Theatre

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Produced Plays

Full-length plays

Human Services

Synopsis

A pop star gets sentenced to a halfway house.

KELSEY, 20s, is a famous pop star. She’s in an intense, co-dependent relationship with MOMMA, 40s, her overbearing manager.

Two paparazzi, ROMAN, 40+ and MILO, 20+, gain access to Kelsey’s bedroom by pretending to be LAPD cops on the trail of one of Kelsey’s stalkers. Kelsey turns the paparazzis’ secret camera on themselves, forcing them to strip at gunpoint. In retaliation, Roman and Milo call the police. Kelsey’s arrested for marijuana possession and for threatening Roman and Milo with a loaded gun. A vindictive JUDGE (offstage) sentences Kelsey to a 28-day stay at Aspiration House, a facility for homeless addicts and recently discharged psychotics.

At Aspiration House, Kelsey mingles and clashes with her fellow clients: DAISY, 20s-30s, a male-to-female pre-op transsexual; BAXTER, 60s, a street person; and CARMEN, 30s-50s, Hispanic, a paranoid schizophrenic who believes she’s the wife of Jesus. She also clashes with DARNIQUE, 40s, African-American, the facility’s administrator, and RACHEL, 30s, the head counselor.

She stays in constant, co-dependent touch with Momma; Roman and Milo also keep in touch. They disguise themselves as exterminators and plant a hidden camera in the facility.

Kelsey secretly funds Daisy’s prospective operation, and arranges for a limo to take Baxter to his mother’s funeral, to help secure his place in the will. When Darnique accuses her of meddling, Kelseyand Darnique come to blows; and when Momma hears of this clash, she posts a scathing comment about Aspiration House. This post draws the attention of WYATT, a cute guy in his 20s, who checks himself into the facility and cozies up to Kelsey. Together, they raid the facility’s drug closet, leaving out a bag of M&Ms, which a jealous Daisy, hopelessly infatuated with Kelsey, finishes off, triggering a diabetic episode. When Darnique finds Kelsey administering insulin to Daisy, she orders Kelsey to pack her bags—she’s going to prison. As Kelsey gets ready to leave, Wyatt reveals himself—he’s the stalker whom Roman and Milo pretended to be trailing. Wyatt insists Kelsey listen to the song he wrote for her, threatening to detonate a hidden bomb if she doesn’t. Kelsey talks him down, and Roman and Milo, who’ve been keeping tabs on the facility via their hidden camera, arrive (disguised as cops), in time to disarm Wyatt of his bomb-triggering cell phone (though setting off the bomb in the process, which Wyatt, it turns out, never took out of his car).

Kelsey declares a truce with Roman and Milo, who (still pretending to be cops) leave to take Wyatt to a psychiatric facility. Darnique grudgingly lets Kelsey stay. Kelsey returns to her room, calls Momma, and finally cuts the cord.

*Produced 2017, Northern Kentucky University

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Front Door Open

Synopsis

An agoraphobic woman faces the ultimate crisis of her life: Does leaving the house mean leaving her marriage behind?

In this comic drama, a woman who hasn’t left the house in decades (ELEANOR, 70s) comes face to face with the enabling role played by her surgeon husband (DOUGLAS, 70s), who’s coping with his waning powers and fears of aging. When the woman’s psychologist daughter (GRETCHEN, 40s) and teenage granddaughter (THALIA) pay an emergency visit, the family is forced to confront the ripple effects of her disability—on their personalities, their careers, and their sex lives.

*Produced 2015, Greenway Court Theatre, L.A.

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Breach

Synopsis

A psychotherapist inherits three of her mentor’s patients—one of whom may have been his murderer.

JILL JARDINE (30s) is a psychotherapist, formerly in treatment with and trained by the late DR. ADAM FERRIS (50s), a prominent psychiatrist.

Ferris has been found dead in his office, the victim of a gunshot wound to his head. DANETTA BEALS (40s, African-American) is leading the homicide investigation.

Jill Jardine has inherited Ferris’s office and three of his patients: NICK WELLSTONE (30s-40s), a lawyer and aspiring politician diagnosed with borderline personality disorder; MARIANNE CAPUTO (30s-40s), a hospital receptionist with a history of stalking Ferris; and ROMY SINCLAIR (late 20s), a department store salesperson and functioning schizophrenic. She has a separate caseload, including JUSTIN PECK (20s-30s), a website designer whose lack of progress in therapy has caused Jill to question her competence.

In the course of the play, Jill comes increasingly to suspect each of the patients she’s inherited, learns some alarming details about Ferris’s relationships, develops a growing relationship with Danetta, the homicide detective…and, in solving the riddle of who killed Dr. Ferris, is forced to confront her own mental health issues.

*Produced 2015, Elite Theatre, Oxnard CA

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Endangered Species

Synopsis

A philosopher confronts his worst nightmare—a student who takes his teachings seriously.

LEON, 60s, is a philosophy professor whose teachings on behalf of animal rights have inspired a generation of activists. He’s mourning the imminent loss of his beloved dog, Winnie, and trying to write his memoirs before his memory goes. He’s married to:

THEONA, 30s/40s, an animal research scientist, currently engaged in a genetic-engineering project—creating giant rabbits as a cost-effective meat source. She’s kept the true nature of the project secret from her husband. In recent years, she’s been content to play nursemaid to Leon (exaggerating the extent to which his mental powers have declined), which has led him to seek sexual relief with:

BAILEY, 20s, a call girl with a love for animals, and vegetarian convictions. She’s struggling to stay afloat in an increasingly competitive market for porn and prostitution. She’s initially repelled by (but ultimately comes to the aid of):

JUSTIN, 20s, a former student of Leon’s, now a member of FOES (Friends of the Exploited), an animal liberation group that makes regular visits to factory farms, rodeos, circuses, zoos, and laboratories, documenting their abuses and, wherever possible, liberating their animal captives. His rescue of the gigantic rabbits in Theona’s lab (one of which shows up dead in Leon’s backyard) brings Leon face to face with the moral consequences of his teachings.

