Miguel Pinero Short Eyes

ISBN 13: 9780809086597

Short Eyes

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9780809086597: Short Eyes

Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award

This powerful drama of prison life is set in a house of detention where a group of young convicts-predominantly black and Puerto Rican-taunt, fight, insult, and entertain one another in an attempt to preserve their sanity and to create a semblance of community. When a young white prisoner accused of child molesting is thrown into the cell block by a guard who says he belongs in Sing Sing because "the men up there konw what to do with degenerates like you," the stage is set for an explosive series of events; for, among prisoners, this child molester called "short eyes" is the lowest of criminals.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Miguel Pinero, once a burglar, mugger, shoplifter, and drug addict, began writing when serving a five-year sentence in Sing Sing for armed robbery. He was discovered and encouraged by Marvin Felix Camillo, who conducted a drama workshop at the prison. Camillo's workshop grew into an acting company of ex-convicts called "The Family," members of which made up most of the cast in Joseph Papp's premiere production of Short Eyes in 1974. Mr. Pinero died in 1988.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Short Eyes
ACT ONEDayroom in the House of Detention. Upstage right is entrance gate. Upstage left is gate leading to shower room and slop sink. Upstage center is a toilet and drinking fountain. Above is a catwalk. Stage left is a table and chairs. Downstage right is a garbage can. Upstage right is a TV set on a stand. Early-morning lock-in after the morning meal. 
Early-morning light. 
INMATES' VOICES can be heard: various ad-libs, calling out to each other, asking questions, exchanging prison gossip, etc. 
All right, listen up ... I said listen up.(Whistle)When I call your names, give me your cell location.(Catcalls)Off the fucking noise. Now if I have to call out your name more than once, pray--cause your soul may belong to God, but your ass is mine.(More catcalls. House lights go out) Williams, D. 
MORRISONLockout for criminal court ...(Whistle)"A" side dayroom. All right, already! ... knock it off.Supreme Court.(Whistle)Johnson. 
A LOT OF VOICESWho? ... who? ... who? ... who? ... 
MORRISONAw, come on, fellas, give me a break. 
INMATE VOICEYour brains may belong to the state, but your sanity belongs to me. 
INMATE VOICEAw, come on, fellas, give the fella a break. 
INMATE VOICEBreak ...(Bronx cheer
INMATE VOICECan't you say my name right?(Giving proper pronunciation)Correa ... Correa ... Correa. 
MORRISONYou guys go to the "C" side dayroom(Whistle)Sing Sing reception center. Gomez, A. 
VOICE RESPONSEScicando ... Lower D 11. 
MORRISONBring all your personal belongings and go to the "B" side dayroom.(Catcalls)All right, you guys want to play games, you guys don't let up that noise, you guys ain't locking out this morning. 
INMATE VOICEYou got it.(Ad-libs continue until OMAR speaks
ICEFuck you, sucker.(Silence. Sound of prison gate opening is heard
MORRISON(Whistle--dayroom lights come on)All right, on the lockout.(Enter OMAR, LONGSHOE, EL RAHEEM, PACO, and ICE. Each runs toward his respective position. Ad-libs.Then JUAN walks slowly toward his position.CUPCAKES is the last to come in. The MEN accompany him with simple scat singing to the tune of "The Stripper." Ad-libs) 
JUANWhy don't you cut that loose? Man, don't you think that kid get tired of hearing that every morning? 
PACOOh, man, we just jiving. 
ICEHey, Cupcake, you ain't got no plexes behind that, do you? 
CUPCAKESI mean ... like no ... but ... 
PACOYou see, Juan, Cupcake don't mind. 
CUPCAKESNo, really, Juan. Like I don't mind ... But that doesn't mean that I like to listen to it. I mean ... like ... hey ... I call you guys by your name. Why don't you call me by mine? My name ain't Cupcakes, it's Julio. 
EL RAHEEMIf you would acknowledge that you are God, your namewouldn't be Cupcake or Julio or anything else. You would be Dahoo. 
LONGSHOEAlready! Can't you spare us that shit early in the a.m.? 
EL RAHEEMNo ... one ... is ... talking ... to ... you ... Yacoub. 
LONGSHOEThe name is Longshoe Charlie Murphy ... Mister Murphy to you. 
EL RAHEEMYacoub ... maker and creator of the devil ... swine merchant. Your time is near at hand. Fuck around and your time will be now. Soon all devils' heads will roll and now rivers shall flow through the city--created by the blood of Whitey ... Devil ... beast. 
OMARSalaam Alaikum. 
PACOSalami with bacons. 
ICEPower to the people. 
LONGSHOEFree the Watergate 500. 
CUPCAKESTippecanoe and Tyler too. 
PACO(On table, overly feminine)A la lucha ... a la lucha ... que somo mucha ... 
OMARHey! Hey ... you know the Panthers say "Power to the people." 
MR. NETTOn the gate. 
OMAR(Strong voice)Power to the people. And gay liberators say ...(High voice, limp wrist in fist)Power to the people.(Enter NETT) 
MR. NETTHow about police power? 
JUANHow about it? Oink, oink. 
MR. NETTWise guy. Paco, you got a counsel visit. 
OMARMr. Nett? 
MR. NETTYeah, what is it? 
OMARMr. Nett, you know like I've been here over ten months--and I'd like to know why I can't get on the help. Like I've asked a dozen times ... and guys that just come in are shot over me ... and I get shot down ... Like why? Have I done something to you? Is there something about me that you don't like? 
Why, no. I don't have anything against you. But since you ask me I'll tell you. One is that when you first came in here you had the clap. 
OMARBut I don't have it any more. That was ten months ago. 
MR. NETTHow many fights have you had since the first day you came on the floor? 
OMARBut I haven't had a fight in a long time. 
MR. NETTHow many? 
MR. NETTSeven? Close to ten would be my estimation. No, if I put you on the help, there would be trouble in no time. Now if you give me your word that you won't fight and stay cool, I'll give it some deep consideration. 
OMARI can't give you my word on something like that. You know I don't stand for no lame coming out the side of his neck with me. Not my word ... My word is bond. 
EL RAHEEMBond is life. 
OMARThat's why I can't give you my word. My word is my bond. Man in prison ain't got nothing but his word, and he's got to be careful who and how and for what he give it for. But I'll tell you this, I'll try to be cool. 
MR. NETTWell, you're honest about it anyway. I'll think it over.(PACO and MR. NETT exit
EL RAHEEMTry is a failure. 
OMARFuck you. 
EL RAHEEMTry is a failure. Do. 
OMARFuck you. 
EL RAHEEMFuck yourself, it's cheaper. 
CUPCAKESHey, Mr. Nett--put on the power. 
MR. NETT(From outside the gate)The power is on. 
CUPCAKESThe box ain't on. 
MR. NETTMight be broken. I'll call the repairman. 
JUANMight as well listen to the radio. 
ICEThe radio ain't workin' either, Juan. I tried to get BLS a little while ago and got nothin' but static, Jack. 
CUPCAKESAnyone wants to play Dirty Hearts? I ain't got no money, but I'll have cigarettes later on this week....

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Pinero, Miguel
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Pinero, Miguel
Published by Hill and Wang (1975)
ISBN 10: 080908659X ISBN 13: 9780809086597
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