Honey Brown Eyes

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Bosnia 1992: in two kitchens two soldiers recover a little of what they've lost during the war — a Serbian paramilitary must face the consequences of his own brutality, while a Bosnian resistance fighter, crippled by the limits of his own courage, seeks refuge with a kindred soul.

Alexander Strain in <I>Honey Brown Eyes</I> at Theater J, directed by Jessica Lefkow. Photo by Stan Barouh.
Beatrice Miller and Edoardo Ballerini in The Working Theater production of Honey Brown Eyes in NYC.  Photo: Lia Chang
Edoardo Ballerini and Gene Gillette in The Working Theater production, directed by Erica Schmidt. Photo: Lia Chang
Sue Cremin and Edoardo Ballerini in The Working Theater Production of Honey Brown Eyes. Photo:Lia Chang
Daniel Serafini Sauli in Honey Brown Eyes, directed by Erica Schmidt, at The Working Theater

Read Sample

SCENE ONE: DAY
June 1992. Visegrad. (VEE shih grad) MUSIC: 80s Serbian punk music. SOUND: Commotion from the street and hallway. Doors being kicked in. Shouting. LIGHTS up on a small, bare kitchen. The door has been kicked in. On a table sits a small, battery operated television, which plays a rerun of an American sitcom. We hear its laugh track and light chatter throughout the scene. DRAGAN (20s) a paramilitary soldier wearing military pants and boots and a rock t-shirt from the album Dum-Dum by Ekaterina Velika. He carries a rifle and has a handgun tucked in his belt, and looks slightly out of place. ALMA, a woman in her 30s, holds a dzezva, a Turkish coffee pot with a long handle, which she was just about to pour. ALMA and DRAGAN stare at each other, frozen. Neither dares to move. A long Silence. SOUND: Laugh track. Silence.

ALMA
Coffee?

DRAGAN
What?

ALMA
Coffee. Would you like some?

Silence.

ALMA
I just made it.

DRAGAN
So?

ALMA
It’s fresh.

Silence. SOUND: Laugh track.

ALMA
I’ll pour it out then.

ALMA slowly turns to pour it out.

DRAGAN
Leave it.

ALMA places the pot on the table and steps back. They stare at each other.

ALMA
I just made it.

DRAGAN
You said that already. (beat) I need a cup.

SOUND: Laugh track ALMA carefully places a cup on the table. DRAGAN pours himself coffee. He opens the sugar bowl and turns it upside down. It’s empty.

ALMA
There’s no more. Sugar.

DRAGAN
I see that.

ALMA
I used the last of it.

DRAGAN
(blowing on his coffee)
Uh-huh.

ALMA
The last of it.

DRAGAN
You said.

ALMA
Yesterday the bread.

DRAGAN
Uh-huh, who else is here?

ALMA
Nothing.

DRAGAN
What?

ALMA
No. No one.

DRAGAN sips the coffee and burns his tongue.

DRAGAN
What the fuck are you trying to do- It’s scalding fucking hot. God. Fuck. God.

ALMA
I said I just made it- Sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Silence. SOUND: Laugh track.

ALMA
I’m sorry.

DRAGAN
(tossing coffee towards Alma)
Burned my fucking tongue.

ALMA
Sorry.

DRAGAN
Fuck!

ALMA
I don’t have any bread-

DRAGAN
What?

ALMA
Bread. If you burn your tongue, you can eat a piece of bread-

DRAGAN
I didn’t burn my tongue.

Cast Requirements

3 men
3 women

Set Description

One flexible set

Honors

2009 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, NNPN Smith Prize Finalist.

Publisher

Dramatists Play Service

American Theatre Magazine February 2009 issue

Press

"Ms. Zadravec has tackled a bruising subject and dared to approach it through her own, more humanistic aesthetic, one that can spot isolated moments of grace in even the most nightmarish scenarios.” -The New York Times

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Press

"Honey Brown Eyes is, in a sense, itself an expression of shock at how the latticework of a civilized country can come unglued overnight...” -The Washington Post

“Playwright Stefanie Zadravec deploys a different kind of kitchen-sink drama, one that perceptively explores the psychologically crushing consequences of a war that leaves two former friends on opposing sides. " –Time Out New York

“Zadravec is to be lauded for a taking a faraway conflict and skillfully revealing its universal lessons” – The Huffington Post

“The acrid violence of [Honey Brown Eyes] takes your breath away, but what deepens the effect are how the touchstone references to pop culture humanize the exchanges and make the audience unable to distance themselves from the situation before them.” - The Washington Times

“Absurd but raucous comedy can turn on a razor-thin edge to tragic violence, then to much darker comedy and then on into the unknown. As a result, the tension builds almost unbearably at moments, especially through the second act, when you don't know whether to expect a tender gesture or a rude invasion." – Theatremania.com

“[Zadravec] brings the kitchen sink genre to a new level of intensity and power.” -nytheatre.com

Production and Development History

Productions: Theatre J, Washington D.C, World Premiere; The Working Theater, NY Premiere; San Francisco Playhouse.

Development: Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival.