NOTES FROM THE PLAYWRIGHT:
I once read that New Mexico had abolished the death penalty, but that the repeals do not apply retroactively, leaving inmates currently sentenced on death row. This play was inspired by my imagining how those inmates must feel, knowing they are the last unlucky few to be executed.
When the script feels fast, it should go fast. When the script feels slow, especially in the pauses and towards the end, it should be slow.
It should take its time.
MAGGIE- 40 something teacher.
Auditorium at a school.
A microphone on a stage.
MAGGIE, a proper woman in her forties dressed plainly comes up to the microphone. She looks around the room a moment to gauge the audience. Then she begins.
Hi. I wrote a statement and if it’s alright I’d like to read it before you all vote. A beat. She takes out a piece of paper, clears her throat and starts to read.
First off I’d like to thank the Saint Robert School parent teacher association for allowing me to speak. I would also like to thank you parents who have sacrificed your evening to participate in tonight’s vote.
I assume most of you know who I am by now, but for those who don’t, my name is Margaret Smith, or as my students refer to me, “Miss S”. For the past seven years I’ve taught the second grade here at Saint Roberts Elementary School and I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my methods as an educator. Beyond adhering to the curriculum requirements mandated by the state I strive to get my students to be mindful of the world around them. I want them not just to be successful inside the classroom, but outside of it as well. To do this I, on occasion, have my class read books which aim to teach fundamental life lessons. Last week we read such a book. “Skippy goes to the Vet.”
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
A short play
By Adam Seidel
A bare stage. A man, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, stands in front of a microphone.
My fellow Americans. Tonight I would like to talk to you about the rumors which have been recently swirling around the media. These rumors concern an alleged comet, which according to television pundits, fringe scientists and conspiracy theorists alike, will strike the Western Hemisphere of our planet later this week resulting in as they put it, “complete and total destruction of the world as we know it.” (Beat.) I before you today, as your elected leader, to tell you that this is simply not true. (Pause.) There is no such comet and our world is certainly not in danger of extinction. My fellow Americans, in times such as these, we must think objectively and not fall victim to figments of the human imagination. Our ability to imagine is what makes us great. Imagination is the tool of progress, the beacon of hope in times of darkness. But imagination can also be our greatest foe, persuading us to give into fears predicated on the fictions of Hollywood. Tonight I ask that you refrain from giving into fear, but instead turn to sound logic. (Beat.) Again, I repeat, there is no comet and we are under no imminent… (Pause.) I’m sorry. I can’t do this.
PRESIDENT starts to walk away. He stops. He looks at the crowd. He returns to the microphone.
Franny Ornstein, Secret Agent/Sous Chef
by Brian Leahy Doyle
Cast of Characters
FRANCES RACHEL ORNSTEIN (FRANNY): Mid-late 20s, pretty enough, yet slightly insecure. A sous chef.
JENKS HEDGEPATH: Mid-late 20s, Franny’s fiancé. Well-built, gym-sculpted physique on a slender frame, classic good looks with a good head of hair. Knows how to pronounce words like “coif.” Venture capitalist.
VERA: Mid-late 20s, Franny’s assistant, attractive, great sense of humor, buoyant, the sort of person overlooked in high school who everyone cannot get over how great she looks at a high school reunion.
CHUCK (or DAVE): Mid-late 20s, rugged lumberjack physique. White ethnic. Also knows how to pronounce “coif,” but wouldn’t be caught dead saying it. Has perpetual two days’ growth of beard. Should look good in a flannel shirt. Ponytail optional. Plumber or furniture restorer.
R.S.: Acerbic sense of humor. Small of physical stature but with commanding sense of self.
PHELPS: WASP with a basic no-nonsense integrity. Dry sense of humor.
Setting: A bedroom. Diffused morning light through window blinds shines upon a queen-sized bed that is adorned with attractive blankets, pillows, and a duvet cover. To the right of the bed on a nightstand is a digital alarm clock, its digits frozen in time.
And Clouds Made of Bones
A play in one act
AND CLOUDS MADE OF BONES was originally produced by Firehouse Theatre, at Boston Theater Marathon XII, with Jeney Richards and Dan Krstyen.
Click here to read Clouds Made of Bones by William Orem.
William Orem's first collection of stories, Zombi, You My Love, won the GLCA New Writers Award, formerly given to Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Richard Ford and Alice Munro. His second collection, Across the River, won the Texas Review Novella Prize. His first novel, Killer of Crying Deer, won the Eric Hoffer Award. Poems and short stories of his have appeared in over 100 literary journals, and he has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in both genres. His short plays have been performed around the country.
Currently he is a Senior Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College. Details at williamorem.com.
Click here to read Sojourn No More, a short play by Eric Duhon.
