“JED: I just gave him a smile colder’n the Cumberland River and watched him sink to the bottom.”
– Robert Schenkkan, “God’s Great Supper,” THE KENTUCKY CYCLE
Schenkkan is a playwright who worked closely with a number of directors I know from my assisting days. I’d heard a lot about this work – nine short plays all set on and around the same contested plot of land in Eastern Kentucky – but never read it, until yesterday. It has enough murders in it for a television show, and so much sad history of the United States that, after reading it, I almost didn’t want to look outside. Smallpox-infested blankets. Civil War debts. Coal mining. Union strikes. Marriages and children and two families killing each other like Mark Twain.