Emma Goldman-Sherman

Emma Goldman-Sherman

Emma Goldman-Sherman is a playwright living in New York City. If that changes and she dies from Covid-19, she offers her plays here below for free without royalty in perpetuity. If you want to perform them, please do so. All I ask is that you pay NPX to keep my account open, and my favorite charities are Amnesty International and the Actors Fund (because torture and humanity). Counting in Sha'ab is...
Emma Goldman-Sherman is a playwright living in New York City. If that changes and she dies from Covid-19, she offers her plays here below for free without royalty in perpetuity. If you want to perform them, please do so. All I ask is that you pay NPX to keep my account open, and my favorite charities are Amnesty International and the Actors Fund (because torture and humanity). Counting in Sha'ab is available as a podcast on PlayingonAir.org and Abraham's Daughters is available as a podcast at TheParsnipShip.com. Experimental Bitch Presents will produce a workshop of Tanya's LIT CLIT in May, and FUKT was being workshopped at New Circle Theatre Company when the pandemic stopped it. MAN & WIFE's April production at Desert Ensemble Theatre Co in Palm Springs was also stopped by this nightmare.

Produced on 5 continents, her work has been seen at Golden Thread, WP Theatre, New Georges, UNESCO's City of Literature Festival in Dunedin (NZ), EST/LA, Dixon Place, The Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival, The New Ohio, Manhattan Theatre Source, All Out Arts at CSV, Circle Rep Lab, Guild Hall, New Circle Theatre Co, The Bernie Wohl Center, The Chain, Capital Fringe, Alumnae Theatre Toronto, Short + Sweet Gold Coast and Sydney (AU), Seoul, Sasebo, Renegade N.O.W. Festival, The Loft at Marble Collegiate Church, Astoria First Presbyterian's Brown Tree Theatre, Union Theological Seminary, The Museum of Jewish Heritage, Yiddishe Folksbiene Theatre, Greenbriar Valley Theatre, Canal Cafe Theatre (London), Camilla's, The Culture Project, and others.

FUKT was a 2019 finalist at Unicorn; ZEN & the Art of Mourning a Mother was a finalist for The Bridge Initiative's Bechdel Test Festival. WHORTICULTURE was a finalist in 2019 for Campfire Festival. She is published by Smith & Kraus and Applause. Her work was part of The Every 28 Hours Plays, a response to Ferguson that has been seen nationwide (The Goodman, OSF, ACT, Trinity Rep, etc).

Emma is a 3-time semi-finalist w/Cutting Ball's Risk is This Festival with Why Birds Fly, Abraham's Daughters and Whorticulture which was a finalist at Campfire and Unicorn and short-listed with Owl & Cat in Melbourne.

She earned an MFA from University of Iowa where she received the Normal Felton Fellowship and won the Richard Maibaum Award for plays addressing social justice for Antigone's Sister and received a Jane Chambers Award for Perfect Women. Residencies at Millay Colony for the Arts, Ragdale and twice at WordBridge where she returned a third year as a dramaturg. She has taught and been a dramaturg at the Great Plains Theatre Conference (2015, 2016). Emma is the Resident Dramaturg at 29th Street Playwrights Collective where she runs the Write Now Workshop. Member: LPTW and the Dramatists Guild.

Plays

  • FUKT
    FULL-LENGTH, BAPF 2020 Finalist, FUKT is an oddly uplifting personal tale of traumatic memory, incest, murder & private parts! With zombies, a striptease and song, this immersive, fearless journey to bare all is a healing balm for anyone with a secret.

    Emma (played by an actor) tries to perform a one-woman show about why she changed her name only Barbara and Bobbie interrupt and demand to be...
    FULL-LENGTH, BAPF 2020 Finalist, FUKT is an oddly uplifting personal tale of traumatic memory, incest, murder & private parts! With zombies, a striptease and song, this immersive, fearless journey to bare all is a healing balm for anyone with a secret.