*Produced 2014, Detroit Repertory Theatre

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Shock Therapy

Synopsis

Shock Therapy is a full-length comic drama set in a Cape Cod summer house, involving a group of psychotherapists taken hostage by a parolee who claims to be revenging the drug-induced suicide of his cellmate.

COLIN, late 40s, is a psychiatrist. Lately his practice has been centered on self- indulgent movie stars, at the expense of marriage, parenthood, and reputation.

He’s desperate to turn his life around. BECCA, Colin’s wife, mid 40s, is a painter. Colin’s devotion to his celebrity patients has driven her to an affair with

BRANCH, early 40s, a psychopharmacologist. Branch has become semi-famous for his experiments on prison volunteers, and has been tapped to head up a reality TV series. Forced to ingest some of his own medicine, he comes unglued.

ROSALIE, mid teens, is Colin and Becca’s problem daughter. She’s facing a possible conviction for marijuana possession and plans to run away from home.

APRIL, 60s, African-American, is a psychoanalyst with high standing in the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Colin is cozying up to April to restore his lost prestige.

JACK, 30s, is an ex-convict. He inserts himself into a late-summer party at Colin and Becca’s house, with the aim of persuading Branch to make reparations for the psychic damage he caused to

MOSES, 30s, African-American, Jack’s friend and former cellmate. It’s a matter of dispute whether Moses is the paranoid Jack claims he is.

*Produced 2008, Lilian Theatre, L.A.

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One-act plays

The Out of Body Treatment for Marital Dysfunction

Synopsis

Can a marriage be saved…by a 3-way body swap?

A couple whose marriage is headed for the rocks takes a yoga class at a pricey hotel…and learns how the other half lives.

CALVIN and CLAIRE are childhood sweethearts whose 27-year marriage is in serious trouble. BRIANNA, a gorgeous yoga instructor with problems of her own, encourages them all to leave their bodies. When Claire ends up in Brianna’s body, and Damon ends up in Claire’s (and Brianna in Calvin’s), it’s a learning opportunity for everyone…but will they all want their bodies back? The setting is an exercise room at a hotel. The time is the present.

*Produced 2012, Eclectic Theatre, L.A.

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Don't Empty the Frog (We Are Not Alone)

Synopsis

Two downsized cosmologists entertain a visitor—who may or may not be the answer to their prayers.

BURKE, 30s, and ALYSSA, 30s, are a married couple in charge of a facility searching for signs of life on other worlds. The facility is in danger of being shut down, and their marriage is headed for the rocks.

NIGEL, 40s-60s, pays them a visit. Is he the man from the Central Office, come to terminate their employment? Is he from outer space? Or is he something even more amazing? Is he here to end their marriage or save it? Will their universe survive?

*Produced 2015, Ensemble Studio Theatre, L.A.

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Last One Under

Synopsis

Three people, arrested for various crimes, are told that the last person who manages to fall asleep will be electrocuted. The setting is a bare room, and the time is a future in which surveillance is total and the Snuff Channel provides a portion of the entertainment.

ARKY, twenties or thirties, is a nanosystems engineer, responsible for the implant technology that makes the sleep detection and electrocution possible. He’s an insomniac.

MIA, twenties or thirties, is a nun with a shady past who works as a nurse. Her collusion in a mercy killing is what landed her on this reality show.

KYLE, twenties or thirties, is a bouncer with a tendency to black out from alcohol. He has killed an enemy soldier as part of a terrorist interrogation.

*Produced 2015, Ensemble Studio Theatre, L.A.

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Epicenter

Synopsis

A comic drama about the clash between reason and delusion—and how they overlap.

WENDELL, mid 20s, a PhD candidate in mathematics, is convinced that he’s a walking disaster area, responsible for the increasingly frequent mishaps befalling people on campus.

SARA, a psychology teacher, is the therapist Wendell is forced by his department to consult, who, while fighting to psychoanalyze away his monomania, becomes increasingly persuaded that he may be what he claims he is.

JERI, early 20s, is Wendell’s devoted girlfriend and potential target for his violent fantasies, as expressed in a mysterious recurrent dream.

*Produced 2013 End Times Theatre, N.Y.

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Wonk Love

Synopsis

A two-character comic drama about love, politics, and race.

JONAH
, mid 30s, is a conservative Jewish blogger.

CAMILLE, early 30s, is a liberal African-American speechwriter for an incumbent Democratic governor.

Jonah and Camille meet, go to bed with each other, and become embroiled in the Governor’s re-election campaign—sometimes on the same side, sometimes not, and never with the purest motives.

*Produced 2008, N.Y.

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10-minute plays

Toby 24/7 Gets Lucky

Synopsis

The ultimate cure for shyness.

After meeting TOBY (20s-30s) in a bar, MARCY (20s-30s) comes back to his apartment, trades life stories—and then realizes his place is totally rigged with cameras, capturing everything that goes on for his millions of on-line fans. Is he crazy? Should she flee? Or is this a chance to change her life?

*Produced 2017, Ensemble Studio Theatre, L.A.

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The Great Outdoors

Synopsis

GRETCHEN, a college professor in her 40s, the sole emotional support of her widowed agoraphobic mother, ELEANOR, is amazed to discover that her mother has ventured outside for the first time in decades. She uses the occasion to air a lifetime of grudges, only to have her mother, liberated from her prison, turn the tables on Gretchen’s shortcomings. The setting is a public park.

*Produced 2009, Working Stage Theatre, L.A.

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Ashley Saves the World

Synopsis

The Devil gives Ashley three wishes…and a chance to get him back into Heaven.

