Maury Zeff

Maury Zeff

Maury Zeff’s work has been performed around the US and in Europe, and published in American Fiction, Crab Orchard Review, Southern California Review, and elsewhere. His plays have appeared in the 2014 and 2017 Best of PlayGround festivals and won four People’s Choice awards. He has received playwriting commissions and fellowships from PlayGround, the SF Olympians, and the San Francisco Writers Grotto, where he...
Maury Zeff’s work has been performed around the US and in Europe, and published in American Fiction, Crab Orchard Review, Southern California Review, and elsewhere. His plays have appeared in the 2014 and 2017 Best of PlayGround festivals and won four People’s Choice awards. He has received playwriting commissions and fellowships from PlayGround, the SF Olympians, and the San Francisco Writers Grotto, where he works and teaches. He won the 2021 Clark-Gross Award for his novel "Off Mahatma Gandhi Road" and was nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize in fiction. Maury earned an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco and is currently pursuing an MFA in playwriting from San Francisco State University.

Plays

  • Not So Famous Seamus
    FULL LENGTH: In 1983 Britain, aspiring singer Seamus McDowell, who makes up with heart what he lacks in talent, wants nothing more than a hit song. After his first single stumbles its way onto the charts (#46 with a slow-moving bullet!), Seamus is thrilled. But when a follow-up song flops, followed by further public humiliation, he is cast adrift. After becoming aware of an ambiguous humanitarian crisis behind...
    FULL LENGTH: In 1983 Britain, aspiring singer Seamus McDowell, who makes up with heart what he lacks in talent, wants nothing more than a hit song. After his first single stumbles its way onto the charts (#46 with a slow-moving bullet!), Seamus is thrilled. But when a follow-up song flops, followed by further public humiliation, he is cast adrift. After becoming aware of an ambiguous humanitarian crisis behind the Iron Curtain, he decides to organize fellow musicians to raise relief funds. In this comedy about pop music, family, and celebrity philanthropy, Seamus must figure out what he has to offer the world.
  • Merchant of Stratford
    FULL LENGTH: In 1600 plague-ridden Stratford, loan shark and petty criminal—and sometime playwright—William Shakespeare struggles to feed his family and finish his “greatest play ever.” Each Shakespeare family member mourns the death of son Hamnet in their own way—daughter Judith haunted by visions of her dead brother; wife Anne obsessed with protecting her family; actor brother Edmund perceiving reality as one...
    FULL LENGTH: In 1600 plague-ridden Stratford, loan shark and petty criminal—and sometime playwright—William Shakespeare struggles to feed his family and finish his “greatest play ever.” Each Shakespeare family member mourns the death of son Hamnet in their own way—daughter Judith haunted by visions of her dead brother; wife Anne obsessed with protecting her family; actor brother Edmund perceiving reality as one endless stage play; and William lost in sheer denial. Against this shattered family backdrop, William must “procure” a wagon of grain, finish his play, and keep at bay Puritan authorities who would imprison him and keep theatres closed for good.
  • The Frozen Sea
    FULL LENGTH: It is 2030 and wunderkind computer programmer Dashiell has set for himself the seemingly impossible task to produce technology with human instincts. When he meets ascendant painter Annelise, he hits upon the idea to create software that can render artistic masterpieces. At first horrified, Annelise realizes that Dashiell’s invention applied to her paintings will give her the success she has always...
    FULL LENGTH: It is 2030 and wunderkind computer programmer Dashiell has set for himself the seemingly impossible task to produce technology with human instincts. When he meets ascendant painter Annelise, he hits upon the idea to create software that can render artistic masterpieces. At first horrified, Annelise realizes that Dashiell’s invention applied to her paintings will give her the success she has always sought. In this comical yet dystopian three-hander, the characters wrestle with questions about how far to allow technology to creep into human endeavor and whether you can still call something art if human beings cede its creation to machines.
  • Eternal Hellfire and Damnation: A Love Story
    ONE ACT: Even the devil gets lonely sometimes. In this retelling of the Roman myth of Dis, the god of the underworld kidnaps Proserpina to be his bride...Or does he? The young maiden may have just let herself be spirited to Hades to get away from her overbearing mother, Ceres. But when Mom arrives to negotiate with Dis for her daughter's "freedom," Proserpina and Sisyphus, who suddenly has a lot...
