- Slaughter City
"Slaughter City" is a play written by
Naomi Wallace. It tells the story of the otherworldly Cod's employment at a slaughterhouse.
The live stage performance rights are licensed by
Broadway Play Publishing Inc.
The play is divided into two acts. The transitions from one scene to the next are written as "fade to black" but has, in the case of the performance held at
The University of Texas at Austinin Spring of 2007 the transition between scenes involves the cast arranging the set and props, while at the same time producing a mechanical mechanized rhythm beat. The play itself was inspired by a number of labor related incidents including the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 in which textile workers found themselves locked inside the building unable to escape the blaze, the fire department's ladders were too short to reach, and the fire escape warped in the heat. Cod's mother was revealed to be pregnant at the time of the fire, and made a deal with the otherworldly entity known only as the Sausage Man, that he can save her unborn child, if it will be enslaved to him. A deal which she, for the Cod's sake, agrees to, she jumps, landing on a pile of others who had chosen to jump rather than burn, the fall kills her, but Cod is delivered premature but alive, all this is revealed in the course of the play, only fully explaining itself in the final moments of the second act.
The Sausage Man raises Cod for the purpose of playing a game, in which Cod attempts to rally the workers to strike, and the Sausage man attempts to quash the strike by manipulating the management and owners. In order to achieve success Cod, who is in fact a woman, must more often than not disguises herself as a boy, to both aid in her hiring and her ability to rally the workers. Sometimes she works from within the
labor unionand others she attempts this as a scab. This game is played throughout time and space, on a whim the Sausage Man can pull her in or out of a situation, which has proven to have saved her life, but also to cost her the ability to see things through to the end. Due to the constant shifts in time and location, Cod often finds herself displaced and confused, forgeting where and when she is.
The Sausage Man's ability to manipulate reality is apparently aided by his portable meat grinder, which he constantly has hanging from around his neck.
The characters include:
*Roach - an African American woman who works in the slaughterhouse
*Maggot - childhood friend and co-worker of Roach, the two are somewhat like sisters
*Brandon - also a co-worker who has successfully created the illusion that he is a college student, but later reveals that not only can he not read, but after having his lips sewn shut when he was younger, has never kissed a girl, leading to his unsuccessful attempts to entice Roach and Maggot sexually,
*Tuck - an African American man who, after receiving his job via affirmative action, works as management at the slaughterhouse.
*Baquin - a high powered executive type, who as the play progresses becomes more and more like the animals that his slaughterhouse butchers, physically taking on the appearance of a pig, and being unable to say the word "mood" without resorting to mooing in a cow like fashion.
*Cod's mother-a textile worker, who appears in several illusion or flashback scenes throughout the performance, enacting a routine of her profession of pulling and weaving textiles, while reciting a poem-like monologue in her Irish accent.
Cod, who is introduced as a scab, and is ridiculed by Maggot, Roach, and Brandon, who are union workers. A strike has recently ended without a contract, and the union workers are still negotiating.
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