BENEFIT OF A DOUBT
a comedy by Edward Clinton
2male 4 female - Comedy/Drama
This thought provoking play raises questions about the ills of modern society, ranging from the breakdown of the family unit to the treatment of retarded children and our sometimes harsh attitudes, as a society towards the older members of our own families. Mr. Clinton cleverly uses comedy to demonstrate how easily we are led to dream, even when that dream is out of our reach. The play quietly shows how easily we might trade in our own values for a franchised set of values. It is a contemporary tragedy, bending with twists of comedy arising out of natural situations. Mr. Clinton has drawn his characters with care, etching their personalities with compassion, insight, and most importantly, a sharp but gentle sense of humor.
– Northern Hills Press
"Sensitive and compelling"
– Cincinnati Post
BENEFIT OF A DOUBT BRILLIANT
“…His style of probing into his created people would do credit to Edward Albee or Tennessee Williams.
He lets you see inside them a line at a time. And many of the revelations come through anger. The use of anger is psychologically
sound since so much of it is actually used against ourselves. Thus we get simultaneous truths.”
“…The play is impressive. While exploring a tragic human situation, Clinton is humorous without a Neil Simon Brittleness.
And his feeling for the way people explain their own problems is right to the point. We are, he suggests, trapped inside ourselves
like a prison, and it takes another person to set us free…. His characters and words are sensitive and compelling. His play should be seen.”
Dale Stevens – Cincinnati Post
Benefit Of A Doubt Provides Poignant Drama
“Set in a coal mining town in West Virginia, “Benefit of a Doubt,” currently playing at the Playhouse
in the Park, is the story of five members of a family whose love has been virtually drowned in feelings
of guilt, failure, and insecurity… “ We follow one family’s quest for the American Dream wrapped in hope and
humor. As they give themselves the benefit of a doubt, we are elevated along with the human condition, to see
both inside and beyond ourselves.”
“It is clearly the work of a talented writer with an interesting vision of American life.”
– Columbia Flyer
“Mr. Clinton unfolds his saga with great élan and humor.”
– Baltimore Sun
“…A successful new play for the theatre.”…”It's topical, it's controversial, it's funy.”
– Arlington Journal News
‘Doubt' Written With Honesty” “….Superb”
“Last week I saw the first major work by Edward Clinton and certain notice that a superb new playwright is on the American theatre scene.”
“Clinton has drawn his characters with care, etching their personalities with compassion, insight, a keen feel for nuance, and most importantly,
a penetrating but gentle sense of humor. He treads that fine line between pathos and comedy with extraordinary emotional balance. Such a
masterful balance of head and heart is one of the most appreciated aspects of the play. One is encouraged to be concerned and feel sympathetic
but never pity.” “Edward Clinton has written about the Cassidy family with a third party affection, honesty and the awareness that
any set of given circumstances may alter the passing of another day. The essence of this play, the problem of a living together as a
family, lingers long after the final curtain.”
| Laurie Cassidy and her Grandma Sadie, played by Elizabeth Council
||John and Laurie Cassidy welcoming home Eileen Cassidy played by Geraldine Court
| P.J. Sidney as Dandelion talks to Laurie Cassidy played by Carole Kane
||Steve Mendillo as John
Cassidy with Carol Kane
| Benefit of a Doubt Director Barnett Kellman with Carol Kane at the opening night party
||Judith and Edward Clinton talking to a friend at the Opening Night party for Benefit of a Doubt
BENEFIT OF A DOUBT Excerpt
– Act Two – Scene 1 – Laurie Cassidy, a 14 year old retarded girl
is sitting in an alley with her friend, DANDELION, a middle aged black man. They meet often and talk. The relationship is very
important to both of them. They are true friends.
DANDELION: (a little sad) Slick Chick, I’ll tell ya frankly, I’m not too happy today myself.
LAURIE: (helpful) Cause of Althea? Tell me about Althea? (She has heard this story many times and it always makes DANDELION happy to tell it.)
DANDELION: (smiles) Oh, I did so enjoy sayin’ Althea’s name. “Althea, what you up to?” (She loves this part.) “Althea, ain’t ya ready yet?
Morning, little Althea.” (She claps and laughs.) We’d look out our window across the way and the people we’d see!! You wouldn’t believe ‘em!!
A young couple always fixin everything up. Naked half the time (This makes LAURIE laugh.) A middle aged chick, lived with her cat and seventy-five
African violets. Then there was the old lady, could’a been two hundred. All she did was brush her poodle.
LAURIE: (amazed) Allllllllll Day?
DANDELION: That’s right She had the only bald poodle in the world. (They laugh about this. Her with her dumb laugh, him with his cackle.) And when it rained, you’d see the damndest things.
(This is magic.) Most people had their shades and draperies pulled. But once in a while in the summertime a sudden summer rain would come through – and that was enough to pull these “dark window” people out in the open.
LAURIE: (totally intrigued) How come?
DANDELION: Don’t know really. But it’s guaranteed. They would just open their curtains and look out. Even somebody on the street screamin ‘,
“Help me, oh God help, please help me!” won’t do it. Nice, clean, heavy rain. Nobody can resist it. Reminds them that they’re alive and time is slippin by…Crazy…The whole world is crazy…