For 6,000 years, THE DEVIL has been traveling the Earth, granting women their fondest wishes. The catch: for every wish granted, a horror is visited on humanity. He pays a visit to ASHLEY, 20s, an attractive young woman with a bad dating history and progressive leanings. Will Ashley marry the Devil and save the planet? Will God live up to God’s end of the bargain?

*Produced 2010, International CringeFest, N.Y.

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Taps for Paps

Synopsis

Revenge of a pop star.

CHLOE, 20s, is a megastar on a cold streak whose relationship with her (offstage) mother/manager is on the rocks.

ROMAN, 50s, and MILO, 20s, come to show Chloe pictures of a stalker suspect. When Chloe realizes these two LAPD cops are actually paparazzi in disguise, she turns the tables—re-igniting her career and repairing the mother-daughter bond.

*Produced 2011, Three Roses Theatre, L.A.

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SchadenFriday

Synopsis

Two struggling actors—HAMPTON, early 40s, and INGO, younger—celebrate the failure of a more successful colleague.

*Produced 2012, Theatre Three, Port Jefferson, NY

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Dork Love

Synopsis

Virtual sex on a college campus.

Via Skype, ZAK, late teens/20s, explores his erotic hangups with EMILY, late teens/20s, a sex worker. Or is she?

*Produced 2014, Ensemble Studio Theatre, L.A.

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Staged Readings

Full-length plays

A Cheap Red

Synopsis

A comic drama about three couples in relationship crisis.

BREE, a wedding planner (20s-40s, white), is living with KEVIN, a Jewish lawyer (30s-40s). Unknown to Kevin, she’s had an eye-opening sexual encounter with TERRENCE, a cop, (30s, African-American), whom Kevin is defending in a sexual harassment case. Unknown to Bree, who’s gun-shy about having children, Kevin has donated his sperm to AMY, a preschool teacher (20s, ethnicity optional), whose upcoming wedding to LORRAINE, a professor (40s, white), is being organized by Bree. Unknown to Amy, Lorraine has developed a serious crush on JAYNA, her massage therapist (20s-30s, ethnicity optional), Terrence’s live-in girlfriend. How these relationships sort themselves out, over the course of three dinner parties—complete with games—is the throughline of the play.

The setting is a living room with an adjacent dining area, pared down to its essentials—couch, chairs, coffee table, liquor cabinet, dining table and chairs. Minimal changes in décor between Scenes 3 and 4, and between Scenes 6 and 7, define whose dining room/living room it is.

Scenes 1-3 take place in Bree and Kevin’s dining room/living room.
Scenes 4-6 take place in Lorraine and Amy’s dining room/living room, a few months later.
Scenes 7-8 take place in Terrence and Jayna’s dining room/living room, another few months later.

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All There Is To Know

Synopsis

A four-character drama centered on a son’s discovery that his father may or may not have been guilty of inappropriate behavior with a preteen girl.

JACK MAYFIELD
, 40s-50s, is a decorated policeman, head of the Juvenile Division in a small New Jersey town famous for its flash mobs.

TREVOR MAYFIELD, 17, is his son, a high school wrestler on track to become All-State.

LAYLANI, 17, African-American, is Trevor’s girlfriend. As a grade-school member of the Crossing Guard, in the town where she and the Mayfields used to live, she developed a questionable relationship with Jack Mayfield, who supervised the Crossing Guard.

OWEN, 17, is a mentally challenged high-school dropout. He’s been stalking Laylani and several other girls in town.

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Alpha Dogs

Synopsis

In Alpha Dogs, set in the rec room of an elite fraternity, at the end of first-semester Finals Week, an outsider arrives to take an exam for the fraternity president, setting in motion a series of psychologically embarrassing, increasingly violent, and ultimately lethal events. The time is the present. The entire action takes place in the fraternity rec room, in two scenes.

GRADY
, 21, is the WASP president of Beta Upsilon and the son of a prominent politician.

CLARK, 20, Asian-American, is Grady’s right-hand man, chafing under Grady’s dictatorial control.

MACE
, 20, African-American, is an athlete with a history of steroid usage, and a growing tendency to confuse fact and fantasy.

AUSTIN, 19, Jewish, is the test taker of the title, whose initiation triggers a series of drastic psychological disclosures, and the violent conclusion.

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Atheist on Trial

Synopsis

A comic drama about the state of religion in America.

ELLERY RUDGE, early 40s, is a professor of religion, whose gadfly methods put him at odds with the powers that be.

REVEREND BOB SPALDING, early 50s, is the outgoing head of the religion department with twin passions—an open passion for movies, and a secret passion for religious pornography.

PHYLLIS RUDGE, early 40s, Ellery’s wife, is a college librarian, and deacon of the church where Reverend Bob Spalding is pastor. Her ambitions for her husband have helped spark a clandestine affair with Reverend Bob.

CUTTER McCREA
, late 20s, is a former student of Ellery’s with teaching ambitions, unorthodox views on the Bible, a checkered psychiatric history, and a tendency to confuse himself with Jesus Christ.

AVA FAIRCLOTH
, early 20s, a tutorial student of Ellery’s, has been carrying on a secret relationship with Cutter McCrea since their early days in Bible Study. She’s juggling her loyalty to her fundamentalist upbringing, her affection for Ellery, and her desire to further her boyfriend’s career.

JIM FAIRCLOTH, early 50s, Ava’s overprotective dad, is a prosperous and canny local businessman, whose role as head of the board of trustees grants him control over Ellery’s future.

RYAN, early 30s, is a campus security guard.

The JESUS DOLL—part of Reverend Bob’s collection of religious kitsch—utters sayings from the Gospel, and, at play’s end, slogans from the atheist canon.

