Now that I have talked a little bit about Paul Zindel, it’s time to focus on the actual play, Amulets Against the Dragon Forces.
- FLOYD DIPARDI–a shipyard worker
- BOYD–a practical nurse
- CHRIS–her son
- HAROLD–Floyd’s friend; a street kid
- DIPARDI–Floyd’s dying mother
- TWO AMBULANCE ATTENDANTS (can double for “party boys”)
The Setting according to Paul Zindel:
“Like destiny itself, the set is fragmented, in motion, secretly inevitable. We suspect a bungalow made of wood, touched by shutters and beams. As the realities clarify, we will have seen areas in which our story was lived and told: there is a jalousie porch with a screen door; a kitchen area, old and abused, with–of all things–a crystal chandelier hanging over the kitchen table; a living room with overstuffed squatting pieces dominated by a tallboy used to hoard liquor; and a wall of shelves spilling with books. The master bedroom has a queen-sized, vulgar bed, with a dyed sheepskin cover –and a smaller rear bedroom hides like the past down a dark hallway. A ”bumper” pool table squats somewhere; and above all is the attic loft, a slanting roof with a bed for a boy, a sanctuary from whose shadows life itself could begin anew.”
Amulets Against the Dragon Forces opens up with Mrs. Boyd bringing home Mrs. Dipardi from the hospital. Floyd, Mrs. Dipardi’s son, is not happy about it and seems very bitter in general. He doesn’t try to help take care of his mother or even go near her. When Mrs. Boyd talks to the neighbors she finds out that he is not well liked in the neighborhood.
Very early in the play Mrs. Boyd makes it clear that she is only taking care of patients that are soon to die. She wants the money from these jobs to get a house for herself and her son. I almost wondered if she was helping them along once she got into their homes. That is never said in the text however. What is said in the text is that she steals from all of the houses she works at because “We’ll have our own house, but we’ll need to eat.”
Poor Chris doesn’t want to live with his mother anymore and tries all throughout the play to get a hold of his dad, who had left them years ago and now lives in Florida. He is pretty much on his own while his mother works and during this job he has been put in the attic bedroom so there is little company for him. He uses this time to make up his own stories using action figures and placing himself as the hero.
When Mrs. Dipardi dies towards the end of the play, Mrs. Boyd has the money to buy the house she wants. However, Chris tells her that he isn’t going with her. Even though his father refuses to take him in and his adventure with Harold, another boy in the house, falls through Chris still refuses to leave with his mother. The play ends with Chris talking to Floyd. Chris tells Floyd that he doesn’t want to grow up and hate himself the way Floyd does. In return Floyd tells him “that part of you you don’t like so much … don’t be so afraid of it. Someday it may fit you more kindly.”
Maybe not the happiest ending, but it does give hope that one day Chris will grow up better than the other characters in the play. There is hope that he won’t grow up with the bitterness that in seen in the rest of the play.
I have linked a monologue I found on YouTube. These lines come from the scene where Chris is trying to convince Harold to leave with him for adventure.