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An Ordinary Man - Full Length Play

An Ordinary Man

Mel Arrighi

Full Length Play

8m, 4f

ISBN: 9780822208631

As A.D. Coleman comments: "On the first level—that of intention—the pl…

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Description | Characters | Author
: DPS Acting Edition

Full Length Play


Unit Set/Multiple Settings

As A.D. Coleman comments: "On the first level—that of intention—the play is a provocative statement. Set in the near future, it is structured as a series of flashbacks which take place during the trial of one Andy Neff for crimes against humanity. The flashbacks reveal the following narrative: The inexorable increase of racial tensions brings to power in America a right-wing, racist political party, the Liberal Party, and the nation becomes a virtual dictatorship…The other nations of the world band against the United States. With war and revolution about to break out any moment, the Party orders the internment in concentration camps of all blacks, half-a-million of whom die while imprisoned. World War Three is, shortly thereafter begun—and lost—by the United States, and an International Court calls to account all those responsible for the genocide. Neff, as the play's title indicates, is an ordinary man. Basically apolitical, he was a promising, talented film director, a typical Good German. He rose to national prominence, however, as director of a series of propagandistic anti-black 'educational films' which were instrumental in establishing the atmosphere of race hatred which made the genocide possible. His defense, naturally, is that he had nothing against blacks, didn't realize the effect his work was going to have and was just doing his job. From the evidence of the flashbacks, this all appears to be true. He really didn't know what he was doing, and he didn't intend to hurt anyone. The question with which the author leaves his audience, thus, are these: are you the same kind of ordinary man? What will your defense be at the trials? Will you be found innocent or guilty?"
A successful Off-Broadway debut, this singular and absorbing play puts forth a chilling glimpse of a future America that could be, unless the explosive social tensions of the present are effectively and fairly resolved. "…a timely dramatic idea…" —NY Post. "…consistently interesting…" —Village Voice.


8m, 4f


Flexible casting


Mel Arrighi

Mel Arrighi was a successful writer of stage and screen. Screenwriting credits include “Murder by the Book” (1987), “McCloud” (1971), “N.Y.P.D.” (1961), and “We Shall Return” (1962). His comic play The Castro Complex was produced by Pheasant Run Theater in St. Charles, Illinois, in 1986, directed by Gary Houston. He also authored The Ordinary Man. view full profile

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