Monday, January 30, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Alena Smith, Excerpt from The Lacy Project

Alena Smith, Playwright 2009

The Lacy Project

Ah, the way that tatting makes your bustle shimmer ... oh would you ever allow me to borrow your dress?

Poor Harriet. I’m afraid such an exchange would be impossible. For our gowns are sewn to our very skin.

Ah, ‘tis true. Such is our lot.

Plus, even if I could get it off, my gear would not flatter you. For you have a fat cloth tummy, whilst I have sensuous plastic curves.

You are indeed quite plastic. You are plastic from your teeth to your toenails. Your very soul is plastic, dearest Olivia.

Oh, yeah? Well, thank you, Harriet. I like totally take that as a compliment.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Lynn Rose, Excerpt from Apple Cove

Lynn Rosen playwright 2006

Characters in this exchange:
Duke, a security guard at Apple Cove - a gated community, formerly swamp
Edie King, a housewife, newlywed, and new resident of Apple Cove

Negative. Not new here, born here. My house was down the road. But my home, my escape, was this swamp, where I’d swing on vines tree to tree. My Ma would find me sleeping on a bed of moss, caked in mud, crawling with life. This very spot, your spot, was the thickest, the lushest. But that’s all past. All replaced by this house, this subdivision where I’d be trespassing if it wasn’t, weren’t, if it weren’t for my official capacity. I could run wild here before, I could roar! But now what does a person do when they get that urge to break free?
(Edie kneels and prays.)
You pray, you wear a uniform, you suppress.
(He picks her up. Edie is in his arms.)
But if the urge returns? If the urge returns, what do you do? Do you break free, Mrs. King? Do you let go?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Kate E. Ryan, Excerpt from Free Adaptation of Women of Trachis

The Playwright Kate E. Ryan, 2006
pswb@2012free adaptation of WOMEN OF TRACHIS

One time I sat down in elementary school and I sat at the hard metal desk with the hard fake-wooden metal top and I wrote out all of my letters, one after the other, a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y and z. It was at night and nobody else was at school and it was in my dream.
And another time we were making snow animals at school it was an art project and it was so cold but so fun.
I made mine out in the front of the school but off to the side right in front of our classroom window actually and it was a, um…
Kangaroo. With a little pouch and my friend Jessie made a baby kangaroo and stuck it in there when I wasn’t looking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Playwright Portait, Alvin Eng, Excerpt from The Last Emperor of Flushing

The Playwright Alvin Eng, 2006pswb©2012

The Last Emperor of Flushing

The Last Emperor:
“O.K., I wasn’t really an Emperor. But like China’s legendary ‘Last Emperor,’ Aisin Gioro Pu Yi, I am the last of my line and kind here in Flushing. Like Pu Yu, I spent the first half of my life being the Guardian and figurehead of a lifestyle that no longer existed by the time I finally left this childhood palace. Although Flushing is now New York City’s second Chinatown, aka “The People’s Republic of Floo-Shing,” when I was a young Emperor, we were one of a fistful of Chinese families here. The Flushing of my youth was still basking in the afterglow of the post World War II suburban baby boom. That boom was celebrated at the 1965 World’s Fair, held right here in Flushing Meadows Park. This World’s Fair was the zenith of “The American Century” when anything was possible. In this euphoric mood, Flushing immigrants were the last wave who would give up everything. They would forsake their customs, their language—many would have changed their appearance if they could––just to get a whiff of ‘The American Dream.’”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Mark Schultz, Excerpt from Everything Will Be Different

The Playwright Mark Schultz, 2006

Everything Will Be Different:  A Brief History of Helen of Troy

I think. Charlotte. You know. I think that. Maybe beauty is the thing that’s always leaving. That’s always being lost. That you always have to say goodbye to. You know. And what’s hard is that, for all the goodbyes, it's never gone for good. It just keeps leaving. And leaving. And leaving. And you just have to keep letting it go. And that’s life.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Erin Courtney, Excerpt from Black Cat Lost

The Playwright Erin Courtney, 2006



Why are they wearing hats?

So the evil spirit can't sneak up on them.


Oh and what's that?


That's a dead body. They are lifting it up into that cave.


And what are those?


Those are bones.

