Director Nick McCord asked me if I’d be one of five playwrights in a semi-collaborative project called NOT ANOTHER EXQUISITE CORPSE? The deal was one playwright would write 15 pages, then pass it on to the next playwright, who would only see the first playwright’s last two pages, and so forth and so on.
The only rules: We had a five-person cast previously lined up. Each character had to be in those last two pages. And we couldn’t kill someone off — unless we created another character for that actor to play. Otherwise, it was all fair game.
So I said sure. The other playwrights were Claire Wittman of Virginia, Shelby Love of Florida, Caitlin Gilman of Chicago and Kate Leslie of Chicago. As fate would have it, I drew the first straw. Actually, Nick drew it for me. I asked the cast for some prompts — I wound up with an genre of noir, a prop of diet soda, a line from Shakespeare and, well, I forget the others now but there were five, one from each actor. I was the over-achiever. I wrote an actual one-acts — about 20 pages — on the theory that I wanted something I could market after the project was over. I ended up writing two completely different ones — first, TONGUE OF THE DOG and then THE CURIOUS CASE OF JOCKSTRAP MALONE. Nick chose the latter one (it was the better choice for this project) and took the first 15 pages.
The result, once it ran through all the playwrights, was a delightfully silly mash-up but also an excellent writing project. So it’s fair to say that I had 3/4ths of a play produced as 1/5th of a play. And now I have two new one-acts to market.
In June, my one-minute play PICKING UP STARS was included in the annual Gone in 60 Seconds Festival of one-minute plays in New York. Now, the video is available.
I have not one, not two but three short pieces in Creative Collisions, a industry showcase being presented in London (yes, that London) on Nov. 27 at the Cockpit Theatre.
The three pieces are CURTAIN SPEECH, BOLIVIA! and THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD.
The full title of CURTAIN SPEECH is CURTAIN SPEECH FROM THE HOUSE OF CULTURE OF STATE BALL-BEARING PLANT NUMBER 1 and is a standalone version of the opening scene of my full-length script at the 2002 Moscow theatre siege, 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE.
I have one piece in the one-night show Horror Horror, being presented Oct. 28 in London (yes, that London) by Bashir Productions at the Et Cetera Theatre as an industry showcase.
My piece is listed here as CURTAIN SPEECH. The full title is CURTAIN SPEECH FROM THE HOUSE OF CULTURE OF STATE BALL BEARING PLANT NO. 1, and is a stand-alone version of the opening scene of my full-length script 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE, based on the true story of the 2002 Moscow theatre siege.
My short play based on the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 has gotten produced a lot this year as part of various theatrical productions that have risen up in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida this spring. In September, THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD was included in the Safety Off show at The Phoenix Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Producer Casey Holmes shares this photo gallery.
THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD
A police officer’s somber monologue: He was at the scene of a mass shooting, and could literally hear the awful news start to spread — as the cellphones of the victims started to ring with desperate messages from their frantic friends.
In June 2018, I held a private staged reading for my script REVENGE OF THE FAIRY QUEEN. Dylan Kennedy Grey directed at the Bower Center for the Arts in Bedford, Virginia.
I have two wonderful photo galleries from this — one from Bobbie Daniels and one from, well, um, me. Hers are better.
REVENGE OF THE FAIRY QUEEN
The unauthorized sequel to Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Titania realizes that Oberon has duped her into falling in love with a mortal transformed into an ass. Furious, she plots revenge, to be carried out on Midwinter’s Day. Her plot, though, goes awry and many complications ensue. Cast: 12 – 4 female, 5 male, 3 non-gender.
My five-minute play SAGUARO has been included in a collection of plays about immigration being promoted by Protest Plays.
Earlier this year, Protest Plays included my five-minute play THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD in a similar collection of short plays related to mass shootings.
More on Protest Plays here.
Here’s a synopsis:
Two border patrol agents in Arizona are on the look-out for illegal immigrants. The veteran explains the desert to the rookie, with a twist at the end. Cast: Two males. Running time: Five minutes.
* Staged reading at No Shame Theatre, Roanoke, Va., July 22, 2011.