John Patrick Bray

John Patrick Bray

John Patrick Bray has written plays under grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Louisiana, and has earned commissions from theatre companies and arts agencies around the country. He has been a Semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and for the Princess Grace Foundation Playwriting Award, a Finalist for the Kernodle Playwright Prize, and...
John Patrick Bray has written plays under grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Louisiana, and has earned commissions from theatre companies and arts agencies around the country. He has been a Semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and for the Princess Grace Foundation Playwriting Award, a Finalist for the Kernodle Playwright Prize, and Winner of the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (for Friendly’s Fire, which led to its premiere at Barter Theatre). His plays have been developed at The Actors Studio, the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, The Word at the Road Theatre, Epic Rep. at The Players’ Club in NYC, Athens Playwrights’ Workshop, The New School for Drama’s Alumni Play Project, the SF Olympians Festival at EXIT Stage Left, and have been produced around the US (including productions with the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, FRIGID NY, and Planet Connections Theatre Festivity all in NYC), and in Canada. His plays and monologues are published with Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, Smith and Kraus, Original Works Publishing, Next Stage Press, JAC Publishing, Heartland Plays; and in The Coachella Review and Masque and Spectacle. A collection of his shorts, Cart Before the Horse, has been published by Polychoron Press. He serves as a resident writer with Off-Off Broadway's Rising Sun Performance Company. Bray is also the co-screenwriter of the BEA Award-Winning indie feature Liner Notes (based on his stage play) which was an official selection of the Woodstock Film Festival and Hoboken International Film Festival (finalist, Audience Choice Award); His essays have been published with Theatre Topics, New England Theatre Journal, Texas Theatre Journal, Theatre Symposium, Platform: Journal of Performing Arts, and Theatre, Dance and Performance Training. He has contributed a co-written chapter to Mapping Smallville and a chapter to The Composer on Screen. Bray’s textbook, Inciting Incidents: Creating Your Own Theatre from Page to Performance, is published with Kendall Hunt Publishing (now in its second edition). Bray co-edited The Best American Short Plays 2015-2016 with William Demastes and edited The Best Plays from American Theatre Festivals 2015 for Applause Theatre and Cinema Books. Bray served as a Dramatists Guild Atlanta Region Ambassador and he is the co-founder of Athens Playwrights' Workshop. He earned an MFA in Playwriting from The Actors Studio Drama School at The New School and PhD in Theatre from Louisiana State University. He teaches in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Georgia.

Plays

  • Tracks
    Set in 1998 in the upper Hudson Valley, New York, near the Catskills, Tracks tells the story of pill-popping teen siblings Jennie and Simian; their younger sister Deb; their friend, the straight-laced Dapper Dan; and local Will Flatbeer, who is home from college and helping his dad manage the local mart and gas station. They have a special place they like to go to on the Hudson River coast near the train tracks...
    Set in 1998 in the upper Hudson Valley, New York, near the Catskills, Tracks tells the story of pill-popping teen siblings Jennie and Simian; their younger sister Deb; their friend, the straight-laced Dapper Dan; and local Will Flatbeer, who is home from college and helping his dad manage the local mart and gas station. They have a special place they like to go to on the Hudson River coast near the train tracks where they can eat candy out of a mysterious candy machine, get high, and be themselves. Unbeknownst to them, manifestations of Hudson Valley myths – such as the Headless Horseman – are very close. When the misfits learn that AmTrain plans to fence off access to the Hudson in order to keep citizens a safe distance from their proposed bullet trains, they start a letter writing campaign and, later, attempt an act of anarchy that goes disastrously wrong. As the events unfold, we learn that there is little difference between real life and myth for corporate entities and for passengers who look out the windows of a speeding train wondering what it must be like to live under a Catskill moon.
  • Ashes of the Revolution
    DeeDee and Amelia will fend off Russians and Aliens from their backyard. Someone has to do it while Mom and Dad are asleep.
  • Buckle
    Two young women break into their teacher's classroom in order to steal the "big test" out of their teacher's desk drawer. In the process of negotiating over a poem, the two learn the meaning of socioeconomic status and honesty.
  • Donkey
    Small town politics served hot! When a corporate coffee shop looks to move into the center of liberal arts college town, will the people band together for the sake of independence? Or will they collapse as each resident struggles to find their own way in a shifting economic landscape?

    “Donkey captures the current American moment about as well as any play I’ve come across in the past few years....
    Small town politics served hot! When a corporate coffee shop looks to move into the center of liberal arts college town, will the people band together for the sake of independence? Or will they collapse as each resident struggles to find their own way in a shifting economic landscape?

