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2007 Great Plains Theatre Conference Play Lab Synopses

Coming Up for Air - Amthor

Award-winning actress Katharine Hubbell has found that her life off stage has become much more complicated than her life on it. On the day of her mother´s wake, she tries to seek solace by locking herself in the janitor´s closet of the funeral home — only to be discovered by her girlfriend, ex-husband and estranged daughter. Now she must figure out how to come to terms with the events in her life and how to deal with the real drama.

 

Tangled - Anthony

On the day that a young woman has decided to kill herself, she must confront two predators: her seedy landlord and the shadowy man for whom she is killing herself.

 

Columbus Day - Attaway

Columbus Day may seem to play out as two plays in one. In the first story, a frustrated and somewhat deranged high school teacher holds his class hostage, while the other part of the story tells of a young woman facing difficult decisions of her own. It is a play about choices as well as an exercise in juxtaposition.

 

Hope vs Hunter - Banicevich Gera

A teacher´s obsession with a pupil; a pupil´s obsession with a teacher. A lost weekend in the bush at a national park. For both of them, it means things will never be the same again. What really did happen? You decide.

 

Wind in the Field - Bass

Set in Georgia in the 1950s, Wind in the Field tells the story of Milton Millard, a successful but unhappily married white man who is devoted like a son to Ruthie Mimms, a 75-year-old black woman who is a stillpracticing midwife/abortionist whom Milton has known since he was a child. Milton and his wife Dolores have been married for some 40 years. Theirs is a barren marriage, devoid of passion, shrouded in nearsilence and disappointments. Throughout their childless marriage, Milton has kept a secret about a child he fathered in his youth. Milton´s world begins to unravel as his unstable wife, pressuring mistress, possessive mother-figure Ruthie and the mother of his secret child force him to confront his own sense of guilt, and parental longing forces him to face truths too unbearable to name.

 

Two Men Walked into a Bar - Bauer

Near closing time in a working class bar in Mobile, Alabama, a mystery unfolds. With only the bartender and one other patron left, John enters the bar and tries to socialize. Who is John, and why is he talking so much about his desire to kill his wife? During the course of the play, surprising answers and plots twists keep the audience guessing. By the end, marriages, mothers and the Marine Corps all figure into the story, and we learn what two men will and won´t do for love.

 

Mother - Beals

Maxine´s new baby is on his way home from the hospital, but she´s at home. In these last moments while she is still not-not a mommy, Maxine must deal with her mother´s suicide and make some decisions about the mother she will be.

 

Ugly Birds - Berry

Relationships are rarely easy to navigate into a perfect outcome. Over a three-year period we see the highs and lows of a loving yet challenging couple as they become stronger, make mistakes, lie and regret their way through a young marriage. As people change, so do the dynamics of their relationships, even when love is strong. Living for and losing someone you love or take for granted is something everyone can relate to in their personal lives.

 

Where Now Should We Have Our Thanks? - Born

Where Now Should We Have Our Thanks? is about four friends finding out they are Hamlet (and his friends) in a performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

 

The Book of Years - Byrd

U.S. Army Chaplain Ruddick Brown does two tours in Vietnam beginning in 1965. His journey as a member of the clergy and the age-old question of whether or not the clergy should bear arms takes us from 1965 through 1989, from Vietnam to Kansas to West Germany and finally to Texas, where the choice he made while under enemy fire is weighed some 24 years later. Documented in a book of years, this question divides the clergy and means the difference between life and death in many cases.

 

Box for Dork - Campbell

A divorced father spends one last day with his son before his ex-wife, having won a nasty custody battle, takes him away to another state.

 

Cat Scratch Fever - Charney

Cat Scratch Fever is about a couple recovering from a third miscarriage. Having been married for 20 years, Daniel and Patricia are facing a life without children. They have moved to the den, where Patricia sleeps on the couch and Daniel on the carpeted floor below her. Their sexual life has reached an impasse. One day, Daniel adopts a cat named Bob, a white and black kitty with a little black mustache that looks not unlike Hitler´s. Through a very odd turn of events, the presence of Bob revitalizes their interest in a physical relationship and each other.

 

I Am Odysseus - Clark

Two families exist in houses side-by-side. Anna and her son William make up the first family. Ray and his daughter Phoebe make up the next. Anna has not left her recliner and television other than for bathroom necessities for a very long time. Fifteen-year-old William believes very intensely that he is the Greek hero Odysseus and his new neighbor Phoebe is actually his long-absent wife Penelope. Phoebe is desperate to leave home and fearful of her father. Ray cannot escape the memories of his ex-wife that he sees so clearly in his daughter. An innocent, and somewhat odd, love sprouting between William and Phoebe leads eventually to a father´s rage and tragic results.

