James McLindon

James McLindon

JAMES MCLINDON
345 Prospect Street
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 687-7783
jmclindon@gmail.com
jamesmclindon.com

Brief Biographical Summary: James McLindon is a member of the Nylon Fusion Theater Company in New York. Comes a Faery was developed at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Sean Daniels directing and was twice a finalist for the Humana Festival...
JAMES MCLINDON
345 Prospect Street
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 687-7783
jmclindon@gmail.com
jamesmclindon.com

Brief Biographical Summary: James McLindon is a member of the Nylon Fusion Theater Company in New York. Comes a Faery was developed at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Sean Daniels directing and was twice a finalist for the Humana Festival. It was premiered at the New Ohio Theatre, produced by Nylon Fusion Theatre Company. Salvation was premiered in New York by the Hudson Stage Company, directed by Giovanna Sardelli, to critical acclaim in the New York Times and elsewhere. It received a second production at the Nuance Theatre in New York. Faith premiered at Local Theatre Company in Boulder, CO. Dead and Buried, was an O'Neill semifinalist and premiered with the Detroit Rep. Good and Faith were both winners of the John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award. Distant Music, is published by Dramatic Publishing and has seven productions, most recently at the Stoneham Theatre in Boston. His plays have been developed and/or produced at theaters such as the O’Neill NPC (selection and six-time semifinalist), Lark, PlayPenn, Victory Gardens, Irish Repertory, CAP21, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Seven Devils, Abingdon, hotINK Festival, Samuel French Ten-Minute Play Festival, Local Theater Local Lab, Telluride Playwrights Festival, Emerging Artists Theatre, Love Creek Productions, Prop Thtr, Lyric Stage, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Colony Theatre, Theatricum Botanicum, Circus Theatricals, Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Arkansas Rep. Four of his one-act plays have been produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and two at at the Samuel French Festival. Six of his plays were Finalists for the Actors’ Theater of Louisville’s Heideman Award. Publications: His plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing, Smith and Krause, Original Works Publishing (Dusk), and Level 4 Press.

Education/Residencies: James graduated Harvard Law School summa cum laude and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He has been a Dramatists Guild Fellow and twice a Next Voices Playwriting Fellow at the New Repertory Theatre in Boston. He has also had residencies at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Lark, PlayPenn, Cap21, Seven Devils, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Telluride Playwrights Festival, Ashland New Plays Festival, Great Plains Theatre Conference, and, Ledig House.

Prizes: Nominee: Joseph Jefferson Citation, Best New Play, Chicago; Finalist: Kaufman and Hart Prize for New American Comedy; Heideman Award for ten-minute plays (five times), Actors’ Theatre of Louisville; Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Julie Harris Award (twice); Winner: Best comedy, Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards; John Gassner Playwriting Award (twice), Jane Bingham Prize; Siena College International Playwrights Competition; Grove Theatre Center New Play Initiative competition); Hudson River Classics Showcase Theatre’s W. Keith Hedrick Playwriting Competition; Firehouse Center for the Arts New Works Festival (three times); Nancy Weil New Play competition; John Gassner New Play Festival; Eileen Heckart Full-length Drama competition; Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Playwriting Competition.

