Mona Deutsch Miller

Mona Deutsch Miller

Mona Deutsch Miller, an award-winning playwright, has been writing since childhood. Member of the Dramatists Guild, ALAP and LAFPI. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and used to practice law. She was born in Florida, grew up in Manhattan, and has lived in Los Angeles long enough to qualify as an Angeleno. Ten of her plays have been produced in the Los Angeles area. She studied play writing with Lisa...
Mona Deutsch Miller, an award-winning playwright, has been writing since childhood. Member of the Dramatists Guild, ALAP and LAFPI. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and used to practice law. She was born in Florida, grew up in Manhattan, and has lived in Los Angeles long enough to qualify as an Angeleno. Ten of her plays have been produced in the Los Angeles area. She studied play writing with Lisa Soland, Susan Merson and Leon Martell, among others. She writes in multiple genres, including comedy, black comedy, drama, youth plays and historical plays. Her plays, Strangers on a Train (also known as The End of the Line) and Sardines have been published, as have some of her monologues. She has been a member of Fierce Backbone, a Los Angeles theater company devoted to the development of new work, for approximately 10 years, including a stint as Head of the Writers Unit. Her colleagues reported that her feedback and dramaturgical advice were excellent, insightful and helpful. She loves classical music, sunshine and movies. She has also written multiple full length plays, several screenplays, an original TV pilot and spec scripts for "Northern Exposure" and "Monk." She's fluent in French and rusty in Russian.

Plays

  • They're All Coming Back!
    A married couple discovers things about each other when their laundry hamper contains items they thought were permanently lost. (This play is a slightly longer version of "Maddie Takes Revenge" without the allusions to Medea.)
  • Maddie Takes Revenge
    This simple ten-minute revenge comedy is a contemporary take on Medea. Maddie is an unhappy housewife, sorting laundry, feeling oppressed and overlooked by blowhard Jason, who despises her "disorganization." Maddie finds a series of long-lost objects in a laundry hamper, and turns into a sorceress, with disastrous results for Jason.
  • Hedda Needs Help
    Inspired by Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” “Hedda Needs Help,” a black comedy, is set now, in a continuing pandemic. The women wield power that 19th century women could not. Hedda, a public, conservative intellectual, and her professor husband George Tesmander, return from a two-year honeymoon, after being marooned on an island - no cruise ship would pick them up. Hedda’s magnificent Manhattan co-op is overrun by...
    Inspired by Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” “Hedda Needs Help,” a black comedy, is set now, in a continuing pandemic. The women wield power that 19th century women could not. Hedda, a public, conservative intellectual, and her professor husband George Tesmander, return from a two-year honeymoon, after being marooned on an island - no cruise ship would pick them up. Hedda’s magnificent Manhattan co-op is overrun by the contemporary version of their circle. George’s Aunt Julie is now on husband number three, but still pressuring Hedda to have a baby. Hedda’s old friend Thea, a striking African-American or dark-skinned woman now known as “Thea Thea,” is a highly successful internet influencer. She brings her lover, Farid Lovborg, a possible terrorist who’s taken George’s university teaching position. Justice Van Bracken continues his icky fascination with Hedda. Hedda has no intention of slinking off to the back room and killing herself, but tells George he is welcome to do so. With Thea Thea’s help, Hedda embarks on her own podcasting career, tries a wide variety of new therapies (done remotely) and attempts to control everyone. To her amazement, Hedda develops empathy for other people.
  • Sessions in the Woods
    Set in New Hampshire in 1969, a beleaguered, middle-aged female school psychologist, sensitive and maternal, in a verbally abusive marriage, takes sensitivity group training with a varied coterie of people, including a young African American teacher/jazz singer; a young male engineer, a nun who doesn't wear a habit, and a successful big company executive. Her wisdom and experience are an asset to the...
    Set in New Hampshire in 1969, a beleaguered, middle-aged female school psychologist, sensitive and maternal, in a verbally abusive marriage, takes sensitivity group training with a varied coterie of people, including a young African American teacher/jazz singer; a young male engineer, a nun who doesn't wear a habit, and a successful big company executive. Her wisdom and experience are an asset to the group, and she regains a sense of self, despite antisemitism. The characters "build" their setting on stage, using dowels. There are games in the play based on real sensitivity group games.
