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The Kentucky Cycle - Part 1 - Ties That Bind

by Robert Schenkkan

From one land squabble to another. Less Princes in this story, though.

The year is 1819. Michael Rowen's son Patrick is now 43, with two sons of his own. On this particular day Patrick is paid a visit by the Circuit Court, who has come to collect his debts. Poor Patrick is bankrupt. I guess you can kill your father and inherit his land but you better watch out for that sneaky bugger - karma! He tries to explain to the Judge why he can't pay off his debts:
I tried! But them bastards changed the rules on me! Look here, I bought that land with paper money, Bank of Kentucky money - good as gold, they told me. Then two years later they won't take their own money! Told me to chink the logs in my house with it, light ceegars, or wipe my ass - all they wanted now was hard coin.
Basically, his money has been devalued and now he can't pay his debts. SO, this guy, Jeremiah BOUGHT his debt from the bank and now Patrick owes everything (literally) to him. Naturally, Patrick is frustrated:
When we was fightin' I was doin' fine - it's peace that's killin' me! Hell, I thought we won the war! Look to me like I'da been better off if we'da lost the damn thing! 
He has done a lot to keep this land. Most of it illegal, but nevertheless he has worked it hard and, in his mind, increased its value. Jeremiah isn't a man "of the land" and, noticing this, Patrick strikes a deal that he and his sons will work the land for him to pay off the remainder of what he owes. It's the one thing about which he is truly passionate:
IT AIN'T JUST DIRT! It's land. It's a live thing. It's got moods and tricks and secrets like me or you or any other living thing. Man who farms and don't know that, he gonna bust out quick, 'cause the land, it don't tolerate no fools. 
As I was reading this play, I decided that my dream casting of Patrick would be Terry O'Quinn..
On my land, don't nobody tell me what I can and cannot do! YOU HEAR ME! NOBODY! 
Need I say more? Le sigh. I love me some John Locke. And strangely enough, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch from LOST to TKC.  Revival, anyone?

Tomorrow's Play: boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb


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