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Fitch Todd


Reviews

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“FITCH TODD by Jeffrey Gold shows a playwright very much in command of the form—able to shape rich and dense content into a short play with mystery and humor. The payoff of this play is very strong. You know why you’ve been watching it with attention from its opening moment and feel the curtain pays all that attention off.” David Kranes, Founding Artistic Director, Sundance Playwright’s Lab

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“I was truly affected by his well written concise work. In each play, the dialogue flowed naturally, the ending gripped me and the final irony left me entertained with strong emotions.” Kristin Ettinger, Assistant Editor, Pioneer Drama Service on FITCH TODD and HORST AND GRABEN IN THE CONTEXT OF THE UNFINISHED MAN

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“I enjoyed it. Nice austere but riveting small piece.”

Jon Jory, The Actors Theatre of Louisville on HORST AND GRABEN IN THE CONTEXT OF THE UNFINISHED MAN

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“Jeff Gold’s work has a unique and quirky feel about it. His plays get under your skin, get stuck in your teeth until you find yourself compelled to laugh... to cry. A welcome voice in the world of theater.” Playwright Jeff Metcalf, Founder, Sawtooth Writer’s Conference


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“Jeff Gold’s work is smart, original, surprising, and satisfying. He knows the theatre well, what it can do and what makes it exciting. He also has a nose for interesting characters in unique situations. His is a wonderful theatrical voice. No question about it.” Award-Winning Playwright Julie Jensen (Two-Headed, White Money)

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“HORST AND GRABEN IN THE CONTEXT OF THE UNFINISHED MAN caught our attention as an unusual, interesting and well written piece... we’d like to include it in our annual Short Play Reading Festival.” Dena Nathanson, Director, Boca Raton Theatre Guild

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“HORST AND GRABEN IN THE CONTEXT OF THE UNFINISHED MAN takes the conflicts and hardships of daily life and presents them in the form of a Vaudeville routine, in the spirit of Samuel Beckett.” Steve Mathews, Director, Just Off Broadway Theater, Kansas City, Missouri

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“DEDEKIND by Jeffrey Gold... is sure to hit the mark with a Lab [Theatre] audience. You know, them artsy types.” Craig Froehlich, Red Magazine


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Plays by Jeffrey Gold In the Pursuit of Svetla

(2001)

Horst and Graben in the Context of the Unfinished Man (2002)

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Fitch Todd

(2002)

Percolation Theory Dedekind

(2002)

(2003)

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Horst and Graben at the Chateau Godot Candycane Hurricane

(2003)

(2003)

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Execution at Paradais Island

(2004)

Displacement: A Fish in Water Story Grieving at Doors Fair Shake

(2006)

(2007)

(2004)


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Fitch Todd by Jeffrey Gold

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m Dramatica Press New York • Los Angeles

2010


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Fitch Todd © 2003 Jeffrey Gold

Fitch Todd is published by Dramatica Press New York (347) 788 0037 • Los Angeles (213) 787 6066 • www.dramaticapress.com

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All rights reserved. Except for short passages quoted in newspaper, magazines, radio, or television reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, including photocopying or recording (visual or audio), or stored in an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. This material is subject to a royalty and is fully protected under the Copyright Laws of the United States and all other countries of the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions. All rights, including but not limited to professional, amateur, recording, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio and television broadcast, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are expressly reserved.

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Use of this material by educational institutions can be secured from the author’s publisher, Dramatica Press, or the author’s representative, Corpus Polymedia, or the author.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-In-Publication Data Gold, Jeffrey. Fitch todd / Jeffrey Gold.—1st ed. p.cm. ISBN: 1451532806 EAN-13: 9781451532807

Cover photograph: “Building on the edge of the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy,” © 2005 by A. Schaeffer Cover Photograph: “Sonata Music,” © 2005 by Joel Rossol Cover Photograph: “Gerber Daisy,” © 2006 by Jeffrey Gold Author photograph (Cover): Jennifer Arnold Author photograph (Interior): Benjamine Justine Hubert Cover design: Corpus Polymedia Text Design: Dramatic Press/Corpus Polymedia Text Font: Optima First Edition, March 2010


