The Decline and Fall of Us All by Robert Joseph Ahola


It is the 21st Century, some time in the not-too-distant future. The world as we know it has virtually come to an end. Not through any holocaust - everything has just stopped working! The rich hide in "walled-up" country club estates while no one really knows what the rest of the world is doing. Into the mystery of this muddled future, we find the Vanowen clan in their decaying Faulknerian mansion on the fairway of Rock Ridge Country Club, proudly aristocratic and clinging to the shards of their culture like a drowning man to flotsam. As we meet these cultural throwbacks, we also behold a world sadly amusing and frail beyond belief, especially when some "Outsiders" are captured and change the dynamics forever. Approximate Run Time: 105 minutes.


Cast of Characters

  • RODERICK VANOWEN (Roddy): A self-confessed male chauvinist relic in his forties, he is addicted to 'painkillers,' martinis and antiquated rules of morality and manners. Proud of his testosterone and ties to the past, he unashamedly shares his proclivities for shooting at 'Outsiders' on the country club fairway just outside his back yard.

  • EMILY VANOWEN: After her namesake Emily Dickinson, Roddy�s significant other lives in a poetic alternate reality. This is no longer her plane of existence, a point she emphasizes by taking as much Zoloft as she can pour into her body in one day and by reciting poetry whenever things upset her. This elegant woman may be in her late twenties or late thirties, and seems undefined by the clich�s of both age and sexual role-playing.

  • GILDA: Sexy, materialistic and bored with her own socially incubated lifestyle, she longs for a diversion, even if it means bringing in outsiders from the vast unwashed. In her thirties, she dresses in a long cocktail dress and appears to be something of a caricature cut out of a 1940s film noir.

  • DAVID: Gilda's beau and apparently Roddy's cousin, David is both contemptuous of the Outside World and fascinated by it. The consummate gentlemen, this first generation Brit in his early fifties is a fashion plate and fancies himself as something of a Sherlock Holmes, which gives him more forum for dry martinis and the notion of adventure.

  • STEDMAN: Always with this group but never truly part of them, he is an older gentleman who is openly and unashamedly a voyageur into this time and place. What this fey little fellow's role here, really? Only time will tell.

  • CLINT: An 'Outsider' named after his favorite fantasy actor, Clint Eastwood, he nonetheless wears splashes of Gran Guignol makeup that tends to make him look like a member of KISS. And yet, he is much more complex than his street thug image and far removed from the creatures Roddy is convinced are 'dangerous to humanity.'

  • BRIDGET: Common and immersed in shocks of multi-colored hair, Bridget is caustic and opposed to everything that even appears to be appropriate. She feels that she is the only stable point of reference in the entire gathering. (Is she? And what gives her such a sense of moral rectitude?)

A NOTE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS: This is living theatre in the context that at least one of the characters may assume another identity. The Character of Stedman is a constant, as are the female characters. But the male characters may be interchanged in the final scene to give the producer and playhouse a choice as to who animates and joins the dialogue and who in fact remains frozen in time. Once the animated character is revealed it will not affect the intention of the plot, but may alter its flavor and audience perceptions, for him to assume the conversation with the pivotal character of Stedman.

Also available from this Playwright

The Decline and Fall of Us All
Design & photo by Jeanne Chitty & Peter Scheer

ISBN #1-60513-082-6; JAC #2010-0023

$35/performance royalty

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