Brent Englar

Brent Englar

I am the Baltimore Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild of America. My plays have been produced throughout the United States, including in Baltimore, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. From 2010 to 2014, I directed the Mobtown Playwrights Group, an offshoot of Baltimore’s Mobtown Players; our season consisted of public readings of three new plays by local writers, culminating in a full...
I am the Baltimore Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild of America. My plays have been produced throughout the United States, including in Baltimore, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. From 2010 to 2014, I directed the Mobtown Playwrights Group, an offshoot of Baltimore’s Mobtown Players; our season consisted of public readings of three new plays by local writers, culminating in a full production of one of the selected plays. At Mobtown, I directed numerous readings and several world premieres.

Plays

  • Deposition
    After thirty days in a coma, Nelson awakens convinced he has visited the afterworld, where a vast river separates him from a benevolent figure on the far shore. His wife, Annie, is equally convinced Nelson has experienced nothing more mysterious than a dream induced by an oxygen-starved brain. Following his discharge from the hospital, Nelson spends an increasing amount of time by the river, nearly dry from...
    After thirty days in a coma, Nelson awakens convinced he has visited the afterworld, where a vast river separates him from a benevolent figure on the far shore. His wife, Annie, is equally convinced Nelson has experienced nothing more mysterious than a dream induced by an oxygen-starved brain. Following his discharge from the hospital, Nelson spends an increasing amount of time by the river, nearly dry from drought, that trickles past his and Annie’s home. Annie has been finding in its dusty channel unusual objects—a bone, a pocket watch, a katsina doll—which Nelson interprets as clues to his near-death experience: solving the puzzle in his present life will teach him to cross the river in his afterlife. His beliefs are both challenged and encouraged by his nurse, Zora, an evangelical Christian with her own near-death history—one that uncannily parallels Nelson’s. As Annie struggles to reconcile her memories of her husband with his new reality, Nelson slides deeper into obsession. At play’s end, she leaves him with an ultimatum: solve your mystery, alone, or save our marriage.
  • Patient X
    Doctor Jon treats Tamara for an inexplicable case of X-ray vision, as his deceased father and her grandmother watch from the afterlife. Tamara’s condition proves a mixed blessing for everyone—living and dead—when she sees inside a locked safe full of secrets that belonged to Jon’s father.
  • Ball
    When the greatest ballplayer in the world, BJ Choice, announces he intends to play for free, he immediately becomes a league-wide laughingstock. Fans riot, teammates brand him a traitor, and no club in the Professional League will sign him. Falling from greatness with BJ is Sal Shea, the reporter who hosted BJ’s fatal press conference and who is fired in the wake of his humiliation. One year later, BJ has...
    When the greatest ballplayer in the world, BJ Choice, announces he intends to play for free, he immediately becomes a league-wide laughingstock. Fans riot, teammates brand him a traitor, and no club in the Professional League will sign him. Falling from greatness with BJ is Sal Shea, the reporter who hosted BJ’s fatal press conference and who is fired in the wake of his humiliation. One year later, BJ has retreated to a simple, desert life, far from the highlights and fantasy boards. Sal tracks him down, hoping to convince BJ to attempt a comeback. For if BJ can rehabilitate his career, Sal may yet save hers.
  • The Soapbox
    Exactly 10 years ago, Avee Van Westin was sent to prison for vomiting on the principal soapbox of a major population center. Now free—and still outraged by the disparity between punishment and crime—Avee returns to the soapbox to demand an apology from its administrator. But Avee finds no sympathy—neither from the administrator nor from any of the other citizens clamoring to speak their minds. Frustrated...
    Exactly 10 years ago, Avee Van Westin was sent to prison for vomiting on the principal soapbox of a major population center. Now free—and still outraged by the disparity between punishment and crime—Avee returns to the soapbox to demand an apology from its administrator. But Avee finds no sympathy—neither from the administrator nor from any of the other citizens clamoring to speak their minds. Frustrated repeatedly, Avee must choose whether to accept fate gracefully or take one last stand against authority.
  • A Year of Living Dangerously
    Four plays. Four barely defensible choices. Spring: Opening Day, 2050: O's at Nats Summer: Fireworks Fall: The Critic Winter: Plunge
  • The Apple Don't Fall
    Six months ago, Dan’s entire known family died tragically in an Appalachian tornado accident. So when Glenne appears outside his house one morning, claiming to be his long-lost half-sister, Dan fears she wants nothing more than a piece of his forthcoming inheritance. But he is hungry for kinship, and when Glenne proves convincing, Dan embraces her wholeheartedly and introduces her to his friends. To Glenne’s...
    Six months ago, Dan’s entire known family died tragically in an Appalachian tornado accident. So when Glenne appears outside his house one morning, claiming to be his long-lost half-sister, Dan fears she wants nothing more than a piece of his forthcoming inheritance. But he is hungry for kinship, and when Glenne proves convincing, Dan embraces her wholeheartedly and introduces her to his friends. To Glenne’s amazement, these friends include a visionary director named Leon, who—along with his silent troupe of “enactors”—has conceived a new form of theatre consisting wholly of gesture. To Glenne’s greater amazement, Dan intends to use his inheritance to fund Leon’s endeavor. Fearing that unscrupulous artists are taking advantage of her brother, Glenne urges Dan to spend the money in pursuit of his dream … whatever it is. At the same time, she eagerly shares her dream: to expand the tiny athletic club she owns into a global fitness empire. Thus begins the battle for Dan’s patronage. In Glenne’s corner are blood ties and a compelling sales pitch; in Leon’s is his art. An unfair fight, perhaps … but then, Leon’s art is really strange—even his wife, Susan (herself a more traditional playwright: she uses words) agrees. The final movement opens with the inaugural performance by Gestation Theatre Company; by the time it ends, Dan has decided where to invest his money. But can he justify his faith in his newfound half-sister?
