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2008 Great Plains Theatre Conference Play Lab Synopses

Featured Play Labs

Hurricane in a Glass (del Busto)

Trapped in a Miami nursing home during a howling hurricane, three generations of Cuban-American women struggle to preserve their fading culture. Ofelia, the matriarch, is stricken with Alzheimer´s and thinks she is in Cuba; María José attempts to bring her down to earth with round-the-clock care; young Dolores wants to visit the island she has never seen, wondering if she will still feel Cuban once abuela dies.

Hurricane in a Glass explores exile, Cuban-Americans, family, aging and Alzheimer´s disease while striking a tone that allows an audience to laugh while considering sensitive issues.

 

 

Kigali (Felde)

Four Americans come to Rwanda to learn how neighbor turns against neighbor almost overnight. They discover that that heart of darkness beats inside all of us.

Marcott and Andrews are former Los Angeles cops. Both are haunted by the 1992 riots. Marcott hopes to exorcise his ghosts by reuniting with his old partner on a humanitarian trip to Rwanda. He also hopes to launch a political campaign.

Along for the trip is TV reporter Carol Thornton. She sees the Rwanda trip as her ticket to the networks. With her is cameraman Horton, a kid who knows where to draw the line between right and wrong.

The trip quickly falls apart — camera and tapes are stolen, Marcott´s plans for seduction go awry and the group meets yet another American, a mysterious former humanitarian aide worker.

 

 

Plans to Form a Human Chain Faltered (Kennedy)

Bethany´s volunteer efforts threaten to overwhelm her as she attempts to get a 100-yard section of a human chain (think Hands Across America) organized. Her tyrannical supervisor terrifies, her brother is forced to cross dress and her ex-fiancé arrives disguised as a clown. There is just not a lot of room for hand holding.

 

 

Banzai, Darling (Penhallow)

The action of the play takes place in a solarium that is attached to a sugar plantation manager´s home. The protagonist, Eudora Whitley, confronts during the Christmas holidays a failing marriage, a dying son, greedy relatives who are out to create an empire on their island using Eudora´s inheritance and the confusion among the mixed races in Hawaii of the social changes that the United States were imposing on the territory of Hawaii. For Eudora, the sugar cane fields that surround her home are like her life, leaving her claustrophobic and without hope. She is drowning in a sea of sugarcane.

 

 

One Fine Day (Rush)

One Fine Day follows the last day in the life of Dr. Frederick Miller, professor of sociology at a major midwestern university. At 3 o´clock he is scheduled to appear before a hearing of the university´s Judicial Review Board: his dean has removed him from teaching a controversial course, and Miller is suing to be reinstated. The issue centers around his behavior in class: whether or not he was within the limits of academic freedom to pose as Hitler and read anti-Semitic speeches, knowing there was a Holocaust descendant in the class. The play follows him from the nightmare that wakes him up, through the scenes of his day, his hearing, his confrontation afterwards with the student and the aftermath. Running throughout in his mind is Lewis Carroll´s poem Jabberwocky; only at the end, when he meets and chats with Carroll himself, does it all come together.

 

 

Devil Sedan (Smith)

One shotgun blast. Two young women. Two brothers. Four lives fatally intertwined. With each vignette, Devil Sedan unfolds as a tale of defied expectation, a journey into the deepest mysteries of faith and duty.

 

 

Mrs. Jenning´s Sitter (Struve)

In an affluent suburb of everyday America, a kleptomaniac high school babysitter catches Mrs. Jennings lying to her husband about the authenticity of a new handbag. Accusations accompany blackmail, and the two women enter into an embattled, frequently comic contest for insight involving prescription pills, yearbook camp, Ding Dongs, working mothers, world religion, handjobs, scrapbooking and murder/suicide.

 

 

The Crimes and Confessions of Kip Knutzen: A Hockey Way of Knowledge (Weaver)

It is 1978. The Demon High School hockey coach Kip Knutzen lives in Devil Lakes, Minn., with his wife Katie and their twin teen daughters Heidi and Helga. The Demon´s captain is Tool Halvorson. The twins read minds. Pheasants talk to Kip. And Tool can seduce anything on the planet — dead or alive. But it´s no big deal. This is Minnesota. It´s normal. It´s probably as normal as can be.

