Dale Andersen

Dale Andersen

My people were Danish farmers in California’s Central Valley. Vineyards. Family farms. Grapes of Wrath and all that. Where I grew up, there were a lot of Danes. Huge amount of Danes. Whole gaggle of Danes. And---trust me, this is going somewhere---in our family, there was always the story of Papa. Papa, Hans Peter Andersen, was my grandfather. He died at age 92. Blind for half his life. Came to America at age...
My people were Danish farmers in California’s Central Valley. Vineyards. Family farms. Grapes of Wrath and all that. Where I grew up, there were a lot of Danes. Huge amount of Danes. Whole gaggle of Danes. And---trust me, this is going somewhere---in our family, there was always the story of Papa. Papa, Hans Peter Andersen, was my grandfather. He died at age 92. Blind for half his life. Came to America at age 17. Ellis Island, then on to Wisconsin, North Dakota and California. Bear in mind Papa was an orphan. Orphan in the nineteenth century was a euphemism for born out of wedlock. And that was true of Papa. But Papa was a very special orphan. About as special as you can get. For the family oral history has it that Papa’s father was none other than the great Hans Christian himself. The mother, a lady of the Portuguese persuasion. Probably a groupie. Hans Christian Andersen was, in his day, famous for his fairy tales, novels and travelogues. And he certainly did travel to Portugal and publish an account of his stay there. Alas, nothing about making the two-backed beastie with the fair Teresa…or was it Carmen…Rossetta maybe? Ah well. As the Johnny Cash song has it, “I’ll Never Forget What’s Her Name.” I went to Cal State - Fresno. Then a year at UCLA and another at the University of San Diego. Served my country in the Coast Guard (just like Alex Haley) and the Peace Corps (just like Jimmy Carter’s Mum, Miss Lillian). In the late 70’s, I tried my hand at lending. Then I signed on as a federal bureaucrat. I learned to say (with a straight face), “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” Picture that. The former Pakaporn Suvansarang is my spouse of thirty-nine years. We have one son, Thomas Russell, age 32. I have a radio quality voice and I put it to good use, recording books on tape for the blind and dyslexic. I like the New York Times, Mexican beer and songs about star-crossed lovers. And that’s all I’m gonna tell you.

