TWO X TWO = Two One Act Plays with Two Pairs of Actors

DOLORES by Edward Allan Baker featuring Elena Gallego and Nadia Duran

DOLORES is an unconventional play focusing on a conversation between two very different sisters. Each is an apparent counterpoint to the other. Dolores is a professional victim and communicates a genuine neediness and desperation simmering under the surface. Sandra exhibits a more stable demeanor but slowly and poignantly reveals her character’s suppressed anguish. The playwright’s injection of humor into the dialogue’s darker moments makes what would otherwise be a very tragic play, more palatable; presenting Dolores as a funny and lovable character, rather than merely a victim.

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THE DUCK VARIATIONS by David Mamet featuring Derrick Jenkins and Robin Anderson

THE DUCK VARIATIONS focuses on two old men sitting on a park bench observing ducks on the lake and philosophizing about the world in general and ducks in particular. Theirs is a reluctant friendship based on akward discussions about human nature, sex, friendship, love, and mortality using the metaphor of the ducks to express their fears about aging and death. Ironically, they know nothing whatsoever about ducks.

THE DUCK VARIATONS by David Mamet

Written in 1972, THE DUCK VARIATIONS is a play by the American about two old men who first randomly – then regularly – meet on a park bench and slowly develop a somewhat odd and begrudgingly acknowledged, reluctant “friendship”.  

While the two strangers fumble for topics to speak about, they somehow always end up reverting to the ducks that they observe swimming around on the lake and their awkward daily sessions entail philosophizing about the world in general and ducks in particular.

The crazy-smart talk of these misguided conversations, discussions and arguments cover some strange territory; human nature, sex, friendship, love, and mortality using the metaphor of the ducks to express their fears about aging and death. Ironically, they know absolutely nothing whatsoever about ducks. If they did, it would not improve their beautiful fugue on the theme of the possibility of happiness.

The two men use what life experience has taught them, incorporating scattered, mostly incorrect ideas to make assumptions; while assuring the other that these unqualified guesses are established fact. Through their daily debates (and occasional agreements) a composite view of ducks and by extension, the world, begins to emerge.

The situation in THE DUCK VARIATIONS reminds one of the philosophical dialogues between Estragon & Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s WAITING FOR GODOT or Jerry & Peter in Edward Albee’s THE ZOO STORY. All three of these plays may be viewed as “extended Vaudeville sketches” with Laurel & Hardy like protagonists; one ends in pseudo philosophic wisdom, one ends tragic, one never ends at all… waiting, waiting, waiting… 

George and Emil, in THE DUCK VARIATIONS, clumsily, yet poignantly, attempt to forge a link with nature – “our window to the world” – specifically with ducks. Pompous tall talking George displays the confidence of ignorance and brims with half-baked misinformation, wishful thinking and stubborn pontification. He is an opinionated big talker who needs a small listener – Emil; who is the more poetic of the two and compares their plight with their ancient Greek counterparts; “Incapable of working, of no use to society, who used to watch the birds all day.”

There is something quite glorious about the reluctant friendship of George and Emil – their fumbling, rumbling, stumbling, mumbling creates a clumsy prayer for our planet.

When Emil proclaims “the natural need for companionship”, George informs him that “a cactus is able to live alone quite nicely.” Not one to give in easily, Emil counters with “I don’t want to hear it. If it’s false, don’t waste my time and if it is true I don’t want to know.”

DOLORES by Edward Allan Baker

DOLORES by Edward Allan Baker is a precious gem of a show written Edward Allan Baker, who says: “I write about people born to brick and asphalt, who don’t have bad days, they have bad years.”

This is an unconventional play focusing on a conversation between two very different sisters. Each is an apparent counterpoint to the other. Dolores is a professional victim and communicates a genuine neediness and desperation simmering under the surface. Sandra exhibits a more stable demeanor but slowly and poignantly reveals her character’s suppressed anguish.

The playwright’s injection of humor into the dialogue’s darker moments makes what would otherwise be a very tragic play, more palatable; presenting Dolores as a funny and lovable character, rather than merely a victim.


It is a Sunday afternoon; the only private time that Sandra, an emotionally hardened mom, has to enjoy the simple pleasures of peace and quietude. Her husband and children are visiting the in-laws, and so she disconnects the kitchen phone, to be totally undisturbed, and puts on some pleasant music.

Sandra’s peaceful interlude is disrupted when one of her sisters, Dolores, the entirely dysfunctional one, bursts in with a black-eye, obviously unstable and fleeing her abusive husband with a desperate fear that he is on her trail for further violence. She pleads her sister for refuge but Sandra doesn’t want to get involved and tells her to leave. This is a familiar pattern of behavior for Dolores, having been in similar situations with her past two partners and Sandra doesn’t want to get involved yet again. She views Dolores as an unwelcome, explicit reminder of the brutality that she tries to overlook in her own life.

Dolores is persistent and thwarts Sandra’ attempts to throw her out and together they gradually reveal in their search for some understanding, a sibling respect and warmth. We soon learn that their father beat their mother, and their mother in turn beat Dolores. Sandra, after denying it at first, finally admits that she is also an abused wife; they gradually establish a sense of their sisterly bond beneath the tension permeating the atmosphere.

Suddenly, Dolores is certain she hears her husband breaking into her sister’s house, and pulls out a gun – revealing the truth of her desperate situation and setting the scene for an unexpected heart-wrenching conclusion.

All Photos by Uka Meissner deRuiz

THURSDAY, October 21 at 20:00 hrs in THEATER AM OLGAECK

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