  • Snowbound
    Sherri Blount sits in her Baltimore rowhouse, sipping a cup of tea as outside a blizzard rages. Upstairs, Andy Bowden reflects on the revelations of the past few days. While sifting through the belongings of his recently deceased wife, Andy discovered a pile of letters written by a man with whom she had once had an affair. He then drove all night to confront the adulterer, only to find that the man—Sherri'...
    Sherri Blount sits in her Baltimore rowhouse, sipping a cup of tea as outside a blizzard rages. Upstairs, Andy Bowden reflects on the revelations of the past few days. While sifting through the belongings of his recently deceased wife, Andy discovered a pile of letters written by a man with whom she had once had an affair. He then drove all night to confront the adulterer, only to find that the man—Sherri's husband—has himself recently died. Just then the blizzard hits, and Andy has no choice but to wait out the storm with Sherri.
  • A Wake
    "A Wake" tells the story of James Cole, a high-school English teacher who has begun to despair of inspiring in his students the same love of language and literature that first motivated him to teach. When he assigns Eugene O’Neill’s "Long Day’s Journey into Night," one of his students, an aspiring actress named Dana, unexpectedly connects with the play, reawakening in James the enthusiasm he...
    "A Wake" tells the story of James Cole, a high-school English teacher who has begun to despair of inspiring in his students the same love of language and literature that first motivated him to teach. When he assigns Eugene O’Neill’s "Long Day’s Journey into Night," one of his students, an aspiring actress named Dana, unexpectedly connects with the play, reawakening in James the enthusiasm he feared he had lost, not only for teaching, but for living life to its fullest potential. It is a reawakening that prompts him at last to seek the truth about his own family's history, and the ways in which he has allowed the ghosts of his past to shape his present and future. One ghost in particular haunts James’s imagination: a young woman named Hannah Finch, his grandfather’s first—and perhaps only—love, who died in childbirth nearly a century ago. Through his conversations with Hannah, James learns that his grandfather wasn’t always the gloomy man of memory—he was young once and possessed with a joy for living that seems both wonderful and hopelessly alien to James. Inspired by his discovery, James throws himself into teaching with greater intensity than ever, but his students continue to resist his efforts. James must decide whether the fault lies in them or in his unrealistic expectations of them, and his conclusion leads him to draft his letter of resignation. In the play’s final scene, Dana returns to recite a speech she has prepared from "Long Day’s Journey into Night." James watches Dana’s performance, greatly moved, as the letter lies forgotten on his desk.
  • Badlands
    I was inspired to write "Badlands" in the months following my move from Maryland to Los Angeles, where I had been hired as a sales representative for a chemical company run by my uncle. The play’s protagonist, Jeffrey, finds himself similarly transplanted, having agreed to work as an assistant to his friend Tyrone, now a successful editor. For a brief while Jeffrey distracts himself with the thrill of...
    I was inspired to write "Badlands" in the months following my move from Maryland to Los Angeles, where I had been hired as a sales representative for a chemical company run by my uncle. The play’s protagonist, Jeffrey, finds himself similarly transplanted, having agreed to work as an assistant to his friend Tyrone, now a successful editor. For a brief while Jeffrey distracts himself with the thrill of a new home and girlfriend, but his enthusiasm soon wanes, due in part to his growing realization that he and Tyrone have drifted much further apart than he’d imagined. Unable to turn for answers either to his best friend or girlfriend—a film student with little patience for speechmaking—and thousands of miles removed from familial comforts, Jeffrey begins to seek escape in an idealized fantasy of the American West through which he traveled en route to California. Of course, this is also the route I traveled, and Jeffrey’s awestruck memory of “the badland-scape,” as he calls it, was my own, as is his sense of being an “eternal tourist” doomed never to find his own place to call home. Though Jeffrey can no longer relate to Tyrone, he discovers an unexpected kindred spirit in his friend’s would-be fiancée, Cynthia, a professional travel writer and amateur tour guide. When Jeffrey ducks out of a business convention in San Francisco so that Cynthia can show him the sights of the city, Tyrone fires him. No longer bound by the strictures of the workplace, by play’s end Jeffrey rekindles his friendship with Tyrone, though he remains jobless, uncertain even whether to remain in Los Angeles. As the lights fade to black, he is already contemplating a new career path, leaving the audience to consider whether Jeffrey is beginning to understand what he wants out of life or whether he has merely come full circle.
  • Labor Day
    It is the last day of summer vacation, and Patrick—an aspiring writer who has just turned seventeen—has made up his mind to run away from a home he believes has sheltered him from the formative experiences he requires to write meaningfully about life. First, however, he must say goodbye to his older brother, Jason. Jason suddenly finds himself confronting a “kid brother” who has grown up faster than he had...
    It is the last day of summer vacation, and Patrick—an aspiring writer who has just turned seventeen—has made up his mind to run away from a home he believes has sheltered him from the formative experiences he requires to write meaningfully about life. First, however, he must say goodbye to his older brother, Jason. Jason suddenly finds himself confronting a “kid brother” who has grown up faster than he had realized, and burdened with a responsibility he never imagined would be his. As Jason struggles to understand the roots of Patrick’s frustration, Patrick reveals that he has never shown his writing to anyone, lest a lukewarm response confirm his worst fears about his abilities When Jason dismisses these fears as irrational, Patrick loses his temper and demands Jason leave. To his amazement, Jason does. Truly alone for the first time, Patrick cries out for Jason to return. The brothers reconcile, and Jason takes Patrick back home.