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Short Plays


Quite a few produced at City Theatre of Miami's "Summer Shorts".  And elsewhere.

For more information about any of these plays, contact me here.

Two mothers in a maternity ward
Dos Corazones
2 F

Late at night on the maternity ward, and Cheryl--wrung out after the birth of her first child and deeply depressed about her ability to be a mother--pours her heart out to Ana, another new mother with whom she shares the room.  Until Cheryl, who speaks no Spanish, discovers that Ana speaks no English.  And the two must transcend language to understand the lessons each has learned about the hearts inside. "The Festival's keynote play--poignantly directed and profoundly performed.  A potential classic."  (Los Angeles Times)  "An artful bilingual piece exploring the jumble of emotions that follows childbirth..Dos Corazones is the heart of Summer Shorts."  (Miami Herald) Theatre Los Angeles Ovation Award nomination.  Published in Best Ten-Minute Plays 2012.

Scene from "One Destiny" at Ford's Theatre
One Destiny
2 M

At the moment of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Harry Hawk was alone on the stage of Ford's Theatre, and Harry Ford--the theatre owner--was counting receipts in the box office.  A week later they meet again at the now-closed theatre--two men who had simply gone to work that day, while history waited in the wings--and, reliving the events, consider the question that haunts both of them: could John Wilkes Booth have been stopped?  Commissioned and originally produced by Ford's Theatre, "One Destiny" has been performed at the White House, and will have its 800th performance at Ford's in 2015.

A glass unicorn
And So Goodbye
1 F

In late-1930s St. Louis, in an apartment overlooking an alley and a dance-hall, a young woman with a "slight defect"--and a penchant for collecting small glass animals--sits amid the wreckage of her life writing a heartfelt note to her absent, world-wandering brother, explaining how she has made it possible, at long last, for him to come home.  Even if she may not be there when he arrives, for reasons to be revealed...

Floor plan of a house
3 M, 1 F

Jeff has made it--big--as an investment advisor, and the time has come to cash in.  So he's bought a small ranch house from an elderly couple with plans to tear it down and replace it with the McMansion he's earned, designed by his architect friend Steve. Not until the elderly couple show up at Jeff's office with some final thoughts on the transaction does Steve realize what--and who--Jeff is really bulldozing, and the cruel extent he's gone to in leaving his past behind. "An engrossing tale of greed and selfishness with an intensely personal hook."  (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)  "Scathing..." (Miami Herald)  Finalist, Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award.

Broadway theatres at night
Counting Ninas
2 M

The mid-1990s--1:30 AM in a Manhattan hotel room, and Peter has just returned from the opening of the Broadway musical for which he wrote the book--his first.  But the room belongs to his composer and longtime friend Michael, weakened by AIDS, who chose to put his energies into the last rehearsals and skip the opening.  The New York Times in Peter's hand may hold the fate of their show, but Peter anger is directed at Michael--whose inevitable death may end his career as well.  It's Michael's reminder to cherish life, and their work together--symbolized by a hoped-for Hirschfeld cartoon of the two--that allows Peter to mourn, and to celebrate.  Originally produced by the Los Angeles Repertory Company.

Circus Freak-show poster
Layin' Off the Lizard-Boy
2 M, 1 F (voice only)

Mose's shabby, itinerant World of Exotic Wonders has just about reached the end of the road.   Not only are the crowds not coming anymore, but his wife Elna--The 600-Pound Woman--is embarking on a diet to force him out of the freak-show business. All that remains is to let his one remaining live attraction go. But bidding farewell to Bobby, the Lizard-Boy, and the world of wonders that has been Mose's life--and love--is harder and more emotional than he could ever have imagined. A darkly funny meditation on art, faith, and sacrifice--even if it's in a trailer out behind the midway....Finalist, Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award.