Certain that his state championships are the result of the talking pheasants, Kip is driven to robbery and clumsy suicide attempts when the pheasants stop talking. Then, one night, Kip has a vision. Everything changes. Awkward and elegant, goofy and holy, The Crimes and Confessions of Kip Knutzen sees an individual´s job as realizing one´s quirky, ridiculous gift. You have no idea why you´re here — but that´s okay, just do your damn job: find your gift.

 

 

Concurrent Play Labs

Place Settings (Bail)

Three sisters live together in a house they inherited from their grandmother. All of the sisters have different personalities and expectations of each other and for their lives. The oldest sister has unresolved feelings about how their grandmother treated her but tends to repeat the same cycle with her youngest sister. The play takes place in their kitchen where the two oldest sisters learn that the youngest has agreed to marry her most recent boyfriend of two months because she has discovered she is pregnant.

 

 

Defending Marriage (Basque)

The play takes place in the present over the course of three days at the beginning of the school year in a parish in an unnamed city. Fr. Delaney and Novotny are gay partners who have hidden their relationship for nearly ten years. Delaney is focused on a meeting later in the morning with the bishop, Novotny on fixing the church air conditioner, Carmen on a date she has that night with the first serious relationship she has had since her divorce to an abusive husband 30 years ago, and all three of them on the new associate pastor, Fr. Hinch, who has just moved into the rectory. Delaney is hoping to discuss retirement, but instead, Bishop Quinn asks him to spearhead diocesan support for an upcoming Defense of Marriage campaign. Delaney begs for a few days to think about it. That night at the rectory Delaney and Novotny argue, with Delaney inclined to keep Bishop Quinn happy and Novotny appalled at the hypocrisy of a gay priest leading the campaign. Delaney agrees to get out of the assignment. As they make up and kiss, they are caught in the act by Carmen and Hinch.

Delaney returns to talk Quinn out of the assignment. Before he can, Quinn informs him he knows about the kiss and insists that Novotny be removed from the parish and Delaney run the campaign. Delaney is certain the uptight Hinch has ´outed´ him, but it turns out to be a confused Carmen. Meanwhile, Hinch confronts Carmen about the man she´s dating, despite being divorced. Carmen is certain Hinch is trying to ruin the sinful relationship until he explains he is willing to help her get an annulment. Delaney tells Novotny he plans to follow through with Quinn´s demands. Novotny attempts to change Delaney´s mind that afternoon at confession, but Delaney won´t back down. The play ends with Delaney consecrating bread and water at Mass while Novotny rejects his own meal at home.

 

 

Dark Secret Love (Born)

Dark Secret Love is a drama. It begins with three of the characters, Rose, Johnny and Fungus, emerging from hiding in Johnny´s remote cabin, which bears the marks of a recent vicious attack. The damage has been done by Sarah, Johnny´s estranged wife. Rose has come to the cabin to break up with Johnny. She is a major film star who met Johnny, a bit actor, on her last film. Fungus is a boyfriend of Johnny´s, who was unexpectedly trapped in the cabin by Sarah's attack. He guesses Rose´s intentions, to which Johnny is determinedly blind. Fungus is gay and angrily in love with Johnny. The three discover that they are trapped. The cars are disabled, and all phones and computers have been smashed. Flashbacks tell the story of Sarah´s meeting with Richard a very religious man still in mourning for his wife, following Sarah´s attack. Action in act one consists of Sarah´s return to the cabin with Richard, and, at his urging, her accidental wounding of Richard, her fleeing and promising to return and Fungus setting out on foot for help.

Act two consists of Johnny and Rose attempting to keep Richard alive, with Rose furious at Johnny and Johnny desperately attempting to get back in her good graces. Richard attempts to make sense of his plight. They await the return of either Sarah (and perdition) or Fungus (and freedom).

 

 

Tennessee Songbird (Byrd)

Big Black is a carpenter with a heart as big as he is; he stands more than head and shoulders above the rest of the townspeople. He has built or rebuilt most of that town with his bare hands and expert skill. His life up until the appearance of a battered woman has been on a steady course toward his goal of finishing the rooms on the back of his house, having his family and friends near and carving songbirds. But with the devastating disruption that comes with her arrival, he may never get back on course, unless he can find the place where the river bends.

