016
    Yes the final scene of the final act is indeed open-ended. It worries me some. I'll have to take a close look at it. Thanks for pointing it out, Ulla. I'm Jay, by the way, not Ray, but as long as you keep reading and reviewing you can call me Bob or Julie.

reply by Ulla on 09-Nov-2016
    Hi Jay, I've done it again and called you Ray. I'm so sorry. I don't know where it comes from. I know your name is Ray... hmm I mean Jay.LOL :))

reply by the author on 09-Nov-2016
    I'm just giving you a hard time, Pulla.

reply by Ulla on 09-Nov-2016
    Hahahahaha. love you too:)
Comment by
--Turtle.
 
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Rating of Chapter 3 -
The Enigma's Self-completion
Hi, Jay,

I fell behind, but I really want to read the rest of this play, and I will be getting through the last few scenes over the next couple days. I enjoyed the changeup in Mr. Kincade being so moved to change by Harry. That Harry's life, rocky as it seems, made his own feel stoney.

My thoughts as they came:


closes the door and weather sounds (stop?); brushes snowflakes off his


I was not the son a mother dreams of having.
(I was looking forward to these two catching up; so much has happened for Harry over the course of that week. These two had sort of bonded in some ways... Harry made an impression on Kincade, as is noted by him remembering all these details, as Mr. Kincade, I expect, deals with a lot of people... but Harry, I think he made an impression, and the interaction between them is believable and engaging. I feel the nostalga of seeing Mr. Kincade again, and was curious to how this would go.)

I won't consider begging, Sir.
(nice ... this, the odd begging job reminder)


had accepted, I'd have been sorely disappointed.
(lol, Mr. Kincade is a twisted soul, maybe, but I liked this mini science experiment. I thought it strange, that there would just so happen to be a begging job available)


Now that I have a clean ethical bill-of-health(,)? will you next be testing my morals? (I can empathize with Harry's being put off by Mr. Kincade's somewhat jaded curiosity)



I've been here ever since.
(I wondered if Kincade was going to offer Harry his job... so he can go be race cross country or something...)


Oh, thank you(,) Harry.
(suggest question mark)


directions Mother's voice-of-reason ramified. Touched every part of my
(A man the opposite of Harry in many ways... and maybe notsomuch -- one wild soul looking to settle down and chain some roots... on wild soul looking to unsettle)



I prefer retirement, with partial pension benefits.
(yeah, you don't have to obliterate the voice of reason... just mute it a bit. : D get partial pension!)


or even a maiden.
(LOL... I think the order amused me greatly... though you might want to start with her not being a maiden or bonnie or fair... but the weight of the maiden as the last thought, that did get a chuckle from me.)


Yes. It's good to keep the two minds strangers to each other.
(As Harry may feel the end of his quest now that he met his father. Very nice. I like the bop over the head with the very subtle change in Harry... that maybe Harry and I didn't recognize, but that Mr. Kincade did.



I'm offering you a position right here at the Department of Employment.
(Ha! I suspected and I get to be right... It's like when a mom says I hope you have to deal with this someday. Mr. Kincade is giving Harry his job, You try to find people such as you jobs... every day.)

Not at first, but maybe later(.)
(add the period)

(I don't know why the price is right voice...? I paused on that.)



 Comment Written 08-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 09-Nov-2016
    Your usual quality review, Turtle. Thanks for the validation. I liked this scene. It was central to the entire play, though the last scene leaves everything "in the air." The important thing was the character change in Harry and Mr. Kincade. Each character's change impacted the other.

    Oh, thank you(,) Harry.
    (suggest question mark) [You meant Comma?]

    I'll think about the price is right ending, but I rather like the fact it shows the insuppressibility of his joy, while he is still maintaining the vest of authority.

    Thanks so much, Turtle.
Comment by
RGstar
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Excellent
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Rating of Chapter 3 -
Self-Completion of the Enigma
Hi, Jay. I have not been too well, of which I have not mentioned, so doctors orders to lay low on heavy work loads. I have had to ease of on book chapters for a while. Now coming back to strength.
Quite a long script, but nicely coordinated. It will take a while to get up to full steam, but , I am on the way.
I like to read scripts sometimes as have write screenplays for theater in Sweden, as well as directed. Too for schools so easy to follow and feel the narrative and vision.