    “Donkey captures the current American moment about as well as any play I’ve come across in the past few years. It’s loaded with riveting characters, genuine wisdom about the human condition, unbridled humor, and, when we least expect it, moments of authentic love and understanding that take the breath away. I urge you to experience this extraordinary new play […]. It’s a work that lingers, that breeds discussion, that yields true insight. It’s very funny and awesomely sad…and exquisitely beautiful.” – Martin Denton, Indie Theatre Now
    Available for licensing with Next Stage Press (www.nextstagepress.net)
  • Fix
    Two recovering addicts try to fix the world’s problems (and each other) after their old pusher shows up at a New Year’s Party.
  • Christmas in the Airwaves
    It’s 1944 and while the boys are off at war, families are curled up by their radio sets to catch an extra special Christmas radio broadcast with WLAG’s New York radio star, Max Tyrone. The cast and producers of the local weekly live radio show, including the lovely Welsh Sisters, are all abuzz as they prepare to present Christmas in the Airwaves. Max is home for the holidays to sell the family farm, before...
    It’s 1944 and while the boys are off at war, families are curled up by their radio sets to catch an extra special Christmas radio broadcast with WLAG’s New York radio star, Max Tyrone. The cast and producers of the local weekly live radio show, including the lovely Welsh Sisters, are all abuzz as they prepare to present Christmas in the Airwaves. Max is home for the holidays to sell the family farm, before heading back to the Big Apple. When news breaks of a major air strike, attention is turned to Europe as Gloria Welsh worries about her fiancé, serving as a pilot overseas. It’s a hometown tale of love, loss, and the things we hold most dear.

    A heartwarming and nostalgic slice of war-time American life, Christmas in the Airwaves is a radio show filled with charming vignettes including The Shade, The Flying Amazement, and Jack Kaster, Private Eye, while telling the story of the people behind the microphone. This world premiere piece written for Lyric Arts by John Patrick Bray is brimming with old time holiday memories and beloved Christmas standards. It’s sure to rekindle feelings of hope and optimism during the holiday season with a look back at a bygone era.
  • Friendly's Fire (or, Guy Friendly Meets the Saint of Thieves)
    Guy Friendly has a problem. He’s left his cabin in Alaska for the first time in quite some time. He picks up a tourist for casual sex, but it goes terribly wrong as she turns out to be a tooth collector, sending him into a fevered dream that blends his memories of his deceased brother and his ex-wife with life-size Man-Man (not to He-Man) action figures manifesting all around the cabin. Luckily, his friend Todd...
    Guy Friendly has a problem. He’s left his cabin in Alaska for the first time in quite some time. He picks up a tourist for casual sex, but it goes terribly wrong as she turns out to be a tooth collector, sending him into a fevered dream that blends his memories of his deceased brother and his ex-wife with life-size Man-Man (not to He-Man) action figures manifesting all around the cabin. Luckily, his friend Todd has just entered when Friendly decides it’s time to get in the tub and head to the North Pole to have a reckoning with Santa, the Saint of Thieves. Friendly’s Fire is the story of friendship, demonstrating the lengths of what people will go through to preserve each other’s sanity.

    "...incredibly moving in story and almost psychedelic in atmosphere. [...] All around, “Friendly’s Fire” was an adventure. I walked out of the theatre with a feeling that I couldn’t quite place. A feeling that a great change had happened but I wasn’t sure what exactly. It kept me engaged. It moved me. It left me with plenty of questions and desperate for more. And isn’t that what we all hope to get from good theatre?" - Onstage Blog

    "It's a fabulous, open-hearted ride that fans of Terry Gilliam will surely enjoy." - Theatre is Easy

    "A surrealistic fantasia depicting the picaresque travails of a disaffected Gulf War vet that’s well played, technically accomplished and perhaps profound." - TheatreScene.net

    "Expect some theatrical work the like of which you have probably never seen." - Bristol County Herald
  • Liner Notes
    Alice, the daughter of a deceased rock-and-roll legend, makes a surprise visit to see George, her father's first guitarist and the one man noticeably absent from his funeral. He is also the one man who might make sense out of her father’s larger-than-life past, and his suicide. George, a retired college teacher in the middle of a divorce, left the spotlight many years ago, and will take some convincing to...
    Alice, the daughter of a deceased rock-and-roll legend, makes a surprise visit to see George, her father's first guitarist and the one man noticeably absent from his funeral. He is also the one man who might make sense out of her father’s larger-than-life past, and his suicide. George, a retired college teacher in the middle of a divorce, left the spotlight many years ago, and will take some convincing to join Alice on a journey to visit her father’s grave. With warmth, wit, and compassion, Liner Notes reminds us that the past is only as amazing as the one who writes it down.
  • Green Sound
    What if you went to a coffee shop every day hoping to see someone? Not just someone, but someone you could actually talk to? What if that person stopped going to the coffee shop, and the light over their table just didn’t look…right? This is what happens to Taylor, when he shows up at Molly’s apartment holding a light fixture, wishing to declare his affection...if he only had the words. As a parent of an...
    What if you went to a coffee shop every day hoping to see someone? Not just someone, but someone you could actually talk to? What if that person stopped going to the coffee shop, and the light over their table just didn’t look…right? This is what happens to Taylor, when he shows up at Molly’s apartment holding a light fixture, wishing to declare his affection...if he only had the words. As a parent of an autistic child, this is written with admiration for folks who struggle to communicate, but manage to find ways to be ‘heard.’
  • Hound
    A surrealist take on The Hound of the Baskervilles, where grieving widower Watson heads out to Dartmoor in the hopes that a Hound of Hell can lead him to his deceased wife.
    “Bray has thrown in some fanciful elements as well—such as dogs that talk whom only Watson can hear—to create not so much a radical reinvention of the famous pair, but rather a thoughtful and well-crafted re- examination that uses,...
    A surrealist take on The Hound of the Baskervilles, where grieving widower Watson heads out to Dartmoor in the hopes that a Hound of Hell can lead him to his deceased wife.
    “Bray has thrown in some fanciful elements as well—such as dogs that talk whom only Watson can hear—to create not so much a radical reinvention of the famous pair, but rather a thoughtful and well-crafted re- examination that uses, but isn't constrained by, preconceived ideas of what a Sherlock Holmes mystery or a period murder mystery is supposed to be.”
    “...great theatrical fun.” - Fred Backus, nytheatre.com

