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Between The Hay And Grass

    by Hank Belbin


Drama Play Script: 'Between The Hay And Grass' by Hank Belbin

1882, White Oaks, New Mexico. A savage lawless land where murder and robbery are as common as drought, and making an honest living is unheard of.  A young outlaw has always been on the wrong side of the law, but he is also a decent and honest man desperately trying to provide for his family, change his ways, and not let his children fall victim to the same life that has doomed him to commit horrendous acts. With so much wrong-doing behind him, can he ever lay to rest his murderous past where in an unforgiving land even the strongest wither and die.

This play has a rather unique aspect to it as it is set in the American West during its decadence and decline, as the world slowly shifts into the new century and the old ways rapidly become redundant.

The play is a complex tale of greed, revenge and morality using the backdrop of the American West to highlight the challenges of living in that point in history and the life or death challenges people faced every day. It follows the life of a young outlaw as he tries desperately to provide for his family in a brutal world where violence is the only law that matters.

Following his arrest after a bloody robbery and the murder of his family at the hands of bandits, the outlaw befriends the Sheriff and as the two reveal more about their past to each other it becomes clear that neither man is morally corrupt but the circumstances of the world have forced both men to succumb to violence in order to survive. The outlaw reveals his former gang are now pursuing him and are no doubt on their way to relieve him of the Sheriff's custody.

The bandits believe the arrested man has knowledge of buried money from the robbery that was lost in the confusion of the bloody shootout. The play tackles questions of mankind’s morality, desperation and nihilism that runs through the bleak but engaging central story. It has an almost Shakespearean rhythm to the dialog and follows the themes of a classical tragedy with it's overtones of spirituality, fate, nature vs man, and the nature of man himself.

The twelve characters spiral together for a intense and climatic final act where the chips are down and the truth comes out. The play is set entirely in one location and features minimal technical requirements.


(Minimum 6m, 2f)
  John Grant - a young road agent and murderer
  Sheriff Tatnall - the ageing Sheriff of White Oaks
  Deputy Ross - a young Deputy from the city
  Deputy Eli - Deputy to Sheriff Tatnall
  Molly Fordham - a local rancher
  Prospector James - the owner of a nearby mine
  Mrs James - the wife of Prospector James
  Reverend Cole - a man of the cloth
  Seth Carter - leader of the infamous Carter Gang
  Amos Lloyd - Texan bandit, youngest member of the Carter Gang
  Billy Clyde - an unpredictable member of the gang
  William Holt - a cold and intimidating killer

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