Plays

  • Distant Music
    Distant Music is a drama liberally dosed with humor. The title, from a passage in James Joyce’s “The Dead,” signifies the play’s central theme: the capacity of surrendered loves, failed dreams and misunderstanding to hinder, haunt and hold us. Over the course of two evenings’ conversation in an Irish pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Connor, Maeve, and Dev face their futures and, in the process find that they...
    Distant Music is a drama liberally dosed with humor. The title, from a passage in James Joyce’s “The Dead,” signifies the play’s central theme: the capacity of surrendered loves, failed dreams and misunderstanding to hinder, haunt and hold us. Over the course of two evenings’ conversation in an Irish pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Connor, Maeve, and Dev face their futures and, in the process find that they must first reconcile their pasts. Each must make a decision about his or her life and how to spend it, and about his or her career and whether to risk, change or end it. In so doing, they must come to terms with lost loves, beliefs and allegiances of all kinds. In so doing, they must also determine not only how to live with the loss that their actions entail, but also what -- and whether any -- true thing or true principle exists to guide their lives. Over the course of the play, the three fight over their views of the truths, errors, failings and foibles of religion; the proposition that truth does or does not exist; the nature and role of law, whether as an engine of such truth or as a dissembling vehicle for politics and policy-making; the differences between and the politics of the Irish and Irish-Americans; the myriad failings (according to Dev) of the latter; what each of them means to the others and what they mean to themselves; and last but not least, the capacity of stout to explain, metaphorically and metaphysically, most of life. By play’s end, Connor, Dev, and Maeve have made their choices (for the most part) and have begun to test their ability to live with them.
  • Dead And Buried
    In this dark comedy set in a small New England town at Halloween, Perdue finds a job in a place most young women wouldn’t even consider: the local graveyard. Bid, the taciturn, sexually ambiguous, female ex-Marine who runs the cemetery, hires Perdue because she’s moved by her plight: Perdue has come to town to live with her aunt while searching for her missing mother. Robbie, Bid’s assistant, a fatherless boy...
    In this dark comedy set in a small New England town at Halloween, Perdue finds a job in a place most young women wouldn’t even consider: the local graveyard. Bid, the taciturn, sexually ambiguous, female ex-Marine who runs the cemetery, hires Perdue because she’s moved by her plight: Perdue has come to town to live with her aunt while searching for her missing mother. Robbie, Bid’s assistant, a fatherless boy whose knowledge of manhood has been gleaned from the pages of men’s magazines like Maxim, launches a doomed campaign to seduce Perdue, culminating in a midnight picnic in the cemetery, but Perdue isn’t interested. Or entirely truthful, as Bid soon discovers when Perdue’s story begins to fall apart. Perdue is living in a homeless shelter; her mother died shortly before she arrived and is buried in the cemetery. Bid, seeing her own lost child in Perdue, offers her a place to stay. Perdue refuses, misinterpreting the offer as romantic, but is too lonely to entirely keep her distance from the others.

    Perdue confides in Robbie that she has come, not to reconcile with her mother, but merely to see her face, which she doesn’t remember. Perdue hopes that her mother has left a photo of herself that will prove that she is the blond-haired woman in Perdue’s oldest memory, a woman whom Perdue knows loved her once. But there are no photos and Perdue must decide how far she’ll go to learn the truth about her mother. Bid must decide how much she’ll risk to stop her. By play’s end, the characters’ search for what they’ve lost – a mother, a father, a child – ends when they find each other instead.
  • Comes A Faery
    Comes A Faery is a drama with a lot of comedy in which a single mother has been unexpectedly deployed overseas. Her little girl, Siobhan, left with her less-than-willing aunt, has one friend: an irritable Irish fairy, Seaneen, who may have escaped from the little girl’s favorite storybook … or who may be there to steal her soul. Over the course of the play, Siobhan slowly deteriorates: fighting in school,...
    Comes A Faery is a drama with a lot of comedy in which a single mother has been unexpectedly deployed overseas. Her little girl, Siobhan, left with her less-than-willing aunt, has one friend: an irritable Irish fairy, Seaneen, who may have escaped from the little girl’s favorite storybook … or who may be there to steal her soul. Over the course of the play, Siobhan slowly deteriorates: fighting in school, stealing, engaging in pyromania. Seaneen eggs her on, convincing her that if she is truly wicked, the army will have to send her mother home to deal with her.