Playwright Portrait, Courtney Baron, Excerpt from A Very Common Procedure, 2006

The Playwright Courtney Baron, 2006

Anil: If I stretch out my hand, palm open, like this. (They all unclench their fists, following Anil's lead, they slowly open their hands, fingers outstretched in almost a waving position.) From the tip of my middle finger to the tip of my thumb is how big the trunk of your baby's body was at birth. Her heart, the size, essentially, of the pad of my thumb,
Michael: Small.
Carolyn: Yes, Michael, small.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Eric Lane, Excerpt from Heart of the City

The Playwright Eric Lane, 2006


Carlos - a young, sexy, gay immigrant from Spain who finds joy in people and life - speaks to the audience. Carlito is his snake.

I pack my bags and head to New York City. Here I walk down the street, I see so many faces of different color and shape. Religion and idea. And I start to laugh.

All these people run so fast. I run, too. It is only when I stop, I look in his eyes. And this is the heaven Dr. Mendelsohn tells. I see who I am to become – an erotic snake dancer. And you know the best thing…? There is no competition.

(Music begins, underneath.)

I dance on the street corner. Carlito and me. I look out. So many people and their eyes turn away. Afraid to look at the ones standing right next to them. And I think of what it is this city. And I learn. It is not the eyes that turn away. It is the ones that look back.

And so, I will dance for you.

(Music up. Carlos joyfully dances.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Playwright Enrique Ureta, 2012

The Playwright Enrique Ureta, 2012

The Playwright BH Friedman, 2006

The Playwright BH Friedman, 2006

Playwright Portrait, Jean Reynolds, Excerpt from Dance With Me

The Playwright Jean Reynolds, 2006

(Ruth and Grace drink tea)
It was on our honeymoon.
(RAY enters during speech)
Raymond and I were at a small hotel on a point overlooking a lake. One night there was a gathering. A crowded room. I was by a window looking out into the night. I saw the room reflected in the window. A woman watched me. I had seen her on other evenings playing cards. I watched her watching me. I was afraid to turn around, afraid to see, afraid of what she would see. She crossed the room and stood behind me. Our eyes met in the glass, caught. She whispered something. Her breath was warm. It was a foreign country.

What foreign country?
(He waits for an answer)
What foreign country?


What are you up to?

Up to?


Talking. Ah, talking. I envy you. Women know how to talk to each other.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Kitty Chen, Excerpt from Chairman M

The Playwright Kitty Chen, 2006


by Kitty Chen

Bare stage. Night. The lighting suggests a hilly forest landscape. A woman enters, carrying a heavy burden on her back. She makes her way slowly uphill. Blackout.
Act 1
Scene 1. At center, a body lies on a table in a body bag. Lighting is bright, artificial. A barely audible drone of an air conditioner. Shivers sits at a table knitting, suddenly looks at watch, goes to body, bows deeply 3 times.
Announcement (loudspeaker)
Attention, attention: It is now time to show your love and respect.
(to the loudspeaker, with a lewd gesture) Hah! Beat you to it!
She hears someone approach. Babelov enters.
Oh me oh my. I thought I was on the sub-sub-sub-ground level, when the whole time I was only on the sub-sub-ground level.
What was the vote?
I can't breathe. I’d better bring down some fans and more ice.
They told me to rush right down and they'd beep me the instant they had the count.
WHAT'S TO COUNT?--THERE'S ONLY 20 MINISTERS. And what's with the friggin' air-conditioning?
The generators are old. Russian leftovers. Why don't you just go ahead with the prep.
IDIOT! WHAT DO YOU TAKE ME FOR? A good prep is like BREATHING to a good embalmer--it's the first thing you do!
Okay, okay. I thought maybe you'd have to do something special, or different, if he was a god.
He's a god? Oh my god--he's a god!
Babelov (cutting in)
I didn't say that! Calm--down. I said "IF he was a god." IF!
When are they going to know?
After they count the votes!

Playwright Portrait, Andi Teran, Excerpt from For Reasons Unknown

The Playwright Andi Teran, 2006

For Reasons Unknown

Mr. Magnotta:

"Here’s the thing. You’ve got to pick up the pace. Slow walkers never win any races. You need to know that when you walk out that door you’re prepared to fight or else what’s the use in living here? This place…it will die without the fight. We can’t let the pigeons win."