    ONE ACT: Even the devil gets lonely sometimes. In this retelling of the Roman myth of Dis, the god of the underworld kidnaps Proserpina to be his bride...Or does he? The young maiden may have just let herself be spirited to Hades to get away from her overbearing mother, Ceres. But when Mom arrives to negotiate with Dis for her daughter's "freedom," Proserpina and Sisyphus, who suddenly has a lot of free time on his hands, make plans of their own.
  • Hold Your Bloody Ground
    TEN MINUTE: When a dignified barrister comes to her daughter’s school to speak on Career Day, thanks to the permanence of Wikipedia, the students discover her slightly less dignified first career. As she recounts her time in the music industry, she teaches the girls a lesson about standing their ground at work.
  • North by North Pole
    TEN MINUTE: This play answers once and for all the timeless question, "What if an archetypal Hitchcock character got a job working as an elf in Santa's workshop and then became embroiled in an international conspiracy to control a 'doomsday toy'?"
  • Icelandia
    TEN MINUTE: When an Icelandic immigration lawyer skis into a troll's lair in the middle of a blizzard, she finds her progressive values put to the test by the troll's insistence that they want to buy real estate in Reykjavik and intermarry with human beings.
  • Tybalt and Nutella
    TEN MINUTE: When hothead Tybalt Capulet falls for impetuous Nutella Montague, the boundaries of class are tested. As Nutella dreams up evermore elaborate schemes to unite them, Tybalt just tries to keep up. This prequel to Romeo & Juliet explains the “ancient grudge” between the two families. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t end well.
  • Girl Scout Confidential
    TEN MINUTE: When money for their trip to the Girl Scout Jamboree goes missing from their troop’s bake sale, it falls to evil mastermind Fiona and her mean girl sidekick McKenzie to ferret out what happened. In this tale of desperate love, merit badges, and hallucinogenic Bundt cakes, the two girls try to minimize the body count in their quest to recover the funds.
  • The Universe on Ice
    TEN MINUTE: When famed explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Peary encounter each other in a polar dreamscape, they must contend with a hungry, disoriented polar bear and an argumentative penguin who demand to know why it's getting so damn warm.
  • The Only Boat in the World
    TEN MINUTE MUSICAL: When Upper West Side siblings Devorah and Aaron are cast adrift in a post-apocalyptic water world, they take their mother's dying wish to find "any mates they can" to replenish the species a little too literally.
  • Come and Knock On Our Door
    TEN MINUTE: The year is 1980 and the place is groovy Santa Monica! With swinging dude Jack and easy-going Janet getting a third roommate, the party is only going to get wilder. But when their new roomie turns out to be feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Janet begins to wonder how fun this party ever truly was to begin with.
  • The Green Book, 1954 Edition
    TEN MINUTE MUSICAL: A Black family relies on the notorious "Green Book" (aka "The Negro Motorist Green Book") to keep them safe as they motor through 1950s Minnesota. When a highway police officer orders them to turn back, they have to make a difficult, dangerous decision. This short musical includes an original song set to Mozart's "Ein Kleine Nachtmusik."
  • They Call Me Baines
    TEN MINUTE HIP-HOP MUSICAL: It's April 5, 1968, the day after Dr. King was assassinated and, with the country divided, an escalating war in Vietnam, and protests on the right and the left, President Lyndon Baines Johnson has a few things to deal with.
  • Where to Begin
    TEN MINUTE: When Seamus stumbles his way into modest pop stardom, he has to contend with his family's disapproval. The play also serves as a meditation on what it means to put art into a sometimes uncaring world.
  • I Wanna Be So Dated
    When clueless teen Tyler catches rocker Mariah's Ramones tribute band, he decides that she's the one for him. The only problem: Mariah hasn't gotten the memo. Can Tyler impress music purist Mariah sufficiently to make a connection? In this two-hander about about opposites attracting, punk rock idol worship, and what constitutes taste, the two of them strive to find a narrow strip of common ground...
    When clueless teen Tyler catches rocker Mariah's Ramones tribute band, he decides that she's the one for him. The only problem: Mariah hasn't gotten the memo. Can Tyler impress music purist Mariah sufficiently to make a connection? In this two-hander about about opposites attracting, punk rock idol worship, and what constitutes taste, the two of them strive to find a narrow strip of common ground on which to form a friendship.