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Boy Crazy

Synopsis

Where is the line between enticement and rape?

A young woman with a questionable sexual past, and a history of abuse, returns to her 10th high-school reunion and confronts three male classmates about their behavior toward her in childhood and adolescence.

HALLIE
, the young woman, locks herself and the three young men in the boys’ room of the high school. Through a series of flashbacks, she relives key incidents involving TAYLOR, class jock, her main teenage crush; NATE, class thief, the son of a mafia-connected auto body-shop owner; and JIMARCUS, African-American, class valedictorian, a once-closeted gay man, now a prosecutor. She explores the lies, half-truths, seductions, and betrayals that led to her rape, with plans to expose them to the world…

All the action takes place in the boys’ room of the high school. The flashbacks happen in separate playing areas, minimally suggested.

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Drugstore Glasses

Synopsis

The future you can see is the future you can change.

AVA, a would-be graphic novelist, is the principal caretaker of her dad, ELLERY, a retired architect in the early stages of dementia. Ava’s husband, ANDREW, is a theoretical physicist looking to research an experiment on the nature of time. Ava’s older sister, CHARLOTTE, is a psychiatrist, estranged from the family for several years, summoned by Ava, ostensibly to help evaluate Ellery’s condition. Charlotte and Andrew were lovers when Charlotte was a teenager and Andrew a graduate student— before Ellery banished Andrew from the house, and well before Ava and Andrew married.

When Charlotte arrives, she discovers that neither Ava nor Ellery seems much affected by the recent death of Ellery’s wife; that Ellery’s dementia has removed all traces of social inhibition; and that Ava is a bundle of obsessive anxieties—about her career, about Andrew’s research project, about their father’s mental health. She attributes Ava’s anxieties to Ava’s failure to grieve over their mom’s death, and an unconscious wish to be more than just the favorite daughter—to be Ellery’s surrogate wife.

Ellery is in the grip of a delusion—he believes he has gotten a commission from the Unitarians to design a church. A rejection letter—a form letter—arrives in the mail. Nearsighted Ava is unable to read the letter, having temporarily misplaced the non- prescription glasses she bought at a drugstore. When she finds the glasses and puts them on, she’s astonished to discover that she’s able to view future events—among them, the rejection of the graphic novel she’s been working on and was planning to submit to an agent; a phone call from the university rejecting Andrew’s research application; and the precise wording of Ellery’s refusal to finance Andrew’s project. She also finds she’s able to avert future disasters—beginning with Ellery’s potentially fatal fall from a ladder.

Ava shares her discovery with Ellery, and, since her own mental health is already under suspicion, pleads with him not to say a word about it to Charlotte or Andrew. Ellery ignores her pleas, and Ava blows up at her dad for betraying her. She foresees that Ellery, in a fit of pique, will wander away from the house and be run over on the highway, so she locks him in his room.

Ellery manages to escape, via the window in his bedroom. Ava goes after him, leaving Charlotte and Andrew alone in the house.

Andrew makes a pass at Charlotte. He insists that Ava’s true agenda in inviting Charlotte to the house was to bring the two lovers together again, and leave Ava free to be with the man she most cares about—Ellery. Charlotte doesn’t disagree. But she’s worried about her sister’s mental state, and she’s not ready yet to fly back into Andrew’s arms. Charlotte and Andrew leave in search of Ava and Ellery—as the thunderstorm predicted by Ava crashes about their ears.

Ava returns to the house with Ellery, having tracked him to a local bowling alley. She realizes Andrew and Charlotte are gone, and has a horrifying vision of Charlotte’s car plunging off the highway. As she tries desperately to reach them by phone, Charlotte and Andrew return. They strenuously deny Ava’s premonition—that Andrew would book a room at a local inn, and that on the way there they’d be killed in a gruesome highway accident—until Ava supplies proof of her prediction, in the form of a restaurant receipt. Charlotte admits her part in the betrayal, over Andrew’s denials. Fed up, Andrew threatens to leave. Ava happily accepts the divorce threat, and instructs Ellery to write him the check he needs to finance his research—as predicted. Charlotte leaves as well, promising to stay away from Andrew—a promise Ava foresees will be broken the minute Andrew calls her.

At the close, Ava and Ellery are left alone in the house together, working on their respective projects, with no other people to distract them—confirming Andrew’s suspicion that this is what Ava was after all along.

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Heterophobia

Synopsis

Sex, lies, and crème brûleé.

LIZZIE, 40s, is a highly successful ad-agency exec with one ex-husband, one soon-to-be-ex-husband, and erratic taste in men. She wants to open a restaurant, with the financial help of JEMMA, 40s, a socialite and party girl, who has kept her bisexuality a secret from her best friend Lizzie, and most of the world.

MARCUS, 40s, is the restaurant critic Lizzie enlists as a consultant—and lover.

TAL, 20s-30s, is the chef Marcus recommends—without revealing that Tal is his significant other.

SHELBY, 30s, is Lizzie’s soon-to-be-ex. He’s gone off his meds, wants Lizzie to take him back, and is determined to put a stick in everyone’s spokes if she won’t.

The plot in miniature: When Tal realizes Marcus has been sleeping with Lizzie, as a tacit condition of his involvement in the restaurant, he walks out on Marcus.Jemma balks at investing in the restaurant, which puts Shelby in the catbird seat, since the terms of the pre-divorce prohibit Lizzie from making unusual expenditures. Tal threatens to out Jemma to Lizzie, which brings Jemma back on board. But then, after a bitter argument, Jemma makes a wine-fueled pass at Lizzie, causing Lizzie to flee in panic. The restaurant finally opens—but not as envisioned by Lizzie, who, at play’s end, is happily chasing yet another dubious man.