    Emma (played by an actor) tries to perform a one-woman show about why she changed her name only Barbara and Bobbie interrupt and demand to be included. Bobbie holds all the memories that were erased by the traumas that Emma has survived. Barbara lived for a long time without remembering and would like to go on this way. FUKT is about how three fragmented aspects of a traumatized person come together to heal.

    Content Warning: this play deals with traumatic memory about incest and sexual abuse. The play could trigger anyone who is already dealing with (or ignoring) these issues.
  • Man & Wife
    FULL LENGTH In MAN & WIFE, Ron & Missy Merriweather start out as mannequins on their own wedding cake. They struggle through 25 years of BiPartisan Marriage navigating climate changes, health care crises, and their children's gender dysphoria while seeking their own authentic selves amid their need to constantly craft their images on social media! MAN & WIFE is a play to help us all feel much more human.
  • WHORTICULTURE
    FULL LENGTH Cum and See - LIVE GIRLS in Pop-Soil! This Confrontational TragiComedy is performed by Lark and her grad school friends (Riley and MIa) who are helping her present her Gender Studies Thesis on how Girls Grow rooted in social media, pop music, and racist rape culture. With Spoken Word and Masks, the 3 female actors play various roles including Poisonous Flowers and a Hater Chorus, as Lark confronts...
    FULL LENGTH Cum and See - LIVE GIRLS in Pop-Soil! This Confrontational TragiComedy is performed by Lark and her grad school friends (Riley and MIa) who are helping her present her Gender Studies Thesis on how Girls Grow rooted in social media, pop music, and racist rape culture. With Spoken Word and Masks, the 3 female actors play various roles including Poisonous Flowers and a Hater Chorus, as Lark confronts her past to put her best face forward.
  • ZEN & the Art of Mourning a Mother
    FULL LENGTH In ZEN & the Art of Mourning a Mother, Sarah wants to be seen as a loving daughter to her impossible mother, Angie who wants to make a deal: Angie will tell Sarah the story of why she never loved her, if only Sarah will leave her alone to die in peace. But Sarah has a story of her own to tell, and maybe after all the stories are told, Sarah will be able to mourn. 


    3 generations...
    FULL LENGTH In ZEN & the Art of Mourning a Mother, Sarah wants to be seen as a loving daughter to her impossible mother, Angie who wants to make a deal: Angie will tell Sarah the story of why she never loved her, if only Sarah will leave her alone to die in peace. But Sarah has a story of her own to tell, and maybe after all the stories are told, Sarah will be able to mourn. 


