Michael Perlmutter

Michael Perlmutter

Michael Perlmutter’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., U.K., South Korea, India and Israel, He graduated from CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) last century (yeah, he’s old). His work has been presented or developed at such places as Fresh Produce’d, The Blank Theatre, Turn of Flesh Productions, Hot City and Primitive Stage, among others.
By all outside accounts, Michael Perlmutter...
Michael Perlmutter’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., U.K., South Korea, India and Israel, He graduated from CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) last century (yeah, he’s old). His work has been presented or developed at such places as Fresh Produce’d, The Blank Theatre, Turn of Flesh Productions, Hot City and Primitive Stage, among others.
By all outside accounts, Michael Perlmutter, should be a member of the "haven't we heard enough from you, white, over fifty, straight, christian, male" society. But he's not. Instead of taking a table by the window he has settled on a bench on the bus stop outside the restaurant. He's an outsider; looking in. Telling stories no one else is telling. At least he's trying to. He recently survived his wife of over forty years (yeah, so I'm sixty--that's still over fifty, isn't it?) and his kids all live within fifteen minutes away. Award winning and yet seldom performed, his works span a myriad of topics and genres.

Plays

  • THREE WITCHES
    A tale of greed, murder, revenge and outrage told from the vantage of those who fate never smiled upon.
    Three Witches retells the saga of the Scottish play (aka MacBETH as long as you’re not reading this aloud in a theatre) from the vantage of the Three Weird Sisters without the use of anything truly supernatural; and a few other twists. The story is relayed to us by a troupe of travelling players who...
    A tale of greed, murder, revenge and outrage told from the vantage of those who fate never smiled upon.
    Three Witches retells the saga of the Scottish play (aka MacBETH as long as you’re not reading this aloud in a theatre) from the vantage of the Three Weird Sisters without the use of anything truly supernatural; and a few other twists. The story is relayed to us by a troupe of travelling players who assume all parts large and small (encouraging diverse casting opportunities). Think Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead meet Paula Vogel’s Indecent (but for the Scottish play).
    Hecate, a self-proclaimed dark witch, is double booked and trades off her second appointment to the sisters (rival white witches/apothecarians of their day) for a few hallucinogenic roots. The job is to deliver a message to Lord MacBeth, manipulatively arranged by Lady MacBeth herself, thus setting into motion the events laid out in William Shakespeare’s tale of greed, lust and power.
    The king (Duncan) is killed, MacBeth assumes power; or should we say, Queen MacBeth assumes power. King MacBeth does all he can, even killing Banquo (his best friend), in order to secure his wife’s love. The rest of the country skirmishes; Lady MacDuff requests sanctuary for her family, Banquo’s son, Fleance, runs away, only to injure himself and be found by the youngest of the Three Sisters, November, who takes him home, like a lost dog, in order to nurse him back to health. Meanwhile Hecate erupts on the sisters’ home, demanding her share.
    Word arrives that Lady MacBeth plans to cleanse the New Scotland of any unwanteds, and the list is quite long. In order to survive the coming genocide, it is up to the witches to take history into their own hands.

    Theatrical
  • POLITE CONVERSATIONS and WINE
    Alice & Lisa are married and very much in love, ready to take the next step to start a family. Which twenty years ago, wasn't done. They are celebrating going into the next chapter of their lives and part of that is gathering family and friends. Well, maybe just friends. But then again you can't exclude the family. What you can do is have a separate party for both mothers. Just the four of...
    Alice & Lisa are married and very much in love, ready to take the next step to start a family. Which twenty years ago, wasn't done. They are celebrating going into the next chapter of their lives and part of that is gathering family and friends. Well, maybe just friends. But then again you can't exclude the family. What you can do is have a separate party for both mothers. Just the four of you. What could possibly go wrong with that? ***PLEASE NOTE*** "SAMPLE SCRIPT" HAS BEEN REPURPOSED TO PROVIDE A ZOOM FRIENDLY SCRIPT
  • Directing Hamlet
    DIRECTING HAMLET / SYNOPSIS
    A rehearsal in progress. CAITLYN, a nineteen year old actor is busy being verbally attacked, prodded, cajoled and anything but coddled by THE DIRECTOR (Lee), a fifty/sixty something year old seasoned theatre veteran as they stumble their way their rehearsal one of theatre's most intriguing characters (for an all female version of the play).
    Lee focuses on...
    DIRECTING HAMLET / SYNOPSIS
    A rehearsal in progress. CAITLYN, a nineteen year old actor is busy being verbally attacked, prodded, cajoled and anything but coddled by THE DIRECTOR (Lee), a fifty/sixty something year old seasoned theatre veteran as they stumble their way their rehearsal one of theatre's most intriguing characters (for an all female version of the play).
    Lee focuses on Caitlyn's past to bring a fuller resonance to the young actor's characterization of the Danish prince forcing her to use the Bard's words to look deeper and deeper into her own psyche and parentless childhood. Lee pushes at her causing Caitlyn to choose between pushing back or walking out. Caitlyn hangs on. A verbal tennis match ensues using life, the words of Shakespeare, their own pasts, dreams and failures into focus as both men explore Hamlet's need to find peace versus justice balanced against their own search for truth, purpose, forgiveness, acceptance and redemption. Brian comes to realize he need not be defined by his own past. Lee's own manic attention to detail slips away to reveal he too has been avoiding his own family drama. Throughout their afternoon's "work" Lee's daughter has lain dying in a hospital bed--the result of being disconnected from the machine's keeping her alive--and a scene of reality Lee has not been able to bring himself to face. Caitlyn takes the lead insisting on driving Lee to the hospital to attend to arrangements. The two exit the building together leaving the stage and Hamlet behind to attend to life.

