Rita Anderson

Rita Anderson

Rita Anderson is an internationally-published and an award-winning playwright with an MFA Creative Writing and an MA Playwriting. A national winner at The Kennedy Center, Rita went on scholarship to The O’Neill. FRANTIC IS THE CAROUSEL was the National Partners American Theatre nominee, and Rita won the Ken Ludwig Playwriting Award, the top national prize from the Kennedy Center for “Best Body of Work.” She has...
Rita Anderson is an internationally-published and an award-winning playwright with an MFA Creative Writing and an MA Playwriting. A national winner at The Kennedy Center, Rita went on scholarship to The O’Neill. FRANTIC IS THE CAROUSEL was the National Partners American Theatre nominee, and Rita won the Ken Ludwig Playwriting Award, the top national prize from the Kennedy Center for “Best Body of Work.” She has had over 100 productions and publications to include BEST NEW TEN-MINUTE PLAYS and BEST WOMEN'S MONOLOGUES (with Smith & Kraus and APPLAUSE! years 2019, 2020, 2022), FINAL CONVERSATIONS, THE 27 CLUB, and EARLY LIBERTY (“Best-Selling Plays” at www.offthewallplays.com), and WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK (Next Stage Press). Two of her plays, GLIDERS and SAINT SOMEBODY, made it to the Final Ballot of the B. Iden Payne Arts Council Awards 2020 for "Outstanding Original Script." Rita's poetry books, THE ENTROPY OF ROCKETMAN, and WATCHED POTS (A Lovesong to Motherhood), have both been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Rita is Faculty at Interlochen (Co-Director Theatre Ensemble & Acting Intensive), and she is Dramatists Guild Rep. She has had work developed with The Kennedy Center, The PlayGround Experiment, The Barrow Group, Woven Theatre and The Loom New Works Festival, HBMG Foundation and Creede Repertory Theatre, Moving Parts Theatre (Paris, France), ScriptWorks, Mildred's Umbrella (Museum of Dysfunction), and she was a pilot playwright with Hyde Park Theatre Writers' Group. Rita is a member of Honor Roll! an advocacy group for womxn+ playwrights 40+ and their female+ allies. Contact Rita through her website: www.rita-anderson.com

Plays

  • THREES
    THREES is a spin on the urban legend: “All actors die in threes.” A darkly comic look at the absurdities of fame, and what happens to three old actors (former classmates) whose careers took very different turns. They meet up at the Advance Obituary Office, after their fifteen-minutes of fame has faded and the gig is up.
  • SAINT SOMEBODY
    When an African-American “deserter” wanders into the camp of the Irish Brigade near Gettysburg, conflicts intensify, but the soldier carries with him an old statue that his family calls “Saint Somebody,” since they don’t know her real name.

    Based on real events at The Wheatfield, SAINT SOMEBODY suggests one solution as to how the Brigade of 600 held back Confederate troops for three days when...
    When an African-American “deserter” wanders into the camp of the Irish Brigade near Gettysburg, conflicts intensify, but the soldier carries with him an old statue that his family calls “Saint Somebody,” since they don’t know her real name.

    Based on real events at The Wheatfield, SAINT SOMEBODY suggests one solution as to how the Brigade of 600 held back Confederate troops for three days when they were outnumbered by thousands. What the Irish Brigade needed—and found—was a miracle.

    A play about the women and other unsung heroes in the Civil War, Saint Somebody explores a part of history that has not been dramatized. It confronts the brutalities of war (to include behind-the-battlefield issues), and the characters demonstrate love’s resilience and the necessity of hope to keep the spirit alive in dire straits.
  • FRANTIC IS THE CAROUSEL
    When a rock is dropped from a bridge near a university, the worlds of three “couples” who are all somehow affiliated with the college are forced into collision and, as the tragic details unfold, an alarming degree of overlap is revealed. --Differences (in gender, age, sexual orientation, and social status) affect who we are, but are any of us as unique as we hope or as alone as we fear? Or are our lives more...
    When a rock is dropped from a bridge near a university, the worlds of three “couples” who are all somehow affiliated with the college are forced into collision and, as the tragic details unfold, an alarming degree of overlap is revealed. --Differences (in gender, age, sexual orientation, and social status) affect who we are, but are any of us as unique as we hope or as alone as we fear? Or are our lives more intertwined than seems possible, and just how random is circumstance?