 

Vexed to Nightmare - Coley

Katherine woke up this morning expecting to find her world as it always has been. However, she is quick to discover that overnight her entire existence has shifted two feet to the right. With her colleagues Peter and Julie, she seeks to discover the meaning behind this metaphysical cataclysm and what she has to do to set things right before everything spins out of control.

 

Leddy´s Chair - Cook

Stanley and Banjo, two residents of a Charlotte senior citizen apartment complex, are sitting at a card table in the rec room when Forrest, a newcomer, joins them. Although they welcome him to the residence, they won´t let him sit in a chair that once belonged to their pinochle-playing pal Leddy who passed recently. The seemingly casual conversation that follows is really a membership test for chair-rights that no other male in the building has passed. Before the verdict is handed down, the three old-timers have added some unique twists on baseball history, widower-hood, the effects of Alzheimer´s and the culture clash between the new wave of northern transplants and the deeply rooted citizens of the New South. There is even a surprising revelation about the old guys´ prospects of ´getting lucky´ with some of the more adventurous female residents who play a little card game called Amish Poker.

 

The Porch Light - Cozine

Milly, an older woman, enters her son´s apartment searching for him. It is an ongoing theme in her life: searching for an alcoholic son who could be anywhere and in any condition. Her son is Ed, a Vietnam veteran who had dealt with the horror of war by drinking and destroying his life and his mother´s. She is joined by Lila, a friend, and as they talk about Ed and his life, the reasons for the destruction of Ed and Milly´s lives is revealed to the women.

 

Round - Crome

In this play, the elevator isn´t all that´s going down.

 

A Year of Grace - Donnelly

Will Nate and Grace have a one night stand, a one year affair or a lasting relationship? The Catholic Church in which they both were raised is the third party in this romantic and sometimes comic triangle. This is a contemporary story of a couple with opposing religious beliefs in the classic boy meets girl mold.

 

The Piazza - Emack

Herman Melville´s story The Piazza posits a striking visual duality. Rex, a former sailor, sits on his piazza in the Berkshire Valley and gazes up at Mt. Greylock where he catches fleeting glimpses of a charming cottage. One morning a rainbow´s end touches the very spot, prompting Rex to bushwack there in search of "the fairy queen behind the sparkling window" or "some glad mountain girl at least". There he encounters dispirited, impoverished Marianna whose only companions are shadows that daily appear and disappear, her only comfort fantasies about "the happy one" who lives in the house below. Will this odd, charged meeting spawn a romance that rescues two lonely souls? At the moment of truth Rex recoils. He flees down the mountain to his beloved piazza only to discover that, stripped of his illusions and guilt-ridden at destroying hers, he can no longer achieve tranquility.

 

After Dinner - Farnen

A sheltered, proud woman and an itinerant fieldhand meet in loneliness and find love in the Southern Appalachian Trail of the 1950s.

 

Deer, John - Gall

A woman confuses a carcass for her star-crossed lover and kills in cover-up. Alternating between past and present, Deer, John follows Eve in the absurdity of her inability to confront her true feelings and the events that led to the collapse of a fated relationship.

 

A Girl with a Black Eye - Gamerman

Lina´s mother returns home from a business trip a day early to find that her teenage daughter is concealing a black eye and an empty flask of liquor. Mom demands an explanation, and Lina begrudgingly details a violent encounter with Mark (her best friend Jenna´s older brother). But flashback to the events of that very same afternoon, and we find that things are not as they appear.

 

A Kiss for Death - Garcia

Falling in love with the right person can be heaven. Falling in love with the wrong person is hell. Falling in love with death is suicidal. Angela, or Angel to her friends and family, meets the love of her life; everything she wants in a man. Unfortunately, he is Muerte or Death to those who have seen his face.

 

Moses Otis is Not a White Man - Giles

Moses Otis, a former baseball player in the Negro Leagues, is living alone in a room above a garage where he works as a handyman in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1970. He is old enough to retire and draw social security, but he needs a birth certificate. Years before, due to his alcoholism, his wife had left him and, taking their daughter, had returned to her parents´ home in Alabama. Otis is also haunted by his days in ´the leagues´ that kept him from his family—a period dramatized by the appearance of phantom characters who reside now only in his memory. Otis´s granddaughter Rosalee arrives in Chattanooga to find out about her grandfather and, taking a job at the cafe next door to the garage, briefly conceals her identity. During this time, Otis is being interviewed by a sportswriter, Bill Bender, for an article about the Negro Leagues. Rosalee learns that she has been misinformed about her grandfather´s character, and, dropping the pose, she returns to Alabama where, with the family Bible and an affidavit from an elderly aunt who was present when Otis was born, she can file the paperwork for Otis´s birth certificate. Before she goes, Rosalee, who intimates that her grandmother is still in love with Otis, begins to fall in love with Bender, a liaison that leads to the climax of the play in which Otis expresses his fear for their relationship.

