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Photos from “Famous People Killed by Animals” at Michigan State

Here’s an odd little script of mine: FAMOUS PEOPLE KILLED BY ANIMALS. It’s an one-act about a suburban costume party in which each person comes dressed as, well, um, a famous person killed by an animal.

The characters:
* Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen and the host of the party.
* Jezebel, the Biblical harlot queen.
* Gallito, a famous Spanish bullfighter and the husband of Jezebel at this party.
* Aeschylus, the Greek playwright and the husband of Cleopatra at this party. He finds the whole thing ridiculous; he just wants to sit and watch football on TV.

Michigan State University produced the script in October 2017 and these photos from director Brandon Niemi look spectacular:

The party.

Gallito and Cleopatra.

Check out the snakes.

Oh, yeah, bad things happen.

You can find the full gallery of photos here.

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Photos from “The Math Lesson” in Chicago

My 10-minute script THE MATH LESSON was one of two scripts of mine included in the Paragon festival by Otherworld Theatre in Chicago. Here are some photos.

THE MATH LESSON

A math teacher at a Martian school for girls teaches a forbidden subject – how to compute the rate of evaporation of the planet’s last, dying ocean. Cast: Five – one adult female, two non-gender adults, two teen-age girls.

From left to right, Helen (Elpis), Kathleen (chancellor), Jonathan (vice chancellor), Sara (Demi) and Laura (Phoebe).

Martian school girls.

More drama on Mars.

I also have a photo from my other script in the show, the one-act JOY TO OTHER WORLDS.

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Cast photo from “Joy To Other Worlds” in Chicago

Joy To Other Worlds

Former Roanoke city manager Chris Morrill sends this photo of curtain call for JOY TO OTHER WORLDS, my one-act that was in the Paragaon science fiction festival by Otherworld Theatre in Chicago on Nov. 12, 2017.

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Video: “The Beautiful Ogre and Other Fairy Tales” in Minnesota

The troupe Play With Your Food produced my ten-minute piece THE BEAUTIFUL OGRE AND OTHER FAIRY TALES in Mankato, Minnesota in May 2017.

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Video: “Damsel Not in Distress” in Minnesota

The troupe Play With Your Food produced my five-minute piece DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS in Mankato, Minnesota on Nov. 1, 2017. The script runs about five minutes, although this video runs longer.

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Audition posters for “This Rose Has Thorns” in Australia

Check out these amazing audition posters for my upcoming show in Australia: THIS ROSE HAS THORNS will be produced at Deakin University in Melbourne by the Burwood Student Theatre Company. Melanie Thoren did the artwork, Julia Allan made the poster. They’re amazing and awesome. The show will be in April 2018. I’ve had seven full-length scripts produced in the United States but this will be my first international production of a full-length script.

The first audition poster.

The second audition poster.

The third audition poster.

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“Miss Mitchell’s Comet” one of three finalists in Orlando

I am one of three finalists in an annual competition run by a major theatre in Orlando. My full-length script MISS MITCHELL’S COMET will have a staged reading sometime in December; based on the feedback there, one of those three plays will then get a full production in April 2018 by the Playwrights’ Round Table at the Orlando Shakespeare Center. Sharp-eyed fans will notice that April 2018 is also when I have another full-length play making an international debut in Melbourne, Australia. MISS MITCHELL’S COMET is based on the true story of Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer — and the first American of any gender to discover a comet. Her discovery in the 1840s sparked an international controversy. At the time, there was a competition sponsored by the King of Denmark that would give a prize to the first astronomer to discover a comet with a telescope — as opposed to the naked eye. All the big observatories of Europe were keen to claim the honor. No one envisioned that instead it would be an American — and not just any American, but an amateur at that who wasn’t affiliated with any observatory. And a woman! This was news that some in Europe simply could not believe.

The 29-year-old Mitchell was the daughter of a Nantucket Island merchant who grew up in a sailing and whaling community where keeping an eye on the stars was part of business. In time, the unknown Mitchell was awarded the prize . . . and went on to become a major figure in American astronomy and the women’s rights movement. This play is set many years later, when she’s in her 50s and 60s and is teaching at Vassar College. I am indebted to Todd William Ristau of Hollins University. Some years ago, he gave me advice on how to write a one-person script. At the time, I had two sprawling, multi-character scripts about science figures. I took RED MOON RISING IN THE EAST, about the father of the Soviet space program, and re-wrote it into a one-man play. It’s gone on to become my most-frequently produced full-length script — produced in Virginia, Wisconsin and Minnesota (and might be produced again in May 2018, awaiting details). I took MISS MITCHELL’S COMET and re-wrote it as a two-person script, although the Mitchell character has 95 percent of the lines, so I think of it as a one-woman play with some incidental parts for a man. It’s come close several things before in other competitions, but now will at least get a stage reading an a 1-in-3 chance of a full production.

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