Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2015 features “Too, Too Solid Flesh”

Every year, Smith and Kraus publish a volume of the best ten-minute plays of the 416kksjp38L._SL210_previous year, and I’m pleased to say that for the first time, one of my own plays is included: “Too, Too Solid Flesh,” recent winner of the Peter Honnegar Prize for Best Short Play at the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, MA. Further, a monologue from the play (which, in all honestly, is not a monologue at all but rather a series of one character’s lines pulled from the play, with the other characters’ lines excised) is in the S&K volume of the best women’s stage monologues from 2015. Not bad for a play that could well have more uses of the f-word than all of my other plays combined! Seriously, it’s hideously profane. But funny.

So, if you want to produce a three-person play that takes a look at how writers create their own realities, or if you need a hilarious (but, once again, horribly swear-filled) monologue for your next audition, you know where to turn!

To buy The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2015, click here.

To buy The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2015, click here.

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Winter Festivals

It’s a brand-new year, and we all know what that means! Months of snow, cold, and seasonal affective disorder, of  course. Fortunately, there’s a treatment: quality theater to bring a beam of sunshine into the heart of this wretched season. As it so happens, there are three short play festivals in Massachusetts over the next month or so that are sure to cure your winter blues. (Or at least take your mind off them for an hour and a half.) And by an amazing coincidence, I have plays in each of the three festivals!

First up is the New Works Festival presented by Acme Theater Productions of Maynard. This will be my third time here, this time with “The Change,” directed by my good friend Lisa Burdick. Lisa has a play of her own in the festival, as do such luminaries as Patrick Gabridge, Christopher Lockheardt, Rick Park, Cynthia Faith Arsenault, and many others. It runs over two weekends, January 8 and 9, and 15 and 16, at 8:00 each evening, but note that “The Change” is only going to be performed on Friday the 8th and Saturday the 16th.

Acme Theater Productions: New Works Winter Festival 2016
ArtSpace Maynard
61 Summer St.
Maynard, MA 01754
January 8 – 16, 2016

We then move to the North Shore, to the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, which will be presenting its New Works Festival later in January. I’m very pleased to announce that my play “Too Too Solid Flesh” has been named the best of the ten-minute plays! It will be directed by Stephen Faria, another good friend of mine who (once again!) has a play of his own in the festival. Other playwrights with short works in the program include Deirdre Girard, R.D. Murphy, Ray Aresenault, and George Smart; there will also be full-length pieces by Alan Brody and Scott Sullivan. The festival will run on January 22, 23, 29 and 30, at 8:00 each night. There will be a different program each evening; “Too Too Solid Flesh” will appear only on the 23rd.

Firehouse Center for the Arts: New Works Festival 2016
Firehouse Center for the Arts
Market Square
Newburyport, MA 01950
January 22 – 30, 2016

Finally we lurch into February, when the Cohasset Dramatic Club (in Cohasset, of course) presents its third annual Briefs, a festival of ten-minute plays, and for the third time in a row they will be presenting a play of mine! I’m particularly pleased this year, as they will be presenting a brand-new piece, “Annunciation.” It will be directed by Lisa Pratt, who is (again!) a good friend of mine, but who breaks the pattern by not actually having written any of the other plays in the festival. Instead, we have such folk as Brandon Crose and Cynthia Faith Arsenault. The festival runs for only two evenings, February 5 and 6.

Cohasset Dramatic Club: Briefs III
Cohasset Town Hall Theater
41 Highland Ave.
Cohasset, MA 02025
February 5 – 6, 2016

I hope you can make it to one (or more!) of these events, and take a break from those winter doldrums.

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ArlingTEN Short Works Festival

The Arlington Friends of the Drama are holding a fundraiser in the form of a short play festival on the 20th and 21st of November, and one of the plays will be my own “The Evaluation,” a brand-new play never before performed before an audience. Directing the play is my good friend Vivian Liu-Somers, with whom I have worked in a couple of 24-hour play festivals with the Hovey Players. Other playwrights in the AFD festival include G.L. Horton, Debbie Wiess, Jerry Bisantz, Christopher Lockheardt, Patrick Gabridge, and K.M. Sorenson. Tickets may be reserved by calling (617) 484-3308.

Arlington Friends of the Drama: ArlingTEN Short Works Festival
AFD Theater
22 Academy St.
Arlington, MA 02476
November 20 – 21 2015

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Opening night in Oslo

I’m a bit late in posting about this (the past few weeks have been very busy indeed), but better late than never: Two weeks ago, on September 24, Fravær (as Absence is known in Norwegian) had its opening night at the Oslo Nye Trikkestallen. (This version was translated from the English by Cecilie Enersen. She was in touch with me as she made her translation, so it is faithful in both content and spirit to the original.)

And I was there! I’d made the trip to Oslo (this was my first time in Norway) to see the play’s European debut. The Trikkestallen is a small but lively theater that is generally used by the Oslo Nye Teater for children’s shows. In fact, Fravær is the first play for adults to be performed there.

It was, I have to say (and with the understanding that I might be a wee bit biased) a beautiful production. The director, Birgitte Victoria Svednsen, had assembled a first-rate cast, anchored by Marit Østbye is a lovely, nuanced performance as the aging matriarch Helen. The simple set, simultaneously austere and lovely, was designed by Milja Salovaara.

As the playwright, I was welcomed to the theater with warmth and enthusiasm. Several people expressed astonishment that I’d come so far to see the show. As if I’d miss it! I would recommend to any playwright that s/he should see his or her work in a foreign language. When you are divorced with the words of the play, you become connected with its essence, with the emotional ties that connect the characters to one another. (Also, you don’t find yourself constantly thinking, “Wow, that line’s a clinker. Why didn’t I rewrite that?”)