    Also available for a female Actor (BRIAN) and male Director (LEE).
  • Crimson
    Crimson by Michael Perlmutter is a unique look at love, violence, sex, control and the need to live one's life on the edge. Exploring the tenuous relationships between partners who have grown too comfortable and partners who are forced to live out a far too dangerous relationship. In a world full of people crying out for attention and atonement Crimson is sadly as relevant today as when it was first...
    Crimson by Michael Perlmutter is a unique look at love, violence, sex, control and the need to live one's life on the edge. Exploring the tenuous relationships between partners who have grown too comfortable and partners who are forced to live out a far too dangerous relationship. In a world full of people crying out for attention and atonement Crimson is sadly as relevant today as when it was first presented in 1983 (Winning a 1983 Los Angeles Drama Logue Award for writing). However this script presented here is an entirely re-envisioned storytelling, paring down a cast of six players to three, with new scenes, venues, twenty-first century technology and social settings to play to today's audience.
    Domestic violence is looked at from a differing perspective of the abused as controller. This is by no means a feminist bashing position being taken but a unique facet of the relationship between pain and love. Kim Tharp, is an emotional runaway who can only find security in a re-creation of her earliest remembered pain. Crimson has been referred to as a step beyond "Looking For Mr. Goodbar". Sadomasochism has formed an intricate lacework trim on the edges of the cloth of human sexuality since the beginning of time and Crimson digs deeper into the existence of the aberration in our daily lives without the use of graphic or lurid scenes but the relying on the tension that drives us to our extremes in this way the play stays uniquely innovative in its approach to the themes of control, violence sex, striving for more and settling for less--pushing the boundaries by denying them.
  • Random Lives
    RANDOM ACTS is a two act play that examines our preconceptions of time, normalcy and our ideology of psychology. June Cessario is a young, newly married, psychologist treating an unusual patient (Theodore Stavos) who claims he is unable to linearly integrate his soul with his body. While his body ages regularly day to day, like the rest of us, Teddy's conscience (or soul if you will) is not tethered to the...
    RANDOM ACTS is a two act play that examines our preconceptions of time, normalcy and our ideology of psychology. June Cessario is a young, newly married, psychologist treating an unusual patient (Theodore Stavos) who claims he is unable to linearly integrate his soul with his body. While his body ages regularly day to day, like the rest of us, Teddy's conscience (or soul if you will) is not tethered to the same timetable. He may live a day at the age of twelve and then another at 42, "jumping" between the moments of his own life until the last moment at the end of July 2011. However that date is looming closer and in order to save his life he must learn to correct course before it's too late.
    Told through vignettes of recorded appointments, deposition statements and overlapping memories: time lines indeed begin to jumble. Story arcs and discoveries emerge out of linearity as June sets about to help Teddy through his journey only to be caught up questioning her own choices and whether to believe her patient is crazy, deceitful or what he claims to be.
  • 1865
    Jenna LaFluer, a company actress, steps out onto the stage, surveying the wreckage that was Ford's Theatre shortly following the assassination attempt of Abraham Lincoln on April 14th, 1865, to sneak a cigarette. She and seven other performers and stagehands have been temporarily trapped inside the locked down theatre as a growing mob congregates outside the building to await the fate of the President and...
    Jenna LaFluer, a company actress, steps out onto the stage, surveying the wreckage that was Ford's Theatre shortly following the assassination attempt of Abraham Lincoln on April 14th, 1865, to sneak a cigarette. She and seven other performers and stagehands have been temporarily trapped inside the locked down theatre as a growing mob congregates outside the building to await the fate of the President and the nation. The ongoing interviews of those who claimed to have witnessed the evening's attack have been postponed due to the increasing danger from the assembled swarm. In order to ensure their protection, the actors and crew are all quickly been sequestered to the stage itself.

