Short Plays

For permission to perform any of these plays, please contact the playwright.

Absent Grace at the SHOBI College of Music in Japan. Photo by Lenshi Fukuyama.

Absent Grace at the SHOBI College of Music in Japan. Photo by Lenshi Fukuyama.

Absent Grace

Synopsis. At a crossroads, a man who keeps seeing his dead friend finally confronts her. 1W, 1M.

Performances. Dordt College: Sioux Center, IA, 2017; Kent Denver School, Englewood, CO, 2016; Metropolitan State University of Denver, 2016; SHOBI College of Music, Tokyo, Japan, 2016; Niagara University Short Play Festival, 2016; She Said, He Said: Love & Life without a Net, Readers Theatre Repertory, Portland, OR, 2015; Museum of Dysfunction VI, Mildred’s Umbrella and Wordsmyth Theatre Company, Houston, 2013; Ten for Tenn! Tennessee Wesleyan College, 2012.

Published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2013.

 

Ryan Kelly and Amy Warren in Absent Grace at the Museum of Dysfunction IV, directed by Elizabeth Seabolt-Esparza. Photo ©Gentle Bear Photography 2013.

Ryan Kelly and Amy Warren in Absent Grace at the Museum of Dysfunction IV, directed by Elizabeth Seabolt-Esparza. Photo ©Gentle Bear Photography 2013.

Devoted

Synopsis. In this love triangle (minus the love), revelations only strengthen the status quo. 2W, 1M.

Published in The Art of the One Act.

 

Door to Door

Synopsis. A perky teenager meets an ominous intellectual. 1W, 1M.

Performances. 19th Annual Original Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, 1994; Sixth Annual Love Creek One-Act Festival, New York, 1994.

Published in Dramatics, March 1993.

Sarah Lutz in Eden at Crack the Glass Theatre Company, directed by Polly Rose Edelstein. Photo by Jack E. Kapp.

Sarah Lutz in Eden at Crack the Glass Theatre Company, directed by Polly Rose Edelstein. Photo by Jack E. Kapp.

Eden

Synopsis. A nude photo of Eve may lead to the end of Eden. 1W, 1M.

Readings. Nantucket Short Play Festival: Cupid’s Nightmare, 2010; People’s Branch Theatre, Nashville, 2009;  Mid-America Theatre Conference Playwriting Symposium, Kansas City, 2008.

Performances. Crack the Glass Theatre Company: An Evening of One Acts, Philadelphia, 2011; Short Women’s Play Festival, Independent Actors Theatre, Columbia, MO, 2010.

Published in I Love You Terribly: Six Plays.

 

Emily Dickinson's Sister

Synopsis. In the State Lunatic Asylum in 1874, three woman fade away. 3W.

Reading. Mid-America Theatre Conference Playwriting Symposium, Chicago, 2009.

Published in Poems & Plays 16. 

 

He Killed My Bird, or Now That We’re in Heaven

Katie Robertson, Brittany Shumaker and Alli Vaughn in He Killed My Bird, or Now That We're in Heaven, directed by Emily A. Rollie in the Caffe Cino Project. Photo: Cassie Burton / The Courier.

Katie Robertson, Brittany Shumaker and Alli Vaughn in He Killed My Bird, or Now That We're in Heaven, directed by Emily A. Rollie in the Caffe Cino Project. Photo: Cassie Burton / The Courier.

Synopsis. When I teach Women Who Kill, a survey of American drama by women, I’m amazed at how easily my students side with the murderesses, particularly when the plays are based on true stories, and real-life society ostracized these women. Why do audiences respond so receptively to these re-tellings? With characters inspired by the women who inspired Trifles, Machinal, My Sister in This House, and Self-defense, or death of some salesmen, my play examines how these stories work and what they reveal. 5W, 1M.

Reading. IV International Conference on American Drama and Theatre, Seville, Spain, 2012.

Performance. Caffe Cino Project, Knox College, Galesburg, IL, 2014.

Published in Old Stories, New Readings: The Transforming Power of American Drama.

 

Henry

Synopsis. This indeterminate reunion explores the past, present, and future of a man and woman once (or twice) in love (or not). 1W, 1M.

Readings. Bridgestone 10 x 10 Festival of Short Plays, People’s Branch Theatre, Nashville, 2009; Mid-America Theatre Conference Playwriting Symposium, Minneapolis, 2007.

Published in I Love You Terribly: Six Plays.

 

Highway 16

Synopsis. A modern-day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, inspired by the numerous (real) vanishing women in British Columbia. In this coming-of-age play, Granny is a brothel keeper and the Wolf may be Red's fairy godmother. 3W.

Readings. Swan Day CLE. Cleveland, 2013; Estro Xtended, Manhattan Theatre Source, 2012.