US Grant and Robert E. Lee
The Road From Appomattox
2 M

On April 10, 1865, the day after the surrender at Appomattox, Generals U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met once more--this time to take the first halting steps toward reconciliation.  Knowing that their actions, and example, could spell the difference between true peace and an endless Civil War in the American heart, the two consider how to put their considerable differences aside for the good of the nation.  Commissioned and originally produced by Ford's Theatre, "The Road From Appomattox" will also be part of events in Washington marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War in 2015.

Image of sinister man in sunglasses
A Speedy and Public Trial
Adapted from "The Trial", by Franz Kafka
5 M, 4 F

When Joseph K is awakened one morning and arrested by a couple of government agents--who cheerfully seize his computer and cell-phone--he's thrown into a rapid-fire comic nightmare that propels him through a system where the the law, the arts, and even religion assume he must be guilty, or why would he be under arrest?  Problem is, no-one can--or will--tell him what he did wrong, even though it may cost him his life....Finalist, Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award.  "A funny and delicious it-could-be-you...The timely update of Kafka's 'The Trial' may have some audience members sinking down in their seats since, as it turns out, Joseph K was wrong when he said 'This can't happen here.'"  (Miami Herald)

Female Shakespearean character
1 M, 1 F

In a chamber next to a timeless courtroom, a long-married Elizabethan couple battles through a judge's instruction to hash out their differences one more time before finalizing their divorce.  This time, however, the wife is not about to submit until the husband understands exactly what her so-called "taming" was all about--and, if he wants her to stay, the kind of wooing she deserves now.  Produced at City Theatre, Los Angeles Repertory Company, and The Shakespeare Company in Alberta, Canada.  "Imagines in period-perfect language what would happen if Kate had grown so weary of Petruchio's sexist domination all those years..." (Miami Herald)

Female swimmer in patriotic swimsuit
2 M, 1 F

Sheila left it all in an Olympic pool halfway around the world, and opportunistic ad-man Denny hopes to score with the medal-winner--in more ways than one.  Until a test-shoot in a photographer's studio reveals the truth behind the image, and who's really in the shallow end.  Finalist, Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award.  "A serio-comic piece with a sharp dramatic point." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)  "Forces us to evaluate personal worth against pop culture's celebrity scoreboard...creates a lasting impression despite its fleeting format."  (New Times, Miami)

Women's red hat
The Last of the Red Hat Mamas
2 F

Liz is about to turn 50--a dismal prospect to her, made worse by her older sister Joyce's spirited determination to celebrate by wedging her into the last remaining spot in in Joyce's Red Hat Society chapter.  The prospect of Fun and Friendship gives way to a bittersweet look at aging, and the importance, in getting through it, of a sisterhood that doesn't require a hat.

Text of ransom note
2 M, 1 F

Socialite Deborah thought she had escaped a notorious past, until word comes that a fellow former radical has just turned up after years of living quietly as a suburban mom.  Not only does the news threaten to refocus attention on Deborah's dubious claims of innocence--and send the media flocking to her door yet again--but it reawakens a long-dead terrorist leader in her mind. One who still has the power to threaten the life she thinks she believes in.  "[The actors] score in this speculation based on the Patty Hearst kidnapping, as a terrorist and two well-heeled veterans of prior social conflicts who want to stay out of a new one that's brewing."  (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Crystal glass of wine
Old Lace
1 F

Ancient, wheelchair-bound, and long a widow, Elaine is still alive with memories.  Of long-gone New York, of theatre in its glory days, of civility and fidelity and graceful living, and particularly of family.  Most notably of her late husband's spinster aunts, whose legacy of fine crystal--and a concoction of elderberry wine and arsenic--promises her a very pleasant means to rejoin all those who've gone on ahead...

Two fathers high-fiving each other
2 M

Nate's wife is in heavy labor, but he's in the men's room--suffering the worst sympathetic pains known to man.  What he needs is a birth coach of his own--and finds it, unexpectedly, when fellow dad Lonnie emerges from a nearby stall, in time to talk him through his ordeal with a helping of Lamaze and some timeless advice.  "A glorious example--very funny and eventually very moving--of just how good a one-act play can be." (Sacramento Bee)

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