    3 generations of women, 3 different moments in time. . . 5 women try to come to terms with their losses while traveling to New York City on a train that breaks the time/space continuum, and this makes all the difference.
  • TAMAR, The Two-Gated City
    FULL LENGTH TAMAR, the Two-Gated City offers new ways to look at women who have survived rape, and women who judge, and how we can bear witness and heal. An adaptation of two rape culture stories in the Bible - this play does not change the stories themselves, but by viewing them from a different lens, we are inspired and changed by them. Young Tamar goes to the House of Amnon to find out the truth about her...
    FULL LENGTH TAMAR, the Two-Gated City offers new ways to look at women who have survived rape, and women who judge, and how we can bear witness and heal. An adaptation of two rape culture stories in the Bible - this play does not change the stories themselves, but by viewing them from a different lens, we are inspired and changed by them. Young Tamar goes to the House of Amnon to find out the truth about her Aunt Tamar for whom she was named. Abida, Amnon's servant, doesn't remember what happened, and even if she did, she would never want to talk about it. Instead Abida tells Young Tamar the story of the Concubine. But Young Tamar asks so many questions, Abida can't sing the story the way she knows it and has to question it herself. The rules that Abida internalized begin to unravel as Young Tamar changes the way Abida sees the world. Aunt Tamar exists on stage as a ghost in this highly theatrical -- yet simple to produce -- play with 3 songs sung a capella for 3 women.
  • Why Birds Fly
    FULL LENGTH 2020 Unicorn Finalist, 2-hander that could be produced OUTDOORS in BROAD DAYLIGHT - After a devastating storm, Grace tries to rebuild, but Mary is desperate to escape. This is my deconstruction of a kitchen sink play with the sink torn from its pipes. This highly physical piece runs in real time as a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy - audience gets to choose on this emotional ride. Why Birds Fly is...
    FULL LENGTH 2020 Unicorn Finalist, 2-hander that could be produced OUTDOORS in BROAD DAYLIGHT - After a devastating storm, Grace tries to rebuild, but Mary is desperate to escape. This is my deconstruction of a kitchen sink play with the sink torn from its pipes. This highly physical piece runs in real time as a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy - audience gets to choose on this emotional ride. Why Birds Fly is a mythic play about the primal human instinct to survive.
  • ABRAHAM'S DAUGHTERS
    FULL LENGTH 2019 HENLEY ROSE FINALIST You can hear it here: https://www.theparsnipship.com/#listen-now Although Abraham is a Jew from Flushing, and he only has one daughter, Maxine, and her only daughter Racie is a lesbian, Abraham still believes he'll be the Father of Nations. He moves to Tel Aviv in search of his first love, Haajar. When he discovers Haajar's daughter has five Palestinian Muslim...
    FULL LENGTH 2019 HENLEY ROSE FINALIST You can hear it here: https://www.theparsnipship.com/#listen-now Although Abraham is a Jew from Flushing, and he only has one daughter, Maxine, and her only daughter Racie is a lesbian, Abraham still believes he'll be the Father of Nations. He moves to Tel Aviv in search of his first love, Haajar. When he discovers Haajar's daughter has five Palestinian Muslim sons, he goes to Nablus in the midst of the first Intifada to claim them as his own. Abraham's Daughters is a mythic play about colonialism and identity. 1 man, 4 women, 90 min, unit set
  • Perfect Women
    FULL LENGTH Rosie starts a youtube channel for her birthday to document the stuff that happens, and a lot happens! This is a romp through early adolescence with lesbian longings, Barbie comes to life and runs off with a stone butch biker chick who used to be Pygmalion's Galatea, you know, just like your own teen years... From body image issues to acceptance -- is it possible?
  • Antigone's Sister
    FULL LENGTH Ismene, Antigone's Sister, goes over the events that led to Antigone's imprisonment/death, from her own imprisonment in the same cave where she now faces the same choices Antigone did at her end, and in looking back Ismene shows us the steps that led not only to Antigone's tragedy, but also to Antigone's greatness as she opens Ismene's eyes to the idea that women are also human.
  • That Cirqus Play (or what you will)
    FULL LENGTH As Sleeping Beauty's castle awakens, the Mayor of the town of Demensia makes plans to host a circus on the Village Green, but the Queen of the Castle wants her Beauty (who has run off) to be married on that day. War and farce ensues... Rapunzel goes rogue. Cinderella robs a department store. And the Prince and his dog search for true love. Then the lesbian circus comes to town to set...
    FULL LENGTH As Sleeping Beauty's castle awakens, the Mayor of the town of Demensia makes plans to host a circus on the Village Green, but the Queen of the Castle wants her Beauty (who has run off) to be married on that day. War and farce ensues... Rapunzel goes rogue. Cinderella robs a department store. And the Prince and his dog search for true love. Then the lesbian circus comes to town to set things straight, I mean, right. If the shoe fits. . . !
  • ALLIANCE
    SHORT PLAY - Cal tries to help Jane feel better after she is bullied, only Jane doesn't want any help.
  • A Small Attempt to be a Specific Woman, But Really Doesn't Mean Anything, Just Ignore Me
    MONOLOGUE A woman not trying to be seen as representative of anything tries to change her life and fix herself and stand up to the crushing hell of her existence while she folds her family's laundry.
  • A TOUR of The Early 21st Century Reproductive System (The Way We Used to Have Babies) & Real Live Birth Experience!
    MONOLOGUE Docent Donna unfortunately loses it while giving a tour of our early reproductive system, one of our most popular exhibits! We are very happy to announce her final retirement for which she has opted after so many years of service with The Museum of Evolution.
  • BUG STUDY
    TEN MINUTE PLAY -- After ten years of research in the rain forest, Bob returns to teach, but his ex-wife and daughter show up to confront him in class. Bob uses them to teach entomology, and they teach him a lesson in parenting.
  • The Cliffs of Paris
    SHORT: Morty takes Joan to Paris, but he doesn't want to take her anywhere else. Joan confronts him about their sex life.

