Illyria Street Commune — Preface

By Fredy Perlman (2011)

Revolt Library Anarchism Illyria Street Commune Preface

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(1934 - 1985)
Fredy Perlman (August 20, 1934 – July 26, 1985) was an American author, publisher, professor, and activist. His most popular work, the book Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, details the rise of state domination with a retelling of history through the Hobbesian metaphor of the Leviathan. Though Perlman detested ideology and claimed that the only "-ist" he would respond to was "cellist," his work as an author and publisher has been influential on modern anarchist thought. (From :


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to Donna

— Ben

A note on performing Illyria Street Commune

A dash at the end of a speech indicates that the next speaker begins before the previous one is finished. In general, there should be no pauses; props can be carried in and out while the action develops. Sequences in different parts of the room can sometimes be done simultaneously, depending on the discretion of the performers. If a prompter is necessary, it would be consistent with the play (“Ben’s play”) if Ben sat in a corner with a script, and intervened to correct lines, stepping out of his corner into scenes in which he takes part.

In general, only plot and character developments have been worked out; mannerisms, motions, and also actions of other people in the house, have not. Since the setting is the main room of a commune, much will probably be happening all the time. But in developing such actions, criteria like “This will really go over” or “They’ll lap this one up” should be left to writers of commercials and TV scripts, since such criteria contradict the content of this play. Such elaboration will probably be possible if aspiring professionals confine themselves to roles of aspiring professionals, and if drop-outs play drop-outs, although an unstunted imagination should be able to grasp both. In short, people who might have lived in such a house should develop the actions in accordance with their own potential experiences in it.

The illusion to be created is that the action takes place in a room of such a house, not the illusion that “This is Theater” or “This is Art.” If “artists” require spotlights, that’s fine; they can keep them. The best lights for the room would be bright room lights. If sunlight is to be simulated, a spotlight, or another device created by the ingenuity of the participants, may become necessary (outside the picture window, for instance), but this is dictated by the needs of the play and not by conventions which are totally extraneous to it, like Legitimate Theater conventions. With such provisos, of course, “It won’t sell.” Selling is one of the activities disparaged in the play. Some effort should go into making sure that “it doesn’t sell.”


Illyria Street Commune

(The setting is the front room of a large house on Illyria Street. The outside door is on the left; the archway on the right gives access to the kitchen, back yard and upstairs. On the wall between the exits is an enormous picture window, almost completely covered by hanging potted plants.)

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Preface — Publication.

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October 11, 2021; 5:29:12 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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October 11, 2021; 5:35:43 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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