Cory Skurdal

Cory Skurdal

I am Cory Skurdal, a writer based in Columbus, Ohio.

The last few years I have focused on stage plays – full length and short pieces – but I've also written a half-dozen short stories, two screenplays, and I have a novel in the works.

Looking back on my writing, I realize that I consistently explore the themes of alienation, concealment, untruthfulness, and recognition of the...
I am Cory Skurdal, a writer based in Columbus, Ohio.

The last few years I have focused on stage plays – full length and short pieces – but I've also written a half-dozen short stories, two screenplays, and I have a novel in the works.

Looking back on my writing, I realize that I consistently explore the themes of alienation, concealment, untruthfulness, and recognition of the humanity of others. For example:

"The Present Moment" explores living truthfully, finding contentment and satisfaction with the life one has, and recognizing the humanity and frailty in oneself and in others;
In "Sticks & Stones" two women battle barriers of age, gender, culture, and politics as they try to comprehend one another, their very different lives, identities, and values, and what it means to each of them to live openly and truthfully;
“Abundant Life" is about living a life that is truthful, open, welcoming, compassionate, empowering, and inclusive.

I was born and raised in Williston, a small and very Norwegian-American town, in North Dakota, a rural and very Scandinavian state, where people spoke to their families, friends, and acquaintances, but they didn't always say very much, certainly not when it came to emotions and feelings, and where fitting in with the flock was highly prized and strongly encouraged. Individuality, originality, and singularity made you peculiar... odd... queer. As a young gay person growing up in Williston in the 1970s, I learned to conceal myself, protect myself, and to live less truthfully.

I graduated from the University of North Dakota. I moved to Seattle to complete my Master’s Degree at the University of Washington. I moved to Columbus, Ohio where I worked in higher education. In Columbus, I met my partner. I came out at the late age of 27. I began the long process of NOT concealing or protecting myself so that I could live truthfully.

I'd always thought about writing, but self-doubt meant I never got started. In the late 1990s, I told myself that it was now or never, and I sat down and wrote my first play - just to see if I could pull it off. I wrote a mystery/thriller, because I love them. That play, "Catspaw," was a finalist in several national competitions, and won the Jewel Box Theatre Playwriting Award, and I’ve been writing ever since.

When I'm not writing, I volunteer for Evolution Theatre Company, the only LGBTQQIA theater company in Central Ohio. I've also been active with the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Ohio, and Stonewall Columbus., and Stonewall Columbus.