 

 

Underlings (Carney)

John and Jane, whilst waiting for a sales job interview, decide to exploit the fact that nobody's around to drive some of the competition away. They drive the first competitor away by pretending to be the boss and his wanton secretary. The following applicant, an older gentleman, is hounded out the door by Jane. John then does away with the next to arrive, a buxom young girl that rubs Jane the wrong way. Just as they are about to give up on the real interviewers ever returning, it is their turn. John goes first and after some confusion due to the job advertisement being in the wrong place, realizes he is actually being offered a job to star in porn movies, though the pay is not exactly stellar. He declines and advises Jane to leave with him now that he knows the truth, but she does not believe him. Jane, however, gets offered a management position. John is horrified at the news she has taken a job, but she explains its nature to him. John, upset that he did not get offered the management position but without any other offers, finally decides to take what he was offered.

 

 

One Damn Thing (David)

Broke and broken down, famed poet Edna St. Vincent Millay struggles to fulfill a paid commission she desperately needs. At the summit of her powers, ´Vincent´ received the first Pulitzer Prize ever awarded to a female poet and international acclaim as a household name. She also burned the candle at both ends, bedding men and women with abandon, mixing comfort with career in her ascent to greatness. Now, on the last night of her life, she is torn between the twin distractions of drugs and booze, the comic hectoring of her personal journal come to life, the colorful past conjured by her overactive imagination and that ´one damn thing´ …writing a Thanksgiving Day poem for The Saturday Evening Post.

 

 

Paramythe (De Roos)

Paramythe guides us through fast-paced scenes juxtaposed by ethereal comment from a chorus of goddess/spirits. Set in a mythical kingdom, Paramythe is the story of Maria, a young queen who faces a number of decisions about her kingdom, her daughter and her own beliefs.

Tradition and choice become the central themes in the production. What factors influence our choices? What factors influence our adherence or abandonment of tradition? Advised by both Dante, the court magician, and Rene, a family advisor for generations, Maria must decide whose guidance she will follow.

Overshadowing all is the ritual, a rite of passage that has left Maria´s eldest daughter dead and is the central point of conflict between Maria and her young daughter Maya. Maria´s death at the end of the first act propels Maya and her friend Rosa on a journey of discovery and awareness ending in ultimate choices.

 

 

The Day It Hit (Dillon)

The Day It Hit is about a family´s journey through bereavement and how each day brings forth deep revelations. Dorothy has supported her husband Leroy Magee and his business for 43 years. She has won praise through her public generosity, modesty and ability to smile despite her discontentment. It has been two weeks since her husband’s death. Since then, she has realized life has not been all roses for her and her family.

 

 

Wonderland v. Hearts (Earle)

Wonderland v. Hearts is a human rights trial for the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.

 

 

Harley and the Dana Whitmarsh Fiasco (Easton)

The Dana Whitmarsh Fiasco is the story of a heartbreaking adolescent crush; the sort of crush that haunts you for years with the ´what if´ scenario. Join Harley as his friends and girlfriends torment and humiliate him about his infatuation with the girl he put on a pedestal. You will be able to empathize with the guy who tripped over every opportunity to convince that one special girl he was not an awkward, insecure train wreck shooting for a girl out of his league.

 

 

The Other Bert (Fulco)

 

 

The Conquerors (Geary)

Ralph finds himself stopped near the end of a Ph.D. in history. He explodes when his adviser rejects his dissertation asserting a logical link between Napoleon and the horrors perpetrated by Hitler. Currently working as an instructor of history at another university, Ralph´s job depends upon him completing his Ph.D. With the deadline less than 24 hours away, he studies the diary of Raoul Marchand, a French soldier whom he vilifies in his dissertation as the 19th century equivalent of a Nazi. With salvation nowhere in sight, Ralph finds himself trapped between his world and Napoleon´s. He deplores Raoul and Napoleon as senseless conquerors who sacrificed all for glory. But when faced with the emperor himself, Ralph finds his views challenged in ways he never imagined. He risks everything to face Napoleon in a battle of wits. Defeated, Ralph refuses to surrender, and he ends in the ruin.

 

 

Weekend in St. Moritz (Gerardo)

Weekend in St. Moritz is a comic one-act play about a woman who sets out to save her failing marriage by surprising her husband on his annual business trip to a famous ski resort and accidentally comes face-to-face with her husband´s soon-to-be-ex-mistress. The play follows six characters whose lives are affected by the accidental meeting of the two women, raising questions about the nature of love, fidelity, betrayal, forgiveness, and moving on.