 

A Night at the Opera or A Boy and His Diva - Glass

A young man with mental illness attends a performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. During intermission, he is courted by an elderly opera fanatic and encouraged by two drag queens to stop taking his medication. During the performance, he pursues a diva that may or may not be a hallucination.

 

The Anti-Bride - Glucksman

Tate is unsure about her wedding. As she shops for a gown, she encounters the anti-bride, a woman who threatens to behead her as a result of her doubt. Together with the anti-bride, she comes to discover that uncertainty is the greatest certainty of all.

 

Party Favor - Graber

Ten years earlier, Barry had pimped out his then-girlfriend Katie to his older friend and colleague, Nathan. The action begins when the death of Barry´s beloved dog is the precipitant for Barry to look up Katie for reasons unclear to either of them at first. Katie overcomes her own reluctance to talk with Barry because of her need to show him a retained item from their shared past. Through reminiscence and flashback, they view the road taken at that past moment in time. Barry´s attempts to apologize collide with Katie´s disclosure of the uncashed check written by Nathan, underscoring the uneraseable nature of the choices they each made at the time.

 

Getting to Know You - Gray

Getting to Know You is about love: new love, old love, mother´s love and tough love…very, very, very tough love. The sort of love that binds, blinds and scars. It details an evening one woman arranges for another. The objective: a matter of trust.

 

Why We Invented God - Gregory

Over a series of weeks, an unknown rifleman has picked off his targets at random — shooting shoppers in parking lots, housewives pumping gas and, now, an old man at his kitchen window. Terrified but struggling not to give into their wildest fears, Hal and Claire fight to regain some sense of control over their lives. Having sought out the space, safety and comfort of a house in an American suburb, they now find themselves trapped there among their possessions and cherished assumptions.

 

Tumesco, Ergo Sum - Gross

It´s time for the world´s oldest and richest man to announce what he wants for his 120th birthday. When he says, "tumescence," it sends his loving staff into shock, panic and then frantic creative effort to provide. Several ingenious attempts fail. But an accidental and most unexpected solution appears.

 

Hanging - Harris

Maya´s first gallery show since before she was sick isn´t off to a good start. Her ex-husband Theo is controlling and complaining. Eris, his new girlfriend, is perkily pushing them; too bad she´s also the assistant gallery curator. Fortunately, Maya´s an optimist, except when Theo secretly asks her to return her engagement ring. Since his plan is to overshadow opening night of their joint gallery show with a proposal to Eris, she challenges him that he needs a publicity stunt to draw attention to his paintings and away from hers. Maya admits that the ring is gone; she sold it to buy health insurance. Theo demands she sell her best painting, the project through which she´s found renewal, and buy a replacement ring by the day´s end. Eris gives Maya a new dress for the opening, proposing they become best friends, then tells Theo that Maya insulted her and says she is terminating Maya´s contract. Theo threatens to slash Maya´s paining with a mat knife if she will not sell it. She produces the hidden ring, which she had intended to return to Theo without his knowledge. Now, knowing that he would slash her finest painting over a piece of jewelry, it´s tainted. Eris demands the ring in exchange for Maya´s contract, Maya leaves and Theo must decide what path to take as the play ends.

 

Twelfth Step - Hofstetter

Some wounds of war take longer to heal than others. Jack Schroeder, a veteran of one of this country´s most tragic naval disasters in the Persian Gulf, thought he had recovered from his. However, following a disastrous July 4th barbecue at this brother Pat´s house, Jack finds himself confronting Harry, the specter of his past and his military service, as Jack´s son Eric vies with Pat over Jack´s future. Tackling what happened in the Gulf and what it means for his own life as he never has before, Jack must decide for himself where memories end and reality begins and how much his past should rule his future. One drunken night transforms into a battle for Jack´s sanity and emotional stability that will change him forever, as Eric and Pat must face the fact that it could already be too late to save Jack.

 

Housebreaking - Holder

It´s cold out there.
It´s warm in the house.
Your family´s there.
And you can´t pick your family.
Maybe you can.
Just remember: it´s cold out there.