    You might remember Joan and Morty from a little play called Toilet Paper.
  • Counting in Sha'ab
    ONE-ACT Now available as a podcast! (see link) After a car bomb goes off in a market in Sha'ab (a community in the northern part of Baghdad), the people have to decide how to go on. Is this the new normal? Should they count the bodies? What counts when every day life is disrupted every day? How we respond to trauma when trauma is happening all the time is a question many of us must confront. This one-act...
    ONE-ACT Now available as a podcast! (see link) After a car bomb goes off in a market in Sha'ab (a community in the northern part of Baghdad), the people have to decide how to go on. Is this the new normal? Should they count the bodies? What counts when every day life is disrupted every day? How we respond to trauma when trauma is happening all the time is a question many of us must confront. This one-act play takes a look at some of those strategies. Counting in Sha'ab's cast of different Iraqis (Sunni, Shi'a, Kurd, male, female) highlights our shared humanity.
  • DATE NIGHT?
    SHORT - an immersive, confrontational, nasty start to any play festival that wants to highlight feminist issues. Before the curtain speech, while the house lights are still up, Jared and Lia look for seats. They are on a date. And stuff happens.
  • DAUGHTERS of ABRAHAM
    TEN MINUTE When Racie and Amel realize they have a portal into each other's lives, they trade places so an American Jewish Lesbian can see how a Palestinian Muslim Heterosexual lives and vice versa. Only Racie doesn't want to leave.
  • DEEP
    SHORT -- DEEP has been redacted for your safety. The content of this play must not be leaked. Classified for high clearance security levels only. Sometimes stories can't be told.
  • Different, a monologue
    MONOLOGUE Dosia is a woman in a box. Sometimes by speaking we can change things. Maybe not ourselves or our own situation. Maybe we can change our audience. Maybe our audience changes us.
  • DREAM TALK
    (10 MINUTE) - This is the talk the playwright wishes she had received from her parents, and maybe you'd like it too. A very simple play to perform that was written because we all need to be loved and we all need to be seen.
  • 800 Miles
    TEN MINUTE PLAY After they drop off their son at college, a couple begin to bicker and end up reassessing their entire marriage now that their nest is empty.
  • EUPHORIA
    ONE ACT When 15 year old Joe breaks his wrist snowboarding, the doctor prescribes Oxycodone for the pain. Joe's dad, George, didn't think anything of it. Joe's mom, Carol, took the pills away. Now Carol is caught in a constant battle to keep herself from going upstairs.

    As an alternative, the script can be done with 15 year old Jo cast as female or non-binary/gnc, and there is...
    ONE ACT When 15 year old Joe breaks his wrist snowboarding, the doctor prescribes Oxycodone for the pain. Joe's dad, George, didn't think anything of it. Joe's mom, Carol, took the pills away. Now Carol is caught in a constant battle to keep herself from going upstairs.

