Robert Moulthrop

Robert Moulthrop

Robert Moulthrop is a playwright and fiction writer. In 2016, Enchanted Lion Books published his 2017 ALA Batchelder Award-winning translation of the critically acclaimed Danish children’s picture book "Cry, Heart, But Never Break" by Glenn Ringtved and Charlotte Pardi.

His plays have won awards for writing and performance at the New York International Fringe Festival; festival...
Robert Moulthrop is a playwright and fiction writer. In 2016, Enchanted Lion Books published his 2017 ALA Batchelder Award-winning translation of the critically acclaimed Danish children’s picture book "Cry, Heart, But Never Break" by Glenn Ringtved and Charlotte Pardi.

His plays have won awards for writing and performance at the New York International Fringe Festival; festival production by Short + Sweet, Gallery Players, and NYU; and received developmental readings with the National New Play Network, Northern Stage, Urban Stages Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company, and Active Theatre.

Robert's short fiction has been published in journals and publications including Tahoma Literary Review, Reed, Berkeley Fiction Review, Confrontation, and awarded prizes by Helen Magazine, Literal Latte and others. He has received a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for prose fiction. Robert has worked in marketing, copywriting, and communications roles for non-profits, financial services organizations, and theatrical producers. He lives and works in New York City.

Plays

  • Jane Burgoyne
    Jane Burgoyne, her daughter Katherine, and granddaughter Allison are packing up the last of Jane’s belongings before relocating her to an independent living facility, while Jane stalls the last hours of the move with memories, arguments, and justifications that reveal the relatable and recognizable lives of all three women.

    As interactions with her daughter and granddaughter deepen, Jane – who...
    Jane Burgoyne, her daughter Katherine, and granddaughter Allison are packing up the last of Jane’s belongings before relocating her to an independent living facility, while Jane stalls the last hours of the move with memories, arguments, and justifications that reveal the relatable and recognizable lives of all three women.

    As interactions with her daughter and granddaughter deepen, Jane – who at first seems to be contentious, persnickety, even cold and malignant – emerges as an altogether more kind, compelling, and complicated person. Jane’s sympathetic and nuanced understanding of Allison’s anorexia and suicidality — a sweet, non-judgmental relationship that Allison treasures — is viewed with suspicion and even envy by her mother Katherine, since Katherine’s relationship with both her daughter and mother have been more difficult and adversarial. In this intensely distilled time of transition and dislocation, we witness intergenerational conflict and understanding, friction and unease, and in the process come to learn about Jane’s less-than-easy life: the tragic loss of a young daughter followed by a dark year of near catatonic depression; a highly-decorated teaching career in spite of an oppressive marriage to a controlling husband; and her gritty perseverance as a single mother after her husband’s unexpected and untimely death.

