Robert Caisley

Robert Caisley

Robert Caisley was born in Rotherham, England. His plays have been performed across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and translated into Italian, French, Estonian and Spanish. He is Head of Dramatic Writing at the University of Idaho where he teaches courses in new play development, playwriting (at the undergraduate and graduate levels), play analysis and various topics in contemporary drama...
Robert Caisley was born in Rotherham, England. His plays have been performed across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and translated into Italian, French, Estonian and Spanish. He is Head of Dramatic Writing at the University of Idaho where he teaches courses in new play development, playwriting (at the undergraduate and graduate levels), play analysis and various topics in contemporary drama. He is a recipient of a 2015-’16 Fellowship in the Performing Arts from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the UI 2015 Excellence in Research and Creativity Award. He is a two-time alum playwright of the National New Play Network and former featured playwright at Seven Devils Playwrights Conference. He was named the 2011 Blaine Quarnstrom Visiting Playwright at the University of Southern Mississippi. His play Lucky Me has been produced by New Jersey Repertory Theatre, Curious Theatre in Denver, Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, CA, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, The Modern Theatre, Spokane, WA, Theatre Tallahassee in Florida and enjoyed an NNPN Rolling World Premiere in the 2014-15 season. His play Happy, first presented at the 2011 National New Play Network (NNPN) Annual Showcase of New Plays at InterACT Theatre in Philadelphia, was a 2012 Finalist for both the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s New Play Conference and the Woodward/Newman Award for Drama at Bloomington Playwrights Project, and was selected for a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere in the 2012/2013 season at New Theatre (Miami, FL), Montana Repertory Theatre (Missoula, MT), 6th Street Playhouse (Santa Rosa, CA) New Jersey Repertory and Redtwist Theatre (Chicago, IL) where it was named by Chicago Magazine as of the “Nine Best Comedies” of the season. Happy was also nominated for a Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Original Script and won the 2014 SOTA Award for Best Play. It received its Spanish-language premiere this year at Teatro Milan in Mexico City. Other plays include Kissing (New Theatre, Coral Gables, FL; Phoenix Theatre New Play Festival, Phoenix, AZ), The Lake (Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia; Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, VA; Lavender Footlights Festival, Miami, FL), Push, The 22-Day Adagio (Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, VA; London’s Royal Court Theatre, Summer Playwrights Program), Front (Sundance Institute’s Playwright’s Lab), Kite’s Book (6th Street Playhouse, Santa Rosa, CA), Letters to an Alien (optioned by Flying Eagle Films, Mad Horse Theatre, Portland, ME), Santa Fe (StageWorks/Hudson, New York, which was a Finalist for the 2004 Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Winter which received its World Premiere at New Theatre in Miami in 2012 and was presented in 2014 at Playwrights Revolution at Sacramento’s Capital Stage. This past year he had two new plays premiered at the Clarence Brown Theatre (The Open Hand) and B Street Theatre in Sacramento, CA (A Masterpiece of Comic … Timing!) which have both been recently published by Samuel French, Inc. & Juliet was developed in residency at the Missoula Writers Colony with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Idaho Arts Commission, and received a developmental reading last year New Jersey Repertory Company, where it received its World Premiere in May 2017.

Plays

  • Moliere's TARTUFFE in a new adaptation for American Stage
    Written to coincide with the 2016 Presidential election, this contemporary reworking of Moliere's classic comedy and cautionary tale of frauds, cheats, scoundrels and interloper is set in the home of a wealthy businessman who's duped into supporting the political campaign of an entirely unscrupulous charlatan. Over 350 years have passed since Moliere penned Tartuffe, and yet it remains one of the most...
    Written to coincide with the 2016 Presidential election, this contemporary reworking of Moliere's classic comedy and cautionary tale of frauds, cheats, scoundrels and interloper is set in the home of a wealthy businessman who's duped into supporting the political campaign of an entirely unscrupulous charlatan. Over 350 years have passed since Moliere penned Tartuffe, and yet it remains one of the most well-known and often-produced comedies in the Western canon. This is partly due to its potent afterlife—it’s ability to resonate with our present-day anxieties.
  • KETTLEHOUSE
    “I was named after a unit of measure. How do you get enthused by the knowledge that, when you came swimming into this world, all your parents were thinking of was 5,280 feet?”

