Richard Lyons Conlon

Richard Lyons Conlon

A two-term Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and proud member of the Dramatists Guild, Richard has written over 30 plays and screenplays.

In the past year, his satire on class and sexual warfare 7 MINUTES TO LIVE was a Semi-Finalist at the 2018 Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, and at the New Works Contest at MultiStages in NYC. His take on artificial intelligence and literature...
A two-term Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and proud member of the Dramatists Guild, Richard has written over 30 plays and screenplays.

In the past year, his satire on class and sexual warfare 7 MINUTES TO LIVE was a Semi-Finalist at the 2018 Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, and at the New Works Contest at MultiStages in NYC. His take on artificial intelligence and literature THE VOLITIVE EFFECT OF ORAL LITERARY INUNDATION ON THE LSTM RECURRENT NEURAL NETWORK won Stony Brook University's 2018 Science Playwriting Award. It was also published in The Paragon Literary Journal and produced by Theatre Evolve in Chicago.

CHAR'S FUCKED DISASTER OF A LIFE premiered in March at the Vulcan Theatre Company in NYC. The comedy JACKSON was a winner at the Actors' Theatre 2019 Play Contest and premiered in January. Also in January, the twisted one-act comedy DR. WOMAN AND MR. MAN was produced by the Short Play Podcast out of Atlanta.

An existential comedy THE MOST HIDDEN THING was named a Top Ten Winner in the Lotus Lee Foundation's 2018 New Work Initiative. The one-act drama DESCANSO was named the Winner of the 2017 WordWave New Play Festival. Richard's comedy NO TIME AT ALL was a Finalist in the 2016 Reva Shiner Comedy Award Contest. Another comedy CHARACTER COUNTS was a Semi-Finalist at this year's B Street Theatre's New Comedies Festival.

The comedy-drama ONE TIME enjoyed a record-setting world premiere at Next Act Theatre in Milwaukee and has been workshopped in New York and Chicago. It also took the Gold Prize in the 2015 Beverly Hills Stage Play Competition.

Plays

  • 7 Minutes to Live
    No metaphor. No joke. Henry Crawford has exactly seven minutes to live and he's dying to tell you all about it.

    The play opens with Henry's voice ringing out of the darkness, asking, "You want to hear something funny?" The lights reveal Henry, looking like hell, nose broken, shirt bloody -- chained to a dumpster in an alley.

    Swinging from belligerent to...
    No metaphor. No joke. Henry Crawford has exactly seven minutes to live and he's dying to tell you all about it.

    The play opens with Henry's voice ringing out of the darkness, asking, "You want to hear something funny?" The lights reveal Henry, looking like hell, nose broken, shirt bloody -- chained to a dumpster in an alley.

    Swinging from belligerent to obsequious, he prepares the audience to hear the whole sad, twisted tale of how he found himself in this predicament.

    His story starts late the night before in his apartment, when he is visited by first, his free-spirit girlfriend, Vanessa, and later, her erratic brother, Luke.

    Vanessa and Luke turn Henry's life upside down with their inscrutable, shifting agendas and a bewildering mix of physical, mental, sexual, and yes -- literary -- intimidation.

    The four characters in this play present a microcosm of class (and sexual) warfare in our society. Henry comes from privilege, yet bemoans his lot in life. His new girlfriend, Vanessa, and her brother, Luke (adopted, of different ethnicities), are seemingly homeless wanderers who turn Henry's life upside down, exposing his prejudices and insecurities. Henry's neighbor Eddy (Edwina) goes against female stereotype at every turn.
  • The Volitive Effect of Oral Literary Inundation on the LSTM Recurrent Neural Network
    "We were curious . . . Six months ago, we began a project in which a small army of volunteers -- students, faculty, community members -- read the world's great works of literature to an LSTM recurrent neural network, whom we've given the name Geoffrey (for Geoffrey Chaucer, of course). And now, after a brief processing period -- a time of creative reflection, if you will -- Geoffrey will produce...
    "We were curious . . . Six months ago, we began a project in which a small army of volunteers -- students, faculty, community members -- read the world's great works of literature to an LSTM recurrent neural network, whom we've given the name Geoffrey (for Geoffrey Chaucer, of course). And now, after a brief processing period -- a time of creative reflection, if you will -- Geoffrey will produce -- create, if you will -- the world's first artificially-generated work of literature. If you will."
  • One Time
    Sometimes it take a lifetime of stories to tell the story of a lifetime.

    Unrequited love, religious epiphanies, posing in the nude, an abusive marriage, and the secret powers of nuns ... these are just some of the stories Sonia and Mason tell each other from their individual lives.

    As the stories unfold -- and the mysteries and tension heighten -- we discover there is so much more...
    Sometimes it take a lifetime of stories to tell the story of a lifetime.

    Unrequited love, religious epiphanies, posing in the nude, an abusive marriage, and the secret powers of nuns ... these are just some of the stories Sonia and Mason tell each other from their individual lives.

    As the stories unfold -- and the mysteries and tension heighten -- we discover there is so much more to Sonia and Mason than at first appears . . . so much more to the stories . . . and so much more to their relationship -- past and present.