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For my mother, Sabine Gold


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Introduction

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Fitch Todd has always led a charmed life. It represents one of the most satisfying experiences I have had as a playwright. Fitch Todd has a considerable arc, considering what a short play it is. Short plays are difficult to build, because there is so little space to do anything—let alone build an arc. Fitch Todd also has three distinct acts— usually difficult to build organically in such a short span—which also help give rise to an arc. (Are there such things as arcts?) But, Fitch Todd’s natural arc, I think, is what makes this play a satisfying one. The play originally started out as a play about a couple—just like the ones here now—where the husband was keeping a photograph of his ex-wife in the house, much to the amused annoyance of his current wife. Somehow the marriage was able to survive that, but the play was going to be about the taking down of that photograph—about that particular moment and what led up to it. As I was writing the play, the characters of husband and wife simply took over—which is a great thing for a playwright—to become a stenographer rather than be a writer. When they took over, the result was Fitch Todd. I used to frequent a coffee shop, Salt Lake Coffee Break, that for its first two summers primarily attracted a cohesive group of people my own age (early thirties at the time). During a particularly delightful summer in 2003, before the youngsters invaded and drove us out, I was writing Fitch Todd, but not with this title. The original title was Leitmotif/Coda—possibly inspired by the unique juxtaposition of the words in the title Nip/Tuck, which, incidentally, came out that summer; but I wouldn’t know: I don’t

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Jeffrey Gold

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watch television. Amazing, though, how we are thoroughly inundated with marketing that I would know the title of a show I didn’t watch. At the coffee shop, there was one acquaintance, an affable fellow by the name of Todd—I can’t remember his last name—who had to eat a daily ration of bananas because he had been attacked by a bear in Alaska—and who always wore Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts. (You probably laughed at that last sentence, and I hope you feel guilty for that laugh when I tell you that the bear had nearly mortally bitten him into his liver.) One day, when I was talking about him in his presence, I accidentally (on purpose) called him Fitch Todd, and I remember we all laughed at his new moniker. It rolled off the tongue very easily and stuck, and if my memory serves me correctly, I declared right then and there that I was going to name the new play I was working on Fitch Todd—after our affable friend who lived despite the bear (and because the title sounded good). By the way, it was only years later I made the connection with the title Sweeney Todd. I was shocked when I made that connection and even thought of renaming the play—to stop potential readers thinking Fitch Todd was the follow-up play/sequel about Sweeney Todd’s truly evil brother. It isn’t. And I haven’t.

Sugarhouse March 7, 2010

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Fitch Todd

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WINNER 2004 New Voices/New Words Playwriting Competition

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WINNER Seahorse Award 2005 Moondance International Film Festival Stageplay Competition WINNER 2006 Silver Spring One-Act Festival

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Production History

Fitch Todd won the Silver Spring One-Act Festival, and was produced at the Silver Spring Stage, August 17–20, 2006.

Cast:

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Fitch Todd was directed by Dale Brady-Wilson and produced by Nancy Jaquish and Richard Ley.

David Weaver Gigi Felix Jerry Fill

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Fitch Todd Meredith Todd Earl Browning

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Characters

Fitch Todd – Fitch is an older man, a bed-ridden composer, safely in his sixties (his glasses make him look like Trotsky). Meredith Todd – His wife, is a woman in her late forties or early fifties.

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Earl Browning – His publisher, is a distinguished looking, silverhaired gentleman (a cross between Colonel Sanders and Lenin), probably in his early seventies. He is using this opportunity to test the waters with Meredith.

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Setting

An mid-afternoon in a rustic, pastel apartment in Rome, Italy.

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Stage Directions

This play is, budget permitting, staged in an “exaggerated” room consisting of a trapezoid with the longest side facing the audience with inward sloping sides toward the back of the theatre, much like a European woodcut picture.

Props

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A bed. A chair. A small table. A vase. Some flowers. Drapes covering a window and a French door leading to a balcony.

Pronunciation

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Gonville & Caius – “Gone-ville and Keys” (English) Jaeger – “Yeah-ger” (German) Hindemith – “Hind-eh-myt” (German) Caffe di Campidoglio – “Café di Campi-dole-yo” (Italian) Schneckenmutter – “Shneck-en-moutt-er” (German)

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Fitch Todd A nice but sparsely appointed room in Rome. The story takes place in the recent past. A bed rests prominently in the foreground against the wall stage right. Behind the drapes are French doors that lead to a balcony at the back of the stage.

