Stephen Larsen

Stephen Larsen

STEPHEN LARSEN started playwriting after travelling the world from Japan to Korea to Iraq as a journalist/video producer for the U.S. Army. His full-length plays include THE SIEGE OF ROBERT D. JAMES, about the final days of chess genius Bobby Fischer in exile in Iceland; ORDER 17, about the effect of the 2003 invasion on Americans and Iraqis; A TIME TO SPEAK, about the tug-of-war between the Kennedys, Martin...
STEPHEN LARSEN started playwriting after travelling the world from Japan to Korea to Iraq as a journalist/video producer for the U.S. Army. His full-length plays include THE SIEGE OF ROBERT D. JAMES, about the final days of chess genius Bobby Fischer in exile in Iceland; ORDER 17, about the effect of the 2003 invasion on Americans and Iraqis; A TIME TO SPEAK, about the tug-of-war between the Kennedys, Martin Luther King Jr and other Civil Rights leaders; SUSPICIOUS MINDS, the true story of Elvis' meeting with Nixon; MY OLD FRIEND, about the little-known final meeting between Paul McCartney and John Lennon; BRIGHT METAL ON A SULLEN GROUND, about the intrigue Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane faced in Paris as they sought to gain France’s support for America’s quest for Independence; BIANCA, about how Bianca, a Cortigiana, follows her lover Cassio to Cyprus and gets caught up in Iago’s plot of revenge against Othello and Cassio; and OTHER SIDE OF THE JORDAN, about Harriet Tubman's introduction to the Underground Railroad in Cape May, NJ. His short and one-act plays include FERRY, The Artist, FEAR THE WOLFE, BREAKING BALLS and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF EVE. He has written numerous unproduced feature film screenplays and was Writer, Co-Producer and First Assistant Director of the short independent film Robert D James. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Stephen can be reached at: Stephen.Larsen1095@gmail.com

Plays

  • The Rest... Is Silence
    Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is having a rough time of it. He thinks his Stepfather, Claudius, killed his Father, The King – but he needs proof. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Ophelia, is clinging to him – she’s so needy. He accidentally kills Ophelia’s father – is banished to England, where he evades a murder plot but on his return is attacked by Pirates and stripped naked. Now, back in Denmark, he finds Ophelia has...
    Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is having a rough time of it. He thinks his Stepfather, Claudius, killed his Father, The King – but he needs proof. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, Ophelia, is clinging to him – she’s so needy. He accidentally kills Ophelia’s father – is banished to England, where he evades a murder plot but on his return is attacked by Pirates and stripped naked. Now, back in Denmark, he finds Ophelia has gone bonkers and committed suicide – and therefore shall, according to Common Law and Ecclesiastical Law, be interred in a “crooked burial” – her body will rest on unsanctified ground until the last trumpet! So, he goes to Court to prove her death was not suicide – but an accident. It is the least he can do, to assure that for Ophelia, the rest... is silence.
  • OTHER SIDE OF THE JORDAN
    Summer, 1851. Recently-escaped fugitive slave Harriet Tubman is working as a cook at the Mansion House, the finest hotel in Cape May, New Jersey, to finance bringing her other kin North – especially her husband, who she misses, desperately. All she wants is to restore her family, and live with them in peace in the Promised Land of the North. But that dream is jeopardized by the new Fugitive Slave Law, which...
    Summer, 1851. Recently-escaped fugitive slave Harriet Tubman is working as a cook at the Mansion House, the finest hotel in Cape May, New Jersey, to finance bringing her other kin North – especially her husband, who she misses, desperately. All she wants is to restore her family, and live with them in peace in the Promised Land of the North. But that dream is jeopardized by the new Fugitive Slave Law, which requires average citizens to help Slave Catchers re-capture fugitives; the below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line resort town is crawling with the bounty hunters – along with operatives of the whispered-about ‘Underground Railroad’. Pulled from all sides, can Harriet stay out of the fray and reunite her own family on the other side of the Jordan...?
  • ORDER 17
    In November 2004, on the last Blackhawk helicopter out of Victory Base, Baghdad, before the second invasion of Fallujah is unleashed, Tom, an Army Civilian Journalist, shares a ride on a with Boom-Pa, a shady former Special Forces Operator who is now a “Security Contractor” for an “Other Government Agency”. Tom is shocked by the devastation wreaked by his country in Iraq and just wants to get home with his...
    In November 2004, on the last Blackhawk helicopter out of Victory Base, Baghdad, before the second invasion of Fallujah is unleashed, Tom, an Army Civilian Journalist, shares a ride on a with Boom-Pa, a shady former Special Forces Operator who is now a “Security Contractor” for an “Other Government Agency”. Tom is shocked by the devastation wreaked by his country in Iraq and just wants to get home with his hands clean and in one piece… while Boom-Pa is there… for what? Their cross purposes are revealed when they come face-to-face with Iraqis whose lives have been forever impacted by the War and they realize that in Iraq you can’t tell the wolves from the sheep… but thanks to Order 17, it doesn’t matter.