 

Meet De Boys on De Battlefront - Holmes

Tommy´s bus to New Orleans leaves in 30 minutes. He has 30 minutes to put his life in order. He has 30 minutes to pack his tools to help rebuild New Orleans. He has 30 minutes to pack his books and records, his clothes and memories. His wife yells at him occasionally, encouraging him to keep packing. His daughter brings him coffee and tries to comfort him. Although he wears no watch, Tommy is traumatized by the passing of time. He tries to present his plight in an eloquent light while listening for the sound of a bus approaching.

 

The Irresistible Rise of Arthur Huey - Howard

Our hero Arthur Huey, the great grandson of Melvil Dewey and Merced librarian, has had his library closed down because it is thought the space can be better served empty to rent out for functions or sell for office space. He is equipped with a sports bag full of items in which to kill himself; he feels the anxiety of being paired with his already deceased but adulterous ex-wife in the afterlife and the inability of mankind to adopt a Dewey Decimal mode of living that just might make our world a better place. His loyal patrons are his audience, of which he needs their help to ultimately discover whether he is his great-grandfather´s grandson or his father´s son. Of whether he is a Dewey or a Huey.

 

Farewell Evenbrook - Hughes

On the eve of their graduation from the prestigious Evenbrook Academy, two roommates, Oscar and Teddy, prepare for a final night of teenage revelry while the harsh realities of economics, love, friendship and death press upon them. As two boys who are barely men struggle to understand the other, they grow closer through personal confrontation and further apart as they don their inherited roles as young Americans.

 

Left for Dead - Jamieson

Alex is left on his own bleeding, dying slowly and talking to himself. He is rescued by hiking policeman. After being transported to the hospital, he is told his family is dead. While in the hospital, his wife appears before him, reconfirms that she is dead and tells who her killer was. Segue to the killer´s house, where Alex confronts his once best friend.

 

Shooting Pool with a Rope - Johanson

A chance encounter in a park between a 16-year-old boy and a 68-year-old man sets the stage for an experience that will change the direction of their lives. Al, a retired businessman, has been estranged from his former wife and child for more than 30 years, and he has come back to establish contact with his daughter. Stacey´s mother is hospitalized and dying of cancer. With no father or other family to fall back on, he faces placement with a foster family. Through their conversation, Al discovers that Stacey is the grandson he never knew he had and that his daughter has only weeks to live. Stacey´s anger and Al´s guilt collide as the two attempt to deal with one another for the first time.

 

The Significance of a Wedding Train - Josephson

Yolonda´s mother recently died after unexpectedly overdosing on her heart medication. Yolonda´s father Frank had been away on business — the first time he had left his dying wife´s side in some time—and is returning home on a midnight train. Through Frank´s altercation with an abrasive glove salesman and Yolonda´s speeches to her magic mirror, we learn that there is more about the mother´s death.

 

Glue - Kahl

Glue is a play about the struggle of two people trying to discover how morals and emotions fit together in life. When a young woman and her boyfriend decide to take a serious new step in their relationship, she begins to have second thoughts and starts to question the decision. Both members of the couple find difficulties in relating to each other as they see the situation from different angles. Glue is a play about conflicting desires between two people and within oneself. It also deals with the gravity of moral and emotional decisions and the fears that come with making them.

 

Reaching Across Borders - Kaissar

During the summer of 2006, a relentless war broke out between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Yossi, a 17-year-old soldier in the Israeli army has just finished basic training. His first assignment is to guard the Israeli-Lebanese border one week after the ceasefire. Now he stands guard within ten feet of a Lebanese soldier with a loaded weapon. In confronting his fears and prejudices, Yossi comes to terms with the humanity of his enemy.

 

Dancing Skeletons - Kammerer

A world-weary car rental agency manager has reached an end to his tolerance for compromising with all manner of corporate, government and social nonsense. His disdain for these governors of the material world leads to unending animosity, and he wants to quit making the compromises necessary to profit within the confines of American society. Although his partner is willing to do anything to get ahead, Alphonse resists everything from the corporate dress code to the agreement that customers are always right. An ex-radical from the 1960s and 1970s, he was briefly incarcerated, so he knows the worst that society can do to those they proscribe. Although he would like to play nice with others, his steady focus on the incompetence reigning in America makes that impossible. He laments the lame wars society wages on drugs, terrorism and common sense. He looks back nostalgically at his years as a gentleman criminal and resents the slip in standards of present day drug dealers as represented by a black thug with more money than brains. After appropriating several thousand dollars accidentally left in the car by this dealer, Alphose decides to quit his foray into the corporate world but secretly wonders if he should reestablish himself in the criminal underworld. He decides to take up storytelling so that he can use his life´s foibles to instruct others. In short, he decides to make the skeletons in his closet dance.

