Where's Julie? (A Melodramatic Comedy)
Lulu Enterprises Incorporated, Oct 24, 2009 - 65 pages
**Winner of the 2001 Short Play Award at the Kennedy Center/ACTF Festival, Region II.** Also, winner of the Northwest Zone High School Drama Festival's Best Production, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Sound Awards in 2008 (BC, Canada).15-year old Julie runs away from home to escape her abusive, alcoholic father, her desperately happy mother, and her autistic younger brother, only to find herself "knocked up" by her too-old Latino boyfriend, harassed by her older sister, and shunned by her Born-Again Christian friend. But, when she contemplates abortion, that's when the play gets really funny. Mature audiences only.
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“Where’s Julie? An Uncomfortably Hysterical Play”
Review Analysis by: Kat ReynoldsWhere’s Julie?, a play written by Kennedy Center short-play award winner Daniel Guyton, takes audiences on a journey through the lives and living room of an exceptionally generic American family. Correction: an American family who is exceptionally crazy! If you enjoy the humor of South Park or Family Guy, you are sure to enjoy Guyton’s dark comedies, of which this play is one of the best.
The script follows the young character Julie in her quest to decide whether to keep or abort her unborn baby. She ultimately finds her answer with guidance from a crew of characters such as the loveably racist Mom, atheist sister Allison, and stoner boyfriend Hector. Each character fulfills their own needs as they share moments of clarity with the audience. Throughout the play, Guyton poignantly introduces two more unforgettable roles through The Running Crew. These two Dick Van Dyke-esque comedians bring the audience back to reality and fill in gaps on behalf of a missing intermission and curtain call. All of these characters highlight two themes which Guyton’s plays discuss: despicably loveable characters, and a matriarch’s struggle to keep order. If you are an audience member who enjoys American family parodies, I suggest you look up Guyton’s next play performance of Where’s Julie? and go see it!
The play’s script opens with a picture perfect set of a 1950’s household, with one exception. A Nintendo set. This is the play’s central prop, and represents the broken family unit. As a tertiary plotline, the audience follows the game set and its main player, Jeffrey, on a quest to fix the machine. Next, Guyton introduces the central family parental units appropriately named Mom and Dad. These two present obstacles as Mom desperately tries to earn love and attention from her husband, while Dad desperately tries to fill his various dinner plates. As the parental figures attempt to create order in their own home, two new characters are introduced across town in Allison’s apartment.
Julie and Allison are sisters who have left Mom and Dad’s nest in search of Band-Aids for their own lives: one needs a job and the other a pregnancy test. Allison presents her symbolic Nintendo as her failure to get a grip on life because Julie is “in the way.” Julie meanwhile is creating a butterfly effect in each household as the readers see how her decisions affect everyone around her. This script culminates with her most crucial decision: SEX. In Allison’s absence (cue melodramatic music), Hector takes the scene as Julie’s clueless, stoner boyfriend. Within a conversation, Julie unveils to Hector that he is, in fact, the father of her unborn child. How else can he appropriately respond, but lighting up a fat joint?
With no support from her sister or boyfriend, Julie’s last resort is God, or something close to it. Margaret is a religion-loving, Jesus-praying sixteen year old who puts God “on hold” to help Julie through her problem. Another character blends into the background, but must not go unmentioned. Jeffrey is Julie’s Autistic brother, and has been reviewed previously as a representation of Jesus. He is a character that challenges the family to make their own decisions by uttering the word NINTENDO as creatively as Bill and Ted say “DUDE!” Who knew one mid-90’s video game could present so much compassion, frustration, and final advice when creatively placed in dialogue?
As mentioned before, the play introduces two characters as comic relief. The Running Crew’s conversations kindly, but consistently remind the audience that this is JUST a play, and the characters are JUST actors, and not representations of actual people. I begin to wonder whether Guyton created The Running Crew to get some laughs, take the heat off of himself, or to really make a point that actors are “…actors! They don’t have…feelings….or anything.” I have concluded, after much time spent dissecting the