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Cay, The - Short Play, Drama

Cay, The

Gayle Cornelison, Theodore Taylor

Short Play, Drama


More Information Below:

Description | Characters

Short Play


The Cay relates the compelling journey of 11-year-old Phillip Enright,a journey toward adulthood. Phillip is awakened on a February day in 1942 to learn that German submarines have attacked the neighboring island of Aruba. The whole world is at war! And now it has come to his island of Curacao in the warm, blue Caribbean. Phillip is excited but his mother, who never wanted to leave her home in Virginia, is very nervous about the war. She does not like Curacao and she certainly does not like the black people who inhabit it. "They are different from us," she explains to Phillip. In spite of the danger of sea travel she insists that Phillip return with her to Virginia. Near Panama their ship is torpedoed, and Phillip is separated from his mother in the wreckage of the ship. He is rescued by a West Indian named Timothy and pulled onto a crude raft occupied by the man and an old cat. Timothy is different. He is huge, very old and black. Even though Phillip is quite frightened and has a terrible headache from being hit in the head, he feels certain that they will soon be rescued. Help does not come, and conditions seem almost hopeless when Phillip's head injury causes him to lose his sight. Finally, they are cast up on a small barren island where Timothy helps the boy learn the skills he will need to survive even with his blindness. He teaches Phillip to fish, to weave palm fibers into sleeping mats, to climb the palm tree for coconuts and to know the geography of the island. During his ordeal, the boy also discovers that his companion is a wise and dignified man and that the color of one's skin does not determine a person's worth in the world. A thoughtful family play which speaks to all ages about survival, about compassion, about slowly growing older and also growing wiser. Area staging.



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