    Frantic is the Carousel is what might happen if characters like Albee’s George and Martha were lost in O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night—but with the roles reversed, and as told from a female perspective. Action spans one day.
  • GLIDERS
    In the summer of 1969, three generations of seemingly ordinary women begin to uncover secrets about themselves even as the extraordinary events of the Apollo 11 mission unfold overhead. With space flight on their minds, five women struggle to break free of the expectations and obstacles that confront them on earth. It will take every ounce of courage they have to bust through the atmosphere that contains them...
    In the summer of 1969, three generations of seemingly ordinary women begin to uncover secrets about themselves even as the extraordinary events of the Apollo 11 mission unfold overhead. With space flight on their minds, five women struggle to break free of the expectations and obstacles that confront them on earth. It will take every ounce of courage they have to bust through the atmosphere that contains them.

    GLIDERS is a magical exploration of what it feels like to be lost in space in a changing world as the cast “glides” into and out of reality--and the present. “(S)he who does not know history is condemned to repeat it.”
  • THE ART OF MARTYRDOM
    THE ART OF MARTYRDOM is an irreverent behind-the-scenes look at Hrosvitha, our foremother and the first female playwright, and an exploration of how her “secret” plays got out and about the 10th century nun’s secret playfulness. –But, if our first female playwright lived 500 years before Shakespeare, then why has no one heard of her? An historical drama that’s told with a comic, magical-realism bent, and its...
    THE ART OF MARTYRDOM is an irreverent behind-the-scenes look at Hrosvitha, our foremother and the first female playwright, and an exploration of how her “secret” plays got out and about the 10th century nun’s secret playfulness. –But, if our first female playwright lived 500 years before Shakespeare, then why has no one heard of her? An historical drama that’s told with a comic, magical-realism bent, and its new eyes on an old world telling will resonate with contemporary audiences.
  • WINDMILLS
    Feeling lost after Nana’s funeral, Sophia is visited by the deceased. As Nana posthumously recreates the vivid landscape of cultures lost to the “Melting Pot,” she sheds light on modern-day Sophia’s life, revelations which resolve dark, family secrets. WINDMILLS is a fantastical journey from disillusionment to identity, and from loss to acceptance. [While inspired by my grandmother’s life—as well as by that “...
    Feeling lost after Nana’s funeral, Sophia is visited by the deceased. As Nana posthumously recreates the vivid landscape of cultures lost to the “Melting Pot,” she sheds light on modern-day Sophia’s life, revelations which resolve dark, family secrets. WINDMILLS is a fantastical journey from disillusionment to identity, and from loss to acceptance. [While inspired by my grandmother’s life—as well as by that “weird" Great Uncle I did not know I had but with whom I identify, this script is part-memoir, part-fantasy. And it is not your typical "walk down memory lane"...]
  • TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER
    Jack & Jill of nursery-rhyme fame are adults now, and they celebrate their anniversary by revisiting the site of their infamous “fall” from grace, in the hopes of reclaiming their reputations, but they meet a Genie who propositions them with a deal they cannot afford to lose. [A fun & twisted tale on the nursery rhyme.]
  • CUPID & PSYCHO
    Two "down-and-outs" meet on Valentine's Day after both receive bad news.
    Lindsay is scalping tickets for the show she was to see with her cheating boyfriend, and
    Jimmy has just been fired from a temp job for "Cupid's Singing Telegrams."
    [Title is a twist on the famous lovers in the Cupid & Psyche myth.]
  • DIVORCE PARTY
    To celebrate their anniversary, Mariah answers an ad in the paper, hoping the weekend adventure helps get her and Juanita out of the rut they’re in, but each has a secret that explodes. Will Juanita gamble on her relationship for a change or will Mariah get that “Divorce Party” she’s gunning for? [CAST 2W. Comedy.]
  • POUR CHOICES (Tracking The Servant Girl Annihilator)
    SHERRY takes INGRID on what is probably the Worst Date Night ever, as they walk the Historic District of Austin, Texas, to track the last two murders from America’s first serial killer, The Servant Girl Annihilator.