Published in Qu: Literary Magazine.

 

I Love You Terribly

Synopsis. A couple tango their way through their tangled lives. 1W, 1M.

Performances. Stratton’s Postcards: A Festival of Short Plays, Stratton Players, Fitchburg, MA, 2011; Shoestring Radio Theatre, 2010.

Published in I Love You Terribly: Six Plays.

 
Nathan Bryant and Brooke Underwood in Lillie Meant Murder at Independent Actors Theatre, directed by Elizabeth Braaten Palmieri. Photo by Amanda Sohaney/KOMU.

Nathan Bryant and Brooke Underwood in Lillie Meant Murder at Independent Actors Theatre, directed by Elizabeth Braaten Palmieri. Photo by Amanda Sohaney/KOMU.

Lillie Meant Murder

Synopsis. Set in 1888 Chicago. Lillie Richmond discovers that her husband of two years is not really her husband at all, so she dresses as a man to shoot him incognito and frees herself in an unexpected way.  1W, 3M.

Performances. The Best of the Best Short Plays, Roger Williams University's Barn Summer Playhouse, Bristol, RI, 2015; Short Women’s Play Festival, Independent Actors Theatre, Columbia, MO, 2012. 

Published in The Best American Short Plays, 2011-12.

 

Mice into Horses

Synopsis. In this mouse-eyed view of Cinderella, a rodent mother grooms her daughters to attend the ball, but the dutiful stepdaughter wins the mouse prince.

Performance. The Thalia Festival, the AlphaNYC Theater Company, New York, 2017.

 

Jamie H. Jung and Jen Grigg in Palooka at Fusion Theatre's The Seven: Strange Bedfellows, directed by Aaron Worley. 

Jamie H. Jung and Jen Grigg in Palooka at Fusion Theatre's The Seven: Strange Bedfellows, directed by Aaron Worley. 

Palooka

Synopsis. Deep in the woods, someone's punched Wil in the face. Surprise! It's his fiancée. 1W, 1M.

Winner of the Andaluz Award Jury Prize, 2016.

Performance. The Seven: Strange Bedfellows, 11th Annual Short Works Festival, Fusion Theatre, Albuquerque, NM, 2016.

Published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2017.

 

Pear Morte (a monologue)

Synopsis. A woman paints to battle death. 1W.

Published in InterJACtions: Monologues at the Heart of Human Nature, volume 3.

 

The Pretty Young Girl

Synopsis. Fourteen-year-old Rosie becomes so lost in the world of her romance novel that she poisons herself like its heroine. Based on the 1894 true story of Rosie Czeisler, who was found unconscious on a front stoop beside a bottle of carbolic acid and a novel called The Pretty Young Girl. 2W, 2M.

Performance. East Village Chronicles Festival of New Plays, Metropolitan Playhouse, New York, 2011.

Emily Gittelman in The Pretty Young Girl at Metropolitan Playhouse, directed by Laura Livingston. Photo by Beth Wexelman.

Emily Gittelman in The Pretty Young Girl at Metropolitan Playhouse, directed by Laura Livingston. Photo by Beth Wexelman.

Sex Lessons

Synopsis. “Jack” and “Sally” celebrate his birthday. 1W, 1M.

Performance. Short Women’s Play Festival, Independent Actors Theatre, Columbia, MO, 2011.

Published in River Styx 80 and I Love You Terribly: Six Plays.

 

Sheryl’s Mother Is Dead (a monologue)

Synopsis. A woman's prayers are answered when God smites her foe. 1W.

Performances. Walking the Wire: Too Much Information, Riverside Theatre, Iowa City, 2013; Whispers of Fall: Autumn One Acts. Brief Acts Company, New York, 2012.

 

Swimming in the Afternoon

Synopsis. A poet awakens as a marionette. 3W.

(Swimming in the Afternoon is a scene from Witches Vanish.)

Reading. Ten-Minute Playhouse, Nashville, 2011.

Published in River Styx 93.

 

Till Death

Synopsis. Julian and Felicity contemplate love, death, and Robert Browning. 1W, 1M.

Performances. Undergraduate Directed One-Act Plays, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2015; Plays with Poetry, East Haddam Stage Company, East Haddam, CT, 2008.

Published in Santa Clara Review 98.1 and  I Love You Terribly: Six Plays.

 

VELB (a monologue)

Snippet. What if Gregor Samsa were red? Imagine his garnet bejeweled belly, his oxblood coral exoskeleton. Would his family shove him aside, hide him under a couch, if his ruby forewings had emerald spots? Or, faced with such splendor, would they recognize his true worth? 1W.

Published in Original Middle School Scenes and Monologues.