Plays

  • Take A Deep Breath, Hold It And Squeeze
    Take A Deep Breath, Hold It And Squeeze is designed for eight performers playing twenty-seven roles. It's a quirky comedy that attempts to answer the question: if God let David write his own story, what would it be like? The answer is, probably chaotic, certainly topsy-turvy and no doubt more-than-slightly out of control. The result is, we have the God character dressed like Marshal Dillon and talking...
    Take A Deep Breath, Hold It And Squeeze is designed for eight performers playing twenty-seven roles. It's a quirky comedy that attempts to answer the question: if God let David write his own story, what would it be like? The answer is, probably chaotic, certainly topsy-turvy and no doubt more-than-slightly out of control. The result is, we have the God character dressed like Marshal Dillon and talking like someone out of a John Ford movie. We have a reheasal scene where a ludicrously frail Goliath character falls off a ladder into a pile of debris and dies. We have an Old West gunfight between Absalom and David and a saloon scene where King Saul gets hit over the head with an empty beer bottle. As the David character puts it in Act I, scene 1: "All I need is a killer story." Hopefully, he got it. The play started as a project at the South Coast Repertory Theatre Practicum. Numerous scenes were read and critiqued there.
  • The Fourth Daughter
    What’s in a name? Well, for starters, a name can define you. Or disguise you. Or hide you. Or defile you or destroy you. Or even change you. Introducing Cuarta, a twenty-something Hispanic woman. Cuarta means “the fourth daughter.” Cuarta’s three older sisters all have flower names. Yolanda which means violet. Orquídea which means orchid. Flor De Oro which means goldenrod. So something bad must...
    What’s in a name? Well, for starters, a name can define you. Or disguise you. Or hide you. Or defile you or destroy you. Or even change you. Introducing Cuarta, a twenty-something Hispanic woman. Cuarta means “the fourth daughter.” Cuarta’s three older sisters all have flower names. Yolanda which means violet. Orquídea which means orchid. Flor De Oro which means goldenrod. So something bad must have happened, right? Uh, did I forget to mention that the mother died giving birth to Cuarta? That’s why there were no flowers for Cuarta. Just a number for a name for a bad luck girl. Cuarta goes to America and marries Atilano. Atilano is Spanish for Atilla the Hun. Cuarta believes in luck. Both kinds of luck. The good and the bad. And throughout the play, there are signs and symbols and personifications of its hold over her. There’s the psychic. And the deck of cards. And the lucky numbers and the feng shui. All of which culminate in Cuarta and Atilano’s going for all the marbles on a single spin of a roulette wheel. “The Fourth Daughter” was developed at the South Coast Repertory Practicum, having had a staged reading there.
  • MISSING
    Take two marginal characters, a blown-up 7-Eleven, and a man who stores his dead uncle in the walk-in freezer. Mix in some threatening phone calls from Sudan and a missing hand. Stir well.
  • SIX SHORT CHRISTMAS PLAYS
    Six Christmas plays for small casts
  • MOHAMMED'S MOON - a dark play about 9/11
    A full-length about 9/11, the title inspired by the moon having been in waning crescent phase the morning of the attack. It's a fast-paced piece, with eight actors taking on 25 roles in a landscape littered with witches, a street preacher, prophecies, omens, burning Bibles & Qur'ans & books on Dianetics. There's a commuter train and an airplane on collision course. And a man convinced Mia...
    A full-length about 9/11, the title inspired by the moon having been in waning crescent phase the morning of the attack. It's a fast-paced piece, with eight actors taking on 25 roles in a landscape littered with witches, a street preacher, prophecies, omens, burning Bibles & Qur'ans & books on Dianetics. There's a commuter train and an airplane on collision course. And a man convinced Mia Farrow is sending him telepathic love messages. At rise, it's early morning 9/11. Mohammed Atta boards a plane for the last time, while 300 miles to the south, a New Jersey Transit commuter train sets out from Gladstone station for Summit, NJ, with connections to the World Trade Center. The passengers we meet seem to be on weirdly destructive personal missions. Mister Atta encounters four tempters, among them Santa Claus and Hitler. Santa shows him nude pictures of martyrs’ brides. Hitler declaims on the "truth of lobsters." And all the while shining down, the moon spawns its own dark lunacy. Mohammed's Moon was developed at the South Coast Repertory Practicum. Award-winning dramaturg Scott Horstein read and critiqued the manuscript. Of the play, the Interact Theatre in Philadelphia commented, “The writing is daring and original and succeeds in carrying a number of daunting topics with clarity and cleverness.” Playwright Cecilia Fannon of the South Coast Repertory Practicum wrote, “It's inventive, upsetting, compelling, savvy, visionary. And one wild ride.”
  • LITTLE JIMMY
    Three teenage video gamers talk about a shooting incident at school as they play a violent video game.
  • IMAGINE - a musical about david
    Introducing a new musical about the Old Testament hero, David, designed for as few as eight performers. There are eighteen songs. "Imagine" tells the story of the young David on his journey from Shepherd Boy to Giant Killer to Bandit Prince to Newly-Crowned King. Satan figures prominently. You can't have a good Bible story without the Prince of Darkness in there somewhere. Early on, Satan...
    Introducing a new musical about the Old Testament hero, David, designed for as few as eight performers. There are eighteen songs. "Imagine" tells the story of the young David on his journey from Shepherd Boy to Giant Killer to Bandit Prince to Newly-Crowned King. Satan figures prominently. You can't have a good Bible story without the Prince of Darkness in there somewhere. Early on, Satan recognizes David as a dangerous adversary. During the course of the drama, Satan serves as an unreliable narrator. Additionally he assumes various guises in his efforts to block or divert David from achieving his destiny.
  • THE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR SON
    When in Rome, you do as the Romans, but what do you do if the “Rome” you're in happens to be Uzbekistan?
  • THE BEST YEARS OF HER LIFE
    Henry, a successful and powerful man, frustrated by the drift and malaise in his life, weds Madeline, a woman half his age, because he wants to revive, renew, refresh, rejuvenate. But as the ravages of time and the shock of events conspire against him, Madeline is left alone to perform one final act of mercy. A play for five actors playing twenty-two roles.
  • A TEAM PLAYER
    Henry, a successful man, frustrated by the drift and malaise in his life, weds Madeline, a woman half his age because he wants to revive, renew, refresh, rejuvenate. But as the ravages of time conspire against him, Madeline is left alone to perform one final act of mercy.
  • A BETTER PLACE - a tale of six dogs
    A Better Place is a full-length play about six dogs trapped in a pound. And what is a pound, but a kind of death camp? In which the culture is up or out. As in, move up to a new owner or be carried out paws first. A dog eat dog world. Introducing Becky, the high-spirited and courageous Aussie Cattle Dog. She arrives at the pound, having been dumped there by her owners and immediately sets about shaking...
    A Better Place is a full-length play about six dogs trapped in a pound. And what is a pound, but a kind of death camp? In which the culture is up or out. As in, move up to a new owner or be carried out paws first. A dog eat dog world. Introducing Becky, the high-spirited and courageous Aussie Cattle Dog. She arrives at the pound, having been dumped there by her owners and immediately sets about shaking things up. There's also Cyril, the sinister, power-hungry German Shepherd. And Artie, the irrepressible Pug. And Brick and Shawna and Ali. How these six interact to keep clear of the Grim Reaper serves to conjure up the magic of the play.
  • A DOG'S TALE
    Four dogs in a pound contemplate life, death, happiness and the hereafter.