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LIKE DROWNING is available for production by emailing

LIKE DROWNING—Synopsis and Character Description


The play takes place in an upper East Side Manhattan apartment, switching back and forth in time from the early 1990s to present day. The earlier scenes explore the relationship of Richard, a handsome, irresponsible actor in his 40s, and Rodney, an slightly older, attentive, well-off member of a theater's Board of Directors. The two are sometime partners, sometime roommates who share a tumultuous, unequal association, wherein Richard does not completely return Rodney's affections, yet finds himself frequently availing himself of Rodney's generosity. In the present-day scenes, some 25 years later, an older version of Rodney brings an older version Richard to his apartment to care for him in the end stages of Pancreatic cancer. The two have had no relationship to speak of for many years, and Richard is both perplexed and wary of Rodney's motives in fetching him from his Brooklyn apartment after all this time. As Richard's illness progresses, he has bouts of anger, amnesia and confusion, testing the limits of Rodney's devotion to him.


Taken together, LIKE DROWNING is a complex, detailed exploration of the nature of unrequited love from both the giver's and receiver's point of view, and the bonds of friendship and devotion that somehow manage to withstand turmoil and time.




Richard (m, 40s): a sometimes-working actor, flamboyant, self-centered, charming, entertaining. Holding desperately and not entirely successfully to his youthful good looks. Dresses impeccably despite his limited funds.


Rodney (m, late 40s): loyal, steadfast, easily taken advantage of. Balding, paunchy, by no means ugly but without Richard's striking good looks or fashion sense.


Richard (older) (m, early 60s): frail due to illness, yet still attempting to keep up a facade of vitality. Bitter, jaded, uncomfortable in his skin, yet still retains a hint of his actor's humor and charm.


Rodney (older) (m, late 60s): sarcastic, caring, seemingly beyond anger. Resigned, yet still nursing old wounds.

LIKE DROWNING was produced by 5th Wall Productions in Charleston, SC in February/March, 2016.  Directed by Jason Olsen, featuring Billy Turner, David McLaughlin, Doug McGill and Dick Latham.  

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