Marshall Gunther is a shy young man with a special gift – he can float (levitate). Stoney Madonna, self-proclaimed Showman Extraordinaire, recognizes the magic of this gift, but Marshall feels like a freak, and longs to be normal.
Stoney is taking Marshall on a performance tour through the backwater towns of California, dreaming of fame and fortune. The show is flopping and they are stuck in a shabby motel, low on cash. When Marshall decides to give up floating and takes a job as a motel maid, Stoney is hurt and betrayed. He walks out, leaving Marshall vulnerable to the battle others wage for ownership of him.
Stoney is unable to abandon the only true magic he has ever known, and returns to Marshall. And Marshall, unable to function without Stoney’s guidance and belief in him, realizes that, like it or not, he cannot kill off this difficult, precious gift.
- Female: 2
- Male: 3
- Total roles: 5
- Marshall Gunther, also knows as Free the Unbound
- A young man (although can be played by an older man) with the ability to float (levitate). He is completely without guile, completely innocent. This gives him a clarity of seeing that sometimes seem like wisdom, but is just that – clarity. He is immature; he will probably never be fully adult. He would be lost without Stoney, and Stoney knows it. Marshall was taught by the severely religious grandmother who raised him to see his floating as wrong. This makes him terribly conflicted about that which is most natural and precious to him.
- Stoney Madonna
- Marshall’s promoter. He a showman almost all the way through and through. But somewhere on the deepest level, he is a boy who believes in and longs for magic. Marshall is giving him his first look at real, absolute magic. Stoney is thunderstruck. He genuinely wants to share this magic with the rest of the world, not for profit – at least, not just for profit – but because he wants people to see it, to know that he was right when he told them real magic exists. The only problem is that the only way he knows how to share it is by putting on a show. And he’s really just not very good at it.
- Patsy Bean
- A motel maid. She is divorced, with two children, living in a small town. Although her job is tedious and grinding, she does it with resolute pride. She is a sternly good woman with absolutely no imagination, no sense of wonder, uncomfortable with anything new or different.
- Althea Turlock
- A young woman, a wife and mother. She lives in a town which is much too small for her vivid fantasies of the life she wants. She is Patsy’s opposite, so full of imagination that she can scarcely cope with the hard realities of the world.
- Dennis Wheatley
- Althea’s husband, a good, solid, unremarkable man. He is completely in love with Althea, although he has not the slightest idea how to deal with her longings and impulsiveness. Several years ago Dennis lost a leg in a motorcycle accident.
Setting & Set Requirements
One simple set, a cheap hotel with twin beds.
- 2010 – Finalist, Theater Conspiracy, FL
- 1989 – Winner New York Drama League’s Playwriting Award
- 2011 – Neo Theater Ensemble, Los Angeles, CA
- 1994 – Bethany College, WV
- 1992 – Phoenix Ensemble, New York City, NY
- 2023 – Zoom performance, Just Write Lakeland, Florida
- 1991 – New Play Festival, London
Stoney: Listen to me, babe. You know what you are? You’re like that tree in that forest, the one that doesn’t make any noise when it falls. Nobody’s ever seen it, but they all talk about it, and it kind of makes them feel better knowing that old tree is there, just silently falling down, and everybody likes it, even thought it’s a little different from all the other trees. Don’t you see?