Donald E. Baker

Donald E. Baker

Donald E. Baker has long been fascinated by the story of Ku Klux Klan dominance of Indiana in the 1920’s, and two of his plays set in that era have been produced. "Trade With Klan," concerning choices and compromises forced on small-town Hoosiers by the Klan, was presented by Southwest Theatre Productions of Austin, Texas, January 17-February 20, 2020, and received enthusiastic reviews from Broadway...
Donald E. Baker has long been fascinated by the story of Ku Klux Klan dominance of Indiana in the 1920’s, and two of his plays set in that era have been produced. "Trade With Klan," concerning choices and compromises forced on small-town Hoosiers by the Klan, was presented by Southwest Theatre Productions of Austin, Texas, January 17-February 20, 2020, and received enthusiastic reviews from Broadway World Austin and the Austin Chronicle. It has been published by Next Stage Press.

His play "Grand Dragon in Power," charting the downfall of the Klan political boss of Indiana, was given an online staged reading by Panglossian Productions of Williamsburg, Virginia, in November, 2020. A radio adaptation was performed before a live audience on March 26, 2018, by the Radio Theatre Project at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is available on Soundcloud.com.

Baker’s non-Klan plays include “My Brother Paul,” a play with music about the sibling rivalry between Theodore Dreiser and his brother Paul Dresser, a popular song writer and actor. He has also written a one-person play about a Civil War-era steamboat captain entitled “Web-Footed Dreams, or, Paddlewheels and Politics in Peace and War.” His freestanding monologues include "Intestate: A COVID-19 Monologue," produced online by Talking Horse Productions, May, 2021; and "Ice Box Cake and the Man from Lima," produced online by Stage Left Theater of Spokane, October, 2021.

Baker was born and raised in Indiana and earned graduate degrees in history and library science from Indiana University. He worked as a public librarian in Evansville, Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio, while writing or editing several books and articles on Midwestern history. He began writing plays after retiring with his husband to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Plays

  • Trade With Klan (aka Back Home Again)
    (Alt. title: "Back Home Again") FULL LENGTH. What do you do when people you love choose hate? A play about the life-altering choices people must make in the face of extremism abetted by Evangelicalism. The world of the play is Indiana in the 1920’s, when the Ku Klux Klan pitted Protestant against Catholic, but the religious prejudice and xenophobia of a century ago still echo in contemporary American...
    (Alt. title: "Back Home Again") FULL LENGTH. What do you do when people you love choose hate? A play about the life-altering choices people must make in the face of extremism abetted by Evangelicalism. The world of the play is Indiana in the 1920’s, when the Ku Klux Klan pitted Protestant against Catholic, but the religious prejudice and xenophobia of a century ago still echo in contemporary American society. Premiered in Austin TX by Southwest Theater Productions, Jan.-Feb., 2020. Published by Next Stage Press.
  • Grand Dragon in Power
    FULL LENGTH. When the Grand Dragon takes charge, nothing is sacred and no woman is safe.

    D.C. Stephenson, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, rules Indiana until he is convicted of murder and rape. This play, set in the 1920's and based on a true story, contains startling parallels to the politics of contemporary America.

