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The Cave Dwellers: A Play in Two Acts Paperback – 1958
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A play, in two acts and ten scenes, happens within the space of a few days, on the stage of an abandoned theatre on the lower East Side of New York, in the midst of a slum-clearing project. "The Cave Dwellers" opened at the Bijou Theater in New York on Saturday evening, October 19, 1957.
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Cave Dwellers is metaphorical, fantasy, allegorical and philosophical. It was about love, hate, fear, friendships, living, laughing, crying, dreams, and failure, etc. But mostly, it is a feel-good story about strength, courage and love.
The setting is in a cold abandoned NY theatre set to be demolished and currently is inhabited for the past 9 months by several homeless people who classified themselves as "theatre people", therefore a restriction exists as to letting just anyone join their group. Afterall, they are not animals living in a cave. They have love to share.
The main characters are not named, simply known as The King, The Queen, The Duke and The Girl, The Father, Mother and The Bear (Gorky).
The scene opens with The Girl (not previously in the theatre) who has run into the abandoned theatre and encounters the Duke, an aging prizefighter who lost his crown 15 years ago. He accepts her. She joins the Queen, an older sick woman who has had her share of theatre performances, and The King, a clown in his heyday until he was put out. They are joined by a homeless Father, Mother, Baby and a performing bear named Gorky.
The prizefighter shadowboxes and is haunted by losing his title when he was afraid to kill his opponent with one blow & instead his opponent "killed" him with one blow.
On the cold night, The King, an ex-clown, loses his shoe in a bet with the Wreckers outside by trying to make them laugh. They don't need to laugh, so the King bets his shoe and tries to make them cry and fails.
The Duke steals milk for the baby. The Girl loves the Duke, etc. etc.
They beg, steal, survive and love. There isn't much in the line of plot and action, but it is what is said that sums up the play. It is fun and certainly unique!! ....Rizzo