The Bronzes of Grand Junction
The Bronzes of Grand Junction is a verse drama in twelve scenes. It is suitable for full scale theatrical production, or minimal production, or readers' theater presentation (à la Under Milkwood, or "pageant" production (everyone in town plays a role). The players include a Narratorand six men and six women of any combintion of ages, race, ethnicity, and body build. These 12 players each play/read many characters.
The Bronzes of Grand Junction are-were- ordinary people going about their ordinary lives on an ordinary day when suddenly, instantly bronzed, like baby shoes, "bestatued" right in from of reliable eyewitnesses. They are "a women with shopping bags," "a businessman, " "a homeless man," "a pretty gilr," and "a running child." The cause of this "miracle" is unknown and, as it turns out, unknowable. Could be the work of God, aliens, an artist, a magician, or a scientist putting an odd spin on genetics.
The effect on the town of this phenomenon is far-reaching but not particularly profound. Local quarrel over whether the bronzes deserve "a decent burial" or should serve as a tourist attraction (of vast commercial benefit to the town, or someone).
Visitors overrun the site where the bronzes sit and stand. Tourists arrive by the busload. Blue-collar folk, scientists, religious persons, cranks, poets, researchers, professors, and teenagers speculate about the cause of the phenomenon and weave fantasias about who th ebronzed ones were and why them. The bronzes give the world something to talk about and are the focus, therefore, of a wide range of speculation, personal projections, contentious opinions, and even a few thoughtful, compassionate responses. The responses are usually off-base as far as the actual lives of those bronzed, but would that not be expected? The effect of all these repsonses is an extended colloquy by (mostly) Americans (mostly) about themselves and their culture.
That The Bronzes of Grand Junction is a "verse drama" should not alarm or put off those who have a negative attitude about "poetry." The play reads, and will strike the ear, as almost normal speech. The author uses rhyme to inspire better language than he can ordinarly muster, and he likes rhythm. Here are a couple of examples, first Abraham Falling Blue Father speaking about "the woman with shopping bags":Oh cruel white-man fate!
She is searching in a Target sack
of heartless plastic
for the answer
to her every prayer,
but she can search in those wishbags forever,
and not find the answer
even to wrinkles or vaginal dryness,
let alone flat affect or unhappiness
or anything serious. THIRD WOMAN FROM CAMBRIDGE And the inexorable spin of this,
our bicycle in space,
upright even when we're upside down,
and for a few turns
warms our faces with the light of dawn,
and says, to me at least, lucky you,
you get to try again.