160: King Leer

28 Aug

I was looking for a quick play today and found this one by Ann Wuehler online. King Leer is a very different play to the Shakespeare I thought it might be modelled on. This is a disturbing account of a brother and sister in a cottage in a wood making porn films.

Old Mill by Gustaf Tenggren

Painting of an old mill by Gustaf Tenggren

Wuehler goes into too much detail about how they got here (their dad in gaol and the rare mouse that put him there didn’t help move the story forward and seemed like justification to me) but the premise is interesting.

Mike is filming his 17-year-old sister, Hazel, for someone he’s met on the internet. This fellow goes by the name King Leer and has given Mike a list of what he wants Hazel to do in exchange for $50,000. But Hazel doesn’t believe in lists and doesn’t want to do anything she’s uncomfortable with, which presents Mike with a problem.

HAZEL: I never saw no list. I didn’t know there was a list. You know how I feel about things that are lined up, it’s not natural. Nothing lines up in nature, there are no straight lines. Now that I’m a Wiccan, I know that. Why’d you bring coffee?? It’s hot out.

MIKE: You’re a what?? It’s…not coffee, it’s root beer. For after. Or before. Either way…

HAZEL: Oh!! I love root beer!! I’m a Wiccan, a witch, one with nature, it’s why I don’t care about having sex with strangers on camera, but it has to be nice sex, not…that list crap. Just shoot me having nice sex. Okay?

MIKE: The pedophile wants nasty, awful, degrading, terrible sex, he wants you held down and raped. If I could find another underage girl, I would– do you think I want my little sister…

There’s a lot of this sort of expository dialogue in King Leer – as if Wuehler didn’t trust the audience or the actors to be able to convey information without it spelled out in black and white. It’s there from Hazel’s first line, when she tells Mike that faeries are there, watching them.

HAZEL: Can’t you feel the Wee Ones?? They’re…watching. And they keep saying don’t drink. Don’t drink, it’s poison. As if I’d listen to them NOW.

This leaves the audience/reader with two options: Hazel is crazy or she does possess a sixth sense and faeries are real. It also points a big flashing sign to the ‘twist’ at the play’s end.

I liked the setting, the possibility of wee folk who don’t much care for humans, and the promise of tension between a brother and sister filming a porno. Ten minutes wasn’t enough time to realise any of it. With a few less exclamation points and double question marks and some more depth, King Leer could be fleshed out into a much more interesting play about family ties, trust and betrayal. As it is, it’s a sketch for something that could be much darker and more interesting.

Read it online.

Cast: 1M, 1F

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