    Now, can they complete the story of a common past they once shared more than three decades earlier?
  • Intellectual Property
    The main character in misanthropic novelist Victor Pagán's third novel is Vivien Langford, who happens to be the world's biggest and sexiest movie star. Vivien Langford, however, is a flesh-and-blood human being -- an accomplished writer herself -- and she's having none of it. Outraged by his unwanted misappropriation of her persona, she immediately sues to stop the book's distribution. But...
    The main character in misanthropic novelist Victor Pagán's third novel is Vivien Langford, who happens to be the world's biggest and sexiest movie star. Vivien Langford, however, is a flesh-and-blood human being -- an accomplished writer herself -- and she's having none of it. Outraged by his unwanted misappropriation of her persona, she immediately sues to stop the book's distribution. But she goes further -- much further. Contacting Victor directly in a series of FaceTime exchanges, she proceeds to dismantle his misogynistic, condescending character (and meager oeuvre), finally leaving him one option for redemption:
    She'll allow his book to come out if he agrees to a very public humiliation.
    Based on true events.
  • Descanso
    Every evening without fail, Beth appears on Marissa's front lawn to spend time at the makeshift memorial that's been erected there, the exact spot of her daughter's last moments of life after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. The two women have struck up a genuine friendship based on shared tragedy, but now Marissa is looking to move on — and she thinks Beth should do the same. (Formerly titled: Send Forth Thy Mercies.)
  • Falling Into Macy
    Fifteen short scenes about the relationships of two (and possibly, three) different couples. One, a long-time married pair who find their union in trouble. The other, two separately married co-workers trying to decide between friendship . . . or more. And then there's Macy, who has a vested interest in the fate of these relationships.
  • The Most Hidden Thing
    Mazy has always hated baseball — it took some arm-twisting by Owen, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, to even get her to go to a game. Getting hit on the head by a foul ball is not likely to change her mind.

    To make things worse, when she comes to, Mazy seems to have developed, in addition to a headache, a very disturbing new talent (“Blessing? Curse? Party trick? I don’t know.”). It seems she...
    Mazy has always hated baseball — it took some arm-twisting by Owen, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, to even get her to go to a game. Getting hit on the head by a foul ball is not likely to change her mind.

    To make things worse, when she comes to, Mazy seems to have developed, in addition to a headache, a very disturbing new talent (“Blessing? Curse? Party trick? I don’t know.”). It seems she can “see” anyone’s deepest, darkest secret, the one single thing no one ever wants to see the light of day. And she has a tendency to blurt it out without thinking.

    Her new talent wreaks havoc in her life and those around her as she tries to figure out why she can do what she can do. She is helped along the way by a mysterious, possibly homeless, guide: Gert.

    Mazy takes the audience into her confidence, breaking out from the action to share her thoughts and feelings with them directly. She comes to believe “something big was in the works . . . that this won’t stop until I see the biggest secret from the biggest individual I could encounter. A secret that would give meaning to everything.”
  • Char's Fucked-up Disaster of a Life
    Liz's little sister, Char, is well-known for her bad decisions and impulsive behavior. So when Liz returns home to find Char on her couch, she tells herself she's prepared for the worst. But as Char takes her step-by-step through her latest sequence of poor choices, it becomes obvious that she is thinking of Liz as her last hope. But is Liz willing to overlook Char's path of destruction one more time?
  • The Contrition Club
    They say the hardest thing a parent can ever face is the death of a child. But what about a death caused BY their child? How does a parent face that? The guilt and the shame are in direct conflict with the natural need to support and protect their own child. A wickedly funny drama about second chances, no chances, and last chances.
  • Emotional Affair
    While taking a home pregnancy test, thirty-something Brenda sorts through the debris of her extremely close relationship with co-worker William — a relationship that, despite its being "simply" a non-sexual, "emotional affair", ended very, very badly.

    During an emotional roller-coaster of a monologue, we learn about her dysfunctional relationship with her mother, her loveless...
    While taking a home pregnancy test, thirty-something Brenda sorts through the debris of her extremely close relationship with co-worker William — a relationship that, despite its being "simply" a non-sexual, "emotional affair", ended very, very badly.

    During an emotional roller-coaster of a monologue, we learn about her dysfunctional relationship with her mother, her loveless marriage to Phillip ("I can sum up his idea of intimacy in two words: Internet porn."), the deep bond she once shared with William ("All we had was the tawdry sharing of our deepest, most intimate thoughts, feelings, and longings."), and what ultimately lead to the end.
  • Character Counts
    One fine Saturday morning, Wren Wright finds a disturbing note in the mailbox, addressed to her. Anonymous, handwritten, unstamped, and positively cryptic, it reads simply: "Character Counts". Wren, already struggling with stability and balance issues, is set off on a journey to discover which of her "nosy, judgmental" neighbors sent it and why. Is the note, as she believes, condemning her...
    One fine Saturday morning, Wren Wright finds a disturbing note in the mailbox, addressed to her. Anonymous, handwritten, unstamped, and positively cryptic, it reads simply: "Character Counts". Wren, already struggling with stability and balance issues, is set off on a journey to discover which of her "nosy, judgmental" neighbors sent it and why. Is the note, as she believes, condemning her past behavior? Or is it, as her husband Ben asserts, commending her recent actions?
    The prime suspect in Wren's estimation: 87-year old Edna Jenkins, with whom she's had a longstanding feud. Of course, Edna has her own skeletons rattling about (did she really rob her best friend's cradle?). Soon, it's learned that the neighborhood layabout and cowboy wannabe, Brett, has also received the note. As has the creepy, voyeuristic Mr. Maladroix. And who knows who else? Brett's teenage daughter Addie has her own higher-powered ideas about who sent it, but then so does everyone else. Before fingers can be fully pointed however, another, similar note arrives. And then another. And then, more.
    And finally, a note arrives inviting all to meet at 10:00pm on a Friday in June to "discover the true meaning of character."
    A somewhat mysterious, positively twisted, flat-out hilarious look at the neighborhoods and communities in which we all live.