The Shadow Box

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The Shadow Box is a play written by actor Michael Cristofer. The play made its Broadway debut on March 31, 1977. The original cast included Simon Oakland as Joe, Laurence Luckinbill as Brian, Mandy Patinkin as Mark, Geraldine Fitzgerald as Felicity, and Vincent Spano as Steve. It is a play about three terminally ill patients (Joe, Brian, and Felicity) living in cottages on the grounds of a hospital while they interact with members of their family.



Champagne has been spilled onto Mark's jacket, and Mark and Beverly (Brian's former wife) are fussing over it.

Brian: (Grabbing the jacket and throwing it down.) My God, it's only a jacket. Two sleeves, a collar, a piece of cloth. It was probably made by a machine in East Podunk. Why are we wasting this time?

Mark: Brian, take it easy...

Brian: No! Not easy. Not easy at all! At this very moment, twelve million stars are pumping light in and out of a three hundred and sixty degree notion of a limited universe. Not easy. At this very moment, a dozen Long Island oysters are stranded in some laboratory in Chicago, opening and closing to the rhythm of the tide--over a thousand miles away. Not easy. At this very moment, the sun is probably hurtling out of control, defying ninety percent of all organized religion--plummeting toward a massive world collision that was predicted simultaneously by three equally archaic cultures who had barely invented the wheel. At this very moment, some simple peasant in Mexico is planting seeds in his veins with the blind hope that flowers will bloom on his body before the frost kills him! And here we stand, the combined energy of our three magnificent minds focused irrevocably on a jacket. (He puts the jacket on sofa to dry.) My God. There are more important things I promise you.

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