    As an alternative, the script can be done with 15 year old Jo cast as female or non-binary/gnc, and there is also a version where Jo is adopted.
  • EUPHORIA
    10 Minute Version - When 15 year old Joe breaks his wrist snowboarding, the doctor prescribes Oxycodone for the pain. Joe's dad, George, doesn't think anything of it. Joe's mom, Carol, takes the pills away. But Sackler is already advancing on Joe's soul. George blames himself, and Carol is caught in a constant battle to keep herself from going upstairs.
  • 5 Golden Rings
    MONOLOGUE - Marcia just met the one! And she should be able to share her thoughts even if it's early in the relationship. And it's the holiday season, and that just makes everything seem so possible! Hope springs eternal in this joyful wishful holiday monologue!
  • GM: ROB & SUE
    SHORT: Rob went out for milk and eggs while SUE prepared ROB's birthday dinner, but the weather and the bridge and the rain and now Rob's back but -- do you know what happened when Clinton signed NAFTA? Do you know why so many people voted for 45 after Bernie was removed from the race? Do you know what GM did before they moved to Mexico? 6 pages for the workers of America.
  • GOLDFISH MOBILITY
    MONOLOGUE - Gyda - a female-identified person of any age or race or ethnicity or ability - tells her partner that she spent the money they were saving for a trip on her new venture to make a youtube channel after being inspired by a goldfish.
  • Heaven's a Motel
    ONE ACT based on a quote from John Cage, this play imagines a kind of overwhelming loneliness and what it drives humans to do.
  • HIDE and SEEK
    TEN MINUTE - LG and Daisy play Hide and Seek in their mother's closet, but no one comes to find them, and they have to grow up. A play about time and space and art-making and losing what we hide and losing more than that.
  • THE HOLIDAY CROWD
    SHORT -- JANE and TOBY have accidentally gotten stuck between the card tables they set up for their holiday event and the holiday decor and the tree... and after 52 years of marriage, Jane is fed up with the holidays!
  • HUG for the HOLIDAYS
    TEN MINUTE-- Donna is trying to get her mother to understand her food issues, so she can come home for the holidays and not have to argue. Rhonda, Donna's mother, likes to argue.
  • KINDERGARDEN
    TEN-MINUTE PLAY Three five year old girls named for poisonous plants (played by grown-up actors) form a clique, but when a fourth girl tries to join them, they find a very dark reason to keep her out.
  • THE LAST DATE
    TEN MINUTE Jeff and Alyssa are out on a date or are they? Challenges our assumptions about how we see women and men. Breaks fourth wall.
  • LOVE SHOTS
    TEN MINUTES Ah, friendship! The greatest love of all! Dennis and Rhoda help Pru manage her heartache until she feels better, and then we find out how they really feel.

