Ken Kaye

Ken Kaye

A.B. English and American Literature
Ph.D. Psychology and Education
M.F.A. Fiction
Career: Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist

Plays

  • Denial
    “Denial” asks how a strong young woman might retake the high road of her parents’ ideals even as their failure to live up to them has plunged them into public shame.
    A Governor recently convicted of corruption accuses Attorney General Richard Graham of having used the Justice Department illegally for political purposes. Graham, who categorically denies any federal involvement in the matter, is the re-...
    “Denial” asks how a strong young woman might retake the high road of her parents’ ideals even as their failure to live up to them has plunged them into public shame.
    A Governor recently convicted of corruption accuses Attorney General Richard Graham of having used the Justice Department illegally for political purposes. Graham, who categorically denies any federal involvement in the matter, is the re-elected President’s longtime friend and political ally. The play follows Graham’s explanations to his wife, blind mother, and college-student daughter, while news teams camp in front of their house and the White House leaves him “twisting in the wind.” Events point toward a familiar TV scene: Public Figure’s Humiliating Resignation with Loyal Wife at Elbow. But Anne Graham has put Richard on notice that she won’t be there for him. Daughter Liz has to take sides between them, disillusion her grandmother, and confront her father with the hardest decision of his life.

  • Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex
    Sigmund Freud’s theories — that the greater part of mental life is
    unconscious, that adult behavior is largely rooted in childhood urges
    and frustrations, and that the latter include sexual instincts — were
    revolutionary and shocking when he first presented them, yet came to
    be more or less accepted today among educated people, though his
    clinical methods are barely in use....
    Sigmund Freud’s theories — that the greater part of mental life is
    unconscious, that adult behavior is largely rooted in childhood urges
    and frustrations, and that the latter include sexual instincts — were
    revolutionary and shocking when he first presented them, yet came to
    be more or less accepted today among educated people, though his
    clinical methods are barely in use.
    This play neither seeks to idealize Freud nor to lampoon him, but uses
    Freud the clinician, Freud the lecturer, and Freud the iconoclast to
    tweak our ideas about sex and the unconscious. Each of its three acts
    is based closely on actual cases that Freud treated and wrote about,
    though the cases are combined imaginatively and the audience is left
    to speculate about what was true and what was imagined — by the
    patients, by the doctor, and by the author.
  • Our Father's House
    Peter is a clinical psychologist whose slowness in completing his manuscript on “The Psychodynamics of Fathers and Sons” has been aggravated by the task of selling the mansion his father, Saul, left him. As he rehashes arguments with Saul, whose disdain for “psychobabble” persisted to the end of his days, a younger man arrives at the door looking for Saul. “I’m his son,” he says, presenting evidence that...
    Peter is a clinical psychologist whose slowness in completing his manuscript on “The Psychodynamics of Fathers and Sons” has been aggravated by the task of selling the mansion his father, Saul, left him. As he rehashes arguments with Saul, whose disdain for “psychobabble” persisted to the end of his days, a younger man arrives at the door looking for Saul. “I’m his son,” he says, presenting evidence that contradicts every idea Peter held about his father and their relationship.
    (Only Peter and the audience see and hear Saul.)
  • The Situation
    A short play designed for Zoom or Skype performance (or film simulating Zoom or Skype conversations): Denise's 12-year-old son is about to return to Illinois from a week with his father, Gary, in California when stay-home orders are issued and her ex-husband deems it unsafe to put him on the plane.
    Denise's anxiety rises and the divorced parents' patience with one another declines with...
    A short play designed for Zoom or Skype performance (or film simulating Zoom or Skype conversations): Denise's 12-year-old son is about to return to Illinois from a week with his father, Gary, in California when stay-home orders are issued and her ex-husband deems it unsafe to put him on the plane.
    Denise's anxiety rises and the divorced parents' patience with one another declines with each day's COVID numbers. The disclosure that Gary's home includes a new girlfriend doesn't help, until she does.
  • Chutzpah
    A young philosophy instructor at a small college, eager for academic fame and media celebrity, offends colleagues by protesting a campus speaker. But mending that fence is the least of his problems when he falls afoul of the college’s Title IX sexual behavior rules and learns hard lessons about social media in a shaming culture.