    Jane’s material life is dismantled around her, and she begins to move toward an independent, clear-eyed decision about what it is that she truly wants and desires, and what kind of person she might be when everything else is removed.
  • Happy Family
    Garth, mid 50s, is CEO of a small foods company in downstate Illinois. His wife, Karen, is prominent in the garden club. They have just come from dinner with their 35-year-old son, Kevin, who has told them he is gay, and then left the restaurant. The reverberations in each of their lives is by equal measure profound, funny, and quotidian. When Kevin returns to continue the conversation, taboo topics are both...
    Garth, mid 50s, is CEO of a small foods company in downstate Illinois. His wife, Karen, is prominent in the garden club. They have just come from dinner with their 35-year-old son, Kevin, who has told them he is gay, and then left the restaurant. The reverberations in each of their lives is by equal measure profound, funny, and quotidian. When Kevin returns to continue the conversation, taboo topics are both acknowledged and skated past. The next morning, Garth and Karen share their fears about the reaction to the news from local friends and acquaintances. Months later, they are visited by Kevin and his “friend” Michael, which brings more difficulties and reckonings. The play climaxes with with a wedding—that may or may not be on, or off.
  • Half Life
    A wife and mother waits for her husband's release from prison. "He's served his two years for allegedly touching that girl; I just want everything to be the same." But can it possibly be? Can the daughter who has moved out and started her family come to terms with what her father might have done? Can best friends really "pick up from where they left off?" In the devastating half...
    A wife and mother waits for her husband's release from prison. "He's served his two years for allegedly touching that girl; I just want everything to be the same." But can it possibly be? Can the daughter who has moved out and started her family come to terms with what her father might have done? Can best friends really "pick up from where they left off?" In the devastating half life landscape following the explosion, what possibilities exist? A Top Ten New York Times pick, "the best written and acted show at the Fringe" (NY Magazine), winner of the 2005 Fringe Outstanding Playwriting Award.
  • T. L. C.
    A one-woman, one set play that takes place within 24 hours. Evelyn, a nurse, is terrified that her son is leaving her to get married; she will do anything to keep him. Literally. Margaret Daly , in her New York debut, won the Outstanding Actress Award from the 2006 New York Fringe Festival for her knockout 75-minute solo performance as Evelyn Coleman. "If you love high-quality, suspense filled live theatre...
    A one-woman, one set play that takes place within 24 hours. Evelyn, a nurse, is terrified that her son is leaving her to get married; she will do anything to keep him. Literally. Margaret Daly , in her New York debut, won the Outstanding Actress Award from the 2006 New York Fringe Festival for her knockout 75-minute solo performance as Evelyn Coleman. "If you love high-quality, suspense filled live theatre . . . watch Evelyn . . . a darker play about a very disturbed woman . . . It's wonderful . . . Bravo!" nytheatre.com "Is this some newly discovered Sophoclean epic? No, it's Robert Moulthrop's T.L.C. . . . and Moulthrop doesn't miss a single, terrifying trick." Off Broadway.
  • Lecture, With Cello
    “A tantalizing puzzle of a play...a remarkable feast for the intellect, brimming with ideas that help us look at what we take for granted in art in new and compelling ways....I reveled in the piece's rich meditations on where [art] is to be found." nytheatre.com. Why is the Professor late? Where is his cello? And who is the man in the back of the lecture room? This 60-minute experimental solo...
    “A tantalizing puzzle of a play...a remarkable feast for the intellect, brimming with ideas that help us look at what we take for granted in art in new and compelling ways....I reveled in the piece's rich meditations on where [art] is to be found." nytheatre.com. Why is the Professor late? Where is his cello? And who is the man in the back of the lecture room? This 60-minute experimental solo journey through history, discord, humor, mystery delves into sex, love, and the relationship of Renaissance brigand-artist-murderer Benvenuto Cellini to the instrument that closely resembles his name. Music track and slides are available. Adapted from my opera libretto of the same name.
  • Ricochet
    It’s the day before Valentine’s Day. Ben, a high school senior, is trying to avoid a few things: his homework, his stepfather, upsetting his mother, and the mysterious forces that are emerging in moments of quiet. This time of year brings a lot of baggage for Ben: it’s Valentines Day and his stepfather’s birthday, but it’s also the 10th anniversary of a terrible loss for the family. Ben’s mother and her...
    It’s the day before Valentine’s Day. Ben, a high school senior, is trying to avoid a few things: his homework, his stepfather, upsetting his mother, and the mysterious forces that are emerging in moments of quiet. This time of year brings a lot of baggage for Ben: it’s Valentines Day and his stepfather’s birthday, but it’s also the 10th anniversary of a terrible loss for the family. Ben’s mother and her housekeeper (who is also her friend) both want to put on a happy face and avoid the reality of the event, but Ben is struggling to keep a lid on his antisocial moods and his strange behavior. Meanwhile, Ben’s stepfather’s goal is to separate Ben from his mother altogether so she can forget the past and they can all get on with their lives, including his hedge fund’s new acquisition — about which he is keeping conveniently quiet.

