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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


Jay Paoloni said...

Lauren, I love your blog!
You seem to be a very passionate actor. Your commitment to reading, studying, and analyzing plays is admirable.
I made it a resolution to study as many plays as possible while I'm in New York studying at the Lee Strasberg Institute. I read this week The Glass Managerie, by Tennessee Williams, and True West, by Sam Shepherd. I confess I wasn't that touched by The Glass Managerie; I'll have to read it once or twice more. But True West was a most beautiful discovery.

I'm a professional actor from Montreal, Canada, but I now live in New York.
I have a blog on acting and I'm looking for followers. I think you might be interested in what I write. If that is so, I'd be very happy if you became my follower and share constructive comments whenever you have some.

You have a great blog and I'll definitely read your future posts and comment.
I'm sure I'll get some interesting insights over the plays I read and I'll read, starting from Cymbeline!

All the best,
Jay Paoloni

Lauren Sowa said...

Thanks Jay, happy you're enjoying the blog! I'll check out yours for sure! Best of luck during your time in NY!


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