They say the streets of hell are paved with good intentions. Ask Mike Prokes. He grew up white, affluent, and stoned on "-ologies" and "-isms" in California in the Sixties. He wanted to change the world. He went to Guyana with Jim Jones as one of his brig
Jonestown, Guyana, November 1978. The mass suicide has shocked and numbed the world. Three surviving Peoples Temple members – Mike Prokes and brothers Tim and Michael Carter – are interviewed by Andrea Mitchell of NBC News. They tell us what happened, but can't seem to explain why.
Doctor Guitar, a high school friend of Mike's, sets the stage for the story. He will be our guide during the final days.
Prokes slips out of Guyana and returns to San Francisco. A few months later, he attends the auction of possessions and effects at the Peoples Temple in San Francisco. He runs into Bob Bazemore, a reporter for the Modesto Bee, who first met Prokes in Jonestown while doing an investigative piece on the Temple. Prokes is armed and explains that he's headed home to Modesto for a class reunion and a press conference that will tell the rest of the story.
Before leaving for the Valley, Prokes travels to Oakland to visit the ceremonial gravesite of those who died at Jonestown, including his four-year-old adopted son, Kimo. Prokes is confronted by an African-American couple whose family died in Guyana. They accuse him of being a "bleeding heart do-gooder." They can't forgive him for what he did. They reject an offer that Prokes says holds the key.
On his way to his hometown, Prokes stops in Berkeley to visit his younger brother, where he encounters Teresa Jambeaux, a blind African-American woman who survived the "Kool-Aid." Teresa, like Mike, still feels it was the right thing to do; still feels like they were close to creating Shangri-La.
Back in Modesto, Prokes makes the rounds of family and friends, trying to explain what really happened and seeking forgiveness. He goes back to his old high school to speak with Mr. Enochs, his government teacher, who accuses him of not finishing the job and losing his compass.
In a dive bar, Prokes shares a beer and some memories with his oldest friend, music promoter Don Bean, who wants to know what happened to the guy he went to high school and college with. The guy who was always taking care of himself and somehow got all the breaks. The guy the story is always about.
Prokes visits his alma mater, Modesto Junior College, where he is interviewed by Wes Johnson, a journalism student, who asks what it's like to get your "fifteen" and see your name in print and your face on TV.
At a local church, Prokes gets together with Susie Q, his high school sweetheart. She's pregnant and wants Prokes to go back with her to the "good old days." She's depressed and talks of suicide.
Prokes spends time with his mother and father at the family home. He asks his mother for the cross his grandmother once wore so he can place it on the grave of his dead son. His mother needs to think about it, while his father wants to know what happened to the money.
Heading back to his motel room, Prokes bumps into Doctor Guitar, a very talented musician who plays on street corners for coins. The doctor is in and he urges Prokes to stop wasting his light and to wake up a virgin each morning.
At his high school reunion, Prokes gets into a hassle with an asshole classmate, who wonders how all those Temple members could be such sheep. Prokes knocks him out.
Prokes is visited in the middle of the night by the ghost of his adopted son, Kimo, who is terrified about where he went after his mother squirted something "icky" into his mouth. Prokes hopes to comfort him. Some day.
A clandestine meeting is arranged with Prokes by Tim Carter, who is on the run from a rumored death squad created by Jones to kill the survivors before they can talk. The two men play a game of "H-O-R-S-E" and talk about what might have been. Carter tries to convince Prokes to tell the whole truth and nothing but.
Prokes takes a short side-trip to Sacramento where he meets with his mentor, Dick Cable, a news reporter for a Sacramento TV station. Cable commends him for his work as a journalist and for what he attempted at Jonestown. He tells Prokes that he can't go back, but he can make it work from here on out.
In a quick trip back to the family home, Prokes visits alone with his mother. She tells her son that she can't give him the cross he's asked for.
In a hallucinatory fever dream, Prokes is trapped in a carnival funhouse with his four father figures – Jim Jones, his teacher, his mentor, and his father. Jones tells us how he got from there to here. Each man fights for the soul of his "son."
The night before the press conference, Bean visits with Prokes's mom and dad. He urges them to attend the press conference that Prokes has called, even though Prokes told his mother that it wasn't going to happen.
At the local motel where he is staying, Prokes holds the press conference. He explains why he did what he did. He finishes the press conference, goes into the bathroom, and shoots himself.
Number of Characters
More than 10
Cast Age Range
Under 18, 18-25, 25-40, 40-60
Audience Age Range
Suitable for adult/mature audiences
Reqd Performance Skills
Set, lighting et al
Set Build Required, Lighting Required, Recorded Music/Sound Required