Will Arbery, Drama

Will Arbery. Photo: Victor Llorente.

Will Arbery is a playwright from Texas and Wyoming. His plays include Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Playwrights Horizons), Plano (Clubbed Thumb), Evanston Salt Costs Climbing (New Neighborhood), and Wheelchair (3 Hole). He’s a member of New Dramatists and an alum of The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, P73’s Interstate 73, Colt Coeur, Youngblood, and Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers Group. He’s currently the Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Horizons, where he is also under commission. His plays have received additional support from NYTW, The Vineyard, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Cape Cod Theater Project, The New Group, The Bushwick Starr, Alliance/Kendeda, and Tofte Lake Center. He received his M.F.A. from Northwestern and his B.A. from Kenyon College.

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An excerpt from Heroes of the Fourth Turning:

JUSTIN

I wanted to say something about the liberal… The nice young liberal people. And the system.

TERESA

Okay what.

JUSTIN

So these nice young liberal people are blinded by a system that distracts them from true moral questions and refocuses their attention onto fashionable and facile questions of identity and choice, which gender do you want to be today?, how much sex can you have today?, how many babies do you want? and how do you want them to look?, which is really all part of a larger ideological system that is rooted in an evil, early-twentieth-century quote-unquote progressive trend towards quote-unquote perfection, eugenics, and crypto-racism, endorsed by Margaret Sanger, an American eugenics system which persists, which wants to eliminate anything unclean or imperfect, including black babies and Down syndrome babies, and create a sterilized world based around state-mandated pleasure and narcissism. These are just facts, look it up y’all.

I can honestly say that, having lived in that world, and being a thirty-eight-year-old nomad, I can guarantee that ninety-nine percent of them are willing to just be led blindly into the cave, hooked up to a heroin drip of self-satisfied digital activism and committing vile acts of self-gratification because they’re told that it’s important to “experience” life, when actually they’re numbing themselves to the possibility of real sacrifice or any chance of an ethical life, rooted in the grit and toil of suffering in the name of Christ.

And: there are more of them. We lost the popular vote, by a lot. Despite the indulgences afforded us by our wealthy backers and our electoral loopholes, we lack a unified youth movement. And they have that. And they’re mobilizing. In many ways, they are in power. And they’re trying to wipe us out. They’re wishing for our death. And the only way to survive is to block them out, to focus on the Lord. Try to outlive them. Bake bread, make wine, work the earth, shelter wanderers, and survive.

TERESA

You talk like they’re In Power. But they’re not in power. We are.

JUSTIN

Maybe for now—

TERESA

No, and there are more of us, too. There are. We just aren’t as loud, and we don’t have control of the media. And we need to come together to fight, not to bake bread. It’s honestly baffling to me that someone as strong as you would already be giving up the fight when it’s barely begun—

KEVIN

Teresa Teresa.

TERESA

What.

KEVIN

I don’t feel like a hero.

TERESA

Okay.

KEVIN

But the thing
I was born in 1989
I’m supposed to be a hero

TERESA

Well it’s an archetype. Not everyone is a hero. It’s just an archetype—a collective thing.

KEVIN

But I could be a hero. If I learned how to shoot a gun… I was always afraid of holding one cuz I thought I’d just stare into the barrel and pull the trigger.

EMILY

Kevin…

KEVIN

Haha sorry, but if there’s a war coming, then uh I can be part of the heroes! I’ll definitely die I’ll definitely die. But I’ll die with the heroes. You guys, Teresa is saying we’re heroes! Let’s be heroes! Come on let’s be heroes. And hahaha okay here’s my thing: if there’s a war coming then why is Catholicism all about sex, seriously why is Catholicism OBSESSED with telling me not to have sex because all that led to is that I have an addiction to the internet and it’s like I’m combing through it like a unholy un-Bible that keeps dissolving toxins into my eyes and all I ever think about is what to do with this goddamn thing between my legs—

JUSTIN

Kevin, can you stop.

KEVIN

Why.

JUSTIN

You’re scaring everyone.

KEVIN

Okay I didn’t mean to scare everyone, I thought I was riffing—Was that not funny?

Read more: theparisreview.org

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