High Sign


High Sign

by Lewis John Carlino

This is a play about a search for personal identity by seeking out the identity of God. It takes place in Al’s Gayway Bar, a refuge for derelicts. Guido, agnostic and a broken down self-styled actor, works here, performing scenes for Al in return for drinks and a warm spot near the radiator. The play’s action is centered on the antagonism between Guido and Donald, an ex-Trappist, who spends his time carving religious symbols on the bar in hope that God will recognize them and show Himself. In a moment of spiteful perversity, Donald taunts Guido into reenacting a scene most painful to him, a real scene; his betrayal by the woman he once loved. Guido leaves but then in revenge, he returns in a strange disguise, creating weird effects to dupe Donald into believing he is God, finally making His sign. The figure he presents is comic, grotesque, but Donald, who has been waiting so long, accepts it as the real thing. Guido subjects Donald to a series of ridiculous and humiliating trials, then reveals himself. Donald is horrified that he could accept and believe such a God. He has nowhere to go now. He has tried everything, waited too long. In despair he goes off to shoot himself, leaving a sobered Guido to ponder his own lack of reconciliation with the infinite. He picks up Donald’s knife and begins carving, taking up Donald’s search.


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