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Hocus Potus (The End of the World As We Know It)

Synopsis

The play is set in the Oval Office, in the year 2056, roughly ten years after the target date envisioned by A/I scientists for the “Singularity”—that point in time when computers will become smarter than humans, take human form, and proceed to rule the planet.

DYSON (40s-early 50s, mixed race) is President of the United States. Her administration has been beset by the global water shortage, continued tensions in the Middle East, and the North Korean nuclear threat, and she’s running far behind
the Republican candidate in the upcoming election.

ESTEBAN, her husband, a white man in his middle 40s, is chafing in his role of First Spouse, and from his growing jealousy of VEEJAY, Dyson’s Chief of Staff (20s, mixed race), a perfectly engineered human whose hypnotic good looks mesmerize everyone he comes in contact with, regardless of gender.

Veejay is secretly seeing HEWLETT, the President’s daughter (20s, mixed race), an actress who has just learned her services will no longer be required, since stars’ holograms are now replacing understudies at the National Theatre.

SENATOR STOCKWELL, (white, 70-seeming but actually 110), is a devout Right Wing throwback (and Dyson’s Republican opponent in the forthcoming Election), who believes in the End Times and the accompanying Rapture and whose hawkish policies are aimed at bringing out a global conflagration.

TWYLA, Dyson’s personal digital assistant, communicates via a giant video screen above the Oval Office fireplace.

The play chronicles the wildly fluctuating personal and political fortunes of the First Family, in the hours before and after the world’s computers take over the planet and offer Earth’s human population a chance for eternal life in a Virtual Heaven.

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Husbands and Wife

Synopsis

Is female polygamy an answer to the riddle of modern masculinity? Can it survive the scrutiny of a well- meaning social worker? The desperate intrusions of a lovelorn Southern sheriff? Can it strike a blow for racial equality? In HUSBANDS AND WIFE, a woman with one legal husband and two live-in lovers fights to preserve the unorthodox family she’s created.

PORTIA, a white woman in her thirties and forties, is the matriarch of a family consisting of MATTHEW, a white man in his thirties, PARNELL, an African-American man in his thirties or forties, and WOODY, a white man in his twenties.

The family lives in a remote farmhouse somewhere in the rural South, as far from prying eyes as possible. Portia, an insurance agent for local farmers, is the principal breadwinner.

Matthew is Portia’s legal husband. He’s an unemployed agoraphobic, the family cook. Parnell, the son of a prostitute, is a veteran of two marriages, employed, when the play opens, as a Carl’s Jr. fry cook. Woody, abandoned by his mother as a child, drifted from place to place until he found a home with Portia and Matthew and Parnell. All three men have sexual relations with Portia.

Woody is a Ritalin addict. An angry encounter in the town library lands him in jail, and he’s court-ordered to counseling with MAKAYLA, an African-American social worker in her thirties, who has been carrying on a secret sexual relationship with KING, a married man in his forties—the county Sheriff.

Both Portia and Makayla, it’s revealed, are pregnant—Portia by one of her three “husbands,” Makayla by Sheriff King.

In ACT I, set in the living/dining room of the farmhouse, Makayla pays a home visit to the family. Woody has told Makayla that Portia and Matthew are his parents. The family tries to maintain this fiction, but Makayla soon sees through it. She bonds with the family, but her involvement with Sheriff King brings the law to their doorstep. When King threatens to jail them all, pregnant Makayla escapes with the family.

In ACT II, the family has relocated to a city apartment, sharing child-care duties for Polly, Makayla’s daughter by Sheriff King. Portia, now employed as a telemarketer, has had an abortion; Parnell is working construction; Woody is studying for his GED; Makayla is working at a preschool and helping Woody with his substance issues, Matthew with his fear of the outdoors. The family is barely making ends meet, and Makayla’s growing attraction to Parnell is igniting the latent jealousy issues in the family, bringing Portia and Makayla to blows. When King infiltrates the apartment, posing as the super, threatening the family at gunpoint and pleading with Makayla to come back to him, Matthew mans up, disarms King, and exposes him as a defrocked Sheriff. Portia invites King to join the family. He accepts. Peace is restored.

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Illegals

Synopsis

An Arizona family has just hired a new housekeeper. Her papers say she’s from Nicaragua. Her real home is farther away than that. Light years farther.

JUSTINE (40s) is a tax lawyer in Tucson running for the Arizona state legislature on an anti-immigration platform. Her husband, BLAKE (40s), is a successful businessman whose factory makes tasers, stun guns, pepper sprays, and home security equipment. They have two teenage children—CURTIS, a sci-fi geek and math whiz with doubts about his place in the high-school sexual universe, and IZZY, who will go to any length to get herself accepted to Harvard.

When the family learns their housekeeper is here illegally, they hire MARISOL (20s-30s), whose papers say she’s an immigrant from Nicaragua. Actually, Marisol is a space alien in human disguise, here on Earth as part of a pilot program to soften up negative American attitudes toward immigration, and make it possible for her fellow aliens to relocate to our planet—with the help WELDON (30s-40s), her lifelong mate, who’s disguised as a federal immigration agent.

Marisol’s efforts to win the family over (accomplished through discreet sexual contact, instantly forgotten), in the teeth of Izzy’s ongoing suspicions, unearths long-held personal secrets, threatens to tear the family apart, finally succeeds in changing hearts and minds…but may well alter the world economy forever.

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Modern Warfare

Synopsis

The art world in existential crisis: a day in the life of the Betty Parsons gallery, the foremost Abstract Expressionist showplace of the 50s and 60s.

BETTY (PARSONS), age 62, the gallery owner, is facing lawsuits, bankruptcy, the defection of her patron, and the encroachments of Pop Art on what used to be an art scene dominated by Abstract Expressionism. She’s mounted a group show featuring her Giants: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, artists she nurtured, only to lose them to her principal competition, SIDNEY (JANIS), age 66. They’re suing each other.

