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Author:Elin Hampton
ICWP Member?:Yes
Nearest Large City:Los Angeles
Play Title:The Bells of West 87th
Runtime:91-120 minutes
Synopsis:Building manager Molly Fein is 39, single and suffocating. She yearns to be free from the obligations of taking care of her elderly separated parents -eccentric mother, Ida, who's been "temporarily" living with Molly for the past four and a half years; and hoarder father, Eli, who tries to rekindle his youthful dreams of being a professional magician, despite now being
nearly deaf. Eli lives in the apartment next to Molly's, yet apparently hasn't seen his estranged wife, in almost five years.
Going along with her mother's bizarre request years earlier, Molly affixed bells to each of the doors and windows in Eli's apartment, pitched in a register that Eli is unable to hear. This allows Ida to keep track of Eli, ensuring that they never run into each other in the hall. Molly maintains this ruse, while managing the
building her parents own, and envies her sister's full life. She is looking for a way out. At a Learning Annex poetry class she's been sneaking out to take, she may have found it. (We
hear her intermittent poems, detailing the turmoil of her life).
His name is Chris. After dating Molly for several months, he wants to meet her parents, but she is afraid that when does, he will head for the nearest subway. Molly suspects her mother still has feelings for Eli. They are about to see one another for the first time since their separation. Eli has invited Ida to the dinner he is preparing for Molly’s boyfriend, whom they will be meeting for the first time. In contrast to Molly’s fears, Eli charms with his magic tricks, and Ida intrigues with her “out of the box” ideas about death and family. Molly’s sister Maxine shows up in tears, her own marriage in trouble. Over the meal, an old family secret is revealed, and Molly witnesses with growing horror that Chris fits a little too well into this web of “urban hillbillies.”
Max. Cast:5
Min. Cast:5
Web Page:ElinHampton.com
First Name:Elin
Last Name:Hampton
Notes:This had a successful run at an Equity Waiver theatre in Los Angeles. It is looking for its second production.