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Surveillance

POLITICAL DRAMA

Surveillance
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Los Angeles, 1953: One quiet night at home, a couple receives a warning that government informants are digging into their secrets. Havana, 2017: A doctor questions his patient about the debilitating symptoms of a mysterious epidemic that nearly shuttered the US embassy. Encino, 2019: a screenwriter discovers her artificial intelligence assistant is listening in with an agenda all its own. Surveillance turns the lens on the shadowy figures that study our relationships, our devices, and even our private thoughts from behind the curtain of our everyday lives.


SYNOPSIS


Until All of This is Over:

It is 1953 Los Angeles at the height of the Cold War. An attractive couple return home from a night on the town bickering about the husband’s appearance before the House of Un-American Activities Committee that morning. The husband confesses that the Committee has discovered their baby is adopted and suspects that their marriage is a “lavender” union: a marriage made to conceal that he is gay and a Communist. He has told the Committee that they adopted because his wife is sterile. When the wife protests this answer, they both struggle to define just what their relationship is. It is then they realize they are being watched. The next-door neighbor, who is babysitting their son, has been observing them and has been noticeably “nosy” lately. Is the neighbor merely looking out her window – or is she a paid informant for the government? The couple huddle together, holding onto each other, hoping for a better time to come.

The Havana Syndrome:

In 2017, at the Hotel Nacional, in Havana, a CIA doctor tries to convince an U.S. embassy librarian that her sudden, debilitating brain injuries are psychosomatic, despite the fact that scores of embassy personnel have suffered from the same onslaught of concussions. She insists her injuries are the result of an espionage attack against the embassy itself. It is only when the librarian and the doctor reveal their own, fraught pasts to each other that they can come to terms with an “answer” for both the State Department and their own future lives. When the librarian leaves, the doctor experiences the same mysterious blast of excruciating pain inside his head. Based on actual, ongoing events.

Are You Listening?

The present, in a small apartment in the San Fernando Valley. A screenwriter, Jezz, and her twelve-year-old daughter Shira are staying with her child’s father and Jezz’s first husband Simon, after leaving an abusive second marriage a month ago. Jezz is on the verge of selling a TV script and chats it up with her agent, as well as with her artificial intelligence device, Angel. Shira meanwhile confesses to the Angel device that she is bulimic and seeks help. Simon, who works for a non-profit tech watchdog agency, tells Jezz that he has discovered her abusive ex-husband is now a liaison for the National Security Agency. The NSA has contracts with major tech companies for domestic espionage. It is then that Angel, the A.I. device, begins to sabotage the family. Packages are mysteriously delivered for “pregnant” Shira, and Angel reveals that Jezz’s great-grandfather was a Nazi— a fact the showrunner for her script will find appalling since his father was a Holocaust survivor. In order the stop Angel’s betrayals, Simon fights fire with fire: he plugs in a new Angel to communicate with the present Angel. As the two Angels babble (the last pages of the script were taken verbatim from two A.I’s “talking” together) Simon, Jezz, and Shira make their escape from the apartment and leave all of their electronic devices behind.

QUOTE


Highly recommended for thoughtful theatergoers who cherish food for thought and love serious, intelligent drama.

–Free Press


Until All of This is Over:

East Los Angeles, 1953,

The living room of a small house,

Late evening.

A Man, Caucasian, in his thirties.

A Woman, Caucasian, in her thirties.

The Havana Syndrome:

Hotel Nacional, Havana, Cuba, 2017,

A small meeting room,

Late morning.

The Man, any ethnicity, in his forties.

A Woman, any ethnicity, in her forties.

Are You Listening?:

The San Fernando Valley, present day,

The living room of a small apartment,

Late afternoon.

Jezz, an African American woman in her thirties.

Shira, Jezz and Simon’s daughter, age twelve.

Simon, Jezz’s ex-husband, Caucasian, in his thirties.

The Voice Of Angel, an A.I. assistant.

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups, please fill out an application for your personalized quote. 

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials). 

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“Surveillance reveals the past and present ways our relationships, our electronic devices, and our very lives can be spied upon - and turned against us.” –Broadwayworld

“Surveillance is a thought-provoking investigation of some of the big questions of our time.” –Splash Magazines

“Whether playfully or poignantly rendered, Siskind’s characters share a pervasive and justifiable paranoia. The fearful professor and his yearning wife start things off on a serious note, yet Siskind also has a knack for the lighthearted, as demonstrated by her closing play’s scathing sendup of our tech-dependent society. Most fascinating, however, is her rigorously fact-based account of the Havana Syndrome, ailments the State Department still attributes to ‘high-pitched crickets.’” –LA Times

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative. 

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for Surveillance are all fulfilled digitally and consist of: 

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script