 

 

A Campaign of Hate (Ghent)

A Campaign of Hate is actually three stories that unfold 20 years ago, each seemingly antagonized by the other. A new gay cancer provided many politicians the opportunity to exploit this burgeoning epidemic for political gain as shown during the Jesse Helms 1984 North Carolina senatorial campaign, in what Newsweek referred to as the "nastiest and costliest Senate race in history."

Those political sentiments carried repercussions into various communities as witnessed by an increase in hate crimes throughout the state and nation. Due to the times, many perpetrators of hate crimes had traditionally walked free due to the ´gay panic´ defense, even in cases of murder.

A Campaign of Hate, most importantly, is a story of triumph.

 

 

White Flag (Gokdag)

White Flag is a play about female circumcision. Eighteen-year-old Ayse has already passed the circumcision age. Her father can´t take the pressure from the village anymore. Her mother tries her best to protect her daughter, but, like all the women in the village, she has to go through it. It is God´s will! It is the tradition!

 

 

The Wedding Party (Graber)

The play begins in the aftermath of an unexpected appearance of an old friend of the bride´s mother at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. The disclosure of the mother’s past time ‘in the life’ provokes intense interactions and consequences for the members of The Wedding Party.

 

 

Something Happened in 1973 (Greenhut)

In the months before the Roe v. Wade decision, Tamar McCabe has been having a casual affair with her fine arts professor, Mesmer Khalid. When she becomes pregnant, he tells her to terminate the pregnancy, but she chooses to bear the child, and a classmate, activist Blaine Alters, steps up to raise the child as his adopted daughter Pearl. They never reveal Pearl´s father´s identity to her. The action of the play concludes in 1993 when the characters are compelled to confront the consequences of knowledge they did not have 20 years earlier. Race, genetics, gender, sexual preference and geopolitical forces compel a dramatic reconsideration of the meaning of choice.

 

 

A Truth in Lies (Hill)

Roland, a tattooed man with a mysterious past, comes to a conservative small Southern town. When he meets Sarah, the daughter of the town drunk, the two find a rapport commiserating about the damage that life has caused them. John Robert, Sarah´s ex, comes to take her away from the town that she grew up in and she must suddenly face her own fear of freedom and the fact that she is comfortable within her own pain.

 

 

The Rigors of Happenstance (Hirsch)

The nightmare of the July 2005 subway and bus bombings is recalled when a terrorist sets off a device that kills more than a dozen people in London´s Knightsbridge area. The next day, a young woman is found wandering the site of the bombing in a near-catatonic state with no recollection of why she is there. It becomes the task of Dr. Bronwyn Stiers, an expressive art therapist, to help the woman recover her memory and return to her life. Through modes of artistic self expression involving movement, painting and the making of masks, the sublimated past of the woman slowly begins to emerge…until the therapeutic sessions are thrown into disarray when an officer from the Domestic Terrorism Branch arrives on scene and reveals that the woman was known to have spent time with the suicide bomber the night before the bombing. Was this young woman directly involved with a terrorist plot? Or was her meeting the Pakistani immigrant merely a chance encounter? The pressure is on to obtain answers, but at what price?

 

 

The Tear (Holmes)

It´s the afternoon session of The Strong Brown God Theatre Conference. A short play, Mr. Magnetism, is introduced by a host and then stage read by female actors one and two. The play concerns the relations of two younger women with the same young man. At the reading´s conclusion, the two older male panelists — both famous playwrights — critique the play, while at the same time making somewhat disconnected comments and dredging up old animosities, as the increasingly uncomfortable playwright — a single tear gradually forming in the corner of her eye — interjects quotations from a well-known poem on a subject far more serious than anything being discussed. In frustration, the playwright begs the panelists for an answer to an essential question. In lieu of a respectable response, anarchy flowers.