Playwright Portrait, Billy Aronson, Excerpt from Complete Unknowns

The Playwright Billy Aronson, 2006

Complete Unknowns

We'll all be making plays together. Always. Turning our feelings into characters. Putting our pieces out there. Adding them to the one big masterpiece, the whole story of being human, that we're sending into space. My name won't be on it. But my heart will be in it. And so will yours.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Steve Cossen, Excerpt from Paris Commune

The Playwright Steve Cossen, 2006

Paris Commune

Citizens! Power shared is true freedom. It is time that fraternity replaces charity, and federation replaces hierarchy! If I were the only person saying all this, people could say that I was a pathological case. But there are thousands of us now, millions, none of whom gives a damn about authority. You see? Do you see?! It’s a simple thing. Don’t beg for your place in the world, take it!

Playwright Portrait, Tanya Barfield, Excerpt from Blue Door

The Playwright Tanya Barfield, 2006


"The day be blazin full-sun wit shadows made purple from the heat. I walk down to the river and I keep walkin and I walk like a man that got no name and I walk til the sun jes a cold cinder fallen in the sky. I walk through the water and I walk and walk as night come over me and I walk past the light that wake tomorrow and I walk and walk til I cant tell the day from darkness."

The Playwright Keith Bunin, 2006

The Playwright Keith Bunin, 2006

Playwright Portrait, Melinda Lopez, Excerpt from Sonia Flew

The Playwright Melinda Lopez, 2006


PILAR stands in the surf. She throws flowers.
Calm the waters, Oshún. Lady of Charity, have mercy on me. Prepare my passage. Sand. And sea. Ninety miles spread across the ocean like oil on water. (Sound of waves.) I am not afraid. They say that only God can give life, and only God can take it away. But they are men. And they have never given life. I have. Does this make me God? I have a daughter.
(Lights rise on SONIA isolated)
I have a daughter. I have a daughter. (She steps under the waves and disappears.)
And I said, I do not forgive you. I will never forgive you. You have broken my heart.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Charles Fuller, Excerpt from A Soldier's Story

The Playwright Charles Fuller, 2009

A Soldier's Story


Sarge? You wrong Pete -- plus I feel kinda sorry for
him myself.
Any man ain't sure where he belongs must be in a
whole lotta' pain.

Playwright Portrait, David Cale, Excerpt from Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky

The Playwright David Cale, 2006


“I wonder how different our lives would be if we knew how long they were gonna last. If we knew we had, say, 21,900 days, which is what sixty years amounts to. Or if say we knew we only had 10,093 of those days, would it lend our lives a greater urgency? I think somewhere in the back of our heads we think we’re never gonna die, we’re gonna be the one that lives forever.”

Playwright Portrait, David Johnston, Excerpt from Candy and Dorothy

The Playwright David Johnston, 2006

Candy and Dorothy

CANDY: Don’t smoke.
Don’t exploit the workers.
Don’t get a sex change.
Don’t make me a saint.
You're just an impossible pill.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Qui Nguyen, Excerpt from Soul Samurai

The Playwright Qui Nguyen, 2006
Soul Samurai

Me, I wasn’t always a killer. No one is born this way. That’s not to say
I didn’t have an aptitude for it. I’ve always had a bit of a violent
streak. I just wasn’t always as smooth.
After Sally’s death, I was a cliche’ of self-inflicting pain. I was
hurting and I wanted to hurt. I wanted revenge. But I had no power in
doing that. And that’s when I met him . . .

My name is Cert
And I’m here to kick it
Don’t step to me, boy,
Cause my shit is wicked
Ninja fly shit is how I be dealin’ it
I’m a samurai, son, so you best be feelin’ it
Konichiwa, bozu,
Fuck you up old school
Knock out ya teeth like a Eastside Sifu
Remember these words
Remember my face
I’m the C. E. R. T.
This hood’s my place.

The Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, 2007

The Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, 2007

Playwright Portrait, Melissa James Gibson, Excerpt from This

The Playwright Melissa James Gibson, 2006


What if you wake up and discover you’ve been living a dinky life you know

A What life

Dinky/ dinky

I don’t know this word Dinky

Of no importance


Like when 
you’re in the middle of telling someone a story and as you’re telling it say 
midway through 
you realize that your story isn’t as good as you thought it was but
It’s Too Late To Go Back
Do you ever fear that your life is like that

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mother Kathleen Liles, 2010

Mother Kathleen Liles 2010
Rector, Christ & Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church 

