Toni Press-Coffman

Toni Press-Coffman

Plays

  • United
    United is about the coming together of the 40 (sans terrorists) people who died on Flight 93 when it crashed in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. Propelled by an adopted woman (Mariah)'s search for a biological parent she believes died on the flight, the script encompasses scenes from the passengers' lives as well as between them, both on and off the plane. It explores questions as large as: what do we...
    United is about the coming together of the 40 (sans terrorists) people who died on Flight 93 when it crashed in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. Propelled by an adopted woman (Mariah)'s search for a biological parent she believes died on the flight, the script encompasses scenes from the passengers' lives as well as between them, both on and off the plane. It explores questions as large as: what do we mean when we talk about destiny, and ideas as precise as: the value of an individual's life is in the details. 86 characters can be played by as many actors as you like, but probably not fewer than 16. The show's one production played well with 21 actors. The text is accompanied by viola music, played live.
  • Trucker Rhapsody
    Trucker Rhapsody's main character is Damian Monroe (Football) Williams, the young man who, at age 17, threw a cinderblock at truck driver Reginald Denny's head and changed the course of his own life forever. 30+ scenes take place across time and space, in and out of jail, and at the corner of Florence and Normandie. Williams spars throughout with Riot 208, a NYC graffiti artist named after Denny'...
    Trucker Rhapsody's main character is Damian Monroe (Football) Williams, the young man who, at age 17, threw a cinderblock at truck driver Reginald Denny's head and changed the course of his own life forever. 30+ scenes take place across time and space, in and out of jail, and at the corner of Florence and Normandie. Williams spars throughout with Riot 208, a NYC graffiti artist named after Denny's truck. The play is based on my correspondence with both these young (at the time) men (Riot 208 stopped corresponding with me after I contacted Williams). Characters include Denny, Williams' mother Georgianna, and two of the four people who rescued Denny, rushing him to the hospital after having seen his attack on television. Justice, as we've witnessed countless times in confrontations between men and boys of color and the police and private citizens taking the law into their own hands, has myriad permutations.
  • Armor
    Cynthia Kastakis is a brilliant high school senior whose father Gene, a polymer engineer, is serving as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee in an effort to improve tank armor used by United States troops in the Middle East. When Gene becomes privy to a political battle over body armor – which he tries and fails to distance himself from - Cynthia begins questioning him, pressuring him to “do...
    Cynthia Kastakis is a brilliant high school senior whose father Gene, a polymer engineer, is serving as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee in an effort to improve tank armor used by United States troops in the Middle East. When Gene becomes privy to a political battle over body armor – which he tries and fails to distance himself from - Cynthia begins questioning him, pressuring him to “do the right thing.” Her mother Alice’s focus is on Cynthia’s younger brother – the victim of a car accident. Alice is a pianist and Cynthia a budding cellist: the play is interspersed with cello and piano music that punctuate its emotional ebb and flow.
  • Holy Spirit
    Reeling from the discovery that her husband has fled the country with her daughters, Celeste seeks comfort in the company of two friends from childhood. Their memories of a murdered 3rd grade classmate and the boy who killed her propel Celeste toward confronting her own demons. The play is inspired by the murder of a child with whom I attended a Catholic elementary school in the 1950s. It explores what...
    Reeling from the discovery that her husband has fled the country with her daughters, Celeste seeks comfort in the company of two friends from childhood. Their memories of a murdered 3rd grade classmate and the boy who killed her propel Celeste toward confronting her own demons. The play is inspired by the murder of a child with whom I attended a Catholic elementary school in the 1950s. It explores what responsibility we have to the dead; specifically, what her death means for the lives of the schoolmates who survived her and whether friendship or faith (or both) have the power to transform our lives. Scenes take place in 1978 and 1958, among characters in real time and characters in suspended time.