Bill Cissna

Bill Cissna

Bill wrote non-fiction and fiction in high school, then newspaper articles and some awful play scripts in college. Since college, he has written non-fiction of all kinds -- magazine articles, brochures, press releases, publicity -- in advertising, public relations and freelance positions from the late '70s through 2004. In fiction, short stories and two novels were created and published. A much deeper...
Bill wrote non-fiction and fiction in high school, then newspaper articles and some awful play scripts in college. Since college, he has written non-fiction of all kinds -- magazine articles, brochures, press releases, publicity -- in advertising, public relations and freelance positions from the late '70s through 2004. In fiction, short stories and two novels were created and published. A much deeper theater involvement started in 2002, led to his first full-length play in 2006. His wife is an actress and stage manager, now retired from work, while his son holds a masters' degree in theater lighting and teaches it at the University of Maryland. So theater involvement was kind of inevitable.

His first two full-lengths, "Conversations in a Cafe" and "All About Faith," have been staged in local productions, and self-published (available in print on Amazon.com). Full-length comedy "Rehearsals" saw its first production in August, 2019 (print scripts at Amazon.com). Other full-lengths include "The Good Life" and "Reunions." He did a 90-minute adaptation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in 2018. "Patent" is a long one-act. He has also had a number of 10-minute plays produced. From them, "Communication Gap" has been produced 11 times and published in Best 10-Minutes Plays of 2014 (Smith & Kraus). His self-published "Collected Short Plays" (2017) has led to additional productions. His latest project, a 1-hour script called "The Blue Death," is being streamed online in late November, 2020.

Since late 2015, he also writes preview articles about theater productions for the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal.

Plays

  • Conversations in a Cafe
    In a small cafe in a very large city, eight people cross paths in various stages of the eternal search for love, sex or at least someone to talk to - while young Meredith, their waitress with a plan of her own, watches and comments.
  • Reunions
    An eclectic group of men and women gather to dissect their 10th high school reunion -- and each other. Ten years later, most of them gather again -- in part, to deal with the loss of one of their own.
  • All About Faith
    In a compact, shared office in the Tennessee Prison for Women, prison psychologist Sylvia Adams is losing interest in her work and thinks she’s seen it all. Then she meets young Faith Wilson. With her assistant, she discovers that, for some reason, Faith speaks almost entirely in Bible verses.

    Sylvia’s rote response to her clients’ usual problems – suspect the husband – falls apart when she...
    In a compact, shared office in the Tennessee Prison for Women, prison psychologist Sylvia Adams is losing interest in her work and thinks she’s seen it all. Then she meets young Faith Wilson. With her assistant, she discovers that, for some reason, Faith speaks almost entirely in Bible verses.

    Sylvia’s rote response to her clients’ usual problems – suspect the husband – falls apart when she interviews Delbert Wilson and dismisses the husband as cause; he’s a victim, too.

    Sylvia begins to revitalize her professional spirit as she digs deeper. Her assistant, Jonathan, and prison guard Ophelia uncover vital information. Sylvia then takes on Brother Calvin Revels to try to discover the core and cause of Faith’s affliction – an unscrupulous, manipulative con man posing as a pastor in Faith’s tiny mountain town, who has nevertheless begun to believe his own preaching.

    Though she realizes that Revels cannot be held responsible – legally, anyway – for Faith’s actions, she confronts Faith with her new knowledge. Her goal: break Faith out of her denial and try to find a center ground that might give Faith some hope for recovery and a future. Despite her own personal beliefs, Sylvia succeeds in offering a pragmatic solution that might put Faith’s life back on track, at the same time as Sylvia rediscovers purpose in her own life and career.
  • Rehearsals
    What can go wrong? Wilmertown Community Theatre is readying their production of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" - with just a few difficulties: feuding actors, actors that can't remember their lines, backstage flirtations and no budget - just to name a few.

    A comedic look into the backstage antics and disarray that the audience is never supposed to see.
  • The Release
    In this 10-minute play, a young publicist for a U.S. House campaign nears the end of a seemingly successful election night when her boss approaches her with a release obtained, he says, from the opposition camp. In it, they claim - perhaps prematurely - their own success. He wants the release anonymously issued to the media, so that it will come back to burn the other party. Is it right? Is it necessary? Is it a real release?
  • The Road Not Taken
    In this 10-minute play, two not-yet-quite-famous playwrights meet for an ale in a London pub, 1593. The more-successful Chris is stunned to hear friend and sometimes co-writer Bill giving serious contemplation to leaving the theater in favor of a regular paycheck as a tradesman back home. Can they both continue to survive on the challenging coinage offerings made to beginners at the playwriting trade?
  • Communication Gap
    In this 10-minute play, Katherine and her ever-present video tool cross paths with James, who alleges that they attend the same sociology class and he'd just like to buy her a cup of coffee. Katherine, who prefers documentary style, engages him in a verbal battle that reflects on interpersonal communication in a digital era.