  • BIANCA
    After hearing that her lover, Cassio, was promoted to be Othello’s Lieutenant, Bianca, a Cortigiana (like a prostitute but in a nicer dress), follows Cassio to Cyprus – after all, Cassio promised he would marry Bianca if he was ever promoted. But Bianca finds Cassio has been demoted after a drunken brawl provoked by a mysterious fop in a plumed hat. She is sure her former lover Iago is behind it and she sets...
    After hearing that her lover, Cassio, was promoted to be Othello’s Lieutenant, Bianca, a Cortigiana (like a prostitute but in a nicer dress), follows Cassio to Cyprus – after all, Cassio promised he would marry Bianca if he was ever promoted. But Bianca finds Cassio has been demoted after a drunken brawl provoked by a mysterious fop in a plumed hat. She is sure her former lover Iago is behind it and she sets out to find proof – which she does, in the form of a handkerchief with red berries on it – much like her own missing handkerchief. Can she convince Cassio that not only his position – but also his life – is in danger?
  • BRIGHT METAL ON A SULLEN GROUND
    In 1777, not ready to provoke War with England, France covertly provides financial support to America’s quest for Independence; but unless American Commissioners Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane can gain France’s full and open support – including the backing of France’s Navy and Army – the Revolution will fail. Franklin and Deane are helped by the arrival of Edward Bancroft, who is like a Son to Franklin and a...
    In 1777, not ready to provoke War with England, France covertly provides financial support to America’s quest for Independence; but unless American Commissioners Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane can gain France’s full and open support – including the backing of France’s Navy and Army – the Revolution will fail. Franklin and Deane are helped by the arrival of Edward Bancroft, who is like a Son to Franklin and a Brother to Deane; but they are opposed at every turn by the third Commissioner, Arthur Lee – who sees his real mission as being to thwart any real or imagined unscrupulous actions of Franklin and especially Deane – who Lee sees as capable, and thus dangerous. Further danger is posed by the Spies throughout Paris – possibly even in their midst. Echoing the language, themes and characters of HENRY IV, PART 1, the play BRIGHT METAL ON A SULLEN GROUND is a tragic story of Honor, Sacrifice, Friendship and Betrayal; of those who were like Fathers, and those who were like their Sons; and of Rebellion, Insurgents and War.
  • MY OLD FRIEND
    November 5, 1980. John Lennon, alone in his apartment at the Dakota in New York city, is at a crossroads. He has been having recurring dreams of his own death. He is ready to make big changes in his life… if he can summon up the courage. Who should appear, unannounced at his door – having charmed his way past the Dakota's gatekeeper? His old friend, Paul McCartney – whom he hasn’t seen for some four years...
    November 5, 1980. John Lennon, alone in his apartment at the Dakota in New York city, is at a crossroads. He has been having recurring dreams of his own death. He is ready to make big changes in his life… if he can summon up the courage. Who should appear, unannounced at his door – having charmed his way past the Dakota's gatekeeper? His old friend, Paul McCartney – whom he hasn’t seen for some four years. John is astounded – glad – and wary – about the sudden appearance of his old friend. Can they mend fences? Can they come together? Or are they forever doomed to be bound by the strands and complications of their shared history…?
  • SUSPICIOUS MINDS
    Jimmy Schuster did what no man before him had ever done – he quit the Memphis Mafia, the crazy whirlwind of life with the King of Rock and Roll, to pursue a career in film editing along with a ‘normal’ life with his wife in Los Angeles – and still managed to stay on good terms with Elvis. Then, in December 1970, he is awakened by a phone call from Elvis. The King, for the first time in his life, is travelling...
    Jimmy Schuster did what no man before him had ever done – he quit the Memphis Mafia, the crazy whirlwind of life with the King of Rock and Roll, to pursue a career in film editing along with a ‘normal’ life with his wife in Los Angeles – and still managed to stay on good terms with Elvis. Then, in December 1970, he is awakened by a phone call from Elvis. The King, for the first time in his life, is travelling alone and needs Jimmy to pick him up at the airport, when his flight from Washington D.C. through Dallas lands. Despite the misgivings of his wife, Jimmy agrees to pick Elvis up at the airport – only to find himself, two days later, standing in the Oval Office with Elvis and President Nixon. But what is Elvis… really after?
  • THE SIEGE OF ROBERT D. JAMES
    Aging former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer lives in exile in Reykjavik, Iceland using the alias Robert D. James. Deemed a criminal, he can never return home to the United States – his crazy, paranoid rants have driven away nearly everyone who has tried to help him since his exile in Iceland – and now his health is rapidly deteriorating. Lonely, he agrees to have lunch – as long as she pays – with an...