    Terrified of parenthood’s relentless responsibilities and unsure when her sister will return, Katie asks her mother to take Siobhan. Seaneen asks Siobhan to run away to live in the land of Faery. But whether he plans to save her or steal her soul, and whether Katie will give Siobhan up to Katie’s mother, are only revealed in the final terrifying moments.
  • When We Get Good Again (formerly, Good)
    Poor but brilliant college student Tracy needs straight A’s to get into a top law school that will forgive her mountain of debt so she can be a lawyer for the poor. With the economic odds stacked against her, she manages to rationalize her job writing terms papers for other wealthy students, including Roy, a lazy hockey player and Nadiya, an equally brilliant Ukrainian student who has not yet mastered English...
    Poor but brilliant college student Tracy needs straight A’s to get into a top law school that will forgive her mountain of debt so she can be a lawyer for the poor. With the economic odds stacked against her, she manages to rationalize her job writing terms papers for other wealthy students, including Roy, a lazy hockey player and Nadiya, an equally brilliant Ukrainian student who has not yet mastered English. So why is she having so much trouble sticking to the program? GOOD explores the current age in which personal integrity seems to be eroding before our eyes, and each day seems to bring new headlines about politicians caught padding their resumes, footballs stars claiming to have fictitious girlfriends, or journalists discovered making up the people they’ve been writing and winning awards about. But GOOD also asks the question whether, in a world of privilege and deprivation, is cheating all that bad when done to level a playing field that is supposed to be flat in the first place?
  • Salvation
    In this dark comedy, Jack took to heart his second grade nun’s teaching 50 years ago that, no matter how evil a life he led, he could still go to heaven provided he made a perfect deathbed Confession. Now at the end of his crime-filled life, Jack lies dying, attended only by Bartholomew, his browbeaten son who despises him as much as he desires to be reconciled with him. Enter Fr. Gallagher, a soul-weary...
    In this dark comedy, Jack took to heart his second grade nun’s teaching 50 years ago that, no matter how evil a life he led, he could still go to heaven provided he made a perfect deathbed Confession. Now at the end of his crime-filled life, Jack lies dying, attended only by Bartholomew, his browbeaten son who despises him as much as he desires to be reconciled with him. Enter Fr. Gallagher, a soul-weary priest, about to encounter the most bizarre Confession of his career. Over the course of the play, Jack and Bartholomew struggle to come to terms with each other, with the help of Father Gallagher, who perseveres in the face of all odds … even after Jack shoots him. Father’s reward is the cold, comfortless monastic cell, far from the demands of the world, for which he has secretly longed. Jack’s reward may, or may not, be heaven. As for Bartholomew, by play’s end, he has begun to take the first steps from his prolonged adolescence into adulthood.
  • Faith
    All that Simon, a young boy, wants for Christmas is the stigmata, and to be God’s prophet, and if prayer and sacrifice have anything to do with it, Simon is well on his way. Theresa, his mother, prefers that he go to the mall and let Walmart tell him what he wants for Christmas. Simon does visit the mall, or more exactly, the Walmart’s parking lot as it is the closest approximation to a desert that he can...
    All that Simon, a young boy, wants for Christmas is the stigmata, and to be God’s prophet, and if prayer and sacrifice have anything to do with it, Simon is well on his way. Theresa, his mother, prefers that he go to the mall and let Walmart tell him what he wants for Christmas. Simon does visit the mall, or more exactly, the Walmart’s parking lot as it is the closest approximation to a desert that he can find in his snowswept upstate New York home to wander in. And it came to pass that, there, in the parking lot, Simon saw the Harbinger, a visitor to him from the heavens and, no doubt, God’s emissary to him and earth, hovering just above the halogen glow of the parking lot lights. His prayers have been answered.

    Or have they?

