Justin @ 'Scraps' - City of lost people

What’s it about?

When a black man is killed by a white police officer in Brooklyn, he leaves behind family and friends that need to pick up the scraps left behind.

My experience.

It is currently midnight. I have dug into my copy of The Eye of the World, book one of the Wheel of Time series, to find my program for this play. Before I start mincing words wildly and things get weird, I need to stress that the cast of this show is absolutely fucking wonderful. Michael Oloyede, Roland Lane, Tanyamaria, Alan Raquel Bowers, Andrew Baldwin and a show-stealing performance from Bryn Carter turned a Friday night at The Flea Theater into a journey I’m not forgetting anytime soon. I needed to get that out clearly, first and foremost. Anyway.

The mimic warfare of the evening became at last as wearisome to me as the routine of school in the morning because I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.
— –James Joyce, “An Encounter.”

What are catechisms? Pre-designed questions and neat answers that fill those questions.


It comes at about the quarter point of the show when Jean-Baptiste discusses James Joyce’s Dubliners and his thoughts on it while he reads it on his stoop in Brooklyn.
–He writes about his city, Jean-Baptiste says, a spark in his eye and a visible joy that someone is willing to hear his thoughts on this white dude’s book, but the way he writes about the city, it could be any city.

James Joyce writes about Dublin. What is Dublin?

The Capital of Ireland, now approximately forty-four point four square miles, with an recently estimated population of about five hundred twenty seven thousand six hundred and twelve, separated by an also approximated fifty-five different areas that make up the city.

What did Joyce write about in Dublin?

Every detail, every specific building and street he could remember being in existence in nineteen O’four, because he refused to return. His catechisms chapter of Ulysses detailed so much extraneous information about Dublin, among the rest of the book, that people think you could likely reconstruct the layout of nineteen O’four Dublin just from his descriptions.

Joyce’s most remembered and developed technique? Stream-of-consciousness.

What is Dubliners?

Dubliners is a collection of short stories in which James Joyce delivers a thesis on city life in Dublin. Dublin is a city of lost people. Not lost, stagnant. Forced by circumstance. Overzealously self-righteous religious folks who violently deny other creeds as valid. Loud-mouthed, vocal-majority screaming their nationalism on every street corner. People stuck. Scared, really. Every opportunity to get away looks further and further away, and even when it’s right there, right in front of you, something happens near you, and your attention is drawn…

by the time you turn around it’s gone. Other times you’re never going, there’s an inherent fear. Maybe it’s something previously ingrained from just years of living, but sometimes it’s just that kick you got once and now you’re terrified to step out. Be free somewhere. And you’ll watch other people rise out and succeed and you’ll envy and you’ll hate and want to be where they are, have what they have. Sometimes you might even be able to identify the source of all that hate. Everything that keeps you from going forward. But it’s always so much bigger than you. It’s impossible to face down.


So you do the same things every day. Comforting, somewhat, but the rut is always getting deeper and deeper and deeper. Deep enough that eventually there’s simply no way out, you think the next set of people around you can get out. End up missing that they’re born in the rut, too, and you always wonder how and why and when you got there but you just keep circling back around to the same questions. And there’s definitely a way out somewhere, but it got lost somewhere and honestly you’ve started to wonder if maybe it’s your fault, but you can’t force yourself to think that because that’ll just dig you further down and maybe you’re already too far down but there’s a way somewhere, you know it, it’s lost and you’re stuck but it exists and you need to find it. But every time you get close you realize that you’re not really looking at a way out, no real salvation, just the scraps hinting at a way out, never the exit.

Why does Scraps use Dubliners?

Because the way Joyce writes about his city, well, you know it could be any city, even Brooklyn.

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