    Aging former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer lives in exile in Reykjavik, Iceland using the alias Robert D. James. Deemed a criminal, he can never return home to the United States – his crazy, paranoid rants have driven away nearly everyone who has tried to help him since his exile in Iceland – and now his health is rapidly deteriorating. Lonely, he agrees to have lunch – as long as she pays – with an attractive young American woman from his hometown of Brooklyn who “just happens” to run into him at his favorite bookstore. Each is after something from the other – but who’s zooming who? The aging genius who can see thirty moves ahead on the Chessboard? Or the attractive young woman who shows up just as Bobby is facing that, no matter how smart he is, he can’t escape the human condition?
  • A TIME TO SPEAK
    Some 100 years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the struggle for Civil Rights for all Americans is coming to a head. Just before the 1960 Presidential election, John and Robert Kennedy pull strings behind the scenes to get Martin Luther King Jr. out of prison. When word “leaks,” the election is tilted in JFK’s favor. Now, Civil Rights leaders - including King – clamor for JFK to...
    Some 100 years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the struggle for Civil Rights for all Americans is coming to a head. Just before the 1960 Presidential election, John and Robert Kennedy pull strings behind the scenes to get Martin Luther King Jr. out of prison. When word “leaks,” the election is tilted in JFK’s favor. Now, Civil Rights leaders - including King – clamor for JFK to take action to ensure full constitutional rights for all Americans. But JFK sees saving the world from nuclear destruction as his most urgent task – plus, he was elected by the slimmest of majorities – so he tries to delay taking Civil Rights actions until his administration’s accomplishments can earn him the mandate to call for Civil Rights legislation. But King and the Civil Rights leaders are tired of waiting. They try to break the back of segregation through Freedom Rides, sit-ins and enrolling Negro students at Southern Universities – nonviolent actions that incites violent reactions. The Civil Rights leaders know the Bible says there is a time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot. But will they live to see President Kennedy realize that is the time to speak – about full constitutional rights for all Americans?
  • FERRY
    FERRY is a one-act tragicomedy along the lines of WAITING FOR GODOT... but with teenagers, one evening, on the Staten Island Ferry. TOM and LISA go on a class trip to Manhattan to see a play. They have each secretly yearned to get closer to each other – but, over three years of high school, neither of them has made a move to make this happen. TOM worries about the future: Soon they will graduate… maybe he will...
    FERRY is a one-act tragicomedy along the lines of WAITING FOR GODOT... but with teenagers, one evening, on the Staten Island Ferry. TOM and LISA go on a class trip to Manhattan to see a play. They have each secretly yearned to get closer to each other – but, over three years of high school, neither of them has made a move to make this happen. TOM worries about the future: Soon they will graduate… maybe he will never see LISA again… he could be drafted and sent to Vietnam. LISA tries to get TOM to tell her how he feels about her – but will she be able to get him to respond, to take action - or will he remain immobilized by fear?
  • The Artist
    Two adolescent young men meet in Linz, Austria in 1904. One wants to become a conductor, the other is certain he will be one of the greatest artists the world has ever known. Their shared love of the opera makes them fast friends, and by 1908, they live together in a one-room apartment in Vienna as they pursue their studies – and their dreams – in their chosen fields. One of them will indeed leave his mark on...
    Two adolescent young men meet in Linz, Austria in 1904. One wants to become a conductor, the other is certain he will be one of the greatest artists the world has ever known. Their shared love of the opera makes them fast friends, and by 1908, they live together in a one-room apartment in Vienna as they pursue their studies – and their dreams – in their chosen fields. One of them will indeed leave his mark on the world – but not in the way either of them imagined.
  • Breaking Balls
    North Jersey mob boss “T” has agita. His crew is an "albacore" around his neck... his Consigliere wants to retire to a “resisted-living” facility in Florida. One of his top Captains has taken up modern dance. The two best meth cooks in all of America show up at T’s strip club – but will everybody stop breaking T’s balls long enough for him to make a deal?
  • The Last Temptation of Eve
    In The Eternal Court of Small Claims, The Lord God Elohim had decreed that Eve and Adam violated their Tenant Agreement for The Garden of Eden by eating fruit of The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil and are thus being righteously evicted – from said premises – plus liable additional damages. Despite that Attorneys do not yet exist, The Judge agrees to allow the slick Zenas to represent them. Can Zenas...
    In The Eternal Court of Small Claims, The Lord God Elohim had decreed that Eve and Adam violated their Tenant Agreement for The Garden of Eden by eating fruit of The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil and are thus being righteously evicted – from said premises – plus liable additional damages. Despite that Attorneys do not yet exist, The Judge agrees to allow the slick Zenas to represent them. Can Zenas convince the Court that there were extenuating circumstances – or will they be evicted – and suffer the eternal fate of being human? It’s Monty Python-meets Mel Brooks-meets Samuel Beckett.
  • Fear The Wolfe
    An attractive blonde Woman in a red cape and hood, carrying a picnic basket with a cake, gets a ride home from a bar from suave Tony Wolfe. She needs to tinkle, so they stop at his stylish bachelor pad, which affords a breathtaking view of the woods – at the edge of which Grandmother lives. The short rest stop takes an unexpected turn as each makes assumptions of the other’s intent; fear can make the wolf look bigger.