    Faith considers the quintessentially egocentric origins of fanaticism, a timely subject in a world where fanatics, domestic and foreign, seem to threaten our nation, if not our civilization. Faith places its subject matter in an immediate, rather than a remote, setting. That is, the play does not consider how fanaticism develops on the Arab Street or in an Islamic madras, but rather in a suburban Christian (Catholic to be exact) American home for the simple reason that, while we readily recognize foreign-born fanatics, we are not so quick to perceive our home-grown varieties.
  • A Brief History Of Penguins And Promiscuity
    Good-hearted, world-wounded King has arrived at the Vermont summer home of his best friend, Albert, a Harvard professor of Victorian literature. Albert is so immersed in his period that he speaks only high Victorian English with a proper English accent and seeks to recreate 19th English country squire life right down to a butler named D’Israeli and the occasional duel. His beautiful wife, Julia, a...
    Good-hearted, world-wounded King has arrived at the Vermont summer home of his best friend, Albert, a Harvard professor of Victorian literature. Albert is so immersed in his period that he speaks only high Victorian English with a proper English accent and seeks to recreate 19th English country squire life right down to a butler named D’Israeli and the occasional duel. His beautiful wife, Julia, a linguistics professor herself, has proven unable to resist sharing either his accent or lifestyle.
    King is uneasy, and with good reason. He is madly in love with Julia. Six years earlier, Albert had asked him to impregnate Julia in a Paris hotel room with the child Albert had been unable to give her. Albert’s plan seemed perfect … to Albert. He believed that, if King caught Julia unawares and revealed Albert’s sanction of the arrangement, her desire for a child would trump her qualms about infidelity until the deed was done. Albert did not fear further indiscretions, given the pair’s high moral character and sense of duty, not to mention King’s surpassing ugliness. But, stricken with conscience, King had called Julia in advance to obtain her consent. To his dismay, Julia rejected Albert’s proposal as far more morally complicated than he had considered. Instead, she offered to show King around Paris.
    But fate took a hand … or was it a wing? King, an Antarctic marine biologist, carried with him to Julia’s room a vial of spray that male penguins emit as a prelude to love. When some accidentally spilled, King discovered it to be a female human aphrodisiac of staggering efficacy, turning the proper Julia into a raging lustress from whom King was unable to escape (not that he tried very hard). Unfortunately, the handkerchief Kind used to wipe up the spill remained behind with the dazed Julia.
    Nine months later, Julia presented Albert with a son whom they christened Ernest. Given the timing and the couple’s previous infertility, Albert, racked by doubt as to the boy’s parentage and doubtful of King’s story that he hadn’t been able to go through with the plan, asked King to Vermont to finally learn the truth. His characterization of the weekend as merely a long overdue reunion of best friends rings false to King – especially when Albert begins discharging firearms in his general direction. Matters are complicated when Julia rediscovers the hanky. Unaware of its power, she uses it to stifle her hay-fever sneezes, then finds herself lustfully groping a guilty, but game, King. They finally confess the truth to Albert, and all is well. Until Roquefort, the Parisian waiter from the hotel café arrives, seeking Julia and his son. It seems that, after King left her room that day, Julia went downstairs for a croque-monsieur. Still under the influence of the penguins, she ordered more than a ham sandwich from Roquefort. One sneeze later, a horrified Albert and King discover the pair roiling on the couch.
    Determined to discover the father, the men squabble over whom the boy is most like. Unhelpfully, he is exactly like Julia and not much like any of them. Julia then confesses that the three deliverymen she encountered outside her room upon leaving Roquefort may have carried the fateful seed – in the form of deliveries from three of England’s leading sperm banks. The truth seems more remote than ever, until it suddenly arrives in the form of a DNA test secretly ordered by Albert. Julia begs Albert not to open the envelope, fearing that, if the results disappoint him, he will change towards Ernest and herself. Albert finally relents, noting his beloved Victorians’ penchant for secrets, unknown parentage and, above all, duty. They toss the results into the woodstove. But King, who must know the truth, saves the letter upon their exit. The couple soon comes racing back for it, having realized, as good Victorians will, that their true duty is to learn the truth, which, like blood, will out anyway.
    King proves the biological father, but realizes that Albert, who has raised Ernest, is his true father, and that Julia can never be his. Albert and King accept their fates manfully and the three embrace. Julia foretells that their path will be difficult as they, like so many must these days, attempt to reinvent family, but believes that, if they tread that path together honestly, all may yet be well. A disappointed King opens the front door to take a walk. He is confronted by Ernest, who remains off-stage. The boy, fascinated by penguins, asks if he can join King to hear more. Suppressing his usual urge to flee human interaction, King offers the boy his hand and steps through the front door and into life.
  • Dusk
    Dusk is that time of day when, “if you didn’t know what time it was, you wouldn’t know which is going to win, the light or the darkness.” So says the Nana, matriarch of an Irish Catholic family in Cambridge, Massachusetts struggling to decide whether to accept the Church’s settlement offer or go to trial over a priest’s sexual assault of the family’s youngest son. Over the course of one day, the family must...
    Dusk is that time of day when, “if you didn’t know what time it was, you wouldn’t know which is going to win, the light or the darkness.” So says the Nana, matriarch of an Irish Catholic family in Cambridge, Massachusetts struggling to decide whether to accept the Church’s settlement offer or go to trial over a priest’s sexual assault of the family’s youngest son. Over the course of one day, the family must face truth and lies; faith and disillusionment; and betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption on their journey toward peace.
  • Hitch
    In HITCH, Lane, a 36-year-old white man, picks up a young biracial hitchhiker in upstate New York. His casual fantasy of a hook-up with the young woman is blown up when he learns she is escaping from her mother’s abusive boyfriend, and her mother who believes whatever he tells her … and that she carries a rock for protection in close quarters (like his car). Dee’s assumptions about this nearly middle-aged white...
    In HITCH, Lane, a 36-year-old white man, picks up a young biracial hitchhiker in upstate New York. His casual fantasy of a hook-up with the young woman is blown up when he learns she is escaping from her mother’s abusive boyfriend, and her mother who believes whatever he tells her … and that she carries a rock for protection in close quarters (like his car). Dee’s assumptions about this nearly middle-aged white man who has picked her up are similarly altered over the course of the next 36 hours, as she learns that, far from being the geeky, wannabe ladies man that she presumed, Lane in fact is recovering from a devastating divorce as he drives to pick up his eight-year-old daughter in Terre Haute to take her home to Albany for the summer vacation.

