Robert Anthony Playwright
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You Can't Shout In A Small Room

A Full-Length Play Consisting of 3 Acts with a Cast of 10

Full Synopsis

Set in a small southern town that was once known for its thriving textile industry, this is the story of a disabled man, Henry Millburn, who has been confined to a wheelchair after being struck down by a speeding car while walking near his home, a small shotgun shack in a row of similar houses just off the main highway. A dilapidated hovel, it features broken windows, broken locks, a broken toilet seat, and broken lives.

After two tours in Vietnam and two failed marriages Henry remains a free spirit who loves whooping it up with friends and freeloaders alike. He loves having people around. Ray, an ex-con, and his wife, Darlene, are currently living with Henry, also Little Bit, Darlene's daughter by her first marriage. They are grateful to be living with Henry rent-free and feel obligated to help care for him. There is shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and making minor repairs. Little Bit is only interested in boyfriends and parties, and Henry's place is one constant party from dawn to dawn. The door is never locked because the lock is broken. The scene becomes so rowdy and unruly at times that neighbors call the police, and even if not called they often cruise by because the place has a reputation.

Since the only regular source of income is Henry's monthly check, poorly managed by Ray and Darlene, this is soon spent, causing many a squabble. Henry has regular visits from his friends, including Ken, a high school buddy who has recently moved back to town from New York City, and Lester, a lifelong friend who likes to drink beer and listen to the ballgames. Percy, a down-and-out but harmless soul, lives next door and often drops in. Ray is jealous and easily upset by Darlene's behavior, accusing her of being too flirtatious. He continues to warn Percy to keep his hands to himself. Yates and Wade are two local characters that contribute to the constant parade of humanity that marches through Henry's place. Henry doesn't complain as long as he has a steady supply of cigarettes and booze. Although Ray wants to show his appreciation for Henry's generosity, a drunken argument between the two ends with Henry's tragic death. So ends the free rent, the parties, the "good" times. Ray is in prison, Little Bit has gone to live with her father. In the closing scene Ken has come to install a lock on the front door. Darlene, with her bags packed, is on her way to the next stop in her search for a better life.

Cast of Characters

HENRY MILLBURN A disabled man in his early sixties; Vietnam vet; a drinker; happy-go-lucky; outspoken; full of life.
LESTER Henry's lifelong friend, some years younger than Henry; a somewhat skinny man with a slight limp; opportunist; negative outlook on the remainder of his life.
KEN Henry's high school buddy, about Henry's age; medium build; supportive; generous; energetic; fun-loving; upbeat.
RAY Henry's boarder, in his forties; ex-con; works odd jobs; friendly; good natured but uses drugs and is prone to violence.
DARLENE Ray's wife, 30-40; attractive; good figure; long-suffering; likes pills and alcohol; wants a different life.
LITTLE BIT Darlene's daughter, 16-20, by her first husband; attractive; disrespectful; party girl; promiscuous.
TROY Little Bit's present black boyfriend; in his twenties; easy going.
PERCY Henry's next-door neighbor, in his forties; unemployed; dependent; lacks direction; vulnerable; wants to find his way.
YATES One of the locals, about 40; badly crippled in both legs; pipe dreamer; bit of a dullard.
WADE Lester's loyal friend, in his sixties; retired from his trucking job; overweight; likes guns and alcohol.