  • Coming Out to Uncle Jake
    ONE MINUTE. Robert has finally had enough of Uncle Jake's Thanksgiving rants about "people like him."
  • Ice Box Cake and the Man from Lima
    10-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. In the 1950's, while preparing to host her ladies’ bunco club, a white woman of a certain age is shocked to see a person of color walking down her street. The play uses humor to illustrate the casual racism of the time and to demonstrate that fear of young Black men is nothing new in American society. Produced on Facebook and Vimeo by Stage Left Theater of Spokane on October 8, 2021,...
    10-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. In the 1950's, while preparing to host her ladies’ bunco club, a white woman of a certain age is shocked to see a person of color walking down her street. The play uses humor to illustrate the casual racism of the time and to demonstrate that fear of young Black men is nothing new in American society. Produced on Facebook and Vimeo by Stage Left Theater of Spokane on October 8, 2021, with Lynn Noel as Velma, directed by Susan Hardie.
  • Intestate: A COVID-19 Monologue
    MONOLOGUE: 7-8 minutes. Richard, a fifty-year-old gay man, has lost his partner (and everything else) to COVID-19. Performed by Mike Folie as part of Talking Horse Productions' Original Monologue Contest Season 2 and uploaded to Talking Horse's Facebook page and website. It was published by the some scripts online literary journal in Issue 4: Outbreak.
  • Life Support and Other Plays
    A Baker's half-dozen 5- TO -30-MINUTE MONOLOGUES AND TWO-HANDERS about the gay experience, most with roles for actors over 40. (All are available separately.) Includes:
    LIFE SUPPORT (10-minute two-hander) The same-sex lover and the homophobic sister of a man on life support meet for the first time.
    THE BOYS ACROSS THE STREET (1-page monologue) An older white woman discovers to her dismal...
    A Baker's half-dozen 5- TO -30-MINUTE MONOLOGUES AND TWO-HANDERS about the gay experience, most with roles for actors over 40. (All are available separately.) Includes:
    LIFE SUPPORT (10-minute two-hander) The same-sex lover and the homophobic sister of a man on life support meet for the first time.
    THE BOYS ACROSS THE STREET (1-page monologue) An older white woman discovers to her dismal that an interracial same-sex couple is moving in across the street.
    DAD AND UNCLE MARK (10-minute monologue) An older man remembers what he saw spying through a knothole when he was thirteen.
    FOR A MAN YOUR AGE (10-minute two-hander) A gay couple discusses aging, flirtatious baristas, and the National Geographic.
    BEST FRIENDS (30-minute two-hander) Confessing to an incident in a public restroom brings up old secrets and threatens a lifelong friendship.
    INTESTATE (10-minute monologue) A 50-year-old gay man loses his partner and everything else to the COVID pandemic.
  • Best Friends
    30-MINUTE TWO-HANDER. Confessing to an incident in a public restroom brings up old secrets and threatens a lifelong friendship.
  • For a Man Your Age
    TEN-MINUTE TWO-HANDER. With their elevator not working, older gay couple Michael and Will find themselves trapped in their high-rise condo, discussing aging, flirtatious baristas, and the National Geographic.
  • The Boys Across the Street
    ONE-PAGE MONOLOGUE. An older white woman discovers an interracial same-sex couple is moving in across the street.
  • Life Support
    TEN-MINUTE TWO-HANDER. Ben, who never appears in the play, is in the hospital on life support following an accident. His lover of five years, James, and Ben's homophobic sister, Sandra, meet for the first time to discuss what happens next.
  • Dad and Uncle Mark (Who Was Not Really My Uncle)
    10-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. An older man remembers what he saw spying through a knothole when he was thirteen.
  • A Lynch Mob Foiled
    MONOLOGUE: 5-6 minutes. A mob attempted to lynch a Negro prisoner in 1880 when Julius August “Gus” Lemcke (pronounced “LEM-key”) was sheriff of Vanderburgh County, Indiana. This monologue is adapted from Lemcke’s own account of this episode in his 1905 published memoir.

    Be advised that the “N word” appears twice in this script. Lemcke himself disapproved of the term and makes clear, through his...
    MONOLOGUE: 5-6 minutes. A mob attempted to lynch a Negro prisoner in 1880 when Julius August “Gus” Lemcke (pronounced “LEM-key”) was sheriff of Vanderburgh County, Indiana. This monologue is adapted from Lemcke’s own account of this episode in his 1905 published memoir.

    Be advised that the “N word” appears twice in this script. Lemcke himself disapproved of the term and makes clear, through his use of quote marks, that it was the mob that was using it to refer to the prisoner.
  • My Brother Paul: A Play with Music
    FULL LENGTH. Around 1900, two men are divided by sibling rivalry and united by brotherly love as they struggle to escape their strict childhoods. Inspired by the songs of Paul Dresser (“My Gal Sal," “On the Banks of the Wabash”) and the writings of Theodore Dreiser. Good vehicle for a “portly” leading man. 3M, 1W, one set, one instrument (piano), one short solo dance.
  • Grand Dragon in Power: A Radio Play
    60 MINUTES. When the Grand Dragon takes charge, nothing is sacred and no woman is safe.

    D.C. Stephenson, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, rules Indiana until he is convicted of murder and rape. Set in the 1920's and based on a true story, the play contains startling parallels to the politics of contemporary America.

    The performance by the Radio Theatre Project at the Studo@...
    60 MINUTES. When the Grand Dragon takes charge, nothing is sacred and no woman is safe.

    D.C. Stephenson, Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, rules Indiana until he is convicted of murder and rape. Set in the 1920's and based on a true story, the play contains startling parallels to the politics of contemporary America.

    The performance by the Radio Theatre Project at the Studo@620 in St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 26, 2018, is available on Soundcloud.com at: https://soundcloud.com/radiotheatreproject/grand-dragon-in-power-by-donald-e-baker
  • Web-Footed Dreams, or, Paddlewheels in Peace and War
    In this one-man play, a 19th-century steamboat captain tells amusing and harrowing stories of the Civil War on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Adapted from a 1905 memoir by J.A. Lemcke.