Plays by Martin Jones
This collection includes three full-length plays, WEST MEMPHIS MOJO, SQUATS, and DARK RIVER, and one short play, OLD SOLIDERS. WEST MEMPHIS MOJO: Set in a black barbershop in Arkansas, 1955, WEST MEMPHIS MOJO sings the unsung heroes of the blues tradition. A young songwriter, working as a shoeshine boy, collaborates with the shop owner and a small-time recording artist to create new blues tunes. Amidst racial tensions and the politics of the white-owned music industry, this play explodes with the conflicts surrounding each character’s pursuit of the American dream. SQUATS: A diverse group of homeless people, from a pregnant teenager to a thirty-year-old mental patient to a street musician in his forties, struggle to survive. DARK RIVER: Explores what happens when a family business has unintentionally poisoned their town. OLD SOLIDERS: It is Armistice Day, 1962. Three veterans of the World Wars exchange army stories, lament the vagaries of age, and wait for the arrival of Harry, their old army buddy. OLD SOLDIERS is about friendship, loyalty, and the very personal realities of war.
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WEST MEMPHIS MOJO
“WEST MEMPHIS MOJO … written with skill and wit by Martin Jones, is set in a barbershop in West Memphis, Arkansas, in November, 1955, when rock and roll was starting to take off — when, that is, white record companies and other entrepreneurs were making forays into rhythm and blues … The story is a simple one, though none the less powerful for that … What matters most of all, of course, is the absolute authenticity of character and emotion. Mr Jones is a very good writer …” —Edith Oliver, The New Yorker
“… SQUATS portrays what it is to be young and human in a world defined by poverty, homelessness, mental illness, prostitution, domestic abuse, arson, alcoholism, suicide, teen-age pregnancy and AIDS. But SQUATS is neither preachy nor overdone. It doesn’t take on a shopping list of societal ills. Rather, they are the landscape for the characters. Problems intertwine and contribute to each other. Though this landscape is bleak, the plot and the quirky characters are not … It is written with insight and compassion.” —Barbara Bartels, The Times Record
“… DARK RIVER concerns a failing family business that has inadvertently poisoned the waters … DARK RIVER is an environmental Crime and Punishment … Yet DARK RIVER transcends mere allegory. Jones uses pollution as a metaphor for the sins of the fathers …” —W D Cutlip, Casco Bay Weekly