 

Saint Jude and the Hopeless Cause - Kennedy

As the patron of hopeless causes, Jude is overwhelmed at work. His requests for prayers come in to heaven at a rate he cannot possibly handle. His boss, St. Genesius of Arles, patron of office workers, feels Jude simply isn´t working up to his potential. While heaven´s interoffice struggle reaches its boiling point, insight and assistance come from the patrons of ice skaters, actors, difficult marriages, housekeepers and the former patron of travelers.

 

Apricot Supernovas - Knight

Yen, one of Ms. Gagarin´s 4th grade students, is not like other students—he has adopted his own gravitational autonomy. Here is a boy whose unrequited love for his babysitter has disrupted the revolutions of the world´s trajectory by transforming the energy in oranges and apricots.

 

Natural Selection - Kovar

George and Barbara, siblings in their 50s, are going through accumulated stuff in a cluttered room in their deceased mothers house. They keep finding envelopes with money while discussing their mothers eccentricities that they attribute to her loss of two small children. They look at photographs of their mother and father when they were younger. George finds a box that has some religious and racist tracts. In another locked box, George finds death certificates for three other children and realizes that their mother had killed any children that werent perfect in her eyes.

 

Lullaby - Lambert

Harold, an old man, is very sick. He requires full-time attention. Warren, his son, tries to take care of him. He does his best. Ros, a lady in a white uniform, arrives very early one morning and causes some confusion.

 

Praying for a Hurricane - Landis

Ashley and Stephen Smith have come to a crossroad in their painful marriage. Ashley has chosen today to talk to him for the last time about adopting a child. Stephen has chosen today to once again put his wife in her place. Wind and volcano have chosen today as a day of reckoning. Today, Ashley will not hold Stephen together. Today she will not lie to herself. Because today, Ashley is praying for a hurricane.

 

Wi(n)dow on the World - Leigh

It´s a sweltering autumn in Queens, New York. Silvia Vargas has decided tonight she will say goodbye to her immigrant mother, her apartment in the city and the only life she has ever known for an idealized opportunity to study photography in Buffalo. However, the tragedy that binds Silvia and her mother Martha will surface from the window. Each woman must learn to let go of the pain and uncover family secrets before they can let go of anything, including each other.

 

The Waiting Room - Levine

This play imagines a meeting in the afterlife between two very high-profile hate crime victims. The first, Brian Deneke, an old-school punk rocker, who was run down in a parking lot in Amarillo, Texas, on December 12, 1997, by a high-school football jock who was subsequently given a sentence of ten years probation (suspended) and a $10,000 fine (also suspended). The second, Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, because he was gay. He died exactly ten months (to the very day) after Brian Deneke. This play begins with Matthew´s arrival in the hereafter where he finds Brian in a temporary waiting room. The two of them attempt to come to terms with happened to them (Matthew more than Brian since he´s the new arrival) so that they can be ready to take up their appointed roles in the afterlife—as judges on the afterlife court who are specifically assigned to hear hate crime cases.

 

Heads - Lewis

A British Embassy worker, an American engineer, a network journalist and a freelance photographer are held captive in Iraq. As the threat of death draws closer, hidden agendas emerge—and each hostage must decide what he is willing to do to survive.

 

Good Luck Bonsai - MacCrakin

Palace Harrison wants a home. Her father wants to win a Bonsai contest and travel the world in a Winnebago. Grandma Gala designs costumes for Halloween. Can these three people make a family? Can an award-winning Juniper bring them all together?

 

Pickwick´s Dilemma - Manhart

This play is based on characters and events depicted in the Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens and contains original notations, dialogues and poems from his stories. Our hero, the romantic Samuel Pickwick, discovers a French fop, Mr. Jingle, is about to steal away the wealthy Widow Wardle from under Pickwick´s nose just when he is dumping his used-up lover, Madam Snupanuph, all within Dickens´ real world of coachman Weller and his faithful horse, Neddy. It is a deadly dilemma.

 

Anno Menander: The New Girl from Samos - Maxwell

It´s the fourth century B.C. in Athens. The Golden Age is long gone, and pompous young playwright Menander (soon to be the inventor of comedy) has a problem. He´s in love with a dominating prostitute, and his war-mongering father wants him to marry his latest prisoner of war. What follows is the farce of a family passing through a brothel on the way to the altar.

 

The Train to Mantua - Mistrall

At a small town bus station in the south during the late 1960s, passengers from an arriving bus enter along with a bus driver. A solider has a metaphysical conversation with a crazy man. The soldier and a girl sit on a porch and get to know each other. A bus is announced and in the confusion, the soldier has a dangerous confrontation with the crazy man. The solider and the girl talk some more. She reads a poem from a book. He reads to her one of his own poems. He quotes a passage from Shakespeare. They talk about war, death, poetry, family, the stars, runnin´ away and courage.

