Ian Thal

Ian Thal

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ian Thal is a playwright, performer, journalist and theater critic based in the Boston area. As a performer, Ian was founding member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater, a mime, poetry, and performance art troupe, as well as the commedia dell'arte troupe, Teatro Delle Maschere. He has also performed extensively with i Sebastiani and Bread & Puppet Theater. Ian writes...
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ian Thal is a playwright, performer, journalist and theater critic based in the Boston area. As a performer, Ian was founding member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater, a mime, poetry, and performance art troupe, as well as the commedia dell'arte troupe, Teatro Delle Maschere. He has also performed extensively with i Sebastiani and Bread & Puppet Theater. Ian writes about theater for the websites The Arts Fuse, and The Clyde Fitch Report, and is an occasional contributor to The Jewish Advocate, a Boston-based weekly newspaper where he previously served as community editor. Ian has on occasion served locally as a puppetry coach and dramaturg, and has been teaching mime, commedia, and puppetry to young people in the Boston-area since 2004. In 2012, Ian traveled to Kosovo as a guest of the Writers' Union of Kosovo, after some of his poems were translated into Albanian and included in a bilingual anthology, The Sounds of Wind: New American Lyrics. He is currently developing a full-length play, The Conversos of Venice. An earlier full-length, Total War, was a semi-finalist in the Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition. Ian holds a BA in philosophy from SUNY Purchase, and an MA in philosophy from Boston College.

Plays

  • The Conversos of Venice
    Venice, 1601: Twelve years after the forced conversion portrayed in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", an elderly Shylock lives as a strange prisoner: free to conduct his business throughout the city, but ever in fear of torture or death should authorities suspect that he has reverted to Judaism. Meanwhile, his estranged daughter, Gessica, now a mother, is slowly realizing that even a...
    Venice, 1601: Twelve years after the forced conversion portrayed in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", an elderly Shylock lives as a strange prisoner: free to conduct his business throughout the city, but ever in fear of torture or death should authorities suspect that he has reverted to Judaism. Meanwhile, his estranged daughter, Gessica, now a mother, is slowly realizing that even a willing convert to Catholicism is not free from suspicion -- suspicions that may affect even her daughter's prospects. The merchant prince, Antonio, over-extended with his Christian creditors and unable to borrow from Jewish lenders, hatches a plan with his legal advisor, Portia, and Gessica's husband, Lorenzo, to seize the remains of Shylock's fortune in order to finance a new trade venture. Having learned long ago that Antonio is not a man to be trusted and that Venice is not a city predisposed to give him justice, Shylock has been planning to escape so that he might live his last years in peace. Meanwhile, Gessica is drawn into the commercial conflict between her husband's friends and her father, and a bombastic Spanish ship captain in Antonio's employ seems willing to cut a deal with both sides.
  • Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets The Crowd
    Mister Kultura is filling in for the regular social studies teacher. The students refuse to provide their real names, identifying themselves only by such monikers as "King of My Pants" and "Unique Superstar" while a scheduled guest gives a presentation on the awesomeness of the crowdsourced economy. "[...]two plays that specifically spoke to economic theory, in the same way that...
    Mister Kultura is filling in for the regular social studies teacher. The students refuse to provide their real names, identifying themselves only by such monikers as "King of My Pants" and "Unique Superstar" while a scheduled guest gives a presentation on the awesomeness of the crowdsourced economy. "[...]two plays that specifically spoke to economic theory, in the same way that Copenhagen speaks to physics or The Hard Problem speaks to brain science. [...]Clearing Bombs by Eric Samuelson imagines a conversation between two major 20th century economists stuck on a rooftop during WWII and passing the time with a deep but lively economic debate. Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets the Crowd by Ian Thal is a short play that essentially presents a case study of crowd sourced creativity as a vehicle to steal ideas from people without having to pay them – well larded with good economic thinking. These stood out to me as good examples of scripts we could stand to have more of." Pete Miller, "Why We Need Plays About Capitalism" in 2am Theatre http://www.2amtheatre.com/2017/02/03/why-we-need-plays-about-capitalism/
  • The Second Annual Administration Building Takeover And Slumber Party
    Students at an unnamed state university in the midst of a budget crisis seize the administration building just as they did the year before. Slowly, it dawns on them that the political situation is not what they anticipated. [Revised and expanded draft uploaded January 23, 2016.]
  • Arlecchino Am Ravenous
    In this tale of slapstick blasphemy and auto-cannibalism, Arlecchino, late of Bergamo, is so driven mad by hunger that he storms both Heaven and Hell in search of a meal. In his journeys Arlecchino gains no spiritual enlightenment. Originally performed by the author, it has since been presented and performed by others. It has since appeared in STEEL TOE REVIEW #20.
  • Two Cats Explain the Monstrous Moth Group
    Inspired by a television commercial, two cats attempt to explain the monster group and supersymmetry to their incredulous human. The human, however, may be more attuned to the finer points of psychology than the cats suspect. When a wayward bat flies through the window, scampering and compulsive grooming ensue.
  • Talia
    An adaptation of "The Sun, The Moon, and Talia", a fairytale from the Pentamerone of Giambattista Basile (1566-1632) originally written for a an unproduced radio drama anthology. "The Sun, The Moon, and Talia" is one of the earliest known variants of the story best known in the English speaking world as "Sleeping Beauty." "Talia" reimagines the original tale as a...
    An adaptation of "The Sun, The Moon, and Talia", a fairytale from the Pentamerone of Giambattista Basile (1566-1632) originally written for a an unproduced radio drama anthology. "The Sun, The Moon, and Talia" is one of the earliest known variants of the story best known in the English speaking world as "Sleeping Beauty." "Talia" reimagines the original tale as a medieval crime story. As with many early fairytales, twenty-first century mores will not consider "Talia" to be appropriate for younger listeners.