Anyone interested in my work can find my plays on the New Play Exchange.
Plays currently available include:
Advice to the Players – full-length. Shorter version was Heideman Award winner in 1985. The full-length script became available thru Samuel French in 2015.
Crusade – full-length.
North – full-length.
Quarantine – one-act.
- The Short Christmas Dinner
- Hollywood’s Hideaway
- 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.
My agent keeps telling me to stop caring if what I write has literary value, and just put out something that will sell. But that worries me. I don’t have an agent.
So Robin Williams gets to heaven and there’s a long line of people waiting to go through the Pearly Gates. Being the good guy that he is, he doesn’t use his celebrity to cut ahead, he gets in line and waits like everybody else. When he finally gets to the front, Saint Peter asks him his name.
“Na-Nu, Na-Nu,” says Robin.
Saint Peter doesn’t get it. He looks at his list, puzzled. “That name isn’t on here,” he says. “Who are you again?”
Robin does ten minutes, riffing wildly – impressions, one-liners, funny faces and moves, all rapid-fire. Everybody behind him in line is cracking up, bent over laughing, loving it. Saint Peter, unamused, just stares at him.
“Sir,” says Saint Peter, “I’m not sure you understand the significance of this situation. Now, please be serious.”
Just then Groucho and Jonathan Winters stick their heads out through the gate. Jonathan waves at Robin, who waves back.
“Hey Pete,” says Groucho. “Let him in. He’s with us.”
We were on our first date. I glanced over my menu at her across the table. Her name was Lucretia and she was gorgeous.
“So, what do you feel like?” I asked. ”Steak? Fish?”
She put down her menu. ”I want children.”
I smiled. ”Well, so do I. Eventually.”
“No, I mean I want them now,” she said. ”For dinner.”
And that’s when I realized I should have read her online profile more closely.