William Duell

William Duell

William Duell's first produced play, The Journey, a forty-minute drama, was produced in 2009 at American Theatre of Actors in Manhattan by James Jennings, President and Artistic Director of ATA, and was a finalist for the Arts and Letters Prize in Drama. Duell's plays have been produced and workshopped across the U.S. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America and its Houston Regional...
William Duell's first produced play, The Journey, a forty-minute drama, was produced in 2009 at American Theatre of Actors in Manhattan by James Jennings, President and Artistic Director of ATA, and was a finalist for the Arts and Letters Prize in Drama. Duell's plays have been produced and workshopped across the U.S. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America and its Houston Regional Representative, a board member of Wordsmyth Theater Co., which promotes new works by playwrights from around the world, and is an advisory board member of Fade to Black, Houston's first and only national play festival to showcase the new works of African-American playwrights.

Plays

  • Shadow Play
    Daisy Collier, a reporter for her mega-church's magazine, learns that a local woman has become the oldest living American. She interviews Lucinda Spring, hoping to record her experiences and the secret of her longevity, but discovers Lucinda is an atheist who insults Daisy and her religion. Having researched Lucinda's life, Daisy surmised Lucinda exaggerated her age to collect early Social Security...
    Daisy Collier, a reporter for her mega-church's magazine, learns that a local woman has become the oldest living American. She interviews Lucinda Spring, hoping to record her experiences and the secret of her longevity, but discovers Lucinda is an atheist who insults Daisy and her religion. Having researched Lucinda's life, Daisy surmised Lucinda exaggerated her age to collect early Social Security benefits and tries to trick her into admitting this. Instead, she finds herself entangled in a larger mystery: examining Lucinda's life to find the existential comfort that would allow a freethinker to embrace her own mortality.

    The women consider the pleasures of love, of having children, and the satisfaction of a career. Lucinda insists that as important as these are, none makes up for the loss of self - of the internal voice that has guided her throughout her life. Juan, Daisy's lover, who works for Lucinda, shows up for an assignation. Lucinda discovers that Daisy thinks memories of her furtive love affair will comfort her when her time comes, and attacks the idea. Their argument leads to a volatile climax in which Lucinda realizes there is no existential comfort, but during its course, both women become tentative friends who experience and recognize the vanity of self-righteousness.
  • Honor
    Trotter suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor guilt, the result of a gunman's shooting spree during which Trotter tried to save three children but failed to save one of them. He refuses help, can't control his temper and contemplates suicide. His mother convinces Sarah to be his psychiatrist, and she persuades her husband, Matt, an honorably discharged Marine sergeant – who lost his...
    Trotter suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor guilt, the result of a gunman's shooting spree during which Trotter tried to save three children but failed to save one of them. He refuses help, can't control his temper and contemplates suicide. His mother convinces Sarah to be his psychiatrist, and she persuades her husband, Matt, an honorably discharged Marine sergeant – who lost his men in an assault in Helmand Province, Afghanistan and who has nearly completed his own PSTD treatment – to help her get through to Trotter. Trotter repulses their attempts, insults Matt for keeping it a secret that an American drone killed his men and, in another fit of rage, throws his partner, Luke, out of their apartment.

    Sarah reads Trotter a letter from the deceased child's father. This helps him gain some perspective, but Matt doesn't know this and, stung by Trotter's continued insults, provokes him into a fight, without accurately anticipating the outcome. Trotter is arrested for his violence, his only chance of avoiding jail being Matt, who could elect not to press charges. The unusual condition on which Matt will not press charges – that Trotter must say aloud about himself, in front of Matt, Sarah and other witnesses, that he is an honorable man – penetrates Trotter’s defenses. He breaks down and undergoes further psychiatric treatment. After his first exhausting session, Trotter falls asleep and dreams of the people – his mother, his partner, his psychiatrist, his new friend – who cared and persisted enough to reach him.
  • Abena - a monologue
    Abena is a young Nigerian woman who immigrated to the U.S. with her parents at the age of five. She is in a bar on the most recent of one too many blind dates, this one with a romantic young American man. Abena is well educated, very smart, a fast talker who does not trust or believe in romance and who secretly believes most men are cowards. In this monologue, she explains to her date the six things he needs to...
    Abena is a young Nigerian woman who immigrated to the U.S. with her parents at the age of five. She is in a bar on the most recent of one too many blind dates, this one with a romantic young American man. Abena is well educated, very smart, a fast talker who does not trust or believe in romance and who secretly believes most men are cowards. In this monologue, she explains to her date the six things he needs to know about her "before this so called date goes any further."

Recommended by William Duell

  • TEACH
    10 Apr. 2018
    Just saw Wordsmyth Theater's reading of TEACH in Houston. This drama plays with the inequity of power in pedagogy in a way I've never seen and in so doing upends our understanding of what we think it means to be male or female. How? Chris is a teacher, but we meet Male Chris and Female Chris; Emerson is a student, but we see Male Emerson and Female Emerson. Each male/female character is emotionally consonant. But the teacher/student interaction fluctuates according to the pairing of the 4 actors. See this play - it will fascinate, entertain and teach you.
  • ON THE ROOF
    6 Aug. 2015
    Enthralling and poignant, "On the Roof" is the rare, memorable play that breaks your heart but leaves you hopeful - that better things will come to its beautifully wrought characters, that we are making progress, and that more of us will learn about and appreciate the sacrifices our predecessors made for us. Read this play. I'll make sure to be at its first production.