“They did. Because they’re of that type. It’s just a thing that happens to a type. And it woulda kept happenin’ forever.”
The Present. Rural deep South. Imagine a triangle, with the points being Murfreesboro, TN; Atlanta, GA; and Birmingham AL. Poverty. Poor education. Nothing to do.
Lisa is 15. Her mother is a prostitute and she entertains her clients behind a sheet in the living room of the trailer house where she lives with her kids. Lisa has literally seen it all. She elopes with Clint who she meets when he accompanies a friend to visit Lisa’s mother.
Three years later, they are married and have twins who live with either Lisa’s mom or Clint’s; they aren’t sure. Clint supports them with thievery and petty crimes and they live in cheap hotels.
Lisa and Clint kidnap, rape, torture, and murder 3 girls in succession (the final one escapes). After each incident, Lisa calls the police and reports the bodies. At the end of Act I, Clint and Lisa are arrested when the 3rd girl attempts to escape.
In Act II, Lisa is interviewed by her lawyer. He’s trying to keep her from being executed. She displays a flat affect, feels no remorse, and does not empathize with the victims. She doesn’t blame Clint, but doesn’t accept blame herself. She makes the point that the girls they killed, Clint, and she herself are not important. They are faceless people who don’t matter and won’t be missed. They are throw-away people. Nothing matters.
Lisa’s lawyer is devastated when they lose the trial and Lisa is sentenced to death. Lisa doesn’t care. The lawyer shows her how to play ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ on a toy piano and Lisa displays the very first spark of interest, emotion, connection. Lights down.
Act I is gruesome and graphic.
Act II is amazing, touching, frightening.
Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:
I detested Gilman’s “Boy Gets Girl.” In all fairness, it may have been the production. In even more fairness, it may have been the horrible costumes.
I am intrigued by Gilman’s “Crime of the Century.”
There are many trigger words. Implied sex. Implied rape. Implied murder. A girl handcuffed to a bed. Graphic descriptions of childbirth, murder, sex. Domestic violence. Nudity.
You have to have the gruesomeness of the 1st act for the 2nd act to work. But will people come back after intermission to see the 2nd act? Act I is brutal, graphic, exhausting.
Based on the case of Alvin and Judith Neelley, convicted of murder in 1983.
“I learned how ta read people and I became people’s friend. I smiled all the time, like I do now, ya see? I smiled.”