    Relationships strain as the evening wanes on. The crowds outside begin demanding justice from those responsible, shooting at the building and smashing windows in an attempt to flush out the conspirators and vent their anger while a small faction of Union soldiers hold down their ground. The chant of "Burn it down!" raises the stakes higher, taking a further toll on those embedded inside.

    In order to survive will this ragtag group need to give up one of their own to satisfy the mob and earn back their own freedom? 1865 is as relevant and true today in the wake of 9/11 and LA riots (1965 and 1992) as it was when our nation first lost its innocence.
  • Open Meeting Closed
    4 women have closed their open AA meeting today to confront Helen, the woman who has slept with all their husbands . . . well, almost all. Enter the newcomer, looking for her first meeting, and you have the mix for an AA meeting / Intervention gone wrong.
  • Severance Play
    We've all been there. You’re running late for work, an important presentation on the on the calendar, your job may very well hang on the line. If you indeed show up at all: you better have one helluva damned good excuse. Elaine may, after all she found a head. But she may also have lied one too many times in the past for the truth to be able set her free. And after all, what is free? And what is...
    We've all been there. You’re running late for work, an important presentation on the on the calendar, your job may very well hang on the line. If you indeed show up at all: you better have one helluva damned good excuse. Elaine may, after all she found a head. But she may also have lied one too many times in the past for the truth to be able set her free. And after all, what is free? And what is the truth? Severance Play, by Michael Perlmutter, is a comedy about office politics, romance, sales, lies, sex and maybe a little murder. (PREVIOUSLY ENTITLED OFFICE GAMES)
  • Parking Lot Traffic
    Focusing on one woman's struggle for self expression, what seems to begin as a sexual tryst, PARKING LOT TRAFFIC, turns into an exploration of our love affair with everything vampire, seduction and other things that go bump in the night. Yet at its core PARKING LOT TRAFFIC is an expression of a woman trying to find a balance between the mental health medications she has been prescribed and a fulfilled life of self expression.
  • The Fall of Lady M
    Following the same timeline and events as Shakespeare’s MacBeth, told through the eyes of her two chambermaids, THE FALL OF LADY M centers on Lady MacBeth's lust for power, manipulations, rise to position, dissent into madness, and ultimate death. Relying on all female characters including unique twists on Ladies MacBeth, MacDuff and, of course, the three witches, THE FALL OF LADY M spins a new tale of...
    Following the same timeline and events as Shakespeare’s MacBeth, told through the eyes of her two chambermaids, THE FALL OF LADY M centers on Lady MacBeth's lust for power, manipulations, rise to position, dissent into madness, and ultimate death. Relying on all female characters including unique twists on Ladies MacBeth, MacDuff and, of course, the three witches, THE FALL OF LADY M spins a new tale of murder, betrayal, defiance and taking hold of the future, set inside that of the classic story of power, greed and the edge of fantasy.
  • My (Perfect) Alibi
    DAVE, mid-twenties, pauses his afternoon session of video games to let in GLADYS, also mid-twenties, who, in turn, confronts her problems head on (her problems being Dave himself). Gladys brandishes a gun showing Dave she means business--which goes off in her hand . . . four times--into Dave.
    Facing a new set of issues (namely how to get herself out of the crime scene with an air tight alibi) Gladys...
    DAVE, mid-twenties, pauses his afternoon session of video games to let in GLADYS, also mid-twenties, who, in turn, confronts her problems head on (her problems being Dave himself). Gladys brandishes a gun showing Dave she means business--which goes off in her hand . . . four times--into Dave.
    Facing a new set of issues (namely how to get herself out of the crime scene with an air tight alibi) Gladys enlists the help of her ditzy roommate Meg, because basically she has no where else to turn.

    Finger prints, internet alibis, and a nosy neighbor later the two women become maddeningly embroiled into a no way out scenario. Or are they?
  • In Therapy
    (At rise:
    A non-de-script room, could be anywhere. A single door leads in and out of the room. No windows, no clocks. A table complete with a phony white table cloth supports two pads of paper, two pencils, two water glasses, a pitcher of ice water and napkins. A set up you might find in the conference room of any suburban hotel, often rented out for sales meetings and self help seminar gurus who...
    (At rise:
    A non-de-script room, could be anywhere. A single door leads in and out of the room. No windows, no clocks. A table complete with a phony white table cloth supports two pads of paper, two pencils, two water glasses, a pitcher of ice water and napkins. A set up you might find in the conference room of any suburban hotel, often rented out for sales meetings and self help seminar gurus who travel through town to town in hopes of alleviating the townsfolk a few bucks from their retirement savings in trade for a better life, a better marriage, a better income. These aren't the first things we notice however. The first thing to catch our attention is probably the fact that there are two chairs, set facing each other almost centered in the room. but what we actually notice most of all is that on the two seats are a man (ADAM) and a woman (EVELYN aka LYNN) who are dressed in nothing but their underwear. Nothing suggestive in their underwear choices, in fact, their choices here are modest at best but underwear all the same. ADAM And LYNN face each other uncomfortably for what may actually be as long as three minutes but what feels more like a lifetime.)