    But the past is inescapable. The trouble has followed Ben and his mother from their old working class life into their new one in upper-middle class Manhattan. As the family moves through this stressful and eventful time of year, the dramatic tension moves from the realistic to the macabre, and the family discovers that there are some traumas that can not be forgotten or resolved simply by how much money you have, changing postcodes, or crucially, with whom you live you life.
  • Patriot-Ism
    What continues to go on behind the closed doors of The Patriot Act? A young girl undergoes interrogation by an experienced operative for a terrorist activity she may or may not have committed. A woman, who may or may not be the girl's mother, attempts to uncover the girl's truth and identity. To what lengths will the interrogator go? Does the girl know anything? What does she know? When did she...
    What continues to go on behind the closed doors of The Patriot Act? A young girl undergoes interrogation by an experienced operative for a terrorist activity she may or may not have committed. A woman, who may or may not be the girl's mother, attempts to uncover the girl's truth and identity. To what lengths will the interrogator go? Does the girl know anything? What does she know? When did she know it? Can the woman possibly save the girl?
  • Sextet For Lovers
    A comedy with dramatic overtones about love, lust, and the true meaning of friendship and other relationships. A&B, straight, are married to each other and their careers; and each is "playing around" outside their marriage. C&D, straight, are married, but he's not paying attention and she, in psychotherapy, is developing issues; and each of them is "playing around." At the...
    A comedy with dramatic overtones about love, lust, and the true meaning of friendship and other relationships. A&B, straight, are married to each other and their careers; and each is "playing around" outside their marriage. C&D, straight, are married, but he's not paying attention and she, in psychotherapy, is developing issues; and each of them is "playing around." At the same time, E&F, a partnered gay couple, are having issues; and one of them may be "playing." Oh, and E&B are best friends. Sparkling dialogue: spoken arias, duets, quartets. Stir, mix, question, conflict, and get (almost) everybody together over dinner in order to shake things up. And then...?
  • Blind Spot
    A theatrical look (Thank You, Thornton Wilder) at a prosaic but unusual relationship: car pooling. Two actors, four chairs, creative lighting, and sound effects from an on-stage "Foley Person" set the scene and changes for this comedy-for-two. Henry’s a married scientist. Susan just left Kansas and works in HR. They car pool from San Francisco north to Santa Rosa every work day. What happens in the...
    A theatrical look (Thank You, Thornton Wilder) at a prosaic but unusual relationship: car pooling. Two actors, four chairs, creative lighting, and sound effects from an on-stage "Foley Person" set the scene and changes for this comedy-for-two. Henry’s a married scientist. Susan just left Kansas and works in HR. They car pool from San Francisco north to Santa Rosa every work day. What happens in the car? How much information is TMI? What are the boundaries? What happens when, instead of talking facing forward, you suddenly turn and look at the person you’re talking to?
  • Everyday Occurrences
    Not the usual "memory play," this brings the audience into the interplay of time and memory by presenting pieces of the past in "emotional order." How does our knowledge of someone's end-story inform what we bring to their beginning? Time waxes and wanes and overlaps as one family (across the street? down the hall?) – stay-at-home Mom, Professor Dad, wannabe Rocker son, ex-daughter-in-...
    Not the usual "memory play," this brings the audience into the interplay of time and memory by presenting pieces of the past in "emotional order." How does our knowledge of someone's end-story inform what we bring to their beginning? Time waxes and wanes and overlaps as one family (across the street? down the hall?) – stay-at-home Mom, Professor Dad, wannabe Rocker son, ex-daughter-in-law lawyer – copes with everyday life: Birth, death, illness, abortion, failed dreams, missed opportunities, changing relationships. As past meets present, anguish and joy intermingle. 2 hours with intermission.
  • Who Cares
    This comedy about love, friendship, sexual identity, and what to do with your best friend's ashes kicked off New York's Urban Stages 09 "First Look" season with a highly successful reading. Whatever happened to those close friends from college, the ones you spent almost every moment with, in class, in the dining hall, partying, drinking, getting high, lives entwined, discovering them,...
    This comedy about love, friendship, sexual identity, and what to do with your best friend's ashes kicked off New York's Urban Stages 09 "First Look" season with a highly successful reading. Whatever happened to those close friends from college, the ones you spent almost every moment with, in class, in the dining hall, partying, drinking, getting high, lives entwined, discovering them, discovering yourself?...Wasn’t all that really important...Forty-somethings Philip, Brian, and Sarah explore the humorous and devastating effects of old friendships on the present, look at how unfinished business from the past needs completion, how trust and lust, envy and pride, closeness and anger, sex and sexual identity can all exist within the bonds of friendship.
  • Indictable Offenses
    Suburbia. Mom, Dad, two kids, the neighbors. Mom thinks something's wrong, but she's not sure what. Then she discovers a list her husband has made of everything she's done wrong, in his eyes, over the course of their 12-year marriage. What's a woman/wife/mother to do? A theatricalized adaptation of my short story of the same name.
  • Ever-Sweet
    It’s 1968 and change is coming to Central Florida’s Ever-Sweet orange groves and the Tannen family. John, recently divorced stockbroker, has moved back to live with his elderly aunts, Grace and Simonetta, who adore him completely. For them "he hung the moon," can do no wrong, and is the apple (or orange) of their eye. Every morning John’s ex-wife Susan drops off their daughter, 16-year-old Cassie,...
