There are eleven scenes that take place over four months in the summer and early autumn of 2001, in a basement below a house in Los Angeles.

There are two characters, though in the very last scene a man wearing a hood makes a brief appearance. He has no lines and could be played by the assistant stage manager, for example.

The Two main characters are:

TEMPLE, who is 48. He is an American former world chess champion who has become a recluse. We first see him wearing a thick beard and scruffy tee-shirt, carrying a gun. As the play progressed we see that he can be good looking and charming, though he is mostly very pareanoid, bitter, and obsessed by the past.

OGDON, is also 48, and is a diffident English novelist. He iacknowwledges he is gay, whereas Temple’s sexuality is very complicated, and something Temple himself cannot acknowledge.

We start with Temple pushing a blindfolded Ogdon at gunpoint into the room. Temple wants to play chess with him. Gradually, Ogdon admits that he realized who his kidnapper is, Steve Temple. In the following scene Temple reveals the reason for the kidnapping: Ogdon has written a series of thriller novels using Temple as the basis for his own character Simon Taylor. Temple didn’t mind until Ogdon started implying that Taylor was gay. Temple, who is very touchy and vain and likes to boast about his heterosexual past, took exception and wants Ogdon to write a new novel ‘putting the record straight’. As the scenes follow, Ogdon seems reluctant to write, and Temple seems obsessed by the past, and by the wickedness of the Russian authorities who cheated him out of his world championship. They constantly play chess, with Temple always winning. The first act ends with Ogdon overpowering Temple and freeing himself. The second act begins with Ogdon taunting Temple but soon getting overpowered by Temple, and the balance of power returns to its previous state. Eventually Ogdon writes the requested novel. Towards the end, they even have sex, with Temple raping the man he hates. When the novel is finished Temple rejects it as second rate. Ogdon admits that he didn’t write the books, it was all done by his boyfriend Denis. Instead of releasing Ogdon as part of the deal, Denis agrees to join them in the basement, to write the novel himself. The play ends with Denis coming down the stairs.

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