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The Indian Wants The Bronx, 1968

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Al Pacino in the background.

The Indian Wants the Bronx is a one-act play by Israel Horovitz.

Gupta, the Indian of the title, has just arrived in New York City from his native country to visit his son and speaks only a few words of English. While waiting for a bus to the Bronx, he is approached by two young punks, Joey and Murph, who begin teasing him. Name-calling taunts result in acts of rage and violence. The Indian man is eventually beaten and finally stabbed. Much of the action revolves around a phone booth, which almost functions as a fourth character, a would-be lifeline for the abused Indian man.

The play was staged in conjunction with the playwright's It's Called the Sugar Plum by James Hammerstein as the opening production of the new off-Broadway Astor Place Theatre, where it opened on January 17, 1968 and ran for 177 performances. The cast included Al Pacino and John Cazale. It won the Obie Award for Best Play, Best Actor (Pacino), and Best Supporting Actor (Cazale).

In 1976, the play was mounted by the Chicago theatre company Steppenwolf as part of its first full season. The production was directed by John Malkovich and starred Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise.


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Al Pacino in the background.