    [This ten-minute drama for 2W+ is part of The Walking Plays series. Set during the pandemic, it is designed for ZOOM and Audio Plays, as well as full-productions. LGBTQIA. WOC.]
  • WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK (Published)
    WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK is set in the fictional town of Dark Cloud, Texas, at the DRESSY BBQ FISH TACOS, a restaurant, dress, and bait-and-tackle shop that also offers fishing and hunting tours, as well as massages. DRESSY BBQ FISH TACOS is doing a booming business since the ghost town hopes to get into the Book of World Records for their Largest Ball of Dental Floss. The shop is like an old-fashioned General...
    WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK is set in the fictional town of Dark Cloud, Texas, at the DRESSY BBQ FISH TACOS, a restaurant, dress, and bait-and-tackle shop that also offers fishing and hunting tours, as well as massages. DRESSY BBQ FISH TACOS is doing a booming business since the ghost town hopes to get into the Book of World Records for their Largest Ball of Dental Floss. The shop is like an old-fashioned General Store on steroids. It prides itself in finding you whatever you need, and they dabble in just about everything. But, when a “stranger” comes to town and promises to make them all rich, we learn that no one is who they claim to be in Dark Cloud and everyone has a secret. [WOMAN HOLLERING CREEK, a seriocomedy with a farcical flair, takes its name from the creek that runs through San Antonio, and the script was inspired by the legend of La Llorana, the “weeping woman.”]

    Logline: Sometimes, it really does take a village.
  • FINAL CONVERSATIONS (Published)
    FINAL CONVERSATIONS explores a Mother’s wish to have one real conversation with her Son before his accidental death. --One morning before school, she suddenly knows that he has one hour to live and, with a kitchen-sink approach, she attempts to get it “right,” using often absurd methods to reach him, none of which alters destiny.
  • EARLY LIBERTY (Published)
    When Mark Haywood follows the beacon into Lighthouse Cove nothing is what it seems. But if Mark’s world is falling apart—despite increasingly-frantic efforts to keep it together, then the hotel proprietor and his family need a special kind of rescue from each other. Just what will it take for Selma to grow up and for Mark to wake up? Can these dueling opposites save the hotel and find a way to be together? Set...
    When Mark Haywood follows the beacon into Lighthouse Cove nothing is what it seems. But if Mark’s world is falling apart—despite increasingly-frantic efforts to keep it together, then the hotel proprietor and his family need a special kind of rescue from each other. Just what will it take for Selma to grow up and for Mark to wake up? Can these dueling opposites save the hotel and find a way to be together? Set in 1985 on the Atlantic shore, Early Liberty explores the limits and boundlessness of love and hope, and the darker side of what it means to dream.

    “Life is about paying attention to the right things,” but what happens when the people and places you consider safe aren’t? What is “safe” and who spells “Home”? Early Liberty is a play about false fronts and true love, about crossed wires and yardsticks we never measure up to.
  • THE 27 CLUB (Published)
    Pulitzer-prize winning American poets, SYLVIA PLATH and ANNE SEXTON, meet up with British badass, AMY WINEHOUSE, in Limbo in the Afterlife. When Winehouse suggests that they create a 60s girl group called "The Soul Sisters of Suicide," the women drink, they fight over who is the most famous, and they play Truth or Dare—until someone figures out why they are there and they band together to get out. (Dark Comedy for 3W)