Alan Olejniczak

Alan Olejniczak

Alan Olejniczak is a San Francisco-based playwright and opera librettist. Alan is on the board of Theatre Bay Area Board, a member of the Dramatist Guild and Opera America. He is also an Associate Artist with FaultLine Theater in San Francisco and co-founder of bicoastal At Last Theatre in Kingston, New York. His works have been developed and produced across the country. Alan's plays include: Transgress,...
Alan Olejniczak is a San Francisco-based playwright and opera librettist. Alan is on the board of Theatre Bay Area Board, a member of the Dramatist Guild and Opera America. He is also an Associate Artist with FaultLine Theater in San Francisco and co-founder of bicoastal At Last Theatre in Kingston, New York. His works have been developed and produced across the country. Alan's plays include: Transgress, Dominion, and Present Tense (available on New Play Exchange). Alan returns to Kansas for The 38th Annual William Inge Festival to present Val-Kill, his one-act play about Eleanor Roosevelt’s fight to end lynching in the South. Last summer, Alan was on an expeditionary artist residency with The Arctic Circle, sailing the icy waters around Svalbard. There he completed the first draft of HELT TEXAS, a new play about climate change and contemporary discourse. It's currently being developed as an on-line theatre production with Punch Presentations in Hong Kong. Last November, Alan was a member of the Micro-Galleries Artist Collective and participated in their residency in Pātan, Nepal. There he facilitated a workshop on personal storytelling with The Blue Diamond Society, an LGBTQ advocacy group in Katmandu.

​Alan currently has two full-length chamber operas in development. An adaption of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich with John Young and Sueños Americanos, a bilingual opera loosely based on Cyrano de Bergerac with composer, Chris Pratorius-Gómez​.

Plays

  • HELT TEXAS
    In a hotel lobby in the Arctic town of Longyearbyen, Sarah, an American PhD candidate with strong ideals, meets Torbjørn, an older, wiser, sexier, Norwegian. Sparks fly, distracting Sarah from the attentions of her longtime friend from college, Arthur, whose stance on climate change is even more passionate than Sarah’s position. The men challenge each other for Sarah’s attention, and it seems Torbjørn will win...
    In a hotel lobby in the Arctic town of Longyearbyen, Sarah, an American PhD candidate with strong ideals, meets Torbjørn, an older, wiser, sexier, Norwegian. Sparks fly, distracting Sarah from the attentions of her longtime friend from college, Arthur, whose stance on climate change is even more passionate than Sarah’s position. The men challenge each other for Sarah’s attention, and it seems Torbjørn will win until Arthur ruins their evening. Frustrated, Sarah finds it hard to sleep with the twenty-four hours of sunlight and she talks to Natalia. She is brought back down to earth with the reminder that not everyone has the luxury of worrying about climate change. Natalia and her husband, Alexei, are transplants from Russia who were forced to drop out of college and leave their son behind and can barely make ends meet. Their focus is on the survival and reuniting their family. Emboldened by Sarah’s rebuff of Torbjørn, Arthur declares his long time love for her but she turns him down again. Torbjørn is about to check out of the hotel when a landslide, caused by melting permafrost, envelopes the hotel, trapping everyone inside but Alexei, who may or may not have been killed in the avalanche. As they wait for their rescue, Torbjørn confesses that he works for a big oil company. Sarah is revolted and it seems Arthur may have a chance, but blows it. They are now forced to speak to one another. Tensions build as they wait for their rescue, climaxing when Arthur pulls Alexi’s gun on Torbjørn in the midst of an argument on climate disruption, sustainability, and conservation. A cell phone call tells them Alexei has survived and help is on the way, but the celebration is short lived when the roof buckles again. Will they ever stop talking and fighting or will they finally take action to save themselves? HELT TEXAS is a play about climate change, sustainability, and contemporary discourse.
  • Heaven and Earth
    Heaven and Earth is a drama and science play that explores the Galileo Affair, not as a struggle between science and religion, but more as a debate about the nature of truth. Is truth handed down by authority, or can it be determined objectively through experimentation?

    The oppression of authority is seen in two interwoven plots throughout the play. The first plot line follows Galileo. At the...
    Heaven and Earth is a drama and science play that explores the Galileo Affair, not as a struggle between science and religion, but more as a debate about the nature of truth. Is truth handed down by authority, or can it be determined objectively through experimentation?

    The oppression of authority is seen in two interwoven plots throughout the play. The first plot line follows Galileo. At the opening, he has developed a new, more powerful telescope, capable of looking at the heavens with greater detail than ever before. His observations through this telescope lead him to conclude that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo is a devout Catholic, but cannot deny the evidence of his own senses. Despite his clear scientific arguments, however, many will not accept his claims. His ultimate failure to convince them, and his condemnation by the inquisition, are seen to be as much about personalities as they are about biblical interpretation.

    The second plot line follows Galileo’s two daughters, Livia and Virginia who lived most of their lives in a convent. While Virginia thrived, Livia become sickly and depressed after a thwarted love affair between Livia and Galileo’s protégé Castelli. As Galileo’s problems with the church become more serious, his downfall is mirrored by Livia, who goes mad in response to the oppressive life of a nun. In the final scenes, Galileo lies dying under house arrest, and must convince a young priest of his true repentance if he is to receive Last Rites and die in a state of grace. Abandoned and in despair, Galileo truly recants, not knowing that his work will live on to have the impact we see today.

  • Concerto
    Concerto is a play about the thirteen-year relationship between Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, his patron, Nadezhda Von Meck, the love affair with his protégé Iosif Kotek, and development of his First Violin Concerto. Tchaikovsky and Von Meck begin their friendship with a simple piano commission arranged by Kotek, her music master. Eventually, Von Meck begins to shape the fortunes of these two artists by controlling...
    Concerto is a play about the thirteen-year relationship between Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, his patron, Nadezhda Von Meck, the love affair with his protégé Iosif Kotek, and development of his First Violin Concerto. Tchaikovsky and Von Meck begin their friendship with a simple piano commission arranged by Kotek, her music master. Eventually, Von Meck begins to shape the fortunes of these two artists by controlling their personal and professional lives. She commissions Tchaikovsky’s greatest works, including the First Violin Concerto for Kotek. Relationships sour when Tchaikovsky chooses to marry and Kotek is unable to play the Concerto with the virtuosity required.
  • Dominion
    In a religious dystopia where questioning dogma is forbidden, three women learn the power of friendship, love, and the dangers of sacrifice.
    (Running time of 90 minutes with no intermission.)
  • Present Tense
    Present Tense is a play of five unrelated vignettes, tied together thematically. It is a drama, a theatrical poem about Middle America. It’s about our dilemmas, failed expectations, difficult choices, and our unwillingness to live in the present.
    (Running time of 85 minutes with no intermission.)
  • Transgress
    This short play is based on the true story of Dora Ratjen, a Nazi athlete in the 1936 Olympics and gold medal winner in the women’s high jump. She was later arrested for impersonating a man. This play surrounds her detainment and investigation, which reveals Dora is intersex. Dora must make a choice: Live as a woman and keep her fame or as a man and go to prison.
  • Last Laughs
    Last Laughs has been re-worked into a one-act comic reading. With humor, wit, and refreshing honesty, Everett Mattlin offers his reflections on the realities of aging. Adapted from Everett Mattlin's book, Last Laughs: A Pocket Full of Wry for the Aging.
    (Running time 24 minutes)