  • Blood
    Synopsis of Blood, a 14 or 15 minute, one-woman show for a middle-aged mother (age 48 and up)
    This one-woman show explores a mother’s intense grief after the suicide of her college age son and the breakup of her marriage. She prays for some kind of relief, recalling her son at various ages, and reviewing her relationship with him. She uses poetry he wrote as she ruminates on her roles as mother and wife.
  • Introducing Miss Ray Frank
    This short play, based on an actual historical incident, shows how 29-year old Ray Frank, a Jewish journalist visiting Spokane Falls in 1890, called on the Jewish community to unite to build a house of worship, while addressing a large, mixed audience at the local opera house curious to see a “woman preacher.” The local newspaper publisher, a Christian, sensing a good story, the local Jewish couple Miss Frank...
    This short play, based on an actual historical incident, shows how 29-year old Ray Frank, a Jewish journalist visiting Spokane Falls in 1890, called on the Jewish community to unite to build a house of worship, while addressing a large, mixed audience at the local opera house curious to see a “woman preacher.” The local newspaper publisher, a Christian, sensing a good story, the local Jewish couple Miss Frank is staying with, along with an actor representing different members of the audience, are all on stage with her.
  • Sardines
    A ten minute play about an encounter between a homeless woman and her inner self, on the one hand, and a well-meaning, frightened professional woman and her inner self, on the other. The "alters" are visible only to the source personality. This play was included in "Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2020, edited by Lawrence Harbison, and performed at a festival of plays in Los Angeles on social issues...
    A ten minute play about an encounter between a homeless woman and her inner self, on the one hand, and a well-meaning, frightened professional woman and her inner self, on the other. The "alters" are visible only to the source personality. This play was included in "Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2020, edited by Lawrence Harbison, and performed at a festival of plays in Los Angeles on social issues of concern in May 2019. It was also selected for performance by a private middle school in Manhattan in 2021.
  • The Whale's Tale
    At the Neptune Marine Institute, the birth of a new orca (a killer whale) in captivity is cause for celebration. But when another female orca kills the mother, Charlie Banks, a senior scientist, must figure out why. Scarred by his own experience with infertility, and dealing with three very different women, his boss, a beautiful young whale trainer, and his ex-wife, plus the male head of the Institute whom he...
    At the Neptune Marine Institute, the birth of a new orca (a killer whale) in captivity is cause for celebration. But when another female orca kills the mother, Charlie Banks, a senior scientist, must figure out why. Scarred by his own experience with infertility, and dealing with three very different women, his boss, a beautiful young whale trainer, and his ex-wife, plus the male head of the Institute whom he's known for nearly 25 years, Charlie struggles to make sense of what happened, on a stage dominated by a huge hollow sculpture of a whale. He can't avoid thinking that the killer whale who murdered the other whale wanted a baby of her own. The killing precipitates his need to rethink and redefine his own relationship to the orcas, whom he recognizes as highly intelligent, social beings, his conception of what constitutes a family, and all his relationships. At some point, each character confesses to the whale sculpture, which reacts appropriately with lights, fog, or other effects. Full length play.
  • The Beating
    Long one act - runs just over an hour. Racially mixed cast of 8; 5 jurors, judge (either gender, any race), prosecutor and defense attorney.
    A highly theatrical, absurdist look at what it means to be a juror. In a criminal case involving the alleged beating of a child, five jurors are beaten down by the personal questions they're subjected to during initial questioning about their experience (...
    Long one act - runs just over an hour. Racially mixed cast of 8; 5 jurors, judge (either gender, any race), prosecutor and defense attorney.
    A highly theatrical, absurdist look at what it means to be a juror. In a criminal case involving the alleged beating of a child, five jurors are beaten down by the personal questions they're subjected to during initial questioning about their experience (voir dire). We see the trial from their point of view, without ever hearing from the defendant or any witnesses. Play has choreographed movement.
  • Kiss My Axe: The Norwegian Games
    This is a ten-minute comedy where a couple arriving at a modern hotel in Norway for a holiday touches a Viking axe on display in the lobby and ends up in the 11th century, together with a real Viking. He wants to take the wife back to his cave. She thinks he's part of the entertainment the hotel provides. From off stage, male and female voices first suggest competitive athletic games and later a terrible...
    This is a ten-minute comedy where a couple arriving at a modern hotel in Norway for a holiday touches a Viking axe on display in the lobby and ends up in the 11th century, together with a real Viking. He wants to take the wife back to his cave. She thinks he's part of the entertainment the hotel provides. From off stage, male and female voices first suggest competitive athletic games and later a terrible battle. The husband, initially tethered to his I-phone, intervenes and protects his wife from 11th century boorish behavior (like rape).