Good write.
Please have a good day.
RGstar


 Comment Written 06-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 06-Nov-2016
    I'm so sorry you haven't been well, RG. I hope it isn't serious. Thank you for choosing my play to read.
Comment by
2012 Script Writer Of The Year
Spitfire
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Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Rating of Chapter 3 -
Self-Completion of the Enigma
Don't faint, but I loved this act from beginning to end. The hilarious sacrilegious opening would be my reaction to heat. Marilee's character is bitter sweet.
I can see this as a first act since a conflict and a mystery are both induced.


 Comment Written 06-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 06-Nov-2016
    Ha! Yeah, I am picking myself off the floor. I'd have thought this would be your least favorite because of the huge amount of stage directions. But I have to say it's my favorite especially with the open-ended finish to it. Will he? Won't he? Should he? Shouldn't he? I have a lot to clean up with the entire play, considerable tightening of Act II ... and ... yes, removing some of the stage directions. I'll let you know how it turns out. Meanwhile, thanks for the six stars!
Comment by
--Turtle.
 
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Rating of Chapter 2 -
The Enigma Continues (3)

Hi, Jay, read through this scene. I was entertained, below are my thoughts as they come, but overall, I was engaged and there were several very satisfying high points... Mayree's history and and abuse, the demise of her father... and the learning that Harry's mother purposely pushed his father away for his own sake... thus Zac's belief that another man was involved. And finally an acceptance for Zac that Harry is his child. Dramatic and compelling. A few parts I paused on but nothing critical. A strong scene, and I enjoyed.

Probably. I think she is. Her age is, well--indeterminate.
(a weird thing for him to say... indeterminate, ... but he does like the occasional strange word... though I would expect maybe a more poetic big word? indeterminate sounds so clinical)

(ZACARIAH'S brows arc and his mouth takes on a wry smile)
(ewww... at the thought the girl being in the way of a child, he gets a smile that comes of a bit creepy)

Don't ya be puttin' words to my thinkin', Laddie.
(My thoughts were the same as Harry's... )

Father, I resent what you're implying.
(I'm not sure what's being implied)

which I learned from (fill in the blank?) Maude, who was her guardian
(If I were to be telling someone a backstory... I would expect a precursor to a person who is known as not known. How does Harry know Maude? It was like Harry introduced her name as if Zach was expected to know how Harry knew Maude from the beginning...)

discovered him early one morning hanging naked from the garage rafters.
(A nice side story with satisfying, if gruesome, repercussions.)

By foreign object. The bloody rake was nearby.
(I like that they have to specify... though, that is kind of worrisome... a murder of torturous thought... a nice distraction for father and son to bond over... )


side, I needed to get us off the street.
(someone in need to care for... kind of an anchor to a wandering soul... a reason that Harry is having to set a base place... and get a job and such)

she was easily distracted by butterflies or blades of grass. Still, working
(was? wondered if it should be a more she's easily? Not sure... just a thought that I had.)


Her father was fat. Buddha's eyes followed her.
(Nice tie back to the props... and giving understanding to significance and adding implications on what that means on Mayree's state of mind)


I'm learning patience. I have more with her than I have with ...
(He doesn't seem impatient with his father? ... Oh, I see, he wanted to hear about the rest of the story with his mother. This is a glib reminder..)

He takes off, yelpin'.
(A bit of action in the story, in a way... would be interesting to see how an actor would deliver it. (not that it needs to be directed, or filled in by you)

She told you 'bout that?
(This is an odd assumption... Zach saying 'that' but I forgive it, as it does give a sense that there's something to remember. But Harry's mother could have told him anything... real or fake.... so this was harder to swallow... why not a simple... Is that so? to draw it out... the next line. Reason I have a hard time with this flow, is Zach seems to imply Harry's mom didn't tell him something, that he's walking on eggshells, but he leaps with seeming to know what she told him, when there's no ... zero hint as to what Harry is claiming her memory was intact about.)

