What I Did Last Summer

What I Did Last Summer

What I Did Last Summer is a play by the American playwright, A.R. Gurney.

The play is about a fourteen-year-old boy named Charlie Higgins whose father is off fighting the Japanese in World War II and who is living on lake Eerie for the summer. His best friend is a wisecracking Canadian named Ted, who bemoans the fact that since he is experiencing puberty, parents no longer trust their kids around him. He is also friends with Bonnie, a pretty girl, who thinks that is a crucial summer for her and her life will change. He has an older sister who is named Elsie, who is always a pain, partly because she is sad that her father is away. His mother, Grace, is very protective and wants Charlie to work for her this summer. But Charlie rebels and goes to work for Anna Trumbull, also known as "the Pig Woman", a supposedly crazy, eccentric art teacher, who used to teach Grace. His mother, mad that he spends so much time with Anna, clashes with Charlie, who comes to resent his rich social class. It finally ends with Charlie going to temporarily live with Anna, and Anna and Grace fighting then later, making up for what transpired between them in the past. In the end, Charlie must stop working for Anna, because she is indirectly the cause for an accident he has. She gives him back his stuff and they leave on amicable terms.In a side plot, even though the last summer, Charlie, Bonnie and Ted were friends, but this summer Charlie and Ted start fighting for Bonnie. Bonnie invites Ted sailing and later, he asks her on a date to the Cyclone, a roller coaster. Slightly uncomfortable, Bonnie asks Charlie to tag along which ends with Ted and Charlie fighting and Charlie leaving madly. Later on, Bonnie tries to cheer Charlie up by kissing him which contents both of them, and then Ted coming in, telling them that the Japanese have given up in the war, unaware of anything that has happened.The play ends with Charlie apparently staring a relationship with Bonnie after the kiss, Anna saying farewell to Charlie, Ted returning to Canada for good and Grace saddened that Anna will no longer be in their lives.

It is interesting to note that cars and driving plays an important part of the play. For Charlie, driving represents freedom, and continually ask his mother if he could drive the car. Angered by this and the fact that he is swearing, Grace kicks Charlie out of the car, making him walk home, but relents and lets him back in. Charlie is slightly jealous of Ted, who drives, but who is terrible at it. Finally, Anna, who believes that cars are useless object, let's Charlie fix up and drive her old car, which results with Charlie and Bonnie having a car accident, but thankfully, neither of them is injured. During most of the play, Elsie is deathly afraid of driving a car, even though she has her license, because her father is not around to give her the confidence to drive. At the end of the play, she agrees to drive to the hospital to see Charlie because Grace is in shock.

On Stage

The Last professional revival of "What I Did Last Summer" was staged in Houston,Texas in 2003 and was directed by Kelley Williams. The cast was as Follows.

Charlie-Giddony Sanchez
Ted-John Ruiz
Anna Trumbull-Sarah Duchez
Grace-Elizabeth Keel
Bonnie-Genieva Croley
Elsie-Jade Prudent


* [http://www.doollee/PlaywrightsG/gurney-jr-a-r.html]
* [http://www.theater2.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html]

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