Baker, Annie. The Flick.
Publisher: TCG, 2014.
Premiere Playwrights Horizons, NYC, 2013.
Set: The audience seating area of a run-down movie theatre with the projection booth in the back wall of the stage.
Characters: Sam, 34 caucasian; Avery, 20, African American; Rose, 24 caucasian; Skylar/Dreaming Man
Preshow: The onstage feature ends
I.1. Sam shows Avery how to clean the theatre after a movie.
I.2. Avery’s late to work; they discuss Avery’s shit phobia; Rose ignores Sam.
I.3. Avery learns that Rose & Sam are raking 10% of ticket sales and splitting it as “dinner money.”
I.4. Avery asks Sam what he wants to be when he grows up; Sam is offended: “I am grown up.”
I.5. The 3 discuss great movies & astrology-based compatibility. Sam discovers a rash on his back & neck.
I.6. Avery, talking to his therapist on the phone, tells about a dream he had about going to heaven or hell. He’s nervous about his life.
I.7. Rose makes a date with Avery to watch a movie Friday after work; Sam’s going out of town to his retarded brother’s wedding. Sam’s rash has been diagnosed.
I.8. While they start watching a movie, Rose comes on to Avery, unzips his pants, puts her hand in and discovers—what? It’s never stated, but something’s wrong “down there.” Avery may actually be female or can’t get it up or is a hermaphrodite. After they get past the shock, they have a heart-to-heart.
II.1. Sam finds out that Avery told Rose about his retarded brother and that she showed him how to work the projector so he could be backup. He’s pissed. Steve appears to be selling the theatre.
II.2. Sam declares his love to Rose. Avery is sick after finding shit all over the walls and floor in the men’s room.
II.3. Avery tells Sam about his mom leaving his dad for her high school flame after they connected on Facebook.
II.4. Avery reads aloud to Sam his letter to Mr. Saranac who is purchasing the theatre, petitioning him to keep the Century movie projector.
II.5. Sam & Rose discuss their lack of relationship; Avery returns from speaking with the new owner and reports he’s being blamed for the dinner money scheme and that the new owner is getting rid of the film projector. Rose and Sam refuse to step up and admit complicity in the dinner money practice.
II.6. Rose and Sam remove the film projector and install the digital one. No dialogue.
II.7. Sam is breaking in the new guy, Skylar.
II.8. Avery, who has clearly been fired over the dinner money thing, comes back and gets the pieces of the film projector. He and Sam have a brief discussion about what happened. Avery says he’s learned to trust no one. They play a short version of their movie game, and Sam leaves.
Michael Schulman wrote that Annie Baker writes “chatty hipster miniatures” (New Yorker, 3/27/17, p. 31). That’s not far off from this play.
This is a newcomer plot story line. The disturbance (Avery coming to work at The Flick) happens before curtain up, so the disturbance is also the establishing event. Tiny bits and pieces happen in short scenes, and eventually some significant complications occur. Eventually Avery is fired and leaves.
The play has a naturalistic, slice-of-life feel to it. The dialogue is hyper-realism with lots of phrases like “and then he’s like . . . .”