Bite the Hand & Mooncastle


Ara Watson

Published by Dramatists Play Service

3 Male 3 Female

Bite the Hand

The place is the back porch of an old house in a small town in South Dakota, the time the summer of 1947. Reba (in her forties) and April (in her twenties) are two women who, forced to fend for themselves when the local mill laid them off, have turned to the "oldest profession"

But now April has accepted an offer of matrimony and is packing to leave - a development which is not easily accepted by Frank, the manager of the mill and one of April's "regulars"

To make matters worse, it turns out that Frank has just shot his wife and her lover, and learning that April is also defecting is almost more than the shaken Frank can bear

Furthermore, he still has the gun in his pocket - which makes April's defiance all the riskier and Reba's nervousness all the greater

But the crisis passes (the gun is empty) and Frank departs (they'll probably let him go scot-free) and the two ladies, collapsing in relieved laughter, decide to relax and take in a movie before April boards the bus to Sioux City and a new life with her husband-to-be (who happens to look just like Frank)

Successfully produced by New York's highly regarded Ensemble Studio Theatre, as part of its Marathon of One-Act Plays, this very funny yet poignantly probing play deals with the unexpected difficulties encountered by two ladies of easy virtue when one of them decides to get married and leave the profession

" warm, mischievous and with a bittersweet afterglow outstanding work" ~ NY Times

Cast of 1 man and 2 women


Divorced and living alone in a remote Oklahoma town, Lloyd welcomes a visit from his sister Eve, a hard-drinking, tough-talking carnival operator trying to make a living with what remains of a touring show which was broken up by her partner's sudden demise

Lloyd puts on a good face, although he is disturbed by the news that his ex-wife has remarried and by the fact that his children never call him; while Eve, ever ebullient, cannot disguise the emptiness she feels at Red's death (even though he was married to another woman), a sense of loss which the brassy young Don, who she has signed as helper and lover, cannot really assuage

Trying to reach out to his neighbors, Lloyd persuades Eve to set up her paraphernalia in his front yard, charging the local kids a nominal twenty-five cents (even for the fabled "Mooncastle" ride); but the sheriff quickly closes them down, and they don't even take in enough to pay for the electricity

But somehow the experience becomes a watershed for both of them, as Eve decides that this will be her "farewell tour," and Lloyd accepts the fact that what he has is all he ever will have - or could really ever have hoped for

A touching and gently humorous study of two aging "losers" who come to accept the truth of their lives - that the best is now beyond them and, perhaps, was never really within their reach

Commissioned by the Actors Theatre of Louisville under a Ford Foundation grant in support of women writers

Cast of 2 men and 1 woman

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