  • Abram and Sarai: My Sister, My Wife
    In this short play inspired by the Biblical story in which Abram (the future patriarch Abraham) passes his wife Sarai (later Sarah) off as his sister, to avoid attacks while in Egypt, I have retold the tale with a feminist point of view and set it in present-day Brooklyn. Sarai doesn't want to be treated like a piece of meat. Abram has to confront what it really means when an Egyptian prince "takes...
    In this short play inspired by the Biblical story in which Abram (the future patriarch Abraham) passes his wife Sarai (later Sarah) off as his sister, to avoid attacks while in Egypt, I have retold the tale with a feminist point of view and set it in present-day Brooklyn. Sarai doesn't want to be treated like a piece of meat. Abram has to confront what it really means when an Egyptian prince "takes" Sarai. God speaks (from off stage) at the beginning, so everyone will know the original verse.
  • The Lunch Break
    In this 10-minute play, a sexually-starved woman approaches a work friend during his lunch break seeking sexual gratification in the future. She learns he's gay. Their friendship develops.
  • Library Research
    This is a 10-minute play that advocates for freedom from surveillance, in which a young writer approaches an older, savvy librarian. He wants to do research for his play; she tries to subtly educate him in the dangers of telling her too much.
  • The Photograph
    A man (Indian or Pakistani) and a woman (any race), now 20 years older, look back at their younger, less inhibited, freer selves on stage. The younger players cannot hear the wiser, older, more jaded pair.
  • Emily Confides
    In this short play, the great American poet, Emily Dickinson, introduces herself using her own poetry. There are two great, challenging roles, for Emily, who ages throughout the play, and the Gentleman Caller, who also becomes Death. Simple set.
  • Receipts
    A short sex comedy, where an infuriated, sex-starved wife rushes home from a business trip (that may have involved some hanky panky) in response to a text from her super-organized, meticulous husband.
  • The End of the World Conference
    In this sendup of company meetings, a corporate group meets at their annual end of the world conference, only this time, it's not a drill. They discover that some of them are not what they thought at all.
  • The Box in the Park
    A couple encounters a strange box as they go for a walk in the park. The woman is eager to explore; the man is cautious, thinking it's a surveillance device. They reveal their thinking about relationships, communication, and politics as they argue about approaching the box. The box emits sounds at certain critical moments, which may be done by a planned device triggered at appropriate times by a stage...
    A couple encounters a strange box as they go for a walk in the park. The woman is eager to explore; the man is cautious, thinking it's a surveillance device. They reveal their thinking about relationships, communication, and politics as they argue about approaching the box. The box emits sounds at certain critical moments, which may be done by a planned device triggered at appropriate times by a stage manager, or by a third actor of either gender.
  • Swept Ashore
    An 18th century pirate finds himself drenched, starving, thirsty and alone on the beach with a young, disgruntled gay fashion designer from contemporary times. They disagree about everything. The pirate doesn't get the "fancy boy's" lingo; the designer is trying to decide if his life is a play or a movie, among other things.
  • No Ingles, Can Dance
    In this ten minute comedy, a petite, feisty Hispanic immigrant with a very heavy Cuban (or other Hispanic) accent attempts to dance her way into the heart of her shy ESL teacher, an impoverished poet.
  • Strangers on a Train
    In this 10-minute, British style black comedy, a young man, bent on committing suicide, meets a strange woman on the train, who scares him out of it.
  • I'Rock Around the Campfire
    A slightly wacky 15-minute comedy for 4 men and an imposing offstage voice about peace in the Middle East. The Biblical prophet Abraham finds himself alone in the desert, when out of the blue a contemporary terrorist, a secular Iraqi, and an ancient Babylonian tumble on to the stage. As they sort out which Gods they worship, and puzzle over tiny Israel on a map that drops from the rafters (with conflict over...
    A slightly wacky 15-minute comedy for 4 men and an imposing offstage voice about peace in the Middle East. The Biblical prophet Abraham finds himself alone in the desert, when out of the blue a contemporary terrorist, a secular Iraqi, and an ancient Babylonian tumble on to the stage. As they sort out which Gods they worship, and puzzle over tiny Israel on a map that drops from the rafters (with conflict over the Great Satan, the Little Satan, and the Jews) they learn they have some things in common. The Voice of God frequently admonishes all of them.