 

 

Moving Pictures (Hughes)

Marla is a TV actress looking to jump on a movie contract. Golden is a movie producer looking to jump on Marla. Crispin is the director of Marla´s TV show and also her lover. Dolph is a dirty old man who takes pictures and thinks he is Marla´s family. While Hollywood burns, Marla and her motley pack of suitors fiddle out comic tunes of banter on sex, fame and fortune lost and found in the American entertainment industry where the ultimate question remains: ´What´s your name?´

 

 

Armageddon (Jacques)

In a final showdown between good and evil, a tired old man must win the battle of his life by facing his toughest competition yet.

 

 

The Room (Jamieson)

In The Room, two people find themselves in a room where they can not remember their names or how they got there. The older of the two, Person 2, is panicked by not being able to remember his/her name, while Person 1 does not seem to care much. Throughout the play it is a dispute over identity. Along with the identity issue, there is only one light in the room. Person 1 argues that the light can go out at any moment; Person 2 argues that the light will not go out at all. The light goes out for about a second, then comes back on. Various other issues come up, along with Person 1 trying to force Person 2 to face the fact the light will eventually go out — what will he do when it does? Person 2 then kills Person 1, with the light going out ultimately soon thereafter.

 

 

Wash Me (Johnson)

Wash Me is about the conversation between two strange and lonely people. One of the people is more lonely than strange, and the other is more strange than lonely. The play´s characters, a young man and young woman, converse while watching their clothes dry in what seems like the laundromat of the mind.

 

 

A Bear Shot (Kammerer)

After being shot during a department store massacre, a Chinese-made stuffed bear carefully pleads to the gods to grant him the sort of time-honored metamorphosis given to statues or puppets.

 

 

The Whole Shebang (Kawecki)

The Whole Shebang takes an unorthodox, realistic and surrealistic look at childhood sexual abuse. In the waiting room of a psychiatric hospital, the relationships amongst the perpetrators (Sherri and Henry), the enabler (Gwen) and the victims (Estelle and Donny) are bared. In the second movement, a surrealistic football game metaphorically identifies the players and the stakes in this dysfunctional family dynamic. And in the final movement, the victims try to pull each other out of the morass of guilt and shame.

 

 

Dogs Playing Poker (Keim)

Dogs Playing Poker is a canine coming of age story that was intended to be loosely based on Shakespeare´s Henry the 4th, Part I and features the anthropomorphized dogs created by the artist Cassius M. Coolidge. Once the dogs get loose, it becomes a playful romp through literature and popular culture.

The play follows a young dog named Prince who must choose between the liberty of being a stray and the obligations of wearing a collar. Prince invites a part-time radical and full-time con artist named Cash into a standing game of cards with his father and friends. The friendly game turns into a high stakes sting when the dogs lose their collars to Cash. As the dogs work together to retrieve their collars, Prince and the other card-playing dogs discover that they have to learn a few new tricks about being loyal and being a pack.

 

 

Emily (Kern)

Emily is the story of a female artist and her struggles to become a woman in a Victorian society that cannot tolerate her unique sensibilities. With the help of poems by Walt Whitman, a feisty and amorous French trader, a northwest Indian village, a parrot named Joseph and a dog named Sam, she achieves her place as an artist and a reconciled woman. Her struggle and confusion comes from a soul-wrenching rigidity and conservatism in her family with all its contradictions. A walk in the woods with her disciplinarian father places Emily in the midst of these contradictions and eventually leads her to seek her destiny in the larger world. After a brutal event, Emily never speaks to her father again. Soon after, her father dies leaving his diary to Emily who goes to great lengths to bury the diary and the dreaded story of her severed heart.

 

 

The Band-Aid (Kern Mollman)

A woman enters a convenience store to purchase a pack of Cinnamon Burst Gum. Having found what she was looking for — no, wait. A woman enters a convenience store to purchase some energy pills. Having found what she was looking for, that zest of energy streaming through her blood, she…I´m sorry, I…I must begin again. There is a woman. She enters a convenience store. She is in search of…of…well, I shall say she is in search of something. She is determined to find it. On her own. Without any help from anyone, especially a graveyard shift working convenience store clerk. This un-namable something is right on the tip of her tongue. But what? What could it be?

 

 

Table for Three (Koslosky)

David has just gotten engaged to Natalie, and now they must break the news to her possessive twin brother Michael. Not only does she have to tell him that she is getting married, but she is also planning to ask him for the family engagement ring, which the reclusive Michael inherited but seems to have no plans of using. David is quite surprised by the relationship he encounters, as the twins coexist in a world with their own rules and their own communication. Feeling like an outsider and third wheel, David struggles with the fact that the ill-tempered Michael is a prominent part of Natalie´s life and will have to become a prominent part of his own — that is, if the engagement lasts through the twins´ arguments and accusations. A play about twins and the difficulty of living an independent life when one is bound to another.

