It is a genre that discovers humor in pain, suffering, and even terror.
An edgy, disquieting mode, it has no truck at all with decorum or sentiment.
Trading on the fact that he has a slight wheeze, he plays on the sympathies of "Babbybobby," a boatman who has agreed to ferry the others. For example, Carnelle Scott of The Miss Firecracker Contest renders a lurid account of the final days of her Aunt Ronelle: …[S]he had this cancer of the pituitary gland, I believe it was; so what they did was they replaced her gland with the gland of a monkey to see if they could save her life… She, well, she started growing long, black hairs all over her body, just, well, just like an ape…But she was so brave. (Henley, I once knew these two midgets by the name of Sweet Pea and Willas.
At first, Bobby refuses, telling Billy that "A cripple fella's bad luck in a boat" (35). I went to their wedding and they was the only midgets there. But they was so happy together and they moved into a midget house…Then Sweet Pea got pregnant and later on she had what they call this Cesarean birth…Well, come to find out, the baby is a regular-size child and soon that baby is just too large for Sweet Pea to carry around and too large for all a' that mite-sized furniture. (Henley, The allusion to the story of "Sweet Pea" as told by "Popeye" again invokes the violent fantasy world of the cartoon.
The year is 1934, and news has spread among the scant population that a famous American film director has come to one of the Islands to shoot a documentary about rural life on the Arans. For her, the act of staring at an image of physical disability is an act of fury and defiance in the face of a cosmos that allows such pain and injustice.
More significant to Billy is that the director is willing to cast talented locals for bit parts in the film. Babe believes that Meg was "afraid of being a weak person" (Henley, I had one hell of a time over Christmas… I went insane…I couldn't sing anymore, so I lost my job…And I had a bad toothache…
The only scene in which he appears to be isolated is his screen test scene. Now you go and give 'em the real factualized version. People'll get up and get outta their homes and come… I see how it haunts you how ya can't compare t' me.
does bear witness to the fact that in the history of American film, disabled actors were rarely cast: the able-bodied American boy wins the role of disabled Irishman. To Bess Johnson, the woman who survived five years of Indian captivity" (Henley, II 47).
A blond lad from Fort Lauderdale they hired instead of me. I believe that this observation is equally applicable to Henley's characters. As is often the case in black comedy, Henley's characters are scripted to employ a language of deadpan understatement even as they describe the most dire events. In response to Carnell's commonsensical advice that he get some shots and so get cured, he responds "I don't care t' be cured" ( Henley, During the time lapse of the play, Bess is abducted by Indians.
He wasn't crippled at all, but the Yank said, 'Ah, better to get a normal fella who can act crippled then a crippled fella who can't fecking act at all" (92). Here is "Popeye" Jackson in See what happened was my brother Lucky, he threw a handful of gravel in my eyes and they started stinging and then he gave me this brown bottle a' drops t' put inside my eyes and telling me it's eye drops but, in fact, it's drops for the ears and then this burning sensation come into my eyes, causing me to scream and cry out like the devil and after that I got me a pair a' glasses and my eyes was bulged out a bit; so folks was calling me Popeye and the name just stuck with me….(Henley I, 160; I sc.1) The cartoonish allusion tends to distract the listener so that attention is temporarily deflected from the stupidity, pain and cruelty embedded into the tale. She lives among them for five years, during which time she is married and bears two children.