This fifteen-minute experimental play was inspired by the true story of the media spectacle made of the young Elian Gonzalez.  As the play opens, the Young Man is 20 years old, looking back upon the various claims that had been made upon him when he was 5 years old.  The members of the Family press these competing claims as if living them in the present.


Into this realm of rival claims enters the Hostage Negotiator, who issues orders and guidance regarding the extraction of a hostage.   The Young Man views himself as that “hostage,” reliving his astonishment at being the 5-year-old pawn in the politics of family and nation.  Yet he talks through his process of reclaiming his identity and his future, linking the truth of his adult identity to the truth that he could not help but speak as a child.




Play Structure:

1 Act:  15-minute play

Cast size:

5 - 6



1 male, 4 – 5 gender flexible


The present for the Negotiator and Family, and 15 years in the future for Young Man, concurrently.



Somewhere in the U.S.


A mostly bare stage.






Production History


Captivated received its premiere production in the Mae West Fest at the Odd Duck Studio in Seattle, Washington, on July 19-22, 2001, and was supported by a Special Projects Grant from the King County Arts Commission.  The Mae West Fest was produced by Theatre Babylon under Artistic Director Heidi Heimarck and Managing Director Sara Forsythe.  The play was directed by Therese Diekhans, with the following cast:



Young Man

Avriel Hillman

Susie Polnaszek


Hostage Negotiator

Gayana Bagdasarian



Michael Aliaga

Thomas Carter

Nancy Griffin

Sarah Northe

R. Nina Ruchirat