 

Coming Home - Naseem

Nebraska has offered her sons and daughters to make the ultimate sacrifice since the conflicts of the Mexican and the Civil War. The price paid by those asked to go to war cannot be measured. The confusion and agony of being thrown into a war zone, with its destruction and damage coupled with the challenges of returning home with scars, both visible and not, take a toll on a soldier´s life. Coming Home conveys the complexities of surviving a war and returning home. It follows the experience of three veterans from Seward, Nebraska, encompassing World War II, the Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq. The play allows their experiences to be shared with the audience with an aim to bring awareness of the implicit struggles involved in surviving a war zone. The play emphasizes the life-altering effect of combat exposure on soldiers and their families answering the call to serve. The similarities of war across decades and the differences in our society´s response to war and the veteran is juxtaposed to convey a complete picture of the dynamics at play in both the battlefield and at the home front.

 

Stead - Nordgren

A World War II English war bride, after living 60 years as an outcast on her husband´s Missouri farm, totters, hacksaw in hand, to destroy the brass bed in which she had watched her young soldier husband die. Stead explores the clash of cultures and expectations uprooted by wars and tragedy.

 

Grammar - Noyes

Jilson Bristow is a lonely expatriate living in Katmandu, Nepal, unable to comprehend why his mother, Nancy Jilson Bristow, was not available when at age five, in 1938, he was struck down by polio.

 

Matka - Oliva

Krystyna, accompanied by her grown daughter Stephanie, is in the kitchen of her childhood home after the death of her mother Matka (mother in Polish). As Stephanie begins gathering her grandmother´s belongings, Krystyna revisits painful memories of her childhood.

 

A Woman in the Son - Patton

An American Marine returns to his family´s old fishing shack to prevent his grief-stricken mother from assassinating the President. His mission is accomplished.

 

Late - Peters

Johnny, Steve and Melissa await the return of Johnny´s legendary older brother from the front lines. He is very late, and Johnny is very drunk. Of course, Kenneth is not coming.

 

Smack the Wagon - Pierce

Ethan and Jess are a young couple in an ´open marriage´ in a tiny apartment in Boston. They´re allowed to play around with whoever they want, provided they follow the guidelines they agreed on at the beginning of their marriage. Jess has a fling with a man she met at a duck pond, Dutch Ken, who proceeds to break into their apartment and steal a duffel bag of letters Ethan´s parents wrote to each other during World War II. Jess discovers that Dutch Ken is planning on using the letters in a theatre piece he´s doing in Utrecht, Netherlands. Ethan and Jess immediately set out to get their letters back.

 

The Eskimo Rule - Plummer

Peter Ellis, a civilian contract engineer on furlough from his assignment in Iraq, comes to dinner at the home of his old MIT mentor Noah Garrick and Noah´s much-younger wife Jen, both dedicated peace activists. Peter soon discovers, however, that his hosts have unconventional ideas about hospitality. Noah admits to Peter that he is impotent and asks Peter to stay for a night of lovemaking with Jen in accordance with ancient ´Eskimo rule´ of hosts allowing guests to sleep with their wives. Furthermore, Peter discovers that Jen and Noah actually believe they can stop the war through sex — acting out the 1960s mantra "make love, not war." Peter, who has had a secret crush on Jen for years, is torn by the dilemma of finally being able to have the woman he has always dreamed of — but not in the way he dreamed about. Noah offers to let Peter be Jen´s ´co-husband´ if he will remain stateside and not return to the war. When Jen tells Peter that she loves him, he asks her to leave Noah and be his alone. Jen cannot do this because she loves Noah too. Peter rejects Jen and Noah´s proposal for a triangle relationships and departs abruptly. Jen is disconsolate, and Noah, determined to alleviate his wife´s sexual frustration, phones another colleague and invites him over for drinks.

 

Consolidating Informational Functionality - Pratt

Created to repair the computer that studies the earth´s radiated surface, the Consolidating Informational Functionality Committee succeeds brilliantly — by enveloping every difficulty in a coating of corporate crap. This comedy pits admini-speakers against a compulsive speaker of truth.

 

New House, New Dog - Press-Coffman

Jackson lives with his mother Ann who either can or can´t get out of her wheelchair, depending on her mood. Now 40, he´s engaged to be married for the first time. Jackson´ best friends, Tim and Suzanne, share their home with Tim´s father, who refuses to come out of his room. New House, New Dog is a comedy/drama that looks at how people cope with and care for aging parents at the same time as they try to negotiate their own lives, hopes and desires.