    The lies each has carefully told about him/herself to the other begin to unravel. Dee’s father didn’t die in a trucking accident; he abandoned her family. Lane’s philandering didn’t end his marriage; his wife’s did. Dee isn’t going to stay with relatives in Toledo; she’s planning to live on the streets as best she can there. Lane isn’t driving to pick up his daughter; he’s fleeing home having been unable to muster the nerve to face his ex-wife and pick the child up.

    In the end, both need to face their demons: Dee, to return home and rescue the little sister she has left behind who she has learned is now being groomed for abuse by her step-father just as Dee was; Lane, to return and pick up his daughter who Dee has taught him is likely heartbroken. In the final scene, Lane helps Dee meet reconnect with her mother in a diner to discuss what to do, although nothing is certain. As the curtain falls, Lane sits alone in his car trying to decide which way to turn onto the interstate: west to home and defeat; or east to his daughter and growth.
  • Pooka
    Martin, 12, is a small, smart boy in a school where both conditions attract danger equally. Nor is home a respite; his mother’s abusive boyfriend, Davis, sees to that. Martin’s one friend, Phoebe, who is also 12 and also a target for lunchroom bullies, provides some comfort, despite towering over Martin physically if not intellectually. Life holds little promise of improvement until a pooka, a mythical Celtic...
    Martin, 12, is a small, smart boy in a school where both conditions attract danger equally. Nor is home a respite; his mother’s abusive boyfriend, Davis, sees to that. Martin’s one friend, Phoebe, who is also 12 and also a target for lunchroom bullies, provides some comfort, despite towering over Martin physically if not intellectually. Life holds little promise of improvement until a pooka, a mythical Celtic fairy who can assume the shape of any animal or person, appears to Martin one day. Initially, Peter seems a good friend and one capable of bullying Martin’s bullies right back. But whether he means Martin well, ill, or indeed anything, and whether the possibilities he presents for Martin will lead to a happier life or disaster, are only made clear in the play’s terrifying final scene.
  • Story Of My Life
    Everyone is a writer of fiction and our masterpieces are the narratives we construct of our own lives, designed (apologies to Milton) to justify the ways of us to Man. STORY OF MY LIFE is about one such hero of his own autobiography: Austin, a tremendously wealthy businessman who cannot seem to tell the truth about his past, present and likely future. (Sound familiar?) Austin has hired Abigail, a struggling...
    Everyone is a writer of fiction and our masterpieces are the narratives we construct of our own lives, designed (apologies to Milton) to justify the ways of us to Man. STORY OF MY LIFE is about one such hero of his own autobiography: Austin, a tremendously wealthy businessman who cannot seem to tell the truth about his past, present and likely future. (Sound familiar?) Austin has hired Abigail, a struggling romance writer, to ghostwrite his autobiography. In telling her his story, he chronicles his rise from poverty against impossible odds to a position of wealth and power, a life marred only by the tragic death of his beloved wife. Anyone would have fallen in love with him by the end of it, let alone a romance writer like Abigail who couldn’t have devised a better plot herself. Only one thing might change her mind: the appearance of Austin's bitter daughter and the very different version of his life that she tells. But just as Austin’s saga is somewhat less than honest, his daughter’s counter-narrative, spurred on by her anger at Austin more than her fidelity to the truth, soon proves equally suspect.

    In the end, Austin must confront his own life as he lived it, with all its unairbrushed messiness and consequences. Abigail and Austin’s daughter must determine what, if anything, can be salvaged from their relationships with this flawed man, a decision that may hinge on a simple question: is the quality of one’s character best represented by what really happened … or by what one intended?