After the performance, there was a reception with Champagne and merriment. Below are a few pictures of me (feeling rather giddy) with the Oslo Nye Teater folks. (For pictures from the production itself, check out the show’s gallery.)

The play runs through October 23rd. Tickets are available here.

Here are some local reviews (in Norwegian, of course):

Aftenposten (rating 5/6)

Dagbladet (rating 5/6)

VG (rating 5/6)

Fravær Party Photo 1
With Cecilie Enersen (translator)
Fravær Party Photo 2
With Marit Østbye (who plays Helen)
Fravær Party Photo 3
With Siri Løkholm Ramberg (dramaturg)
Fravær Party Photo 4
With Birgitte Victoria Svendsen (director)
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Poster for Fravær

The poster for Fravær (the version of Absence being performed by the Oslo Nye Trikkestallen) is now available! As are tickets, which you can order from this website. Words can not express (yes, I know what a thing for a writer to say) how jazzed up I am that the play will be performed in the Land of Ibsen later this month!

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 9.00.09 PM



Oslo Nye Trikkestallen
Oslo, Norway
September 24 – October 17

9/7/15: Bumping post to put it to the top of the page

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The Centipede King: A Staged Reading

In July, I worked with Megan Schy Gleeson (who directed the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre‘s production of Absence) on a workshop of my play The Centipede KingNow, you can see the results by coming to a staged reading of the play at the BPT on Monday, August 31, at 7:30 pm. The reading is free!

The Centipede King
Some things are scarier than monsters. 

Something bad happened when Rachel was a teenager. Now an adult, she relates the story of her little sister Lily, who was haunted by the mysterious and possibly dangerous entity called the Centipede King. But as Rachel’s narrative unwinds, it takes on a life of its own. The limits of truth, storytelling, and memory are all exposed in this tale of the horror that lies within one family.

Directed by Megan Schy Gleeson
Featuring Jen Alison Lewis, Ryan MacPherson, Sally Nutt, and Haven Pereira
Monday, August 31 7:30 pm
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
Free admission
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Return of the Hovey Summer Shorts

For the fourth year in a row, a play of mine will be appearing in the Hovey Players’ Summer Shorts in Waltham, MA. I’m always happy to have my work done at Hovey, as my relationship with the company dates from before I ever wrote my first play, having appeared in their production of J.B. Priestly’s Dangerous Corner back in 2003. This year, the Shorts will be including my play “Objective,” directed by Luke Bruneaux. In the lineup are many other talented playwrights, including Hortense Gerardo, Patrick Gabridge,  Christopher Lockheardt, Deirdre Girard, and Vladimir Zelevinsky. The Shorts run from July 10th through July 18. Tickets may be reserved at 781-893-9171.

Hovey Players: Summer Shorts
Abbott Memorial Theater
9 Spring Street at Joel’s Way
Waltham, MA 02451
July 10 – July 18 2015

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Boston Globe article profiles Absence and other plays dealing with dementia

The Boston Globe features a beautiful article by Don Aucoin on the recent flurry of plays about victims of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Among the plays he discusses are Bruce Graham’s The Outgoing Tide, Sharr White’s The Other Place, Barney Norris’s Visitors, and my own Absence

Given that Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia envelop their victims in a mental fog, it’s striking that Absence and other dramas depict it as a force for a certain kind of clarity, as the ailing protagonists strive for reconciliation with estranged family members. That impulse is crystallized in a line from Visitors, which will run Sept. 18-Oct. 10 at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, by an Alzheimer’s-afflicted woman who says to her son: “What if I died, and I still haven’t managed to have even one conversation with you?”

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Writers at Play Showcase

WAP Poster.5Writers at Play:

2015 Showcase of New Work

Monday, June 22. 7:30pm. FREE

Boston Playwright’s Theatre

I belong to a playwriting group called Writers at Play, all of who members are MFA playwriting alumni of Boston University. The group is launching a playwriting showcase, a sampling of full-length new work ready for development/production.  A the event, each playwright will briefly speak about the play, their voice, and where they are in the development process, then we will present 10-20 minutes of scenes as a reading using the professional actors who support us during our writing season.

After by Peter M. Floyd: Nearly everyone of Earth has vanished without a trace, but those remaining have problems of their own.

Duplex by Deirdre Girard: A light-hearted drama with lots of dogs, sex, and unlikely friendships.

Time Steps by Colleen M. Hughes: A group of women unearth the secrets, jealousies, and teen angst they’d thought they’d left on the dance floor many years ago.

There (But for the Grace) by Michael Towers: Andrew’s idea of ritual cleansing is a bit jarring to his former partner’s sensibilities. And why wouldn’t it be?

A Theatre of Jerks by John Zakrosky, Jr.: Cara and her family must make one last decision in the life of their terminal and beloved son and brother. A comedy!

Monday, June 22 at 7:30 PM
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave., Boston


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Absence Goes to Oslo

My play Absence, winner of the Jean Kennedy Smith Award and nominee for the Elliot Norton and IRNE awards for best new play, will get its European debut this fall at the Oslo Nye Trikkestallen. The play will be performed in Norwegian, and appear under its Norwegian title, Fravær. I have worked with the translator, Cecilie Enersen, to make sure that this version matches the language and spirit of the original.

So, if you happen to be in the land of Ibsen in the fall, I hope that you will find time to see it! The run begins on Thursday, September 24. Tickets may be purchased here.

The production will be directed by Birgitte Victoria Svendsen, and feature Marit Østbye as Helen.

Oslo Nye Trikkestallen
Oslo, Norway

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