Eric is delighted to have his work featured in The Furious Gazelle! He graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA with a degree in Performance and Directing in Theatre. In the last decade, he has had the pleasure of working at several theatres across the country as an actor and writer in areas including Memphis, Minneapolis, New Hampshire and Chicago. Produced writing credits include: I Know (F.U.D.G.E Theatre Co.), Master Class (Fury Theatre), Meet the Tweedles (Curious Conversations, ECT) and Garcon (The Arc Theatre).
Click here to read Darkest Waters, a short play by Alan Stolzer.
Alan Stolzer was born, raised and educated in New York City. After completion of military service, he traveled throughout Western Europe working odd jobs while writing freelance journalism for International Herald Tribune, Mallorca Daily Bulletin and various other European dailies (translated articles). Alan has been published in El Sol de Mexico and El Heraldo de Mexico. He continued writing upon return to U.S. and have written for the stage since. He studied with playwright John Ford Noonan, and served as dramaturg at St. Clements Theatre, New York, NY.
Click here to read Or Any Other Reason Why by Brian C. Petti.
Brian C. Petti is an award-winning playwright who has been produced internationally by such companies as Ten Grand Productions, Theatre of NOTE and Dormant Pheonix. MASQUERADE was staged at Cherry Lane Theater in NYC and NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM was the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California, where it received a student production. THE MEASURE OF A MAN and ON THE EXPECTATION OF WHITE CHRISTMASES are published by JAC Publishing and Promotions, and BANSHEE is published by Next Stage Press. ECHOES OF IRELAND was recently produced in County Cork, Ireland by the Skibbereen Theatre Society and is published through Eldridge Plays and Musicals. TEN SECONDS was produced by Motivational Theatre as winner of the Carlton E. Spitzer Excellence in Playwrighting Award. THE LOVE SONG OF SIDNEY J. STEIN was part of the NYC All Out Arts’ Fresh Fruit Festival in July, 2013. Most recently, BANSHEE was produced by Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood, CA and MASQUERADE will be reprised by Dormant Pheonix as part of “MEASURE OF A MAN–the Brian Petti Project.”
Visit him online at http://bcpkid.wix.com/pettiplays
Father Left (a monologue)
by Tim J Brennan
We leave one step at a time from many things:
the table after eating, a failing job, a disproved
belief, a broken argument of a home, one hand
against cold glass, the other on the key to the door.
It was like this at our house when I was a kid…
father would argue with mother about whatever
married parents have always argued about;
he would storm out of our small house and march
down the street like some kind of middle aged married
soldier; later, he would return and they would hug
and mother would cry like a little girl and things
would seem fine like the weather seems to be fine,
but one never knows the weather always, do we?
Sometimes we pretend the day is fine when it’s really
raining and the picnics we had planned for what seemed
like a thousand years are cancelled but we go on
to the next day with smiles on our faces and tomorrow’s
dreams on our beds anyway. Once, when I was maybe ten,
it was dark by five-thirty, and I was in the woods
and father came marching by and I called out to him
but he kept marching and I called out again
like a ten year old might when it’s dark out
and you don’t want anyone to know you’re afraid
of the dark, but he kept marching, crazy steps,
with wind clatter at his back, and me following him
as far as the big hill, the one that went up-and-down
and we all knew we weren’t ever supposed to go down
in the dark by ourselves, but father did that night and
even though I called and called he never did turn around
and acknowledge me; it was one of those times I didn’t know
my father, kind of like the time I went to his funeral but there
was nothing there but an urn and ashes and I was scared to call
his name for fear he wouldn’t answer me yet again.
Tim J Brennan’s one act plays have played in Bethesda MD, Bloomington IL, Rochester MN, San Diego, and other nice stages. Brennan lives in southeastern MN, a nice place to write about all kinds of stuff.
Click here to read The Wake-Up Call, a ten-minute play by Roy Proctor.
© Roy Proctor 2014
Roy Proctor, a native of Thomasville, N.C., has completed three full-length plays and 36 short plays since he turned to playwriting 2 ½ years ago after a 30-year career as the staff theater and art critic on the two daily newspapers in Richmond, Va. His plays have been presented in Cambridge, England; Cardiff, Wales; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Richmond; New Orleans, La.; and points in between. Short plays from his 12-play cycle of adaptations of Chekhov short stories were presented this summer in Richmond, Raleigh, N.C., and Edinboro, Pa. He lives in Richmond and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Unlike Proctor’s other plays, “The Wake-Up Call” draws directly on his experience as a theater critic. “Phone calls to critics from irate, sometimes drunken, often verbally abusive actors in the wee hours are not uncommon,” Proctor says. “I usually put up with them to the extent that I respected the talent of the caller. I have a profound respect for actors as a group. They make financial and other sacrifices for the public good that I, as a journalist with a steady paycheck and other job security, would never have been willing to make.”
Proctor can be reached at email@example.com to discuss rights for production of “The Wake-Up Call.”