Tom Horan

Tom Horan

Tom Horan is a Writer, Sound Designer, and Educator. Currently, Tom serves as Playwright-in-Residence at The Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis, originally through a grant from NNPN. He has produced four shows at the Phoenix: Typhoid Mary, The Acid Dolphin Experiment, Leyenda, and Static. In addition, Tom has curates the annual Christmas show, has designs sound for four shows each season, and celebrates...
Tom Horan is a Writer, Sound Designer, and Educator. Currently, Tom serves as Playwright-in-Residence at The Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis, originally through a grant from NNPN. He has produced four shows at the Phoenix: Typhoid Mary, The Acid Dolphin Experiment, Leyenda, and Static. In addition, Tom has curates the annual Christmas show, has designs sound for four shows each season, and celebrates community members as part of the Phoenix Honors series. Alongside his conventional playwriting, Tom has worked on a number of collaborative projects. Notably, he co-founded The Duplicates and, with them, he served as Script and Sound Designer for over a half a dozen plays. (Including a site-specific spectacle about the Dionne quintuplets entitled The Fictional Life of Historical Oddities, a love story told with objects entitled The Man With the Dancing Eyes, a playful memorial entitled september play, and a drive-in puppet theater about Elvis’ car entitled Elvis Machine.) The Poison Squad, about chemist Harvey Wiley, earned six Austin Critics Table nominations, including Sound Design, Drama Production and New Play, winning awards for Lighting and Ensemble. Other work includes: his solo toy theater play, The King & The Clockmaker, which received Best-of-Week and Best-of-Fest honors at FronteraFest (Austin) and a subsequent production with Great Small Works (New York City); 13 Dead Husbands, which received funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs in Chicago; and his looping ghost story, Static, developed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington D.C), the Source Festival (Washington D.C.), as well as the University of Texas at Austin, where Tom received his MFA. Tom works as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Playwriting at Ball State University.

Plays

  • The Pill
    In the early 1950s, Margret Sanger is at the end of career as an activist for women’s rights. Yet throughout it all she had never been able to achieve her secret hope of creating a “magic tablet” that would be cheap, easy, and allow woman to turn off and on her ability to have a child. Sanger makes one last effort to achieve her dream. She enlists Katherine McCormick, a former suffragist and wealthy widow to...
    In the early 1950s, Margret Sanger is at the end of career as an activist for women’s rights. Yet throughout it all she had never been able to achieve her secret hope of creating a “magic tablet” that would be cheap, easy, and allow woman to turn off and on her ability to have a child. Sanger makes one last effort to achieve her dream. She enlists Katherine McCormick, a former suffragist and wealthy widow to finance the project, forms a tentative alliance with Goodwin Pincus – a disgraced hormone scientist, and John Rock a Roman Catholic gynecologist, whose reluctant participation lent the project a sheen of acceptability. Together these four attempt to navigate a problem that seems scientifically impractical, financially unfeasible, requires testing medicine with strong side effects on healthy young women, and necessitates the participation of skeptical pharmaceutical companies to produce a pill that would be illegal according to 30 states and the federal law. We many all know of the birth control, but do we know what was risked to create it?
  • The Giantmaker
    The Giantmaker takes one of the most famous hoaxes in United States History and spins a larger than life theatrical tale. After an atheist, George Hull, gets into an argument with a Methodist preacher, he decides to get revenge. When an apparent 10ft tall petrified man is unearthed on a quiet farm in upstate New York, Mr. Hull hopes to trick the bible literalists who believe in giants into paying to see it, yet...
    The Giantmaker takes one of the most famous hoaxes in United States History and spins a larger than life theatrical tale. After an atheist, George Hull, gets into an argument with a Methodist preacher, he decides to get revenge. When an apparent 10ft tall petrified man is unearthed on a quiet farm in upstate New York, Mr. Hull hopes to trick the bible literalists who believe in giants into paying to see it, yet he fails to realize how this oddity will capture the imagination of the scientific community, the media and the American public.
  • Mary Shelly
    During a rainy stretch of days, Mary Shelley creates what would become her most famous novel, Frankenstein. The play tackles this event with all due irreverence, coloring in margins of history books with its portrayal of husband Percy Shelly, step sister Claire, host Lord Byron and his Doctor. The play unearths a figurative understanding of creation, unsettling notions of God, Death, Art and Waldorf Salads –...
    During a rainy stretch of days, Mary Shelley creates what would become her most famous novel, Frankenstein. The play tackles this event with all due irreverence, coloring in margins of history books with its portrayal of husband Percy Shelly, step sister Claire, host Lord Byron and his Doctor. The play unearths a figurative understanding of creation, unsettling notions of God, Death, Art and Waldorf Salads – Mary believes the creature of her story is alive and responsible for all the real tragedies in her life.
  • Typhoid Mary
    The term “Typhoid Mary,” signifying a person who knowingly spreads disease, has become common place. Yet the tale of the Mary Mallon, the cook who inspired the name, is lesser known. In 1906, Dr. George Soper and Dr. Sara Baker discovered that Mary, a working-class immigrant, caused several breakouts of typhoid. They labeled her an “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid, a designation that medicine was still...
    The term “Typhoid Mary,” signifying a person who knowingly spreads disease, has become common place. Yet the tale of the Mary Mallon, the cook who inspired the name, is lesser known. In 1906, Dr. George Soper and Dr. Sara Baker discovered that Mary, a working-class immigrant, caused several breakouts of typhoid. They labeled her an “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid, a designation that medicine was still struggling to understand. With no trial, the medical authority locked Mary away for 3 years, then unceremoniously let go on the condition she not cook ever again. A few years later she was found cooking at the scene of a typhoid outbreak at a maternity hospital, forcing her into quarantine for the rest of her life. The play TYPHOID MARY, funnels the story through Mary’s persecuted eyes and the two very different doctors who sought to understand her condition. At heart, the play digs into the battle of a Religious versus Medical understanding of cleanliness and the people caught in the middle. Her discovery as well as her subsequent treatment by Dr. Soper and Dr. Baker, unfolds in front of a backdrop of changing understanding sickness and morality, which are complicated by notions of power, gender, and class.
  • Static
    When Emma was a little girl, she heard ghost stories about her neighbors Walter and Millie Burke - how the couple filled their home with strange things, which drove them mad. Years have passed and Emma finds herself the owner of this house that has sat abandoned for years. She discovers, among the jars of buttons and tubs of forks, a box full of cassette tapes filled with secrets of Walter and Millie. 

  • Acid Dolphin Experiment
    Acid Dolphin Experiment tackles the life of Dr. John C Lilly, a midcentury American Neuroscientist famous for exploring the nature of consciousness, using isolation tanks, dolphin communication, and psychedelic drugs... sometimes in combination... and frequently on himself. As a scientist, he risked his career, his relationships, and his sanity, to decipher the subjective experiences often dismissed as "...
    Acid Dolphin Experiment tackles the life of Dr. John C Lilly, a midcentury American Neuroscientist famous for exploring the nature of consciousness, using isolation tanks, dolphin communication, and psychedelic drugs... sometimes in combination... and frequently on himself. As a scientist, he risked his career, his relationships, and his sanity, to decipher the subjective experiences often dismissed as "mere hallucinations."