FREDERICA, 40s, is a Sutton Place society woman, Betty’s patron and lover, the most recent in a series of rich benefactors. She’s uneasy with the bohemian atmosphere of the gallery, and is close to pulling out.

JEANNE (MILES), 53, is one of Betty’s artists, chafing under the favoritism Betty tends to show toward male painters.

CLARICE, 20s, is Betty’s latest discovery, working gratis as Betty’s assistant.

HAROLD (ROSENBERG), is a famous art critic, the Godfather of abstract expressionism, a legendary Casanova ever on the hunt for new conquests—and possible quid pro quos.

ELLSWORTH (KELLY), 49, is one of Betty’s major artists. So far he’s resisted defecting to Sidney Janis’s shop.

DUNCAN
, 52, is a manic-depressive painter, recently escaped from a mental hospital, where he painted what he regards as a prophetic canvas—one that foretells the triumph of Pop Art over Abstract Expressionism. He wants Betty tohang his painting, and will go to any lengths to make sure that happens.

The action of the play is continuous. The year is 1962. Betty, Jean, Harold, Ellsworth, and Sidney are versions of real people. The other three are pure inventions.

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Placenta Men

Synopsis

An aging couple on the edge of dementia. Two sons conspiring against their father. Is anyone telling the truth? Who’s trying to kill whom?

Mariah, 70s, is a successful Broadway actress, suffering from minor memory loss and an acute sensitivity to cold.

Lorenzo
, 70s, Mariah’s husband, an M.D. and drug company president, is testing his latest drug invention on his wife, hoping to arrest her mental decline, symptoms of which he’s also beginning to show.

Connor, late 30s, their older son, a TV actor, and Ethan, 30s, their younger son, a mathematician, arrive for their parents’ 50th anniversary party. Ethan has had a recent psychotic break, which he’s at pains to keep secret from his mom and dad. He’s lost his Wall Street job and is desperate for money. When Lorenzo and Ethan butt heads at a family dinner, Connor hits on a scheme to have Lorenzo committed to a psychiatric facility, so he can get control of the family finances—thereby setting in motion a series of sly manipulations and brutal revelations.

The setting is the living room/dining area of Mariah and Lorenzo’s condo in Boulder, Colorado. The time is the present. The action takes place over two days.

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Pork

Synopsis

Chet Yarbro’s re-election campaign is going down the tubes. Can his twin brother Arliss step in and save the day—before they send him back to the prison from which he’s just escaped?

CHESTER (CHET) YARBRO, late 30s-early 40s, white, is an incumbent Republican congressman. He’s fallen out of favor with the voters and is having a nervous breakdown.

MELANIE YARBRO
, 30-40, white, Chet’s (pregnant) wife, is an ex-dancer, the woman behind the man.

JOAQUIN GOLA, 20s, mixed ethnicity, is Chet’s media consultant. LLOYD YARBRO, early 60s, white, is Chet’s dad. He’s the CEO of Yarbro Packing, a pork processing plant, the number one employer in the district, whose work force includes a good many illegal aliens. He’s the money behind the campaign, and a constant thorn in Chet’s side.

ARLISS YARBRO, late 30s-early 40s, white, is Chet Yarbro’s black-sheep twin brother, recently escaped from prison, where he’s been serving a term for marijuana possession.

LATASHA BEALES, 20s-30s, African-American, Arliss’s girlfriend, abetted Arliss’s escape from prison and is intending to flee to Mexico with him—with the help of any money they can pry out of the campaign.

The action takes place over five days and climaxes on Election Day. The settings are Chet and Melanie’s living room and Chet’s campaign headquarters, somewhere in the heartland.

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Rescuers

Synopsis

The Rescuers is a drama about madness, incest, suicide, family loyalty, and generous impulses.

CARTER SUTCLIFFE, 60s, is a retired lawyer with manic tendencies.
PENNY SUTCLIFFE, 20s, a graduate student in accounting, is Carter’s daughter.
SETH MILSTEIN, 20s, Penny’s boyfriend, is an aspiring artist.
LEAH MILSTEIN, 20s, a preschool teacher, is Seth’s sister.
LOU MILSTEIN, 60s, is the owner of a failing medical supply business, and a basement inventor.
MAXINE MILSTEIN, 60s, is Lou’s wife.

Every character in the play is trying to save somebody from something. Carter Sutcliffe is trying to save Lou Milstein from bankruptcy by investing in his wheelchair invention; and Seth Milstein from obscurity by underwriting Seth’s art projects. Penny Sutcliffe is trying to save her boyfriend Seth from the unhealthy clutches of his sister Leah, with whom he has had an ongoing sexual relationship. Seth is trying to save Penny from wasting her life in caring for Carter, her overbearing dad, whose manic tendencies are spiraling into crisis. Leah is trying to save her brother Seth, a suicide risk, from a possibly stultifying marriage to Penny. Lou Milstein is trying to liberate Carter from his dependency on Penny, who is threatening to assume total control of her dad’s finances. And Maxine Milstein is trying to save her husband Lou from his growing involvement with Carter.

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Rough Justice

Synopsis

A jury in a murder trial takes the law into its own hands.

Six Florida citizens deliberate the fate of a stripper accused of murdering her benefactor:

RYAN, 30s, a white sporting-goods store manager
SHAWNA, 50s, an African-American medical receptionist
GILES, 60s, a white insurance broker
APRIL, 20s-30s, a bartender
GWEN, 40s-50s, a psych professor
JAMAR, 40s, an African-American passport office clerk

As they watch the videoed confession of MARY ELLEN SIMMONS (aka FELICITY), conducted by Detective COLBY ROGERS, the jurors clash over issues of gender, sexuality, distrust of the police, and race…reveal some unpleasant secrets of their own…and find themselves resorting to unsanctioned, long-distance detective work in order to resolve the case.

