On June 30, my 10-minute comedy Say Goodbye to Hollywood received a staged reading at Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre (CVRep) in Rancho Mirage, California. It was part of the “Twilight Cafe,” an annual evening of short works written by members of the CVRep Conservatory Writers Group.
The play, an affectionate satire on the movie business (and Palm Springs) was directed by Andy Harmon and starred Barry Cutler, Dan Graff, and Alexana Thomas. Everybody did a wonderful job. One of the actors wrote me afterward: “As I’m sure you know — and as the audience so well confirmed — Say Goodbye to Hollywood is ridiculously hilarious. A real crowd pleaser.”
Another of the actors told me that thanks to her performance she was offered another acting job at an upcoming production at another theatre. I love it when success builds on success.
And it’s great to write a comedy that makes people laugh — especially when they laugh in the right places!
I have posted my new full-length play Crusade to the New Play Exchange. https://newplayexhange.org
Crusade recreates the traditional war drama in a new way with an urgently relevant message for today.
It is the near future. Civil war rages between Christian fundamentalists who control the federal government and rebellious U.S. military units still loyal to the Constitution. The play follows the fate of an Army patrol caught up in this conflict. Stylistically, Crusade seeks to heighten a typically realistic form through the use of sound, lighting, language, and physical action in a “total theatre” effort to confront the audience with the reality of violence and the danger of extremism.
I am very pleased to announce my play Quarantine was awarded Third Place in the 2017 One-Act Playwriting Competition at the Little Theatre of Alexandria in Northern Virginia.
In notifying me, the head of the competition said: “Out of 90+ plays, yours was the 3rd rated highest in our competition. People loved your show. They thought it was very realistic, and they loved the strong male characters…People devoured your show, and many offered to try out for it, they loved it so much….It was very compelling, and kept everyone engaged. You should be proud of your accomplishments and know that you were the “cream of the crop.”
My deep thanks to LTA for this recognition.
If interested in Quarantine, see my post below; it’s also available through New Play Exchange.
Anyone interested in my work can find my plays on the New Play Exchange.
Plays currently available include:
Advice to the Players – full-length (90 minutes, no intermission). A shorter version was Heideman Award winner at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1985. The full-length version premiered at the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays, and became available thru Samuel French in 2015.
Crusade – full-length, two acts.
North – full-length, 75 minutes, no intermission.
Quarantine – one-act. Winner (3rd Place), Annual One-Act Playwriting Competition, The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 2018.
- The Short Christmas Dinner
- Say Goodbye to Hollywood
- A Death in the Woods
A fast-paced military drama of roughly 30 minutes, Quarantine is based on the legend of the Black Syphilis during the Vietnam War. In the play, a reporter and a photographer, burnt-out by the war and returning home to the U.S., are forced down on an unknown island in the western Pacific, the site of a secret Army facility. There, a conscience-stricken young officer leads them to discover the island’s terrible truth – a truth the Army does not want revealed.
Cast: 7M. Due to the time period and the content of the play, all roles need to be played by men.
Production requirements of the play are minimal. There are few props, and most scenes are meant to be created by lighting effects.
History: I actually conceived of Quarantine back in the early 1970s. I was active in the anti-war movement, and we all heard the stories about a virulent strain of syphilis that was infecting our guys in ‘Nam and that the Army was covering it up. I did an early draft of the play but wasn’t happy with it and put it aside. Recently I reworked it and that is the new version.
The play should be taken at face value as an entertainment and that’s all. I’m not trying to reveal any hidden secrets or make any accusations against the military. The Black Syphilis was a legend — it was never proved. I simply used it the way other writers have used unproven legends as the basis for a good story — like, say, the Greek tragedians did with the Trojan War. However, if an audience feels the crimes in the play somehow reflect on the greater crime of the Vietnam War, it wouldn’t break my heart.
Esteemed theatre professor William W. Demastes is publishing a three-volume set of monologues from American plays through Applause Books. Volume 2 was recently released and I’m honored he included a monologue from “Advice to the Players.” There’s some wonderful theatre writing here for both actors to study and casual readers to enjoy. Click on the cover to get a copy.