Archive for category Other

“The Cellphones of the Dead” included in collection of short plays

My short play THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD has been included in a collection of 20 short plays about school shootings in the United States. Oregon playwright Rachael Carnes put out a call recently for short plays memorializing the victims of specific shootings; I contributed THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD, which was written in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 that killed 32 people plus the shooter. Rachael pulled all the pieces together and organized them so they can be presented in a single reading — or organizers can pick and choose the pieces.

So far, PLAYWRIGHTS SAY NEVER AGAIN TO SCHOOL SHOOTINGS has had readings in Eugene, Oregon; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Montclair, New Jersey.

You can find stories on the New Jersey program here and here.

For more information about how to put on a royalty-free reading of PLAYWRIGHTS SAY NEVER AGAIN TO SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, email

Meanwhile, THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD has been included in a separate program — a staged reading in Washington, D.C. on March 24 to coincide with “March for Our Lives.” That reading, organized by Nu Sass Productions, featured 17 short plays to coincide with the number of victims in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nu Sass found my play listed through Protest Plays and the New Play Exchange.

Here’s some of what people have said about THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD:

“Your piece is stunning.” – producer

“I had multiple people approach me after and say how moved they were by your play.” – producer

It’s one of the more moving pieces for me” — actor.


About the piece:

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.

Police officer (M)
Multiple bodies on the floor

Running time: Five minutes.


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The title song to my play “Unemployed Gods”

I’ve never written a musical (yet) but I have written a full-length show that includes a song. The show — and the song — is “Unemployed Gods.” It’s about a dark look at a company town after the company has closed down. In this case, the company is Mount Olympus and the gods are out of work.

I wrote the lyrics and hummed a tune for the multi-talented Roanoke musician and actor Chris Shepard, who wrote the music — and performs it here.

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The wise old beaver in Darlene Fedele’s puppet musical

That's me as the wise old beaver at far left. The reading was part of the Hollins University MFA playwriting program, so I wore my "Women who are going places start at Hollins" T-shirt.

I don’t claim to be an actor, but every now and then I get drafted into service. “Casting by proximity,” Joan Ruelle calls it.

In July 2011, Darlene Fedele asked me to play the part of “the wise old beaver” in a staged reading of her puppet musical. I happily agreed. I had to do some singing; fortunately, not solo.

This was part of the Hollins University MFA playwriting program. Here we are at Mill Mountain Theatre for the reading.

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Backstage at “Spitfire Grill,” Mill Mountain Theatre

That’s me with Natalie Newman, a very talented actress who had the lead role of Percy Sutton in the Mill Mountain Theatre production of “Spitfire Grill” in October 2008.

This is just clowning around for the camera.

I believe Ann Karner — who played Effie — took the photo.

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The role of The Visitor in “Spitfire Grill” at Mill Mountain Theatre, October 2008

Natalie Newman and Dwayne Yancey as the sun comes up. Photo by Ayme Gierchak

I have never counted myself an actor.

So I was shocked when, in the fall of 2008, the artistic director at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Va. called me to ask if I’d play a non-speaking part in the upcoming production of “Spitfire Grill.”

Sure, I’d be honored.

What I didn’t realize was this was a BIG non-speaking part — that of “The Visitor,” the long-lost son of the grill’s owner who went AWOL during Vietnam and has been living in the woods ever since.

There were actions to learn! Heck, I even had to learn to enter on a musical cue.


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Acting in Mike Allen’s “Template for a Fairy Tale”

Science fiction writer Mike Allen asked me to play a small part in his piece “Template for a Fairy Tale” at No Shame Theatre on June 8, 2007.


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