A 2-Act, Full Length Stage Play by Scott Lax
Last Update: March 11, 2023
Based on the novel, The Year That Trembled, by Scott Lax
• 1998, Paul S. Eriksson, Publisher, 1st edition, hardcover
• 2013, Gray & Co. Publishers, 2nd edition, softcover
•2002 – adapted as The Year That Trembled, a 2002 feature film
Produced by Novel City Pictures, Ltd
Written and Directed by Jay Craven • Produced by Scott Lax and Tyler Davidson
OVERVIEW OF "1970"
Both a love story and a wartime chronicle, this powerful play reveals the effects of the Vietnam War on a group of friends living in a small town in Northeast Ohio. The play opens in September of 1970, four months after the shootings at nearby Kent State of May 4, 1970, and months before the Vietnam War draft lottery of 1971. The young men must examine their views of war and consider the fate that awaits them; the young women and other townspeople face the possibility of losing their husbands, boyfriends, and friends. Each member of the group embarks on a personal search that will bring very real and very adult conflict and pain and strip away their youthful naivete. As the play hurtles toward life-changing consequences, the enormity of this war contrasted with the microcosm of one small town exposes the desires, the betrayals, the loves, and the ability to forgive, of characters who are at war within themselves.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR "1970" A TWO-ACT STAGE PLAY SCRIPT
From Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, New York Times #1 bestselling author of FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, and author of the critically acclaimed biography, MARK TWAIN: A Life:"Scott Lax has retained and enlarged on the qualities that made The Year That Trembled, his novel from which he adapted his play, "1970," so affecting: the fumbling passions of childhood innocence as they collide with adulthood realities and horrors and promises to keep; the characters' desperate attempts to keep those horrors and promises at bay; the inevitable receding of the real meadow and the metaphorical Meadow; his protagonist's Casey's valiant grasping for redemption, and his embrace – in the words of Aeschylus – of thecoming of wisdom through the awful grace of God."
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:
"Scott Lax is a master wordsmith of the first order." – The Midwest Book Review
A professional drummer-turned-writer, Scott Lax is an award-winning playwright, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and film producer. A graduate in English with a concentration in American Studies from Hiram College, Scott studied Shakespeare's Histories at the University of Cambridge in England. Scott is a recipient of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Bernard J. O'Keefe Scholarship in Nonfiction, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference Walter E. Dakin Fellowship in Fiction. He is also the recipient of numerous awards for short stories, and essays. He received four first-place film festival awards for his film adaptation of The Year That Trembled, his first novel, which was named one of 1998's "milestones in fiction" by the Denver Post. Of his second novel, Vengeance Follows, the Midwest Book Review wrote, "a minor masterpiece of suspense and human nature…very highly recommended." Scott works as a lecturer in Creative Writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art College of Art + Design and lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with his wife and son.
CAST SIZE OF "1970"
SUB-GENRE – Time Period, September 1970 – September 1971
RUN TIME – Act I is approximately one hour. Intermission. Act II is approximately 40 minutes.
• Descriptions of wartime and war crime
• PTSD-caused violent outburst (one incident in one scene)
• Intimacy: M-F kissing; implied impending but not shown sexual encounter (no nudity)
• Weapons: stage knife used to threaten; baseball bat used to counter threaten (no guns)
• High School and College-age Students
• Community Theatre
• Professional Theatre
• College Theatre/High School Theatre
• Large Stage/Main Stage
• Black Box/Second Stage
UPCOMING PRODUCTIONS AND PERFORMANCE HISTORY
• 2023 – September 21 – October 1, The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, mainstage, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. This is the opening play of CVLT's 2023-2024 season and the World Premiere.
• 2022 – Staged Reading of revised play at University School. Directed by Carol Jaffee Pribble.
• 2013 – University School, directed by Carol Jaffee Pribble. 1-week run.
• 2003 – World Premier of the first iteration of the high school version of the play The Year That Trembled at University School, directed by Carol Jaffee Pribble, Hunting Valley, OH. 1-week run.
From Julie Hoke, Currents Magazine: "Kudos to Scott Lax, Carol Jaffee Pribble, and the talented cast of The Year That Trembled for an ambitious and successful world premiere."
About the novel, The Year That Trembled, upon which 1970 is adapted: The Denver Post named it one of 1998's "milestones in fiction," saying, "Powerful…those of us who came of age in those years remember the fear, the soul-searching we went through. Lax captures the mood of the era and tells a strong tale of love, brotherly and otherwise." Vietnam Veterans Magazine wrote, "Clever plot…contains serious themes and a compelling story." Tom Perrotta, author of Election and The Leftovers called the novel "funny, nostalgic, and troubling all at once. Scott Lax brings a tumultuous era back to life, with all its pain, excitement, and complexity intact."
Movie: The Year That Trembled is also a 2002 feature film by Novel City Pictures. Winner of 4 film festival awards, it was source-written and produced by Scott Lax and Tyler Davidson and written and directed by Jay Craven. The Boston Herald wrote, "Memorable... beautifully reflects the depth of experience of the late 60's and early 70's... a touching glimpse into the lives of young people enmeshed in the political and emotional climate of the times." Since its theatrical feature run it has been available on Netflix's DVD.com.
CAST OF CHARACTERS (6 Males, 4 Females)
1. Casey Pedersen – m, 18-19, drummer and aspiring writer who finds solace in nature while trying to make sense of the madness of war. 1970 graduate of Chestnut Falls High with Hairball and Phil.
2. Jim "Hairball" Morton – m, 18-19, gruff, tempestuous stoner with a heart of gold.
3. Phil Rose – m, 18-19, sensitive and spiritual, an aspiring singer-songwriter in search of true love.
4. Charlie Kerrigan – m, early 20s, gave up rock guitar to be a family man. Paints houses but hopes to go to law school and someday run for Congress. Helen's husband.
5. Johnny Kenston, m, 25-30, former singer in a band with Casey and Charlie, now a Vietnam veteran with PTSD.
6. Officer Fernández, m, 30s-50s, hardened by war, softened by the death he's seen.
1. Helen Kerrigan –f, early 20s, idealistic and lovely, an East Coast transplant who believes peace & love can conquer all. Married to Charlie.
2. Jennifer Treman – f, 18-19, smart, charming, and sophisticated, has sights set on the larger world beyond Chestnut Falls.
3. Wendy Tanaka – f, 18-19, light-hearted music lover with deep thoughts and quiet insight.
4. Ernestine Whirly, f, 50s-70s, a boisterous, tough bar-owner and everybody's confidant.