    Meet Miles Kettlehouse. Her folks were happily married on June 4th, 1982, and happily divorced a day shy of their first wedding anniversary. But dad never moved out! Or mom. So they’ve been loathing each other under the...
    “I was named after a unit of measure. How do you get enthused by the knowledge that, when you came swimming into this world, all your parents were thinking of was 5,280 feet?”

    Meet Miles Kettlehouse. Her folks were happily married on June 4th, 1982, and happily divorced a day shy of their first wedding anniversary. But dad never moved out! Or mom. So they’ve been loathing each other under the same roof for 34 years. They hate each other—like North Korea hates South Korea. Like the GOP hates the middle class. So Miles’ life has been reduced to playing goodwill ambassador, UN peacekeeper and back-channel negotiator for her dysfunctional parents.

    KETTLEHOUSE is an outrageous comedy of errors about lasting love, broken homes, nosebleeds and the art of Feng Shui.
  • A MASTERPIECE OF ... COMIC TIMING
    "The audience was laughing uproariously"--Sacramento News & Review

    “A Masterpiece of Comic … Timing” is a perfect B Street comedy, and if it isn’t a masterpiece it’s pretty darn close. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
    --The Sacramento Press

    “There are lots of jokes in this play … There’s vintage comedy, sexist humor, off-color humor, good clean humor, slapstick...
    "The audience was laughing uproariously"--Sacramento News & Review

    “A Masterpiece of Comic … Timing” is a perfect B Street comedy, and if it isn’t a masterpiece it’s pretty darn close. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
    --The Sacramento Press

    “There are lots of jokes in this play … There’s vintage comedy, sexist humor, off-color humor, good clean humor, slapstick humor and hilarious weather aberrations. When it all comes to an end, the audience is still laughing uproariously. Things move forward at a dizzying speed in Act 2, and when the show ends, as does every good comedy, nobody cares that it wasn’t really about anything after all. It worked for ‘Seinfeld’ and it works well for Caisley.” – The Davis Enterprise

    From the author of the award-winning Happy, named by Chicago Magazine as one of the “Nine Best Comedies” of the 2013 Season, comes a brand new riotous comedy.

    [3M/1F] – Single Interior

    1963. Scottsdale, Arizona—the Royal Palms Hotel.

    New York producer Jerry Cobb has invited wunderkind playwright Nebraska Jones for an all-expenses paid trip to paradise. Cobb has invested all his money commissioning Jones’ next play, which he believes will eclipse his Broadway debut—hailed by critics as a “masterpiece of comic timing.” Banking on Jones’ reputation and momentum, Cobb is disheartened to find his playwright suffering from a severe case of depression: he’s morose; he won’t eat; he can’t write—in fact all he wants to do is drink Cobb’s bourbon and sleep all day in the $250 per night luxury room at Cobb’s considerable expense. Right-hand man, Charlie Bascher, is charged with keeping the kid at the typewriter, distracting him from him from the booze, and figuring out the cause of his distemper.

    What happens when you’ve paid for the next hit comedy, but what’s coming out of the typewriter is tragedy? In this “vintage” screwball comedy skewering an artistic life in the theatre, the line between comedy and drama comes under hilarious scrutiny and is found to be much narrower—and sillier—than you’d think.
  • & JULIET
    Charlie Vaughn, an idealistic young director comes to a small conservative college campus to stage a production of Romeo & Juliet. When he announces his decision to cast a fourteen year-old boy in the role of Juliet, as was the Elizabethan custom, he challenges the “old school” sensibilities of the campus community and invites the wrath of Annie Rice, an ambitious, but unstable young black actress who...
    Charlie Vaughn, an idealistic young director comes to a small conservative college campus to stage a production of Romeo & Juliet. When he announces his decision to cast a fourteen year-old boy in the role of Juliet, as was the Elizabethan custom, he challenges the “old school” sensibilities of the campus community and invites the wrath of Annie Rice, an ambitious, but unstable young black actress who feels her time is due. Turning to his new colleague David Hughes – a thirty-year veteran of the drama department – for advice on how to handle the student’s challenge to his authority, Vaughn discovers that she’s not the only one out to bring about an end to his career. & Juliet is inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca’s The Public, and is a play about the pettiness and professional jealousy that festers within small communities (like academic departments) where rivalries can become so vicious, because the stakes are so low.
  • THE OPEN HAND
    Commissioned by the Clarence Brown Theatre, and developed this summer at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, THE OPEN HAND is a meditation on the nature of generosity.