    It’s 1968 and change is coming to Central Florida’s Ever-Sweet orange groves and the Tannen family. John, recently divorced stockbroker, has moved back to live with his elderly aunts, Grace and Simonetta, who adore him completely. For them "he hung the moon," can do no wrong, and is the apple (or orange) of their eye. Every morning John’s ex-wife Susan drops off their daughter, 16-year-old Cassie, so John can live up to the agreement and drive her to and from school. John’s troubles center on his golf swing and how to get his dates up to his room. His current date (‘the cute one in accounting”) turns out to have troubles of her own. Ex-wife Susan’s troubles involve her real estate business (why are all the orange grove properties suddenly coming off the market?) and why she might want John back. Or not. Daughter Cassie’s troubles are her parents, and the new vibes she’s feeling from the feminist movement. Aunt Grace and Aunt Simonetta have no troubles as they bicker about last night’s Canasta game, dote on their nephew, fix meals, play cards, and pull strings.
  • Jack, The Prince of Ireland
    Commissioned by Manhattan Children's Theatre for their 2008 Little Tales series (for pre-K and K), the show "was equipped with enough dragons and leprechauns to pre-occupy even the antsiest little ones." (Tribeca Tribune, 0408). The show played from February through April. Adapted from the Irish Folk Tale, "The Queen of the Golden Mines." Jack, cast out by his father, the King,...
    Commissioned by Manhattan Children's Theatre for their 2008 Little Tales series (for pre-K and K), the show "was equipped with enough dragons and leprechauns to pre-occupy even the antsiest little ones." (Tribeca Tribune, 0408). The show played from February through April. Adapted from the Irish Folk Tale, "The Queen of the Golden Mines." Jack, cast out by his father, the King, encounters adventures and deals with his dastardly-comic brothers en route to the Golden Mines and the Queen's wealth and treasure. Magic buzzing bees (played by the audience) add excitement and danger to the journey. All cast double, except Jack.
  • Christmas Presence
    A very theatrical Christmas holiday compilation. Act One includes staged readings of such favorites as Dickens' "The Fezziwig Christmas Party," and "Christmas at the Cratchits," as well as original short short plays: Two Homeless Women in a Coffee Shop; The Agony of Buying; and "Surprise of the Month Club," in which everything that can possibly go wrong, does. Act Two is a...
    A very theatrical Christmas holiday compilation. Act One includes staged readings of such favorites as Dickens' "The Fezziwig Christmas Party," and "Christmas at the Cratchits," as well as original short short plays: Two Homeless Women in a Coffee Shop; The Agony of Buying; and "Surprise of the Month Club," in which everything that can possibly go wrong, does. Act Two is a "theatre out of the trunk" adaptation of two O'Henry short stories. "The Blue Door" serves as a romantic introduction to "The Gift of the Magi," creating a moving, theatrical 30-minute finale to a memorable Christmas treat.
  • The Other Daughter
    A social comedy set in an unfashionable section of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. What's it like to be the sister of the famous Sissy Humboldt (Page Six, Oprah, Vanity Fair, TMZ), especially when Sissy’s life is coming apart because she’s been accused of plagiarism? As the family rallies round in sister Meg’s small box of an apartment (Dad’s a lawyer; Mom’s on the board at the Met), how will the dynamics...
    A social comedy set in an unfashionable section of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. What's it like to be the sister of the famous Sissy Humboldt (Page Six, Oprah, Vanity Fair, TMZ), especially when Sissy’s life is coming apart because she’s been accused of plagiarism? As the family rallies round in sister Meg’s small box of an apartment (Dad’s a lawyer; Mom’s on the board at the Met), how will the dynamics play out in the midst of forgotten sister Meg, her (off-stage) toddler son, and English professor husband? Especially if Mom and Dad have troubles of their own.
  • Planning and Design
    Remodeling your home in the New England countryside can be murder. Josh Bradley, a contractor, has handyman Steve helping him remodel his house, while Josh's wife Ellen tries to hold things together with the help of her psychiatrist. But, as local detective Arnold Beecher knows, someone is trying to kill someone: it's his job (of course) to figure out the truth. Accusations fly, truths are revealed...
    Remodeling your home in the New England countryside can be murder. Josh Bradley, a contractor, has handyman Steve helping him remodel his house, while Josh's wife Ellen tries to hold things together with the help of her psychiatrist. But, as local detective Arnold Beecher knows, someone is trying to kill someone: it's his job (of course) to figure out the truth. Accusations fly, truths are revealed, all leading to the final scene with a killer stalking the prey with a high-powered drill behind the plastic curtain.
  • Doug & Ava Say "I Love You"
    Two college students – Doug and Ava – are getting busy, or trying to. While Ava has reservations and conditions, Doug has a very clear plan, and the help of a hopefully useful pamphlet. A short, comedic exploration of young sexual politics, manipulation, and the rhetoric of consent.
  • Eastport, Maine; Transit of Venus
    Two couples contemplate mortality and their relationship while waiting for the rare celestial event, the transit of Venus.

  • Elvis's Dog
    After a botched visit to Graceland, Mary-Ellen Hoak tries to get to the bottom of the rumors about one of Elvis's dogs, the one named Moonbeam, a rumor that her late-husband believed in wholeheartedly.
  • The Dark Side Of The Moon
    Ann and Tim, a young married couple, cope in different ways with the loss of their daughter. Ann is unwilling to move on, and disagrees with Tim about how to treat Ann’s older sister Susan. Forgiveness, pain, and the glimmer of hope hang in the balance.
  • Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
    A young couple distracts themselves (with modern technology) from an obvious truth in their relationship. 
  • Knots
    Two grooms have one final conversation before walking down the aisle, while a family member tries to keep both men on the task at hand.