The Conceited Terrorist

Full Length Farce – Single Set –3 Women, 7 Men

ConceitedTerroristPosterDescription: Saul Dreyfuss, a MOSSAD agent, must devise several schemes to trick General Abdul Capitano into freeing Sonya Phillips, an American hostage, before the General has him executed.

Synopsis: MOSSAD agent Saul Dreyfuss has infiltrated the Capitano Liberation Front, a small terrorist group based in Beirut, Lebanon. Unfortunately Salime, the General’s second in command, has decided to kill Saul today. Luckily General Abdul Capitano has returned from Luxembourg. The conceited General keeps everybody busy while they cater to his every whim, so Saul gets a temporary reprieve. The General is negotiating the release of Sonya Phillips, an American hostage he has held for seven years.

Unfortunately his list of demands are hopelessly huge, so its unlikely the Americans will agree to his terms. Adding to the confusion is Delvin Hammer, a CIA spy who is both thick in the head and Sonya Phillips’ fiancé. Delvin has been living next door in General Menus’ (a retired terrorist), compound. During the past seven years, Delvin has been slowly digging a tunnel to Sonya’s cell. Today he broke through. Due to their lack of contact, Sonya and Delvin were somewhat preoccupied when Azizz, one of the General’s soldiers, saw them together in General Menus’ compound. Saul has to figure out a plan to first fool Aziz into believing he saw Sonya’s twin sister Myrtle next door, and then fool General Capitano into letting a US Marine’s helicopter land so Sonya, Delvin, and him can escape. This play is a free adaptation of The Braggart Soldier, a Roman comedy written by Plautus.

Why It Was Written: My first play, I got the idea for this script while I was bored stacking hay bales. Since Beirut is near Ephesus, the setting for  The Braggart Soldier, I thought it would be interesting to update the comedy to reflect the conflict in the Middle East. My advisor at Concordia College, Dr. Clair Haugen, really liked the idea and encouraged me to write it. I worked on the play for a couple years, and Dr. Haugen decided it to produce it my senior year as part of An Experimental Theatre at Concordia. We mounted it as a multimedia production, hanging televisions from the ceiling. We used the televisions to show the actors performing live while mixing in scenes of the Berlin Wall falling down and the protester stopping the tank at Tiananmen Square. It was 1990, and so it was terrific to incorporate all these current events into the play.

The Conceited Terrorist was one of the plays I submitted to UNLV’s playwriting program, and my professors in Vegas liked the script as well. The play was produced again during the UNLV’s 1991 summer season. This time the play was performed in the round using more classical conventions, as the costumes were a mix of modern and commedia dell’arte dress. The production got a great review in one of the Las Vegas papers. Both productions also took place before 9/11, so staging a farce about terrorism and international espionage was a happy idea back then.

It was a perfect first play for me to write, as I could use the plot and characters from the original classic as the framework for my adapted version. I also incorporated some Abbott and Costello routines, Keystone Kops bits, and commedia dell’arte Lazzi scenes to pull in similar comedic styles from other historical periods. Definitely a college project! I learned a lot from writing this play, and it led to many more plays to come.

Read the first ten pages: Script Sample