 

 

Good Mothers (Kovar)

A phone call from a dying man suggesting one final trip together opens old wounds for his mother, his sister, his brother-in-law and their daughter and the tense relationships among them.

 

 

Passin´ Through (Lank)

Passin´ Through offers a moving account of the small-mindedness and unfeeling callousness in a small fictitious county in eastern Kentucky. The year is 1933.

Zachery, a deacon at the Waterton Baptist Church, has been taking care of the ailing Miss Hulie, an African-American woman whose husband died in a mining accident. When Miss Hulie and her friend Sadie are found dead, Zachery is accused of the murders. Through Miss Hulie´s strong ancestral beliefs and strength of character, we witness a powerful and magical moment of redemption and truth. The play becomes an evocative plea for understanding and compassion in a world where prejudice, misunderstanding and cruelty are too often the norm.

 

 

Five Second Grace (Leonard)

Nick journeys to a somewhat familiar place in order to reconcile his past with a long lost love, Sarah. In the process, he is bombarded by a thunderous noise that nobody around him seems to care about or is able to define. Nick is worried, but why aren´t they?

 

 

Freedom´s Mohawk (Levine)

A stoic and withdrawn person, having survived the Twin Towers attack on 9/11, has decided not to be afraid of life anymore.

 

 

The Brothers Caramillo; Eulogy for a Piece of Sh*t (Leyva)

The Brothers Caramillo; Eulogy for a Piece of Sh*t follows the story of a good son trying to put his fractured family together again. Alex Caramillo has returned home from seminary to establish a relationship with his womanizing and boozing father Teodoro and his two brothers: the perpetual student Elian and the headstrong Dimas. However, Alex finds this to be much more complicated than he first imagined as Teodoro and Dimas are both pining after the same woman — a stripper named Faith. This has only inflamed old quarrels between the two men, and when Teodoro is found dead, it seems that the family´s destruction and damnation is written deep within the Caramillo blood.

The Brothers Caramillo is a family drama about desire, blood, eternity and, of course, Faith.

 

 

Vs. Robert Schumann (Lichtman-Fields)

After four years of being refused the hand of Friederick Wieck´s daughter, composer Robert Schumann finally takes legal steps in order to win a court dispensation giving him permission to marry the virtuosa interpreter of his music, Clara Wieck, nine years his junior. Clara´s father and her lover both influenced and determined the direction of her development. Ironically, in both relationships, Clara sublimates a part of herself in order to realize the visions of her two male counterparts.

 

 

Acts of Contrition (Lubischer)

Acts of Contrition explores the world of the Catholic priesthood. It examines the doctrines of the church and its effects on the priests who serve in it. What does it do to a man to give up everything that makes him, essentially, a man? Why should a man have to choose between God and a woman he loves? The play explores themes of loneliness, masculinity, faith and identity.

 

 

The Family Tree (MacCrakin)

Lizzie Walker lives in a small town in Louisiana on a property that was formerly a plantation. It appears in many ways that the Walker Plantation has been passed over by modern times. Lizzie has always wanted her family to live together in peace, but the ghosts of the past keep coming back to haunt them.

 

 

Friar Laurence´s Cell (Maly)

Friar Laurence´s Cell begins where Romeo and Juliet ends. In this comedic farce, Denmark truly is a prison: the newly crowned King Claudius of Denmark has welcomed nations to send forth their prisoners as a means of revenue. The Prince of Verona sees this as an opportunity to rid itself of its most detested conspirator: Friar Laurence. Consequently, young Opehlia of Elsinore learns that this new prisoner is wise in the ways of young love; therefore, she seeks his wisdom regarding her wayward relationship with the disturbed Hamlet. What transpires is a cross-section between the two tragedies as Laurence seeks salvation in a kingdom that is doomed.

 

 

Bootstrappers Christmas (Manhart)

 

 

Candyland (Merilo)

Candyland is a ten-minute drama based on a bizarre and tragic real-life incident that occurred in Somalia in the early 1990s. The play revolves around two men who fight over the fate of a Somali prisoner.