  • Neighbors by the Sea
    ONE-ACT (short) Neighbors by the Sea is about how we get along with each other.
    While Sai is swimming in the sea, Noa moves Sai's beach chair. When Sai comes back, they argue. They see each other in very narrow ways. The beauty of theatre is that the audience sees something else. People tell me they read a lot into the play, that it can be about many things. So let it be what you want it to be.
  • No Bikini
    TEN MINUTE - On Spring Break, when Jess insists on wearing a special bikini, Hanna, Griffin and Steve set out to change her mind.
  • NO LITTLE WOMEN
    TEN MINUTE PLAY - High School students try to convince their teacher that Little Women should not be required reading but their teacher argues for it with some of her last teacherly breaths.
  • PETRIFIED
    ONE ACT Etta is too afraid to confront her father, so she lets the truth she remembers in the forest do it for her which causes her father to make a choice of his own.
  • POLYNEICES
    TEN MINUTE PLAY - Have you ever wondered how Polyneices was buried? Andros and Carnos are two guards sent to watch his body rot in the hot summer of 415 BCE, but between the heat and the rot and the stink and the drink, it's a glorious comeday for an epic fail!
  • REQUIEM for GENOCIDE
    TEN-MINUTE PLAY The Armenian Genocide (1915), The Bosnian Muslim Genocide (1993) and The Palestinian Genocide (1947 on) all converge on one woman, Bushra, as she realizes she has lost her shoes. An American relief worker tries to help her find her shoes until they realize that Bushra has no feet. An absurd tale of American inability to see the problem or to fix it. With actual genocidal texts.
  • The Slap
    ONE ACT: The Slap is a dark comedy based on a true story about the objectification of women set in 1973 when things weren't much different than they are today. Each character is trying to figure out how to move forward and how to manage their lives after an event that upsets them all.
  • SOMEONE
    ONE ACT A 2-hander version of my other piece called Someone only different. NO ONE does the dishes - lots and lots of dishes. And her daughter DOLL. Who does your dishes? Have you thanked her recently?
  • SOMEONE
    Short. A monologue, SOMEONE has been doing the dishes for a very long time. Who does the dishes in your house? If your answer is NO ONE, then you might want to call her.
  • Step-Blisters
    TEN MINUTE PLAY - Cindy and Gladys are step-blisters in a new version of a very old story. You might not even recognize them. In this version, Cindy has OCD and Gladys is bulimic. This is the day they try to break each other of their mental health illnesses in true step-blisterly fashion.
  • SUPER-DEATH!
    TEN-MINUTE PLAY Luke and Edward are twin brothers struggling with Luke's impending death. Luke wants to give Edward a superpower to help him avoid the grieving process. Through the metaphor of what we see (Luke wears a Spiderman costume) and who we are (the audience) Edward is able to give Luke the best death possible.
  • TIGHTROPE
    ONE ACT high up on the high wire, Claire propositions Martha while Claire's wife Wanda watches way down below. There are tricks and treats and twists galore in this dark comedy about a hostile work environment set in a queer circus.
  • TOILET PAPER
    ONE ACT: A mother attempts to educate her family, but they refuse to learn. Involves CIRCUS clowning and juggling as far as you want to take it! Breaks Fourth Wall. FUN FUN FUN!
  • TOOLS
    SHORT A fight and dance piece to protest Pussy-Grabbing. This super-short piece is a humorous physical take on how to fight back using self-defense physicality to take back our agency and show men that Pussy-Grabbing will not be permitted. Very physical -- needs a fight director and perhaps a choreographer. FOR PROTEST and CELEBRATIONS OF FEMALE STRENGTH!
  • WALLS LIKE CURTAINS
    TEN MINUTE Julie is always walking into walls. Now she's in love with Leah, hoping not to get hurt, hoping the walls she's always walking into might be soft this time, like curtains.
  • wombshot
    ONE-ACT A young girl shoots herself in the womb to abort a fetus she could not afford to abort legally -- this strange, dark piece imagines what led up to this act, and some of the fall-out afterwards. I OFFER THIS PLAY FREE TO BE PRODUCED BY ANYONE ANYWHERE UNTIL WE SOLIDIFY OUR RIGHTS TO MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS OVER OUR OWN BODIES IN THIS COUNT-RY WHERE WOMEN ARE STILL TREATED AS PROPERTY.
  • ZEN
    ONE-ACT - ZEN is the under-30 minute version of the full-length ZEN & the Art of Mourning a Mother. This version includes 2 of the 5 characters in the longer work. ZEN takes place in 1993 and involves Sarah and Denita, two acquaintances from high school who run into each other at Philadelphia's 30th Street train station on their way to New York City. One is leaving her mother's bedside and the...
    ONE-ACT - ZEN is the under-30 minute version of the full-length ZEN & the Art of Mourning a Mother. This version includes 2 of the 5 characters in the longer work. ZEN takes place in 1993 and involves Sarah and Denita, two acquaintances from high school who run into each other at Philadelphia's 30th Street train station on their way to New York City. One is leaving her mother's bedside and the other is on her way to her mother's bedside. It is a play about impending loss that also highlights micro-aggressions and the entitlements white people take from people of color while blinded by our privileges.
  • BETWEEN TWO RIVERS
    SHORT PLAY -- An Iraqi man reconsiders his relationship with an American while, in Iraq, a young Iraqi male warns a married Iraqi woman that the local leader is upset with her. (A companion piece to another play I wrote about Iraq.)