Toyer

by  Gardner McKay

Full Length Play, Drama  /  1m, 1f

"Strong stuff...Outlandish mind games. Riveting, breathtaking." - Herald Examiner
"A classic mystery that always keeps you guessing on the edge of your seat." - Variety

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License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Mystery/Thriller
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

This psychological thriller is a favorite in acting workshops. It is a mind game play. Toyer is someone who toys; he is a mass paralyzer who toys with his victims. He does not murder or rape, he seduces and then immobilizes.

From the author: "If this play is about anything, it is about our vast ability to manipulate one another. About our wondrous gift for lying. It is about our awful power of charisma. It is about our capacity to believe any truth, as it suits us. It is about our immediate power to forgive; our need to move on. It is about compromise, our willingness to sleep with our executioner. It is about our moral lawlessness: our loss of instincts, and the inner beliefs of our own. It is about our capacity to absorb mindless horror, that a crime is only a crime if it happens to us; nothing else angers us. It is about our dreadful crimes; not that they happen, that we know about them and turn the page."

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Reviews

"Deeply disturbing and entirely relevant. A classic mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat, guessing." - All Things Considered, National Public Radio

"A brilliant evening of theater. A double tour de force. The most exciting play we've had all year." - Variety

"Powerful." - The Washington Post

"Superb. Riveting, breathtaking. Strong stuff...most exciting drama of the year...restores to theater what theater's meant to be." - L.A. Herald Examiner

"This has to be the most intense play between a man and a woman ever written." - Axxess Magazine

"The writing is taut with a good deal of steely wit." - The Daily Express

"Playwright Gardner McKay's script is taut, chilling...my blood ran cold..." The Daily Mail

"A classic mystery that always keeps you guessing on the edge of your seat." - Variety

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Animals Animals
  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Nudity Nudity/Partial Nudity

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: The present. Near Los Angeles. A one-story, one bedroom house or cottage set in Randall canyon in the hills above the city. Maude’s. A small house, not an apartment. Surprisingly fresh, cool, pristine, utilitarian; more masculine than feminine. There’s a blasé vigor seen in the few choices made; strong functional ideas in the hands of someone with more than a modest income. From a stereo dial set among a subtle display of books comes a steady stream of quiet jazz. Barely seen, a cat is asleep on the window seat; a place ginger colored cat who drinks milk when he is offered, ignores orders, and tends to doze through the best parts.
  • Additional Features: Animal spot, Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

1m, 1f
MAUDE CHRISTOPHER - Bright. In her mid or late thirties. Athletic body, attractive face. Hair; short. Clear-eyed, she looks at people, studies them. Definite, focused, alienated. Not easily resolved.
PETER MATSON -  Lithe. Strong, not muscular. In his early or late twenties. Light or blond haired, pale eye-brows. Neither handsome nor ugly. Striking yet indistinct. An apparent innocent; easlity written on, easily erased. A tabula raza.
JIMMY -  A pale ginger cat. Not large.
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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

Jimmy is a cat, not a human playing a cat.

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Authors

Gardner McKay

George Cadogan Gardner McKay (1932-2001) was born in Manhattan, New York City. His early years were spent in France, Connecticut, and Kentucky. At age fifteen, he published his first story. He attended Cornell University where he edited the humor magazine, wrote a film review column for the paper, and was briefly presi ...

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Following productions in Los Angles and the Actors Studio, it was produced at the Eisenhower Theatre and the Kennedy Center with Kathleen Turner and Brad Davis, directed by Tony Richardson.

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