Imagine yourself, basking amongst the socialites of the highest class, all the while drowning in laughter, as the expensive mink drips off your shoulder, and your slender hand brings it back up gently, as the sweet, nicotine laced aroma lingers amidst the air. When all of sudden, a handsome billionaire waltzes towards you, and as he cracks a smile, he brings a gentle hand to your cheek, and at the same time that you inhale a sensual puff from your cigarette, you finally recognize him as your loving husband. Lamentably, this scenario sounds almost too exquisite to be true, because in reality it has been specifically engineered by ingenious tobacco companies to be used in their advertisements, in order to increase their revenue. Sadly, tobacco advertisements only show cigarettes within a positive, fantasy-like, or desirable atmosphere, but they do not show the unscrupulous deceit lurking behind each carcinogenic stick. Although, many tobacco ads perceive cigarettes to be trendy and appealing, the truth is they have brought forth a misaligned cultural perception, which has led to an overabundant exposure to harmful side effects, accompanied by a false sense of control.
This misaligned cultural perception concerning cigarettes is demonstrated no better than by Alex Broun, in his one act play titled 10,000 Cigarettes. In his play, Broun depicts the skewed views, the serious misconceptions, and the false images correlated with the modern day cigarette. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Alex Broun is an author of many renowned short plays, but 10,000 Cigarettes has by far proven to be his most popular, mostly due it’s fast paced and comedic nature. Particularly, in his ten minute play 10,000 Cigarettes, Broun utilized the humorous route, as a method to portray the wretched ignorance surrounding cigarettes, as displayed by the four smokers, who are all named Gloria in his play.
The play begins with all four Glorias’ are waiting for a minute to pass by so they can continue smoking during their father’s funeral, who ironically has just died due to smoking. As they begin to engage in conversation, their main topic, seems to be the cigarette, and they go on from describing all the occasions perfect for a cigarette, to the appearance of a cigarette, to the different brands of cigarettes, and finally right up to their far fetched cigarette fantasies. Alas, as they are caught up in their cigarette obsessed conversation, sickly coughs begin to erupt consecutively from all the Glorias’. Even though they known, their coughing is a side effect from smoking, the Glorias’ choose to blatantly disregard this because, as said by “Gloria 1: maybe we just like smoking too much to give a damn” (Broun). However, as they play tapers towards the end, the Glorias’ begin counting again, this time vowing to go two minutes instead of one, in between smoking their next cigarette.
Moreover, perhaps the name Gloria comes from the Queen Gloriana, otherwise known as Queen Elizabeth I,...