    In a world of alternative-facts, fabulist presidents, fictional “true” memoirs, investigative journalism who employ made-up characters, rampant academic cheating, commonplace resume fraud, and even Congress’ Stolen Valor Act criminalizing false claims of wartime heroism, STORY OF MY LIFE hopes to explore where truth really lies and indeed whether and why it still matters.
  • Closure
    In this magical realism drama with comedy, family patriarch Brian has fallen ill with cancer. His son, Sean, has dropped out of college and returned to Cambridge to care for him. Complicating rather than assisting Sean’s efforts is his sister, Patty, who lives nearby but does not do well with the sick – or the living, for that matter. While children and father all hope for the reconciliation that has escaped...
    In this magical realism drama with comedy, family patriarch Brian has fallen ill with cancer. His son, Sean, has dropped out of college and returned to Cambridge to care for him. Complicating rather than assisting Sean’s efforts is his sister, Patty, who lives nearby but does not do well with the sick – or the living, for that matter. While children and father all hope for the reconciliation that has escaped them in the past, the strains of Brian’s illness and close quarters instead push them even further apart. Brian’s anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia are bad enough, but to his children, his refusal to accept them for who they are is his greatest failing. What’s worse, Brian’s complaints about the disappointments of his life, the greatest being Sean, infuriates both his children: Sean for obvious reasons; Patty, because, even when listing his disappointments, Brian hardly notices her.

    Then Sean discovers the hoard of pain killers with which Brian intends to kill himself before the pain of his illness can overwhelm him, in part to spare his children the horrors of a prolonged deathwatch. While they ponder whether to let their father go ahead with his plan, or to intervene, Brian awkwardly tries to make amends, with dismal results, whether teaching Patty about baseball as she claims she always wanted him to, or by giving Sean advice about his former girlfriend. What his children want is to tell him in death what he never told them in life: that he loves them. For his part, Brian struggles to rise above the cynicism and bitterness of his life to reach out to his children. In this he is aided by frequent visits from the Virgin Mary, who may or may not be a Percocet-induced figment of Brian’s imagination. In the end, the only way Brian can find to end a life lived at loggerheads with the ones he loves most are a pair of two-edged parting gifts to his children: a note to Sean and the choice of Patty to be with him when he dies. At play’s end, Sean concludes that these gifts were the best Brian could do, but both his children must decide whether it was enough.
  • When Herod Came To Georgia
    Based on a true story: Evaline is an enslaved woman whose daughter, Hettie, has been taken hostage by her Master to ensure Evaline does not reveal to Sherman’s Army the gold she has helped hide on the property. Evaline’s mistress, Rebekah, assures Evaline that she was against the idea, and is sure that her father will return Hettie safely once the danger has passed. Cobb is a poor rebel deserter and Brock, a...
    Based on a true story: Evaline is an enslaved woman whose daughter, Hettie, has been taken hostage by her Master to ensure Evaline does not reveal to Sherman’s Army the gold she has helped hide on the property. Evaline’s mistress, Rebekah, assures Evaline that she was against the idea, and is sure that her father will return Hettie safely once the danger has passed. Cobb is a poor rebel deserter and Brock, a wealthy, oafish escaped Union officer, both of whom Evaline is harboring as part of a network among slaves in the South that helps escaped Union soldiers and Confederate deserters alike. But Evaline does not know that Cobb has learned of the treasure; indeed, he has come to find it, with Brock’s help if he can persuade him. As the play progresses, all four must decide whom they can trust, as past lies and past sins are discovered or confessed.

    America today has never been so polarized and this play traces much of that polarization back to the Civil War. The piece attempts to show the tensions running through America as that war drew to a close, as well as the terrible price that slavery exacted first and foremost on the enslaved, as well as on the soul of the nation. The play also considers the role that class and wealth played (and still play in the same ways) in American life; how those in power turned (and still turn) poor whites against African-Americans to preserve their place in the hierarchy; and how class might have provided (and could still provide) a fault line different from race on which American politics could be based. That said, human stories, rather than polemic, remain at the heart of this play.
  • Ebenezer Creek
    We have recently marked the 150th anniversary of the ends of both the Civil War and formal slavery in this nation. But as Faulkner famously said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In our politics and in our race relations in America, that war continues to be fought; indeed, some try to hang onto the vestiges of that institution.