 

 

The Crossing (Meyer)

The Crossing is a short play based on real places and events in Nebraska. In 1880, a Home for Women was built just outside of Milford, Neb., a heavily Mennonite populated area. This home was designed for unwed mothers who in those days were outcasts of society. The play is the story of three young girls who meet at the home, their different personalities and how they handle their mutual problem. They devise a plan so that two of the girls can go to a town dance even though it is prohibited. The third girl, Helen, helps them carry it out. Though the girls have fun, the resulting punishment is more than they can handle.

 

 

The Typing Fields (Murrell)

Three women who have suffered personal tragedies meet while working in a typing pool. They get to know one another and, in so doing, find a way to cope with their loses and move forward with their lives.

 

 

Cowboys (Myers)

A cowboy tries to blend here-and-now with then-and-when. A cowboy bumps into what he represents and what he remembers and what he relives. A cowboy tries to ride again and again and again.

 

 

King Chong of the Great Wall (North)

A white boy gets a job at a Chinese restaurant. It is a weird hell, yet somehow the people who work there make it through. A conflict ensues and there is a gun fight.

 

 

Bunkhouse (Ogden)

It is the summer of 1958 and 10-year-old Jamie Wilson changes his mind and accepts a last-minute ride to visit his maternal grandparents in Colorado. His mother is having then-experimental knee and hip replacement surgery in Houston. His dad is a very busy newspaper editor and is relieved his two disparate sons will be separated by going to visit different sets of grandparents.

Jamie had been reluctant to visit his maternal grandparents because his grandfather had physically punished him the previous summer and because he was uncomfortable with the recent death of his beloved uncle and namesake. On the other hand, he did not want to spend the summer with his older brother who constantly torments and picks on him.

What changes his mind will define him the rest of his life and forge a special relationship between him, his grandparents and his deceased uncle.

 

 

Voices (Perrine)

Voices is a powerful script that shatters the stereotypes of people with mental illness with the power of a child´s innocence and honesty, tempered by an adult´s experience, acceptance and love. The stories in Voices are the real stories of people who have been touched by mental illness.

Voices is more than a presentation or an event. It is the catalyst for future generations of unheard voices. Voices was written by people with mental illness — their stories, their voices. All true. Voices throws an intimate light on a central societal issue of mental illness that needs to be addressed through education, open discussion, policies, laws and science.

Voices puts a face on mental illness. A face that, once seen, will never be forgotten.

 

 

Enemies of the State (Pullins)

Prone to sudden disappearances, Morgan´s wife fails to make the stop at the laundromat one day and continues instead to the home of a friend Rose a hundred miles away. A week later her husband finds her, and the play opens on his arrival at their friend´s house.

Willing to sacrifice much to bring their lives back to normal, Morgan has no knowledge of Tizzy´s secret until the husband of her best friend shares his own, well-kept secret. Then she feels free to reveal why her life has been frozen for 30 years.

In passing, Enemies of the State deals with two histories: the abduction, torture and disappearances in Argentina in the 1970s and the secrecy, shame and loss suffered by unmarried mothers in America from 1945 to 1968 whose children disappeared to adoption.

Both histories are political narratives that shaped people´s lives through their suffering in secret.

 

 

All in All (Radcliff)

All in All is about a girl named Alissa Miller. Before the play starts, her father has just died of brain cancer. It is about her family, how to deal with the pain of grief and occasional humor of death and about her relationships with her father, mother, brother, extended family and even an unexpected connection to a grocery store delivery man.

 

 

There´s Always a Band (Rathbone)

There´s Always a Band tells the story of two forgotten soldiers trying to pass the unending amount of time. They intently complete their duties, though it seems as if the war they are fighting has ended a long time ago. As the years go by, their pasts are uncovered, and they must reconcile with what happened before they were brought together. A stranger comes to visit them, and their future together reaches a crossroads.

 

 

Inuit (Riccio)

1911. Sinnisiak and Uluksuk, two Inuit hunters on the Arctic Ocean, kill two priests. The missionaries are the first white men they have seen, and the Inuit are threatened; according to custom they eat the livers to avoid being haunted by the spirits of the dead. The ´cannibals´ are tracked by the Mounties and readily confess. Brought to trial in Edmonton, the ´Stone Age´ men create a sensation, are changed forever and acquitted. The Canadian government needs a conviction to establish sovereignty; they are tried again in Calgary and convicted. The story is a microcosm of the colonizing process — the changing of other into us.