    ADAM: (Finally breaking the silence) How long're we supposed to do this?
    LYNN: Can you just take this seriously, please?
    ADAM: Hardly.
    (Pause.)
    ADAM: We were supposed to do this naked, you know.
    LYNN: Yeah, well . . . maybe next time.
    ADAM: (Under his breath:) Like there's gonna be a next time.
    (LYNN just stares at him--obviously having heard what he had to say.)
    ADAM: What?
    LYNN: If you ever want to see me naked again, you're going to commit to this. OK?
    ADAM: Whatever you want.
    LYNN: OK?
    ADAM: Fine.
    LYNN: OK?
    ADAM: OK.
    LYNN: OK.
    ADAM: OK. . . Jesus.


    What follows is IN THERAPY
  • Three Dead Deep
    Three Dead Deep is a whodunit, based on a live action rendition of the murder mystery board game we all grew up with, until someone actually dies, and then the real play begins . . . or does it?
    Not just a whodunit in the classic Agatha Christie format, Three Dead Deep rips away the layers of ourselves to reveal the choices we make behind the masks we wear. Although at a passing glance the play may...
    Three Dead Deep is a whodunit, based on a live action rendition of the murder mystery board game we all grew up with, until someone actually dies, and then the real play begins . . . or does it?
    Not just a whodunit in the classic Agatha Christie format, Three Dead Deep rips away the layers of ourselves to reveal the choices we make behind the masks we wear. Although at a passing glance the play may seem a clever set of twists on the play within the play, whodunit plays, board games and our own obsession with entertainment and audience interaction, Three Dead Deep, like Peer Gynt’s peeling away at a proverbial onion is a new play comedy game event murder by Michael Perlmutter that dares to ask the question, “Can somebody figure out the killer before it’s too late or at least tell me what the hell is going on?”
  • Anton Chekhov's THE SEAGULL
    Like most of us who studied Theatre, I first encountered Chekhov in college, where I really can't say I fully understood him: long speeches about nothing, that the characters seemed to be taking way too seriously; and this was supposed to be a comedy--so you just shrug your shoulders and say, "I just don't get it"--only to yourself mind you; you certainly don't want to appear daft--and...
    Like most of us who studied Theatre, I first encountered Chekhov in college, where I really can't say I fully understood him: long speeches about nothing, that the characters seemed to be taking way too seriously; and this was supposed to be a comedy--so you just shrug your shoulders and say, "I just don't get it"--only to yourself mind you; you certainly don't want to appear daft--and move on. But even then I had to admit there was something about Chekhov's style that kept you spellbound--even if you didn't know what it was. As the years passed and I started to learn to navigate out in the real world (where we've all chosen to escape from for a few hours as you read this) I would reflect on Chekhov's writings, and even have the occasional Ah-ha moment, but life's demands (bills, family and the need to endure) continued so there was nothing much done about it.
    Then you grow up and you reread the plays and you realize that nothing the characters talk about are what the characters are talking about. Just like we do in real life--because they too don't want to appear daft, or useless or vulnerable or you name it: they're denying it with speeches about . . . nothing. Oh sure, once in a while some truth might creep up to the top but as soon as you're aware of it you cram it back down with another helping of cheesecake banter. And it was damned funny too. But I found much of Chekhov's humor had been locked away by the "proper English translations (and by English I mean British)" of a hundred years ago and the censors of both the Russian Ministry and Victorian England. So, I, like David Mamet has done with The Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya, Americanized the play (The Seagull), removing only the censorships and "proper grammar" stumbling blocks, in an effort to reach today's audience with truths that remain timeless to this day.
  • Surprise
    A black box setting. A table, two chairs; and CINDY is led on by TED, blindfolded to her seat, where a bottle of wine and the next ten minutes await. TED leads the audience into a holler of “SURPRISE” as the blindfold comes off. What follows is a bit more unexpected.
  • The White on the Page
    An empty stage. An actor, then two men—no wait: women . . . Vying for recognition and acceptance . . . aren’t we all?

  • ZOOM BREAK UP
    A & B (yeah, I coulda chosen generic names like PAT and CHRIS but they're never mentioned so why bother?) are on a ZOOM call; as much of their relationship has been since March 2020. This call may be their last ...
  • TEN MINUTES ... more or less
    A hit man gives his intended an opportunity to make peace ...