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Two short pieces performed virtually from Houston

New York actress Miranda Jonte is riding out the pandemic in Houston, where she’s performing virtually over Facebook as Back Porch Theater. Here she is on May 9 performing two of my pieces, LADY MACBETH’S LAMENT and DELICACIES.

Best of all are her descriptions of my work: “Quirky, knowing . . . dark and droll . . . dark and funny.” Those are the best blurbs of all time!

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‘Curiosity Killed The Cat’ produced virtually in Michigan

The show poster

Four years ago — in 2016 — Emily Clark directed my one-act CATCH OF THE DAY at Michigan State University. Out of the blue, I got an email from her recently. She and several others had put together OnLive Theatre and were planning r a virtual theatre camp for kids. I sent her some and she wound up picking my CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT. On May 9, it was produced virtually over Zoom with a cast of nine kids, who probably ranged from 10 to 16, a little unclear on that. It was a remarkable performance. All the kids were rehearsed virtually and had to costume themselves with whatever they could find at home. It was a really creative performance that shows just how much can be done virtually.

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Video performance of ‘Chef Pierre Does Not Do Simple’

Phoenix Tears Productions in Orlando, Florida produced my 10-minute play CHEF PIERRE DOES NOT DO SIMPLE as a livestreamed video on May 5 as part of an evening of other livestreamed shows.

That’s Kira Silverman as Chef Pierre, Madison Payne as the producer and Shayna Leigh Silverman as the other TV person who comes in near the end.

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Video reading of ‘True North’

On May 2, I held a reading via Zoom of TRUE NORTH with an all-Canadian cast. Here ’tis.

Stage directions: Robin Bennett (Guelph, Ontario)
Aurora: Ella Kennedy (Hamilton, Ontario)
Gordo: Shawn Vincent (Kitchener, Ontario)
Canadian Translator: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
Ursula: Emily K. Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Vursula: Samantha Devries (Beamsville, Ontario)
Wursula: Sundance Nagrial (Toronto, Ontario)
North Star: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)

TRUE NORTH
A quirky love story, of sorts. The North Star has abandoned his post in the sky, tired of all the pressure. He just wants to have fun. He is pursued by three Arctic mermaids, guardians of the northern realms, who want to persuade him to return to the sky. They pop up in the backyard hockey rink of a teenage girl in rural Manitoba and persuade her, however reluctantly, to go after the North Star. After all, mermaids don’t have legs and now that the North Star is inland, they’re unable to do much. The girl agrees, but only because the mermaids promise to leave her backyard hockey rink, which they have punched through. Meanwhile, a neighbor boy has a crush on the girl, which appears to be unrequited. They often play hockey, which always ends with her knocking his teeth out. In the end, the girl and the mermaids devise a plan to persuade the North Star to return to the sky, and it all comes to fruition at a Winnipeg Jets hockey game. Lots of unusual costuming opportunities and physical humor. Cast: Seven – 2 male, 4 female, 1 non-gender.

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Video reading of ‘An Improper Education For An Improper Lady’

On April 24, I did a reading via Zoom of my play AN IMPROPER EDUCATION FOR AN IMPROPER LADY with an almost all-Australian cast. This reading reunited the two leads of the 2018 Melbourne production of THIS ROSE HAS THORNS, along with their direction and another cast member.

Stage directions: Emma Newport
Rose: Ashlee Lambton
Lily: Bianca Heard
Lord Havalot: John Jennings
Augusta: Katerina Yancey (a last-minute stand-in from Virginia)
Calliope: Georgia Smith
Sydney Melbourne Brisbane IV: Matthew Carcassi

AN IMPROPER EDUCATION FOR AN IMPROPER LADY
Two orphans in Victorian London pass themselves off as governesses. They find themselves employed by a minor nobleman who is trying to get his niece married before she’s 21, so he can inherit her late father’s estate instead of her. The girl appears quite mad but, in fact, is merely faking it to discourage suitors. When the governesses are instructed to get the girl presentable for a new suitor, comedy ensues. Cast: Six – four females, two males.

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‘Priorities in Aisle 14’ produced via Zoom from Minnesota

The Coronavirus One-Minute Play Festival produced 625 one-minute virus-related plays over six days in April — with a different batch of plays being performed each night, via Zoom, by a different theatre. My short piece PRIORITIES IN AISLE 14 came on the final night, April 17, and was performed by students at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jessica Yates played the main character.

Phoebe Thoroughman as a screaming customer in the toilet paper aisle.

Anna Schloerb as another screaming customer. All the students screamed at the same time — as the script called for — but these were the only two that broke through the Zoom logjam.

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Video reading of ‘The Taste Tester’

On April 15 I held a reading of THE TASTE TESTER via Zoom, with an international cast from three countries and seven U.S. states. We stretched from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada to Melbourne, Australia — and had someone in every American time zone.