    Allison does not accept gifts. Not even on her birthday. Not even from her fiancé. So when she finds herself without her wallet and unable to pay the tab for an expensive lunch with a friend, it is with great reluctance that...
    Commissioned by the Clarence Brown Theatre, and developed this summer at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, THE OPEN HAND is a meditation on the nature of generosity.

    Allison does not accept gifts. Not even on her birthday. Not even from her fiancé. So when she finds herself without her wallet and unable to pay the tab for an expensive lunch with a friend, it is with great reluctance that she accepts the generosity of a total stranger. Determined to repay his kindness, Allison comes face-to-face with the dark secrets that drive her inability to accept even the simplest act of benevolence.
  • WINTER
    “An affecting and hilarious look at the scars
    of abandonment … both painful and uproarious”
    (Chris Joseph, Miami New Times)

    [1M/3F, simple set]
    Fraternal twins Peter and Christina are busy people. She’s in pharmaceuticals. He’s a professor trying to finish a book. What begins as a scheduling “headache” as they arrange for the funeral of their recently deceased mother,...
    “An affecting and hilarious look at the scars
    of abandonment … both painful and uproarious”
    (Chris Joseph, Miami New Times)

    [1M/3F, simple set]
    Fraternal twins Peter and Christina are busy people. She’s in pharmaceuticals. He’s a professor trying to finish a book. What begins as a scheduling “headache” as they arrange for the funeral of their recently deceased mother, quickly devolves into an all-out blood feud between the siblings and their mother’s mysterious young live-in assistant.

    But what is everyone really fighting over? Mother’s considerable fortune? The Greek amphora containing her ashes? Or the total denial of the past and misappropriation of their mother’s memory?

    Winter is a dark and chilly comedy about pettiness and neglect; the childish pettiness that can turn us into heartless adults, and the cruel and unusual neglect of the people we should love the most. “An ultimately harrowing evening of theatre” (Bill Hirschman, Florida Theatre OnStage.)
  • GOOD CLEAN FUN
    You know how you always say to yourself, "Gee, I just wish someone would write a play about Tequila ... the insincerity of Hollywood ... And the Norwegian mob"? This is that play.

    Longtime friends, Barry, a low-budget Hollywood producer, and his hapless sidekick Farber, take a road-trip to Las Vegas to escape the pressurized L.A. lifestyle that has bankrupted them both morally....
    You know how you always say to yourself, "Gee, I just wish someone would write a play about Tequila ... the insincerity of Hollywood ... And the Norwegian mob"? This is that play.

    Longtime friends, Barry, a low-budget Hollywood producer, and his hapless sidekick Farber, take a road-trip to Las Vegas to escape the pressurized L.A. lifestyle that has bankrupted them both morally.

    In a bizarre turn of events, they accidentally rip off $150,000 from the Nowegian mob, car-jack the boss’ Mercedes and hit the Vegas Strip for an evening of gin, sin and self-loathing, unaware they’ve implicated themselves in a horrible crime.

    As events spin out of control it dawns on them that their Vegas odyssey is beginning to read strangely like the improbable plot of one of Barry’s low-budget action movies.

    In this Tequila-fueled comic monologue-a-deux, Farber and Barry invite the audience into their world, in the same way you can often be drawn into conversation with a total stranger in a bar, who just happens to be sitting on the barstool next to you, and drinking the same brand of tequila.
  • LUCKY ME
    Sara Fine’s having a bad week. Really bad! The light bulbs in her apartment keep burning out; there’s yet another leak in the roof; the aquarium is perpetually full of dead fish; the cat’s gone AWOL, again, and her blind, elderly father -- who chased off her last beau -- is immediately suspicious of Tom, their new neighbor, a TSA agent who just brought Sara home from the emergency room on New Year’s Eve with...
    Sara Fine’s having a bad week. Really bad! The light bulbs in her apartment keep burning out; there’s yet another leak in the roof; the aquarium is perpetually full of dead fish; the cat’s gone AWOL, again, and her blind, elderly father -- who chased off her last beau -- is immediately suspicious of Tom, their new neighbor, a TSA agent who just brought Sara home from the emergency room on New Year’s Eve with a fractured 5th meta-tarsal.

    As Tom’s attraction to the adorably unfortunate Sara increases, he learns of a truly bizarre streak of bad luck that’s been haunting Sara for years – twenty two years to be precise.

    Lucky Me is a very funny and whimsical comedy about love, bad luck, aging and airport security.