On August 15, I held a Zoom reading of my Christmas play, THE BROKEN ANGEL, with a cast from Ontario.
Stage directions: Giselle Magie (Hamilton, Ontario)
Fluffy: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
Riley: Ella Kennedy (Hamilton, Ontario)
Debbie: Lynne McIntee (Guelph, Ontario)
Angel: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Church mouse: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
THE BROKEN ANGEL
A Christmas story that involves a talking cat, a talking mouse, an angel and a newly-single mom and her son/daughter. Christmas is approaching and there’s not much joy for Riley (who can be anywhere from roughly 8-15). His/her parents have broken up and his/her mother says there’s not enough money for even a Christmas tree. Riley decides to fashion his/her own — out of beer cans salvaged from the trash, with sticks to serve as limbs. The mom is touched by this gesture, and, against her better judgement, agrees to hang ornaments on it — including a very old angel ornament that once belonged to her grandmother. The cat — who can talk to the audience, but no one else — tries to warn that this isn’t a good idea, but the humans don’t listen. The ornament falls and breaks, angering the mom, who orders Riley to bed while she tries to drink away her sorrows. It’s then that the broken ornament turns into a real angel, who tries to deliver an important message. Cast: Five. Two females, and three non-gender (including the child).
The Washington, D.C.-based JaYo Théâtre produced my play THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT via Zoom on August 2, 2020 with an international cast (at least two of the cast members were from British Columbia).
Columbia: Lenny Mendez
Alkie: Elizabeth Aviva W
Buffy: Kira Simmons
Mrs. Page: Jacqueline Elisabeth
Agent: Matt Williams
Xenia: Fergie Fergusson-Vaux
Yo: Tamar Gasko
Zero: Megha Shetty
Narrator: Emmanuel Epitacio
THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT
An allegory about immigration. A 13-year-old orphan has an American flag on her face. The orphanage tries to market her as a celebrity. A mysterious government agency has another plan – to test her blood and use it to replicate a new race. Cast: Eight – seven female, one male. Note that six of the seven females are teenagers. Running time: One hour.
The Canadian playwright Christine Foster has posted this nice review of my one-act THE FIRST VAMPIRE IN TORONTO on the New Play Exchange:
“A very entertaining piece on a very unusual asylum seeker who wants to stay in Canada. A witty romp with great dialogue and lots of zany action, a truly funny “interview with a vampire.”
THE FIRST VAMPIRE IN TORONTO
A comedy about a vampire who turns up in Canada and is interviewed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Cast: Five – one female, four non-gender. Note: Three of those non-gender actors play a variety of roles. Some are male, some are female, some are gender-flexible. The traditional breakdown there would be one female, two male to accommodate certain scenes but directors should feel free to cast these parts however they wish.
The Canadian playwright Christine Foster has posted this nice review of MY 10-minute play THE UNOPENED VALENTINE on the New Play Exchange:
“This is such an intriguing piece on memory and regret. Do you really want to know what you don’t know?
Will the discovery only make your emotional state more painful? If you don’t investigate the mystery now, could you leave it for another time or is it better to destroy the possibility (and the knowledge) now and get it over with? One of the lovely things about the play is the resolution of this puzzle, which fully engages the audience’s imagination.”
THE UNOPENED VALENTINE
A grumpy widow with a tendency to worry is packing up her things to move into a smaller place .Her enthusiastic granddaughter is helping her, when the granddaughter opens an old schoolbook to find a valentine her granddaughter had never opened. The granddaughter wants to open it; the grandmother worries about what it might contain, and whether the course of her life would have changed if she’d opened it when she received it. Note: There also are five-minute and one-act versions of the same story. Cast: Two females — one senior, one teen-ager. Running time: Ten minutes.
Fountain Community Theater in Fountain, Colorado produced my full-length script THE ARMADILLO QUEEN June 12-13 as an outdoor show. The show had been scheduled for indoors in April but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. More photos here.
This was the premiere production. The show first had a staged reading in 2016 at Renaissance Theatre in Lynchburg, Virginia. It will be published later this year by Norman Maine / Big Dog Plays.
In June 2020, our pandemic summer, Showtimers in Roanoke, Virginia produced my short play THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS as a Zoom production, directed by Sally Miller. Here ’tis.
I held a reading of my new play LE VERRIER VS. ADAMS, about the discovery of Neptune, on June 13, with an international cast:
Stage directions: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Stage manager: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
Urbain Le Verrier & others: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
John Counch Adams & others: Stephen Baltz (Christiansburg, Virginia)
George Airy & others: Brian Otto (Waterloo, Ontario)
The Quannapowitt Players Suburban Holidays festival in Reading, Mass. produced my one-act
THE GIRL WHO MADE EMUS BELIEVE THEY COULD FLY in November and December 2019. Out of the blue, they sent me these photos with the note: “It was perhaps the best received play this year.”
More below: Read the rest of this entry »
Playwright Marj O’Neill-Butler has posted a very nice review of my full-length AN IMPROPER EDUCATION FOR AN IMPROPER LADY:
This is a delightful romp in Victorian England. A twist on the qualifications of being a governess, a bankrupt bumbling uncle determined to get his niece’s fortune by marrying her off, a forward thinking and acting young woman all leading to a happy ending (and not including a marriage). Lots of asides and creative maneuvering of Victorian mores.
I held a Zoom reading of this script in April with a mostly Australian cast. Watch it here!
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.
On May 30, I held a reading of my Christmas comedy FOLLOW HER STAR via Zoom, with an international cast:
Stage directions: Kate Cash (Kansas City, Missouri)
Happenstance Holliday: Ella Kennedy (Hamilton, Ontario)
Mary: Carolyn Zeigler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Goldie: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Frank: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
Murray: Bill Armstrong (Norfolk, Virginia)
Officer Gabriel: Brian Otto (Waterloo, Ontario)
Angel O’Lord: Katerina Yancey (Fincastle, Virginia)
Guard: Tim Wood (Bogata, Texas)
Sheep One: Owen Lapsley (Hamilton, Ontario)
Sheep Two: Giselle Magie (Hamilton, Ontario)
Sheep Three: Mayalynn Koot (Hamilton, Ontario)
Shep: Frederic Doss (Paris, Texas)
Moose: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
Canadian police: Tim Wood (Bogata, Texas)
Sheriff Yule: Will Walker Montgomery (Paris, Texas)
Polar bear: Scott Cooper (Waterloo, Ontario)
FOLLOW HER STAR
A different kind of Christmas story. A 12-year-old girl in the United States, disappointed that her mother couldn’t afford to celebrate Christmas, runs away from home in search of Santa Claus. Along the way she meets a series of characters eventually join the search for her as she makes her way north, eventually winding up in Churchill, Manitoba. While this appears to take a “fractured fairy tale” approach – the girl meets three people named Goldie, Frank and Murray, there’s a shepherd out tending his flock, and so forth – the ending conveys the message that Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus at all. There’s also a talking moose, three talking sheep who steal a farm truck and a police car, and a talking polar bear. Cast: 14-16, depending on doubling: 4 female, 4 male, and 6-8 non-gender. One of those female is 12 years old; one of the non-gender roles must be able to play a horn.