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A little table supporting a vase of yellow flowers sits in the far right corner, stage left. A chair faces the bed at an angle. The door to the room is at stage left. A sheet is draped over a body lying in the bed.

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Shortly after the curtain rises, Meredith, a woman in her early fifties, enters from stage left, opens the drapes, and tends to small details.

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She rearranges a flower in the vase. MEREDITH

Time to get up.

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Long silence. MEREDITH

(looking out the window)

Did you hear me? FITCH

Leave me in peace, woman. Leave me to die. Meredith turns around to face the bed. Fitch is still under the sheet. 15


Fitch Todd MEREDITH

You are silly and old. Meredith turns back to look outside. FITCH

Do you mind leaving the room? And close the drapes, for crying out loud. You’re not wanted here. MEREDITH

I’m sick of your moaning. FITCH

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Then leave me to die. MEREDITH

Have it your way. FITCH

Thank you.

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MEREDITH

But you won’t die and then you’ll be begging me for food again. FITCH

Not this time.

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MEREDITH

Yes, you will. You’re in too fine physical shape to die. FITCH

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I’m willing myself to death. MEREDITH

You’re not that strong willed. FITCH

You obviously don’t know me that well. MEREDITH

It won’t happen. FITCH

It happens all the time. 16


Jeffrey Gold MEREDITH

To whom? FITCH

Lots of folks wait until after their birthday to die. MEREDITH

Yes. But those are the ones who are barely hanging on. Old and decrepit. You’re hardly that. FITCH

It’s a mental thing.

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MEREDITH

(sarcastic)

No need to tell me. FITCH

I can “will” it. MEREDITH

FITCH

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Ridiculous.

Not ridiculous at all. Correction: pathetic.

Short pause.

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MEREDITH

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MEREDITH

Anyway, I came to tell you that Earl Browning dropped by. Fitch pulls the sheet off of his face. FITCH

When? MEREDITH

Just a few minutes ago. FITCH

Why didn’t you let him in? 17


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Playwright Jeffrey Gold at Cambridge University/Benjamine Justine Hubert

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JEFFREY GOLD

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Educated at Cambridge University, Westminster College, and the University of Utah, Jeffrey Gold was a member of the Playwright’s Group for more than three seasons, through the auspices of the Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC) under dramaturg Mike Dorrell (BBC’s Soldier, Soldier, Pictures of a Floating World) and playwright-in-residence Julie Jensen (Two-Headed, Last Lists of My Mad Mother, Wait!). His plays IN THE PURSUIT OF SVETLA, HORST AND GRABEN IN THE CONTEXT OF THE UNFINISHED MAN, FITCH TODD, PERCOLATION THEORY, DEDEKIND, HORST AND GRABEN AT THE CHATEAU GODOT, CANDYCANE HURRICANE, EXECUTION AT PARADAIS ISLAND, DISPLACEMENT: A FISH IN WATER STORY, GRIEVING AT DOORS, and FAIR SHAKE have garnered numerous awards, readings, and productions, including the 2002 CrossCurrents Cultural Five and Dime Playwriting Competition, 2003 Boca Raton Theatre Guild Short Play Reading Festival, 2003 Ten by Ten in the Triangle (Finalist), 2003 Shorts in Winter Playwriting Festival, 2003 Experiments In Ink V Playwriting Competition, 2004 Women in Theatre Play Reading Series, 2004 New Voices/New Words Playwriting Contest, 2004 Moondance International Film Festival Stageplay Competition, 2005 Moondance International Film Festival Seahorse Award (Finalist), 2005 Theatre Publicus Prize for Dramatic Literature (Finalist), 2006 Silver Spring One-Act Festival, and more. Jeffrey Gold was the Best of State Medal Winner in Playwriting in 2005 and 2006, and 2007.


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Dramatica Press

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A Corpus Polymedia Company

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pl Dramatica Press New York 347 788 0037 Los Angeles 213 787 6066 www.dramaticapress.com

Fitch Todd - A Play in One Act  

In this award-winning comedic tragedietta, Fitch Todd, a dried-out composer, has lost all motivation to live; his publisher conspires to pul...

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