 

Freemen Shall Stand - Pressnall

Dr. Rueben Crandall, physician and herbalist, lies dying on a cot in Jamaica. In his fevered delirium, Dr. Crandall is haunted by the voices of his ordeal and trial in the District of Columbia in 1836. Dr. Crandall had been arrested in 1835 and was accused of spreading seditious literature. The chief prosecutor was Francis Scott Key, a zealous anti-abolitionist who pleaded for the death penalty. While languishing in jail awaiting trail, Dr. Crandall contracted consumption and subsequently, his health is in peril after the trail.

 

Won´t Happen Again - Radice

Two men in their 60s have lived across the street from each other in a northern New Jersey town for the last 35 years or so. Neither has ever said more than a casual hello to each other over the last five months but find that the weekly garbage pickup provides a vehicle for discussions that enables each to bide their time week by week. Through intentional and random humor, the two men are able to discuss their differences and come to an understanding that they will probably meet once a week to develop a camaraderie.

 

A Quiet House - Ramirez

A Quiet House is a solo performance presenting the actor, alone, on his own simple set talking aloud to himself. As he waits for his next client to arrive, Richard reflects about the women in his life—his mother, wife and daughter—inA Quiet House.

 

Neighbors - Rand and Bond

What would you do if your neighbor went through what you discarded? Finding new ways to live with their past, two neighbors share the deepest secrets in their hearts while becoming friends along the way.

 

In the River - Robbins

A body floats down the Vardar River where it is pulled ashore by two Albanian women. Since the body resembles that of a Macedonian, it is cast back into the current. It is then pulled to the other shore by two Macedonian lovers who proclaim it to be an Albanian and thus thrust it back into the current. Next it is pulled ashore by a fisherman and his granddaughter further downstream. Because of the body´s appearance (being somewhat corpulent), it is declared to be that of a Skopjian (resident of the larger city upstream) and is cast back into the current where it continues its drift toward the sea.

 

Killing Neil LaBute - Robson

A fledgling writer posts a review of playwright Neil Labute´s work. Labute is irate, and before long, a tit-fortat turns ugly and silly as the two meet to work out their differences.

 

The Good Harvest - Rosenthal

When a couple using alternative reproductive therapy is faced with a high-risk multiple pregnancy, they must make a life-altering decision on how to proceed that affects the course of their lives and marriage. The Good Harvest explores how technology is altering the reproductive debate. Who decides who will live and who will die? What is life, and when does it begin?

 

Lights Fade, Curtain - Rowland

Amidst the cold reality of his mother´s hospital room, Aidan, a playwright, seeks to find closure. Retreating into his work, he draws his material from circumstances surrounding his mother Elaine´s life. As he weaves this tale, his siblings, Hannah and Garvey, and his sister-in-law Robin, question his right to appropriate their lives into his play. It is through these real confrontations and his exploration of memory and art that Aidan comes to terms with truth, death and the real meaning of family.

 

Suicide by Punchbowl - Rowland

Jenny Stone is having a very bad day. Her house is in shambles, her relationship crumbling, her husband Virgil is walking out on her and worst of all... she´s losing control. Desperate to keep Virgil in her life, she does the only possible thing that makes sense. She tries to kill herself.

 

Yellow - Schmitz

Car rides are bumpy…so are relationships; how boring would they be if they weren´t? An emotionally barred, borderline-neurotic, Lauren has just run out of her boyfriend Jesse´s proposal and hailed down Stu, a cab driver in Manhattan. Jesse catches the cab just in time to try and figure out how their seemingly wonderful relationship has suddenly gone sour. Eventually, the mysterious Stu becomes the lifesaver of the couple, offering ´40 mile per hour couples therapy´ while transporting them to the next stage of their lives. But just as cab drivers form relationships from the pick-up to the drop-off, they need to leave them behind and find other poor, lost people without cars to help. It´s the journey that makes the story.

 

How Jimmy and Janie Became Terrorists - Sedivy

"Terrorists are everywhere, Mr. and Mrs. America, just waiting to hook your innocent son or daughter! The epidemic of Information Abuse is the number one threat to America´s youth of today! Parents and teachers, watch your teenagers closely for the telltale signs of dangerous Liberalism! Your children are at risk of becoming too informed!" Follow Jimmy and Janie, two red-blooded American teens who find themselves on a political adventure in their very own hometown. In a time where everyone is on high alert, the pair come to discover the true price of patriotism, and, like all patriots, are forced to pay the consequences.