Playwright Portrait, Susan Mosakowski, Excerpt from Man-Made

The Playwright Susan Mosakowski, 2007


I never thought that that UPSTART, that that BUG collector could make such advancements. I devoted my life to this work when Wallace was only in knee pants. Twenty years ago I set sail on the Beagle. For five long years I cataloged an endless procession of life. Algae, kelp, and seaweed of all shapes and colors waved beneath me like a brilliantly painted flag from the ocean’s floor. Ammonites with their fossil chambered shells begged for my ear. Batrachians hunted my fingers with their forked reptilian tongues. I sought every life form—Brachiopods, Marine Mollusca, Cephalopods, and Cetacea; those my Emma are the naked skin fish, the dolphins and whales. I chased Corolla, Cotyledons, Crustaceans, Curculio, and Edentata through the jungles of Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego. The smell of eucalyptus fills my nose by merely uttering their names . . . oh Emma, if you could have only seen these places, overgrown and glorious.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Andrea Lepcio, Excerpt from Get In The Car

The Playwright Andrea Lepcio, 2009


Want to ride in my convertible Oldsmobile Coupe.
Mama told me not to ride with strangers.
Jackson Pollock.
Edith Metzger.
Now we're not strangers. Hop in.
That's not what happened. You had no need to charm me. And you didn't. I was your lover's friend. Here at her invitation.
Visiting. Everyone's always visit. Ing.
When one visits a famous person, one is especially courteous. Whether or not one actually fawns, one certainly acts aware of the other person. Of their needs and mood. It's hard to feel more significant than the father of abstract expressionism. It's hard enough for a woman to feel more significant than a man. Imagine an unknown woman, known man. Abstract expressionism.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Playwright Portrait, Crystal Skillman, Excerpt from Birthday

The Playwright Crystal Skillman, 2006


In my building.
When it was snowing out of nowhere here last month.
All these seagulls fl y past my windows.
Fucking weird, right?
Right in the snow.
The way they moved, right up to the windows, glide
their bodies right by, then raise up, that’s grace I
I’d like to move like that.
Some people make mistakes but can move through
them, let them go and they don’t hurt.
They don’t cry in hallways and look like shit.
They sit in corners and keep it all inside.
But I can’t.
I have this wish, the way I want things to be.
And when I see it, in my head, it’s good, it’s good but
how can I make that…
I dream about it.
Being that.
I wake up.
It’s a feeling.
Alive like…
Like there are all these possibilities.
But I wake up.
I lose it.

Playwright Portrait, Gary Sunshine, Excerpt from Good Deeds for a Weary World

The Playwright Gary Sunshine, 2006


MIKEY, standing next to the destroyed flame broiler, speaks to THE EMPLOYEE.

The flame broiler.
It's the heart of this.
The heart.
Maybe you could have done something.
Cause did you HEAR IT? HUH? Squeaking or grinding or.
Did you ask, like, did you say ¡Hola¡, Flame Broiler, how can I help you? Cause we all need you to suck the fat and the gristle and the sores out of the patties and leave nothing but the taste behind?
You could have asked, Can I restart you? Or grease you up? Reposition the element? Jigger your chains? Can I cool you down, is that it, are you overheated from all the hard work you've done for us? What can I do, Flame Broiler, you could have asked this in my absence, you could have gently asked the machine, YOU COULD HAVE ASKED!
But I'm sorry.
I'm out of line.
I've got a lot.
There's a lot.
Did a piece of your brain die?
Did the fence rip through your scalp when you crawled into this country?
Were you brilliant before?
Were you beautiful before?
Did you deteriorate?
Because you didn't tell me. When I hired you. You never said. You didn't say that was your plan.
To deteriorate.
Nobody ever says.
You understand, though. I'm going to have to.
Fire me?
Kill you. No. I meant. Lay you off. Cause there’s no work.

FROM THIS JOAN by Gary Sunshine

Adrienne’s teaching me to be guiltless.
A little guilt never hurt anybody.
And frank.
Which I find to be very sexy.
And liberal.
Oh how unique, a liberal Jew from New York--
--I was completely dependent on my husband for everything but money and I refuse to get into that situation again--
--Your husband’s dead, dear. (Beat.) Look. I know what it’s like for you. I can see. Down here, older. By yourself. You feel like no matter where you go, you never leave any footprints. You’re still alive but there’s hardly any trace of you. But I could be your footprints, Joan. Let me change the way you walk on this earth.