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Rumors of an Asteroid

Synopsis

A comic drama about an L.A. family confronting twin challenges: the fears (and hopes) generated by the rumor of an impending asteroid collision; and a rich older man’s offer of marriage to an idealistic young woman.

VALERIE, 55, a former A-list star in the twilight of her career, intrigued to learn that celebrities may be given preferential treatment in the event an escape from Earth is ever necessary, finds herself reconnecting with her credulous A-list pals.

Meanwhile her daughter KENDRA, 35, a therapist with dreams of opening her own clinic, is faced with a moral dilemma: should she marry a rich man eager to fund the clinic, even if he turns out to be dying, impotent, disreputable, or all three?

RAWLEY
, 60, a billionaire investment banker with a shadowy past and an even more questionable medical history, is Kendra’s devoted suitor. NED, 56, a business manager and Valerie’s ex-husband, and HASKELL, 28, their son, a UFO blogger with minimal people skills, are opposed to the marriage and looking for ways to derail it.

ROLF, 32, a struggling photographer and Kendra’s ex-boyfriend, is torn between wanting the best for Kendra and wanting Kendra back.

DAWN, 25, is Valerie’s gullible assistant, and BLANCA, 35, is Rawley’s hospital nurse.

The discovery that the asteroid rumor and Rawley’s proposal are intimately connected—that Rawley has started the rumor for business reasons—drives the play toward its conclusion.

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Saint Jean

Synopsis

A kaleidoscopic look at the life, loves, and questionable death of the movie star made infamous by Otto Preminger, then famous by Jean-Luc Godard—at one point the most celebrated and controversial actress in the world.

In the days preceding her suicide—or, as some claim, her murder at the hands of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI—JEAN SEBERG, age 40, poised on the edge of mental collapse, makes a final attempt to pull herself together, with the help of would-be restaurateur AHMED HASNI, the last man to love her—and exploit her. She visits the critical scenes of her career, confronting her younger self in various guises—secretary, production assistant, wedding planner, waitress, costume designer, nanny, nurse, psychoanalyst—in a desperate attempt to arrest the downward spiral of her tragic life, and rewrite her relations with OTTO PREMINGER, who discovered her at age 17 and thrust her into the role of Joan of Arc; with JEAN-LUC GODARD, who cast her in Breathless and turned her into an avant-garde darling; as well as with her father, ED SEBERG, her novelist/diplomat/war hero husband ROMAIN GARY, and her Black Panther lover HAKIM JAMAL.

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The Champagne Room

Synopsis

A comic drama about sex, money, and family secrets.

DOLPH, late 20s-early 30s, is a Florida handyman whose prison record is sinking his business. He’s faced with two temptations—a female client who wants to sleep with him in return for throwing him work, and an impulse to rob a strip-club manager in revenge for his ill-treatment of his stripper wife.

GALEN
, early 20s, is Dolph’s assistant and younger brother. Perhaps owing to trauma suffered in infancy—supposedly inflicted by his brother Dolph with a xylophone mallet—Galen has a tendency to be socially inappropriate, coupled with an erratic desire to be helpful to his family any way he can, including executing the revenge robbery his brother Dolph is contemplating.

EILEEN, late 20s-early 30s, Dolph’s wife, is a stripper whose reluctance to submit to the sexual overtures of her boss has lost her the job that keeps the family afloat.

MARYJO
, late 40s-early 50s, is Eileen’s mom, a former bartender whose ex- husband abandoned her during her second pregnancy, forcing her to give the baby up for adoption. Over the years she’s become agoraphobic, leaving the house only to attend church, and unable to follow through on a mutual attraction to the pastor. She has turned a blind eye to her daughter’s profession.

JULIE, early 20s, a former debutante, is the child Maryjo gave up for adoption, now the daughter of a wealthy West Palm Beach couple, and engaged to bemarried to a man about whom she has serious doubts. When Galen takes it upon himself to reunite Julie with her birth mother and sister, the family sees a way out of their financial difficulties, complicated by Julie’s insistence upon turning stripper for a night.

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One-act plays

Blondes with Black Eyebrows

Synopsis

A surreal drama about the intersection between reality and dreams, set in an unnamed primitive region, involving an unnamed tribe whose justice system is based on dreaming.

LAYLA
, thirties, is a professor of anthropology with a particular interest in how cultures use dreams. In one way or another, the three men in the play are in love with her. In the course of the play, she goes native, and what helps drive the play is the mystery of her ultimate fate.

NIGEL, thirties or forties, is her guide and protector.

RUDY
, twenties, is her devoted research assistant, whose horrified discovery that Layla’s research has mercenary motives triggers a dream revenge.

BAZIR, twenty to forty, is the tribal chieftain. When Bazir and Layla dream the same erotic dream, a dangerous chain reaction is set off involving all the characters—and Bazir’s two wives.

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Cadaver Love

Synopsis

Is there romance after death?

Two medical students from privileged backgrounds learn about life, love, romance, and racial politics from two homeless lovers—who happen to be cadavers.

YANCEY is a young, white scion of a rich family. He’s a bit of a slacker and has a crush on his anatomy lab partner, JESSICA, an African-American student from a prominent background. When two cadavers in their care—HORACE, a homeless African-American man in his sixties, and BETTY JEAN, his white street wife, a woman in her 50s—return from the dead, Yancey and Jessica have a chance to learn some important life lessons, which, if their anatomy instructor, DR. GANESH, has anything to say about it, may spell an end to their medical careers.

The action takes place in a first-year med-school dissection room. The time is the present.

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Ezra Hertz Returns

Synopsis

Three high-school friends reunite in a comic drama of escalating menace.

LOGAN, mid 30s, is a writer-in-residence at a small college, and the author of a novel about a love triangle involving himself, his live-in girlfriend, and his high-school friend and protector.