    “Bray’s clever script follows the storyline of Baskerville surprisingly faithfully, yet leads to very different outcomes for its cast of characters at each turn. His philosophical themes are quite intriguing, successfully adding another layer to the familiar Hell Hound tale." - JB Spins

    “I was reminded of an almost Tim Burton-esque world of Sherlock Holmes. It was indeed a treat.” - Dianna Martin, The Fab Marquee

    “The theatrical elements of Bray's play - monologues by secondary characters explaining their backstory, talking dogs that Watson can understand, use of flashback - all combine to create a world that to Watson's eye is completely off-kilter (...) The result is decidedly theatrical and unrealistic, but certainly entertaining.” – Byrne Harrison, stagebuzz.com.

    Industry Quotes for Hound
    "Like the great detective himself, John Bray boldly peers into the darkest corners of the classic Sherlock Holmes story, Hound of the Baskervilles - and comes back with monsters we never knew were lurking on the moor. Not a literal adaptation, Bray's Hound is a playful, eerie and disturbing riff on the shadows gathering in Conan Doyle's soon-to-vanish Edwardian world." - Neal Bell (Obie and Edgar-Award Winning Playwright, Two Small Bodies, Monster)

    "[Hound is] absolutely beguiling. It is clever, funny, moving in unexpected ways, and has a wonderful sense of mischief that (thankfully) never leaves the characters or dramatic situation high and dry, in that self- congratulatory post-modern way. Doyle would bless the project, I'm sure." - George Toles (screenwriter, The Saddest Music in the World).
  • Dead Movement
    Welcome to the Rosendale Hotel where guests can stay a night, a week, a month, or a lifetime. Enter Patrick, a stranger who meets local characters and inhabitants such as Joe Joe, a mechanic and tow-truck operator with dreams of being a car salesman; and Rachel, the concierge whose only pleasures in life come from watching the various residents torture themselves as if she were watching a reality show. One...
    Welcome to the Rosendale Hotel where guests can stay a night, a week, a month, or a lifetime. Enter Patrick, a stranger who meets local characters and inhabitants such as Joe Joe, a mechanic and tow-truck operator with dreams of being a car salesman; and Rachel, the concierge whose only pleasures in life come from watching the various residents torture themselves as if she were watching a reality show. One night, Joe Joe witnesses Patrick and Rachel dancing close, causing him to feel so jealous that he throws Patrick out a third story window. He then steals Patrick’s suitcase, which is full of loose cash and rawhide “bones” (for dog’s teeth). Patrick’s body disappears, and a wolf starts circling the hotel. Dead Movement is the story of people who want to disappear, and others who want to be seen; both are desperate impulses which, when followed, lead to funny, complicated, uncanny results.



  • Baby Einstein on the Beach
    Hamlet buries the past. Hamlet digs up the past.
  • Plentitude
    Molly, an ousted academic researcher and newly minted divorcee, is haunted by George Cheyne, on overweight 18th Century Christian and Newtonian Physician, who guides her in her quest to starve her body for God. Her sister Jen, also an academic-researcher and former thief, has ulterior motives for visiting Molly, which may include a heist of one of the most awaited video cassette releases of all time: Batman....
    Molly, an ousted academic researcher and newly minted divorcee, is haunted by George Cheyne, on overweight 18th Century Christian and Newtonian Physician, who guides her in her quest to starve her body for God. Her sister Jen, also an academic-researcher and former thief, has ulterior motives for visiting Molly, which may include a heist of one of the most awaited video cassette releases of all time: Batman. Set in November 1989 (just before the Fall of The Berlin Wall), Plentitude reminds us that personal need often overrule our politics, and familial bonds are only as strong as the last time we burgled together.