I remember plantin' 'em. Guess they didn't take.
(as neither did the call to settle down with a girl he'd met for a few days didn't take...?)

Hmm. How 'bout that.
(A romantic notion. I tried that once with some seeds and plants... in my house. Failed miserably.)

But please don't take "Father" away from me.
(a potent sentiment... as the man abandoned him long ago... but the association is all he has... that he wants it is impressive, that he longs for that connection is kind of depressing, too)

Just Mama and me. One. Two.
(he's very insistent that another ... man? is involved in all of this. A running curiosity that I look forward to understanding)


from the flames of your passion!
(I liked this,... it seems to be a comfort that at least he was a byproduct of a moment of love shared... even if his father then flew away never to return... well... till that day)

room to return any more of 'em back to her.
(so he believed she found another, and it broke his heart, so he never bothered finding out her letters explaining Harry. How sad for him.)

Because the truth would have failed to do what she had to have it do.
(His mother lied to let Zac off the hook on returning? but then found out she was pregnant? This is what I am understanding... looking forward for details)

Because you don't know yet the biggest secret she had to keep from you.
(I am engaged here, through this part of the play, it makes sense and is holding my attention at a peek)

Dolores. Ohhhhh.
(emotionally compelling... sad twist of fate. Done to keep Zach safe, but was too effective at driving him away.)

After we received the thousand Franks from Ambassador Proffer**** (Prother... Name change? Might need to fix)

I could never hide from them.
(like the eyes of the Buddha clock?)

The cover was separated from the glued binding and many pages were torn and dog-eared. (is this needed? feels like an afterthought, and not something that felt natural as to describe... the later and before gives enough feel for the wear and tear)

the Father
(the father that I call Father.... I think the 'the' makes it not capitalized...)

the twenty-three-year-old child of a common flower.
(The cherishing it and time vested is what makes it special, gives it meaning, nice way to elevate the poem in a way that I could understand though would also be the type of person who would miss meaning in any poem, it's importance or how it too can be planted and nurtured... as it was in Harry's brain)


 Comment Written 06-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 06-Nov-2016
    Gold. Pure Gold! Thanks, Turtle. I made almost all the changes you suggested. Your reasons you gave for the suggested changes were cogent. As a result, it reads more smoothly.

reply by the author on 06-Nov-2016
    I kept looking for the thumbs up, but apparently I've given them all out this month. Yours is SOOOOO worthy. I'll add it to my list for next month's.
Comment by
2019 Script Writer of the Year
Bill Schott
 
Poet Rating
  Rank:  45 (+1)
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  Rank:  18
Author Rating For Novels
  Rank:  21
Script Rating
  Rank:  4
Review Stars
  Rank:  14
 

#4 Ranked Script Writer
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Rating of Chapter 1 -
Act I: The Enigma Begins (2)
This act really grips the reader as I'm certain an audience would be affected. Harry's story, though unknown to me, sounds like one of a man following that different drum tap. The real or imagined idea of a traveling and absent father to cause him to pick up and leave for different exotic areas and perform varied jobs is both funny and sad.


 Comment Written 06-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 06-Nov-2016
    Well, you got a good handle on the first part of it. There are many twists and turns before the 3rd Act curtain. I'm rather proud of it. Thanks you so very much for the six stars.
Comment by
michaelcahill
Level 1 Pro
rumours and innuendos
rumours of innuendos
 
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Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Rating of Chapter 3 -
Self-Completion of the Enigma
I don't know the first thing about plays other than you are now my role model. HAAAHAHAHA! This all looks and sounds great to me. It reads like a dream and is as entertaining as can be. I've been thinking about looking into plays for a long while and this is what I needed to read to convince me it's a good idea. LOVE IT!! mikey


 Comment Written 05-Nov-2016



reply by the author on 06-Nov-2016
    Plays are fun, Mikey. You ought to give it a try. Thanks for the six stars.
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