    The end of the Civil War was a time of great promise...
    We have recently marked the 150th anniversary of the ends of both the Civil War and formal slavery in this nation. But as Faulkner famously said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In our politics and in our race relations in America, that war continues to be fought; indeed, some try to hang onto the vestiges of that institution.

    The end of the Civil War was a time of great promise and great danger in America. Whether we as a nation could put slavery behind us and whether this nation could begin to heal the deep wounds that slavery and the war that was finally fought to end it inflicted, hung in the balance. Much would depend on the Union, its army and its citizens. Much would depend on the white South in the aftermath of the war. And much would depend on the newly emancipated bondsmen and women who had freedom so suddenly thrust upon them. That the first two of these groups failed, and that we failed as a nation, can hardly be denied. Antislavery forces won the war, but soon lost the peace.

    That we failed was sin enough. What makes our failure worse is that, as if by common consent in our theater, our literature and our popular entertainment, we rarely revisit the Civil War and what went so terribly wrong in its immediate aftermath. It is this lack of national self-knowledge that permits the telling of astonishing lies that gain astonishing currency with certain segments of our country. To give one example, in recent years it has become common to read that thousands of enslaved African-American willingly joined the Confederate Army and fought for the South. This revisionism is not just expressed on obscure websites; it is now part of Virginia’s Fourth Grade curriculum. No amount of debunking by every reputable historian to consider the issue in recent years has had any visible effect on the wide acceptance in some quarters of this “fact,” which is often used to deny both that the Civil War was fought in large part over slavery and the inherent offensiveness of the Confederate battle flag. Such a whitewashing of history inevitably leads directly to a discounting of the deleterious effects of the Civil War, slavery and racism, and such discounting leads directly to Supreme Court decisions curtailing the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action on the ground that we live in a post-racial America.

    Those who do not learn from history are not doomed to repeat it because they are so often denied the solutions to the societal problems and dislocations that that history has caused. For that reason, I have found myself drawn to write a play about the Civil War and its aftermath. The play follows three groups of Americans during the last year of the war and the first year of the peace:

    1) Union officers and soldiers in Sherman’s army, some of whom were abolitionists, some of whom were professional soldiers with little concern for the issues animating the war, and some of whom had owned enslaved person and supported both the Union and slavery. The clash of these differing viewpoints created daily tensions in an army struggling to win a war and simultaneously deal with the thousands of enslaved persons following their army to freedom.
    2) Southern slaveholders and participants in the slave trade, who were attempting to hold onto their way of life and livelihoods even as both crumbled around them. Such owners, traders and auctioneers alike denied until the end and beyond that enslaved persons were anything other than content and better off in bondage.
    3) An African-American family of enslaved persons, separated as so many were at the end of the war by the sale of some of them deeper into the South in the face of the advancing Union army. The resulting diaspora requires this family, like many newly freed ones, to attempt to find both their way in a strange, new world of freedom, and each other.