 

 

After Denmark (Robson)

The night after winning a prestigious award, Lyndon Sykes receives a mysterious letter suggesting he is not quite who he thinks he is. In an attempt to find his past — which may be linked to controversial 19th century black leader Denmark Vesey — the young editor travels to the deep south to confront questions of racism and belonging that will lead him to a clearer understanding of himself.

 

 

At the Hollow (Roscoe)

An estranged son visits his father at a cabin on July 4th weekend and triggers the dissolution of not only his own relationship with the father, but his first cousin´s relationship with his life partner. While the humans conflict, the natural world is the subtle sixth character.

 

 

The Mutants (Stewart)

The Mutants is the story of an exploratory expedition to map the ocean floor undertaken by the butler, son and hired sea captain of an industrial tycoon. As the action progresses and the voyage goes on, the sailors dive to the depths and discover an array of creatures (both outside the ship and within their own ranks). They don´t all reach the end, but the ones that do are gone for good.

 

 

The Phoenix Lights (Thornton)

Conrad has been visited by beings not from our planet (he doesn´t like the term alien) since the death of his father when Conrad was 15. In Conrad, they are looking for someone to fulfill a mission: to save the residents of the Omaha metropolitan area from self-destruction. After years of denying his destiny, working the graveyard shift at a California gas station and drinking too much, Conrad has returned to Omaha. He must get to work. The end is coming.

Unfortunately for Conrad, recruiting believers in an alien plot to save humankind from hostile life on Earth is tough work. Some of his harshest skeptics include his inner circle — his mother Michelle, Carly, a high school girlfriend, and Sean, Conrad´s former boss who followed him to Omaha. Curiously, two unidentified government agents appear to take Conrad seriously, and they plant Sean as a mole into Conrad´s operation.

 

 

A Window to a Heart (Traylor)

Jerry Taylor is at a crossroads. He has always been the odd man out within his family, and his life outside the family has not fared much differently. He is a leaf in a whirlpool: buffeted by influences that swirl about him, never quite able to stand up to them or want to. Jerry is about to discover himself. His ship is about to come in. Or is it?

 

 

The Weather Plays (Welser Carroll)

A party to welcome the end of the world frames this series of short vignettes on the pains of daily weather and the joys of an approaching apocalypse. Hosted by an omnipotent master of ceremonies, these four plays attempt to lightly and positively discuss the inevitable end of all things. The exhibition is that of four visions of Armageddon: rain, sun, cloud and snow. Entirely separated by space and time, each show has its own antagonistic apparition of impending doom, which, whether or not it is formulated from within, still manifests itself through the sky. With a style distinct to the transmutation of American absurdism, these plays ask the questions that are on everyone´s mind: Should we be inebriated when judged by the almighty? Is coitus synonymous with annihilation? When will the beer run out? And is it possible that all misery is merely a great practical joke on humanity?

 

 

Indiscretion (Wendelin)

Set at the turn of the previous century, three neighboring families, the Hubbards, the Denslows and the Tremblays, have lived in peace and harmony for years. When Jonathan Hubbard leaves his job at a newspaper in San Francisco and returns home in an effort to propose marriage to the Denslow´ beautiful daughter, a series of bizarre incidents are set in motion that will test the friendships the families have forged with one another. As their grown children attempt to make headway in their own lives, the past and the present collide, love is lost then found, tempers flair and earth-shattering scandals are unveiled. The new century will never be the same.

 

 

Six Nights in the Black Belt (Williams)

(Based on a true story)
It is summer 1965 in Keene, N.H., where a funeral for 26-six-year old Episcopal priest Jonathan Daniels has just finished. Three people, Stokely Carmichael, Judy Upham and Ruby Sales, have come to a mountaintop near Keene called the Cathedral of the Pines. They have all been key members of the Civil Rights movement in Alabama. Following release from jail, 18-year-old Ruby was standing next to Jonathan when he was shot and killed a few days earlier. She has not spoken since. The questions the play asks are: Was Jonathan’s death worth it? How did his work affect these people? How will the movement continue from here?