 

Chupacabra - Siragusa

Chupacabra blends contemporary urban legend with pioneer folklore to create a language-based mixed media play. Moses Stocking, retired farmer and former hobo, creates magical doohickeys in his cabin outside Stapleton. Annette Mancuso and her assistant Chance Baxter try to discover what makes the old guy tick. Past and present blend in unsettling ways as a salesman and a bellhop kindle a forbidden romance in pre-World War I Gothenburg. And slowly, slowly an unspeakable horror spreads its massive batwings over the entire state of Nebraska.

 

American Plaza - Stewart

The play takes place in San Diego, California, at the American Plaza Trolley Station. It portrays the journey of life in America and how we, as Americans, have an influence on the world with your actions, while showing, as we as individuals, go through the journey of life by ´choice´ or by ´will´.

 

The Penis Dialogues - Stienblock

Neal and Bob are on a camping trip, and as circumstances and alcohol prevail, their discussions turn more honest. Themes of the play include the search for companionship and the powerful feelings that an apparently superficial friendship can provide when our protective walls are brought down and sacrifices are made.

 

The Burden - Stillwell

The three middle-aged Osterland sisters reunite at their childhood farm following their father´s surgery and the unexpected death of the youngest sister´s husband in Iraq. Through an examination of the aftermath of this family´s personal tragedy, the play examines the changing basis of plains life as land moves from means of family livelihood to corporate commodity. There are no easy answers and no epiphanies to guide the way of the long-time plains residents and their children when faced by large-scale capitalism, rationalism and high-minded moral certitude.

 

Looking at the Moon - Tien

A boy is arrested for possessing a level of intelligence that is perceived to be dangerous by the federal government.

 

The Dying House - Turner

Three days after Hurricane Katrina, three sisters return to their ancestral home in Mississippi to find their mother who stayed behind during the storm. When they arrive, dispute turns their search and rescue mission into a tragic war that may tear what´s left of their family apart.

 

Samaritan - Unser

It is March 13 and Jewell, in a final attempt to salvage her life, is returning to the street where, six months ago, she was beaten and raped while a woman watched from a window and then turned off her light. Jewell appeals to Jesus for help but instead Kitty Genovese appears. On March 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death and raped as 38 people witnessed and did not call the police. Kitty, an emissary from Jewell´s raging unconscious, insists that revenge is the key to freedom: revenge against Ami, the woman who watched but did nothing. Jewell sets out to destroy Ami by stealing her only love, Jack, but when she succeeds she is filled with remorse. Kitty continues to push for vengeance, which drives Jewell to force Ami to confess not only what she did but why. Seeing Ami´s shame and grief compels Jewell to banish Kitty and her vengeance and finally absolve Ami.

 

Last Rights - White

Last Rights is a dark comedy set at a funeral home where a wake is being held for a middle-aged attorney. His former lovers meet to grieve and discover that they were all mislead by him. Each woman confronts him in her own way. There is a surprise ending with a message to the audience.

 

Ice - Whitt-Lambert

Ice explores the fragile relationship between a mother and daughter who are stranded in more ways than one. Stuck in the middle of an icy highway surrounded by countless other vehicles, Nola and Betsy are forced to talk through their problems as they wait for the ice to thaw.

 

One More to Go - Wiess

After not seeing each other for 19 years, Dave unexpectedly arrives at Jim´s home following the recent untimely death of their friend Bob. Bob, Jim and Dave were best friends growing up, and after they commit a crime as teenagers, they make a pact to meet after 20 years to share their ill-gotten gains.

 

A Priest , a Rabbi and a Baker - Wilson

There´s a reason you have a right to remain silent. By the time Tom Morgan and his wife are brought before the judge, their marriage has dissolved, and they´ve both been accused of some shady business. The only way Tom can see to persuade the judge to let them go is to recreate the night in question. How can anyone dislike a man who woos his woman by taking her to a restaurant complete with a dancing bear? But when the Pope gets involved, things go from bad to worse.

 

Tour of a Well-Kept House - Zavitz

Margaret, a lonely housewife, gives a tour of her most prized possession…her home. As she takes the audience through the rooms of her home and introduces us to her vacant and wordy husband, her secretive son, her modern and troubled daughter and her daughter´s sensitive boyfriend, it appears that everything is quite…unkempt, and the family struggles to find the one thing that scares them the most…each other.

 

A Skewed Nude - Zelonis

Venus and Art meet in front of a featured work at a major art gallery. The painting Venus Enlargement is a renowned nude known for its misaligned nipples. The two strangers share instant rapport, but neither is being fully truthful with the other. A nearby student is observant but not quite observant enough.