    In the play, Union soldiers with conflicting views on race and slavery march across Georgia to end the Civil War, hampered or buoyed depending on their points of view by the thousands of enslaved persons fleeing to them for freedom and protection. Meanwhile, the members of a makeshift family of the newly freed, separated by sale during the war’s waning days, search for each other amid the ruins and horrors, old and new, of the South. At the same time, vanquished Southerners cling to the Peculiar Institution until the end … and then begin an attempt to reimpose slavery in all but name on freedmen and women. The North may have won the war. But who would win the peace?
  • Pickers
    Two workers at a fulfillment center warehouse talk about class and generational warfare.
  • Hipster Noir
    A beautiful woman, Delilah Lovely, seeks the aid of Nick Archer, private dick and part-time barista in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to recover her stolen artisanally-crafted beards and man buns that she sells to alopecia-stricken hipsters. But not all is what it seems…
  • Guaranteed
    A bank robber comes to hold up the branch, and gets a lesson in law and love instead.
  • A Sleep And A Forgetting
    Two people come to on a life boat adrift on the ocean with no idea how they got there. Someone must be out there looking for them … right?
  • Sweetheart Roland
    A witch’s stepdaughter defeats her and marries her true sweetheart … well, after she figures out which of her sweethearts he is.
  • Perspective
    Their painting moved to a new room at the Louvre, Mary and the Archangel Gabriel find their relationship threatened by a woman with an inscrutable smile.
  • Last Call
    To fulfill her father’s final wish, a grieving daughter makes a pilgrimage to the place loved best: his favorite bar.
  • Put Asunder
    A bride has a few loose ends to tie up before walking down the aisle: Is anyone ever sure about forever?
  • Laying Off
    Layoffs are coming and Meddie and Dick, middle management rivals, much each present to their CEO, Robert, their recommendations as to who should get the axefall on. In so doing, Meddie must decide whether to save her job or her soul.
  • Like
    Tim and Hope, a young couple, try to come up with the perfect simile for Hope’s spectacularly pregnant belly. In the process, they reveal their deepest fears about parenthood, and their greatest hopes.
  • Eden
    He, the CEO of Eden Investments, leaves his new Apple laptop with Eve and A-Man, two young, disenchanted fourth-year bankers, with strict orders that they not touch it. Their resolve to obey is put to the test when their colleague, Snark, tells them that the company’s about-to-be-released quarterly earnings report is on the machine and they can all make a boatload of money if they’re willing to read it.
  • Safe
    Joyce is on the cusp of many things – a doctoral program, her fiancé moving in and turning 30 to name a few – but all she wants to do is hit the pause button. When Luke discovers the mysterious safe in her basement, his determination to open it is matched only by her determination to keep him out.
  • Ebenezer Creek (Short version)
    As Sherman’s Army marches across Georgia, a young lieutenant must decide whether he serves the Union and his racist colonel first, or his abolitionist ideals.
  • The Wilderness
    A wounded Yankee and a wounded Confederate find themselves trapped in no-man’s land, in a desperate struggle to survive against each other … and themselves.
  • Hitch (Short version)
    A man learns that the young hitchhiker he has picked up is not at all what she seemed … at least to him.
  • Japanese Schoolgirl Night
    Jello shots, heartbreak, and Japanese Schoolgirl Night are all on tap at the local townie bar that lies just outside the gates of the prestigious women’s college. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Fightbook
    Four friends try to peacefully coexist within the same Facebook bubble of political orthodoxy … and fail miserably.
  • Here There Be Pirates
    A young corporate raider and his pirate-king father learn to work together in the family business.
  • Hot Gecko Space Love Action (Based on a true story)
    An innocent Russian gecko-sex-research space voyage turns potentially deadly … and lucrative.
  • Broken
    Two political prisoners. One cell. A regime fighting for its life. Who can you trust when the only rule is, trust no one?
  • Choices
    A debtor burdened by crushing student loans is offered a way out … but is the deal too good to be true?
  • I Don't Know
    An old-school drill sergeant takes his new recruits for a cadence-singing run … straight into a brave new world of political correctness.
  • Drunk Christmas
    A drunk woman and a runaway meet on the streets on Christmas Eve … and refuse to find understanding.
  • Typhus In Wartime
    Two young doctors in occupied Poland discover how to save their town’s Jewish inhabitants: by starting a typhus epidemic.
  • All We Want
    A huckster and his apprentice hawk their wares on the midway … and ponder what they are really selling.
  • A Tale Of Two Christmas Carols
    Karl Marx fled to London following the 1848 revolutions that rocked Europe, and brought his views on class warfare and the destruction of the bourgeoisie with him. Now, for the first time, it can be revealed that, once there, Marx befriended Bob Cratchits’ eldest son, Peter, in a pub shortly before that fateful Christmas, and taught him the true meaning of … well, class consciousness actually. Christmas may never be the same.
  • That Which Doesn't Kill Us
    A writer desperate to save everything he has ever written. A vicious computer virus intent on eating it. Only a Zen IT guru can save the writer … but only if the writer allows him to heal the writer’s soul before healing his hard drive.
  • Knuckleheads
    Synopsis: A little girl whose single mother has been deployed overseas is visited by a cantankerous Irish fairy: Has he come to keep the lonely child company … or to steal her soul?
  • Squirrelly
    Two squirrels contemplate a peanut-butter-baited trap … and the promise of an answer to life’s deepest mystery.
  • Hunger
    Separated by culture, language, geography and 150 years, an Irish Famine couple and a Middle-Eastern couple, make the same desperate decision.
  • Peace Talk
    An Irish immigrant and an Irish-American learn that they belong to two peoples divided by a common history.