"It\'s impossible to look away"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 03/11/15

What goes through the mind of a criminal the night before he or she is to go to the electric Chair? Lucy Roslyn has carried out a great deal of research into American killers awaiting execution and has come up with this fascinating story of Elyese Duckie which she presents to us in person in a positively riveting monologue. She has been married but had more feelings for her own sex and she has developed an extra identity in order to cope with her situation. John Hayes is a disturbingly charismatic young man based on memories of her father – all the women in the prison are in love with him.

John Hayes (Elyese) is dressed as a boy in a blue shirt and jeans with a short masculine haircut and she talks of herself as if she is a man. Her lovers have mostly been female and one of the guards – Abigail - loves her. Abigail tries to persuade her to plead mental fragility so that she could be released into a mental institution rather than face the final solution but Elyese says she would rather die than be locked up in a mental institution with a lot of mad people.

She sits on the bed and she smiles, constantly making jokes about her situation and her identity problem. Every so often there is an aggressive pain in her chest which interrupts the negative because of her body jerking violently when the pain grabs her.

'I have this pain near my heart – but it won't matter after tomorrow will it?'She talks with disgust of Deirdre the girl who had shared a cell with her until she went to the chair. 'She was soft and stupid and didn't last long. When asked what she wanted for her last meal she said “nothing”!'

John Hayes shows no repentance for what he or she has done.

'I have never felt the need to explain what I do'

Dale was like her father and she shot him. That is why I am here and Dale is not' . She killed him with a six shooter. When he didn't die immediately she choked him with her bare hands and describes in great detail the joyous feeling it gave her. Her only regret is that she left the gun behind. It was beautiful and an antique and worth a great deal of money. She had intended to use the money to pay for her future life with her lover Loraine.

The setting is simple and gives a feeling of claustrophobia. It is a prison cell, there is just an iron bedstead – but the sound effects before the show starts give a complete picture of a prison, with women's screams and clanging doors and a general buzzing noise of a place filled with unhappy, disturbed people.

A brilliantly honest performance. She involves the audience, speaking directly to them and you can feel her eyes upon you. It is impossible to look away from that face.

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