Writing on the Run™

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                                                                                                                                                  Life is Your Page

 By Linda Carol Anderson


Winner: 1988 John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award, New England Theater Conference

Finalist: The Aggie Players National Playwriting Contest, 1989

Workshop stagings: Academy Theater, Atlanta, Georgia and Emerson College, Boston, MA

SAMANTHA is a portrait of a disturbed family. The main character, Amy, struggles for identity as her narcissistic mother and father shape her into a doll that looks identical to her. This one-hour-fifteen minute play, performed with or without intermission, uses dark humor and Jungian archetypes. Much of the author’s research for SAMANTHA is based on books by Alice Miller, especially, Drama of the Gifted Child.

The title, SAMANTHA, refers to a doll, which has passed from mother to daughter, as it has been for generations. Samantha “remembers everything – how to fill a room with the scent of flowers – how to open a man’s heart to love.” Through Samantha, Amy’s parents seek to control their daughter and fill holes in their relationship and lives. SAMANTHA offers penetrating insight into the psychological undercurrents which pit daughter against mother, mother against father, father against daughter, and daughter against herself in battles that are sometimes better lost than won.

Amy ages eighteen months to eighteen years in the play. Confused and longing for acceptance and reassurance, Amy endures the emotional and sexual abuse inflicted by her parents. Rita is Amy’s frustrated and disillusioned mother. Gerald is Amy’s manipulative father. The same actor, who plays Gerald, doubles as Amy’s teenage boyfriend, Cedric.

As Gerald and Rita’s relationship deteriorates, Amy concludes that her parents’ love for the doll will transfer to her if she can be, as they describe Samantha, “quiet and happy all the time.” Amy struggles to survive as a pawn in her parents games until, despite her wishes, she becomes the product of her parents’ creation. Ultimately, she is rejected by both of them. It is at this point of total isolation that to survive, she must rediscover her true self, Amy.

The play causes audiences to ask themselves: Who is SAMANTHA in my life? What are the forces that have shaped me? Barbara Lebow, Playwright-in-Residence at the Academy Theatre in Atlanta (A SHAYNA MAIDEL) says about the plays, “If you could take a Dali painting and make it into a play, this would it. Funny and scary, sexual and surreal – it brings the unconscious out for an airing.”

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