Plays

  • Abundant Life
    Bruce, a gay, agnostic, Baby Boomer, and Alex, a gay, Millennial Christian, strike up a conversation that develops into an unlikely friendship. As their trust and faith in one another grow, Bruce and Alex find the political, societal, and cultural forces around them are becoming increasingly toxic.
  • Adeste Fideles
    The joyous season! The holly and the ivy! The Christmas candlelight service! And a pandemic. But Pastor Bobby is here to shepherd the faithful flock through the challenges. Sadly, this particular good shepherd has no idea what's in store for all of them.
  • Attendance is Mandatory
    An elderly and inflexible substitute teacher meets her match when she encounters the school administrator and the class from hell.
  • The Body Politic
    A stalwart political conservative. Three senior staffers. A clandestine late-night meeting. Scandal. Hypocrisy. Spin. Just another day in the life for the body politic.
  • Catspaw
    Wealthy and controlling Barbara Shepard has gone missing. Barbara’s son, Richard, thinks his stepfather, Peter, knows more than he is telling. Richard’s sister, Lindy, isn’t sure who she should trust. And Barbara’s best friend, Alice, keeps popping in and out of the house at the most inconvenient times. And then there’s that gun that keeps appearing and disappearing.
  • Charming Billie
    Police Chief Jerome Peterson interrogates his elderly and formidable former Sunday school teacher, Wilhelmina (Billie) Thorstad. It seems that a fair number of Billie’s relatives have recently met their Maker and their deaths are clearly not by natural means. Jerome, intent on discovering what is going on, learns more than he really cares to as Billie weaves a horrifying and hilarious tale of envy, greed, and...
    Police Chief Jerome Peterson interrogates his elderly and formidable former Sunday school teacher, Wilhelmina (Billie) Thorstad. It seems that a fair number of Billie’s relatives have recently met their Maker and their deaths are clearly not by natural means. Jerome, intent on discovering what is going on, learns more than he really cares to as Billie weaves a horrifying and hilarious tale of envy, greed, and murder among the members of the richest family in town.
  • Chat
    On her 87th birthday, Eleanor, a solitary and lonely old woman, has an unexpected and illuminating conversation with her patient and understanding cat, Madame Puffles.
  • Consider the Source
    A once powerful man, now old, bitter, alone, and confined to a nursing home, is paid a visit by an unexpected guest. The conversation, casual at first, soon begins to resemble an interrogation as the unwelcome visitor’s questions become more probing. Before the visit ends, the old man is forced to acknowledge a lifetime of arrogance and cruelty.
  • Custom. Tradition. Past Practice.
    Tonight is a very special night for Charles (Chad) Tate Oliver Grayson IV. A very special night, indeed. So why, as time passes, is preppy, patrician, and privileged Chad growing increasingly tense and apprehensive?
  • Eventide
    Mina and Lucy, two ladies of a certain age, visit the derelict ballroom where they spent many happy hours as young girls. They savor memories of their younger selves and of their dear departed friend, Carmilla. Reminiscing soon takes a peculiar turn because Mina and Lucy have come to the ballroom on a mission – a mission with more than a few supernatural elements.
  • Ministering Angel
    A chance encounter between nursing home aide, Kyla, and elderly visitor, Mrs. Venger, leads to a conversation, and to revelations, that neither woman will ever forget.
  • A Place at the Heart of the Real
    A man confronts his memories - what he recalls, what he's let slip - and how those memories have shaped, and continue to shape him.
  • A Point of Diminishing Returns
    Ulysses McKinley Rutherford Harding Garfield Hayes III, a venerable but clueless Ohio politician, is hot on the campaign trail, and busily shaking hands, kissing babies, and seeking votes. Unfortunately, for this particular stump speech, Ulysses has chosen the wrong venue and the wrong audience. And when Ulysses decides to abandon his prepared remarks and speak from his heart, he, and the event, have nowhere to go but down.
  • The Present Moment
    A year in the life of the Nygaard twins, Matt and Caroline. Matt, who is gay, clashes with Caroline’s friend, Ben, who is conservative and religious, reigniting a long simmering feud between them. Caroline and Matt’s partner, Henry, try to mediate. Over the course of twelve months, Matt, Caroline, Henry, and Ben experience love, loss, anger, and joy as they seek to reconcile their own lives and their relationships with one another.
  • See No Evil
    September, 1969. Dinah joins the Ripley family as companion to Isabel, the blind and mentally fragile daughter. Over the next few weeks, Dinah proves a little too inquisitive about the family and the past and the Ripley’s begin to question if she truly is who she claims to be. Tensions rise and murder is committed as the unsavory history of the family is at last revealed.
  • Sticks & Stones
    Janice, an elderly critic, savages the works of Kylie, a young transgender artist. Kylie responds with a blog post outing Janice as a closeted lesbian. Janice threatens to sue for defamation. In conversations with their attorneys, with ghosts from their pasts, and with each other, Janice and Kylie battle barriers of age, gender, culture, and politics as they seek to comprehend each other and their very different lives and identities.
  • Yuletide Ennui Beside the Sea
    It's sun, surf, and sand in the off-season for Santa Claus, Krampus, and La Befana the Christmas Witch! Now if they could only get along with one another.
  • Travel Can Be So Rewarding or You Can't Get There From Here
    To their immense regret, some unlucky air travelers encounter two little old ladies who have more on their minds than just a pleasant vacation.