Zoom host: Stephen Glassbrenner

Stage directions: Beverly Amsler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Antoinette: Kate Cash (Kansas City, Missouri)
Malvina: Katerina Yancey (Fincastle, Virginia)
Johanna: Cheryl Carter (Lynchburg, Virginia)
Fernando: Bill Armstrong (Norfolk, Virginia)
Herald: Ron Ford (Spokane, Washington)
Geraldo: Scott Cooper (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
Angelo: Gary Reid (Roanoke, Virginia)
Duke: John Jennings (Melbourne, Australia)
Lorenzo: Will Walker Montgomery (Paris, Texas)
Tristan: James Brunt (Denver, Colorado)
Sally: Beth Brackett (Shepherdstown, West Virginia)
Court poet: Kelly Hoagland (Bonsack, Virginia)
Jester: William Joppich (Copper HIll, Virginia)
Sommelier: Carolyn Ziegler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Celestia: Nancy Lawrence (Roanoke, Virginia)
Guard One: Tim Wood (Bogata, Texas)
Guard Two: Barry Carter (Corsicana, Texas)
Artist: Danniele Ashee Seanor (Charleroi, Pennsylvania)

THE TASTE TESTER
A comedy with a message, and echoes of Shakespeare, set in Renaissance Italy. A shipwreck on a deserted island leaves only three survivors — two young children and a forgetful woman who thinks she is their servant. The girl, Antoinette, grows up to be a pirate, the boy, Tristan, grows up to be a poet, and all are eventually rescued. But now the brother is thrown into the duke’s prison for writing an offensive poem and the sword-wielding pirate-sister is determined to rescue him. She disguises herself as a man and takes a job as the royal taste-tester in order to get close enough to free him. She finds that everyone in the palace is in the wrong job — the court herald doesn’t like to speak in public, the court poet can’t rhyme, the chef can’t cook, and so forth — though each has some other talent. The play ends with a dramatic sword fight — between a man dressed as a woman and a woman dressed as a man — and the discovery that Antoinette is the true heir to the duchy, and the forgetful servant is really her mother. Antoinette’s first act upon taking office is to put everyone in the proper job. The message, of course, is that everyone has some hidden talent. Plus, a nice sword-fighting scene and some strong roles for women. Cast: 18 — 4 female, 6 male, 8 non-gender.

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Video reading of ‘Rikki The Third’

Like lots of others quarantined by the pandemic, I held a staged reading over Zoom on April 8 for RIKKI THE THIRD — my modern re-write of Shakespeare’s Richard III, with genders reversed and set in a modern high school where Rikki is scheming to become homecoming queen.

Here’s the result. You’ll hear some babies crying and dogs barking, but we live and learn.

The script is written for 12, with massive doubling, but I had so many people who wanted to take part that I undoubled everything and wound up with a cast of 26 plus a 27th person reading stage directions. We wound up with an international cast from three countries — the U.S., Canada and Australia. And those U.S. participants included people from six states — Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. This is amazing technology.

Stage directions: Bill Armstrong (Norfolk, Virginia)
Richelle: Mayalin Quinones (Lynchburg, Virginia)
Summer: Heather Sexton (Roanoke, Virginia)
Georgia: Erika Degraffinreaidt (New York, New York)
Principal: Lydia Gladstone (New York, New York)
River: Michelle Drinnan (Melbourne, Australia)
Grey: Kerry Plank (Christiansburg, Virginia)
Bucky: Beverly Amsler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Stana: Johanna Cooper (Richmond, Virginia)
Edie: Cadie Burks (Roanoke, Virginia)
Rachel: Kaiya Hoagland (Bonsack, Virginia)
Harriet: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)
Student One: Emily K. Boyhea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Student Two: Carolyn Ziegler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Student Three: Sherilyn Lawson (Roanoke, Virginia)
Student Four: Beth Brackett (Shepherdstown, West Virginia)
Senior One: Kate Cash (Kansas City, Missouri)
Senior Two: Cheryl Carter (Lynchburg, Virginia)
Junior One: Darlene Fedele Thompson (Sarver, Pennsylvania)
Junior Two: Laura Dial Risinger (Paris, Texas)
Sophomore One: Sharon Reynolds (Roanoke, Virginia)
Sophomore Two: Dannielle Ashlee Seanor (Charleroi, Pennsylvania)
Player One: Mason Micevski (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Player Two: Dylan Kennedy Grey (Bedford, Virginia)
Andy Warwick: Matthew Carcassi (Melbourne, Australia)
Bad Boy One: Brian Lee (Roanoke, Virginia)
Bad Boy Two: Chad Snyder (Roanoke, Virginia)

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Video: ‘The Curious Case of Jockstrap Malone’ in Toronto

Here’s video of THE CURIOUS CASE OF JOCKSTRAP MALONE at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto, Canada in March 2020, just before the pandemic shut theatres down.

I have still photos from the production here. One of the actresses was sick for this performance so the director subbed for the part of Trixie.

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Photos from ‘The Curious Case of Jockstrap Malone’ in Toronto

Turns out he shouldn’t have insulted the Girl Scouts. Revenge is sweet.

My one-act THE CURIOUS CASE OF JOCKSTRAP MALONE is running in the New Ideas Festival at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto — my first show in Toronto! Now I can say I’ve been produced in New York, London, Melbourne, Chicago, Los Angeles . . . and Toronto! Along with a bunch of other places. Alas, I had planned to see the show but cancelled my plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic fears.

Samantha Devries, Director
Mofi Agboola, Stage Manager/Assistant Director
Alison Dixon, Pixie
Andrew Horbatuik, Malone
Kim Sprenger, Tabitha
Piyal Sarker, Drixie
Sundance Nagrial, Trixie

More below: Read the rest of this entry »

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