SARA, mid 30s, is a psychology teacher and therapist at the college, Logan’s girlfriend, past and present, and the heroine of the novel.

EZRA HERTZ, mid 30s, is a jack-of-all-trades with paranoid tendencies, and the third leg of the novel’s triangle. His sudden reappearance in his old friends’ lives—to protest the existence of the novel, which he regards as slander—reignites the three-way passion.

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10-minute plays

A Free Pass

Synopsis

Is there love after death?

WAYLON (60s) approaches TARA (30s-40s) in a hotel bar, with the aim of cashing in on an offer made by his dying wife—and gets both less and more than he expected.

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The Seesaw Principle

Synopsis

A comic fantasy about the conflict between career and family, adapted from the author’s short story, Lost and Found, published in Playboy, reprinted in the French edition of the magazine, and anthologized in Best SF.

SPENCER, 50s, is a playwright described by his publicist as “the theater’s greatest two-way threat since the death of Shakespeare.”

MARCIA
, late 40s, is his long-suffering, hypochondriac, prematurely aging wife.

ETHAN, 20s, their son, is a wannabe playwright who can’t seem to write anything that isn’t a copy of his dad’s work.

NATE, 40s, is Spencer’s producer.

A CABDRIVER, 40s, with the seeming ability to grant accidental wishes.

Nate and the Cabdriver can be played by the same actor. The locale is New York. The time is the present.

When Spencer asserts to the cabdriver that he’s tired of making his family miserable, and would “give anything to make them happy,” his oeuvre starts to disappear, rendering him, in succession, a comic playwright, a one-play playwright, and a total flop. Meanwhile, his jealous wife Marcia is becoming a Broadway force, and his whining son a major playwright, bringing Spencer to the brink of suicide. At play’s end, Spencer’s work is miraculously restored to him—at fatal cost to the family he’s learned to loathe.

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Ask Aunt Alice

Synopsis

Beware advice columnists…especially if you’re one of the family. PEYTON, 20s, asks relationship advice from her AUNT ALICE, 50s, a famous blogger. Can Aunt Alice be trusted to put her niece’s needs ahead of her own?

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Sunset and Sebastian's Happy Ending

Synopsis

The secret thoughts of a massage therapist (SUNSET, 30s-40s) and her customer (SEBASTIAN, 30s-40s)…as they contemplate crossing the line.

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Speed Dating at the Second Chance Saloon

Synopsis

When honesty fails…press Rewind.

DAMON (20s-30s) is an ex-con behind on his alimony payments. AMY (20s-30s), is a mom doing internet porn to make ends meet. Two lost and desperate souls meet in a bar…stumble on a way to reinvent themselves for love…and discover that honesty may be the best policy after all.

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Hand-Painted Hearts

Synopsis

Set in 1974, adapted from the author’s Playboy story: a two-character play about an ambitious young feminist (ROBERTA, 20s) who reads for a publisher; her male chauvinist boss (PAUL, 30s); and the hash pipe that brings them together.

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Natural Enemies

Synopsis

The beginning of the end for human-dog relations?

Six dogs gather in a dog park. DASH is a retired greyhound whose owners are expecting a new arrival. ROLF is a German Shepherd guarding a Mafioso. OLGA, a Samoyed, is a gorgeous show dog. SUZIE is an abused mutt whose eventual death provokes a rebellion…led by DUKE, a discontented Pit Bull, and opposed by FLETCHER, a Golden Retriever loyal to his human masters and Duke’s rival for Olga’s affections.

All the action takes place in the dog park. DUKE is played by an African-American actor, OLGA by a white actress, FLETCHER, DASH, and ROLF by white actors. SUZIE’s ethnicity is flexible, as are the ages, though DASH should be older and noticeably skinnier.

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Barfight

Synopsis

JESUS CHRIST (35) and GOD (70-something) air their differences…while ABBY (20s-30s), a bartender, tries to keep them from killing each other.

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Between Rounds

Synopsis

DARRYL COLEMAN is a boxer nearing the close of his career.

EINAR is his trainer, determined to win at any cost. DESHAUN is a former boxer, now fight announcer, who takes a dim view of Darryl’s wife’s efforts to get Darryl to hang up his gloves.

JAKE
is a fight announcer sympathetic to the wife’s cause.

We hear the progress of the fight via the announcers…Einar’s efforts to rally Darryl’s killer instinct between rounds…and what happens to three relationships when all hell breaks loose at the end of the fight.

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Customer Support

Synopsis

A customer and a tech find something they can truly bond on.

When NATHAN, an American, shares his screen with NASRUL, an East Indian technical support guy, they find a way to get beyond the usual formalities—and into the sexual underbellies of their respective cultures.

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Whale Watch

Synopsis

Love conquers all on a whale excursion.

DARRYL (20s) is the owner and pilot of a tour boat operating out of Juneau, Alaska; TALIA (20s, Native American/white) is a whale watch guide and Darryl’s live-in girlfriend. When Talia announces her intention to leave Darryl, either for a distant university or a job at Sea World, their mutual infidelities come to light, amidst Talia’s efforts to deal with terminally annoying questions and intrusions from unseen, unheard passengers. With the help of some parallels from the animal world, Darryl and Talia resolve their differences, forgive each other, and put the whale-watch business behind them.

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Monologues

Who Do You Think You Are?

Synopsis

Can Edwina find salvation with the Edwin he used to be?

A wheelchair-bound, cross-dressing doctor, EDWIN (60s-80s), on the verge of being sent to the lowest depths of the nursing home, tells the tale of his declining days, and pleads with the staff, his fellow inmates, and his alter ego EDWINA for deliverance.

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Performances

Front Door Open

Featured in

Best Men's Stage Monologues