- Play Synopsis
The great mail robbery’s content is full of adventure, thriller, and blackmail that is appropriate for readers aged thirteen and above. It is a ten-minute play written by Jeanne Beckwith and it is published in the Boston Theater Marathon XI. James Grace, popularly known as Jimmy, a hairdresser, whose age is close to forties, is seated on the ground at cleared wood observing water in a reservoir. Jimmy is a retired army officer and has a younger brother known as Red. It is late in the afternoon, almost sunset, in Lynn, Massachusetts, and Jimmy loves the view because it makes him feel relaxed. Beside him, there are plenty of papers, which include letters, flyers, and brochures that lie scattered around him. A while ago, Jimmy was in Blue Moon where he took a few alcoholic beverages and he is lying down obviously drunk. The United States authorities are looking for Jimmy to question him for a lost mail truck, which they suspect he stole. Apparently, this is not the first time that Jimmy is colliding with the authorities since he was once caught growing marijuana at the back of his hairdressing shop.
Red approaches Jimmy and he seems to be quite oblivious of the fact that Jimmy is already drunk in spite of the situation at hand. He immediately yells at Jimmy warning him of the current police search. Jimmy is quite a cunning character because he snobs his brother’s concerns and asks him whether he came to admire the reservoir too. After Red’s persistence, Jimmy gets on course to discuss the issue of police pursuits. Red informs him that the news of the stolen mail truck has spread all over the town and that Jimmy is the prime suspect. Red finds Jimmy quite outrageous because he does not see any sense in stealing a mail truck. However, Jimmy seems to be quite attached to the letters and he narrates how a lady by the name of Rose used to send his son letters when they were still in high school. The letters used to have a message to Jimmy, but unfortunately, both Rose and her son died of cancer. The play, the great mail robbery, is intertwined with bitterness and revenge for losing a great friend.
- Given Circumstances
To start with, the play is set in Lynn, a city in Essex County, Massachusetts in the United States, an 11-mile drive from Boston, and a 5-mile drive to Salem. Lynn is surrounded by Massachusetts Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and 19% of the city comprises water. The playset is a clearing in the woods that is facing a reservoir in Lynn. The setting is ideal for Jimmy as he seeks peace of mind and tranquility after a long day’s work. The action is taking place in the present time in the 21st century and comprises one-day development because Red talks of the news of Jimmy’s pursuit will appear in six o’clock news. It is a warm summer season because Jimmy usually spends his evenings in the woods to catch up with the setting sun. The play depicts that it is an afternoon on this particular day when Red confronts Jimmy seeking an explanation as to why he stole a mail truck.
The political environment in this particular play portrays Jimmy as a fugitive as he is fleeing government questioning, and he has previously netted growing marijuana in the backyard of his shop. His relationship with the government is quite unpleasant despite the fact that he used to serve the armed forces. Consequently, there are three strong social circumstances that design the social environment in the play, which are love, morality, and characters’ values and societal beliefs. Jimmy is portrayed as a drunkard, a fugitive, ex-military personnel, and a thief. In simpler terms, he is characterized by immoral and unethical societal behaviors. On the contrary, Red is a concerned young man who advices his brother to stop drinking and think about his future. This shows that he has a lot of love for his brother because he even tells him to flee to Salem for some time and allow things to calm down. Similarly, Jimmy’s character portrays his loving side when he narrates about Rose and her son. He feels bitter losing them to cancer and nobody did anything to help them. He is emotionally attached to the deceased, although they do not share ancestry. The society is delineated as straightforward because the word that Jimmy is a suspect is spreading all over and that the community can work with the police to apprehend the suspect. Most of the characters are above thirty years of age, but Jimmy is older than Red; hence, he perceives that Red’s views are childish and incompetent. Lastly, the society is rooted in the Christian religion although there is a lack of evidence that they are seriously practicing the Christian faith since religion is not really discussed.
- Before Time
Jimmy is an ex-military officer who was a law-abiding citizen but has turned out to be a victim of lawbreaking. He is currently a hairdresser and after he closed the day’s work, he headed to Blue Moon to take alcohol. Jimmy and Red used to hang out together with a group of friends and Red feels responsible for the old gang. Just before the play starts, Jimmy is busy opening and reading letters from the mail truck. He reads them and scatters them on the ground one by one. This is why he seems so much concerned about Jimmy’s outrageous deeds that are always putting him in trouble. Red was with Annie a while ago at Jimmy’s shop where Annie informed him that the police were looking for Jimmy.
- Character Autobiography
The character of “Jimmy” describes a very risk-taking person who goes to an extent of planting marijuana in his shop’s backyard. He also steals a U.S mail postal truck in full consent of the consequences. In addition, Red informs him that the police are looking for him but he seems unmoved. Similarly, Jimmy is an emotional person because the news of Rose’s demise makes him very sad and sorrowful. The playwright develops the character of Jimmy as a cynical person who snobs Red’s questions and instead of answering them, he poses a rhetorical question. He is also described as a person who is seeking something new in his life and is not worried about being jailed. Jimmy also likes to relax in solitude by observing the water at a reservoir after taking a couple of drinks. Red on the other side is a responsible man who believes in taking care of those who are close to him. He contradicts his life because he was once in Jimmy’s gang but seems to hate Jimmy’s current lifestyle. Red puts his faith in the brother and believes that keeping him out of trouble will help to protect him. Annie on the other hand is a concerned person because she sends Red to Jimmy to inform him that the police have been looking for him severally. The play enables the main character, Jimmy, to recite and develop his character due to the short conversations and very few monologue scenes in the play. Jimmy on his side seems aggrieved by the death of Rose and his son; hence, he wants to revenge by stealing the mail truck. The action of stealing the postal truck is used as a reflection of the good times he experienced with Rose. He states that Rose usually mentioned him in the letters that he sent his son and this always made Jimmy feel honored.
- Obstacles Encountered
When performing a play, a character is bound to experience some challenges. The stage is one of the challenges, particularly when the actor is not used to it. It may pose safety hazards; similarly, the supporting actor is very much instrumental. Furthermore, monologue scenes are challenging, especially when the character is familiarizing with the lines. Confidence is a vital unit in developing a unique character. Confidence is achieved by practicing for quite a long time and familiarizing yourself with both the lines and the supporting cast. Lastly, a good director gives the cast members moral support and develops their characters to deliver perfect acting.