William Duell

William Duell

William Duell's first produced play, The Journey was produced March 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. Most recently, his full-length drama honor had its first workshop readings December 16 and 18, 2019,...
William Duell's first produced play, The Journey was produced March 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. Most recently, his full-length drama honor had its first workshop readings December 16 and 18, 2019, directed by Gerald vanHeerden and presented by vMHF Theatricals and ArtNY at the Bruce Mitchell Room in NYC; Coastals was one of three short competition-winning plays performed on May 16, 2020 as a recorded reading posted online by the Emerson Players and presented by Citizen’s Climate Lobby’s Houston Chapter; and the monologue Half Lives will appear in October as part of Cone Man Running Productions’ Cauldron: 31 Days of Audioplays. Duell is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a professional member of PEN America, and a board member of Wordsmyth Theater Co., which promotes new works by playwrights from around the world. He is an advisory board member of Fade to Black, Houston's first and only national play festival to showcase new works by Black 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.
  • 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."
  • honor
    A gay man who tries to save three children during a mass shooting but fails to save one of them, a Muslim boy, suffers from survivor’s guilt, cannot control his temper and is suicidal. A psychiatrist persuades her husband, an honorably discharged Marine sergeant recovering from having lost men in an assault in Helmand Province, Afghanistan to try to pull him back from the edge, but the sergeant admits to him...
    A gay man who tries to save three children during a mass shooting but fails to save one of them, a Muslim boy, suffers from survivor’s guilt, cannot control his temper and is suicidal. A psychiatrist persuades her husband, an honorably discharged Marine sergeant recovering from having lost men in an assault in Helmand Province, Afghanistan to try to pull him back from the edge, but the sergeant admits to him that it was an American drone and not enemy fire that actually killed his men. Disaster results: Each man tries to goad the other to kill himself. The people who love these men - one’s husband and mother, the other’s wife - do what they can to save them both. In due course, each man comes to understand what it really means to be honorable and, more importantly, the necessity of honoring others.
  • Bondage
    Logline:

    A wealthy, white urbanite replaces his politically aware black lover with a mixed-race, petty thief who better appreciates his urge to dominate.

    Short Synopsis:

    Trent, white, tries to convince his black boyfriend, Lute to try rough sex when they're interrupted by Taylor, a mixed race thief who accidentally steps on their cat in their condo. When Lute...
    Logline:

    A wealthy, white urbanite replaces his politically aware black lover with a mixed-race, petty thief who better appreciates his urge to dominate.

    Short Synopsis:

    Trent, white, tries to convince his black boyfriend, Lute to try rough sex when they're interrupted by Taylor, a mixed race thief who accidentally steps on their cat in their condo. When Lute returns from the vet, he discovers Taylor is more game for rough sex than he was. He tells Trent his thrill in roughing up Taylor is the thrill Taylor's ancestors got dominating slaves. They fight, and Taylor reluctantly helps Lute, who knocks Trent unconscious.

    Lute briefly tortures Trent to give him a taste of what Lute's ancestors experienced. Taylor convinces him to hire two of his friends who torture guys for a living. Lute leaves to hire them. Taylor agrees to free Trent in exchange for Trent taking him in as his lover and throwing Lute out. Lute returns alone - Taylor was lying to him - to discover this and realizes the racial "change" alluded to throughout will never come. After he leaves, Taylor explains to Trent that change did come: Trent has replaced an older, less responsive model with a sleeker, less expensive new one.