Cindi Sansone-Braff

Cindi Sansone-Braff

Cindi Sansone-Braff is an author, playwright, dancer, actor, producer, theater critic, and member of the Dramatist Guild. Her full-length, romantic comedy, "Angel’s Mice and Men" was produced in 2019 at the Hudson Guild Theater in NYC, and published by Next Stage Press in 2021. Her full-length, dramatic play, "Beethoven’s Promethean Concerto in C Minor WoO," was produced at the BACCA Center...
Cindi Sansone-Braff is an author, playwright, dancer, actor, producer, theater critic, and member of the Dramatist Guild. Her full-length, romantic comedy, "Angel’s Mice and Men" was produced in 2019 at the Hudson Guild Theater in NYC, and published by Next Stage Press in 2021. Her full-length, dramatic play, "Beethoven’s Promethean Concerto in C Minor WoO," was produced at the BACCA Center on Long Island in August 2017. Her short play, "To the Zoom an Back" was produced by Fishlicker Improv for a Zoom play in August 2020, and it won the Audience Favorite award in the Think Fast One-Act Play Festival 2021, and a winner in the 2nd Act Players Spring Script Competition. "No Rest for the Soul," is in the 2021 Equity Library Theater Festival. "Welcome to the House of Karma," received a Zoom reading by Fishlicker Improv Act Your Page in September 2020. Her full-length, dramatic play, "A Whole, Empty House," was a finalist in the Robert A. Forest Playwriting Competition. Her full-length, romantic comedy, Angel’s Mice and Men, was a finalist in Lodi’s National New Play contest and Theatre Festival. Her full-length, dramatic play, "Phantom Pain," was a finalist in the Playwrights Center’s Playlab program in Minneapolis. She is the author of "Grant Me a Higher Love," and "Why Good People Can’t Leave Bad Relationships."

Plays

  • The Menu
    Set in the Final Exit Bar and Grill, Chris gets an Evite to a Come-As-You-Are party that takes on a tragic twist.
  • My Struggle
    Set in 1981, the day after the failed assassination attempt of
    Ronald Reagan by John Hinkley Jr., the Sunnydale Nursing Home
    celebrates the hundredth birthday of their oldest resident,
    Dr. Abraham Kasper. A holocaust survivor, Dr. Kasper takes a
    disturbing trip down memory lane, as he laments the dire
    consequences of not listening to divine guidance.
  • No Rest for a Soul
    An aging, one-hit wonder rock star has recently taken his own life. Now, as a Soul- in-Spirit, he is getting prepped to meet his maker, with the help of a Spirit Guide, known only as the Second Keeper of the Records.
  • Textual Abuse
    Two human beings hook up, and the following day, one of them shoots off a tirade of over-the-top texts, totally ambushing the other one.


  • Welcome to the House of Karma
    An aging, down-and-out, one-time-Oscar-nominated Diva inherits a New Age business from her late
    Wiccan aunt and proceeds to wreck havoc on the metaphysical misfits who run the joint.
  • The Karma Bums
    The Karma Bums
    Synopsis

    The time is the present. All the action takes place in the Psychic Reading Room in The House of Karma, which is a Long Island-based, New Age mini-mart and learning center, a phenomenal place where the here and the hereafter meet, mingle, and merge on an everyday basis. It’s a one-set, six-character (four women, two men), one-act, full-length comedy.
    The...
    The Karma Bums
    Synopsis

    The time is the present. All the action takes place in the Psychic Reading Room in The House of Karma, which is a Long Island-based, New Age mini-mart and learning center, a phenomenal place where the here and the hereafter meet, mingle, and merge on an everyday basis. It’s a one-set, six-character (four women, two men), one-act, full-length comedy.
    The Karma Bums is about CATHY CLOONY-COLUCCI, an aging, down-and-out, one-time-Oscar nominated Diva, who inherits a New Age business from her late Wiccan aunt, and then proceeds to wreak havoc on the pack of metaphysical misfits who run the joint. It’s the classic Monster-in-the-house story with Cathy, a larger-than-life-material girl, scheming her way through an over-the-top-spiritual world. Throughout the play, she desperately wants to resurrect her acting career, but she’s in the midst of a massive mid-life crisis, and every audition she goes on turns out to be more nightmarish than the one before. She resigns herself to the fact that, at least for now, she has to reinvent herself and embrace this metaphysical business, if for no other reason than because ¬– there’s a lot of money to be made hyping New Age crap. By the end of the play, in an ironic twist of fate, Cathy discovers her own psychic gifts, and thanks to The House of Karma and The Karma Bums themselves, she ultimately achieves her goal to be in front of the camera again.

    As for the Karma Bums, they’re a diverse group of individuals who live and/or work in The House of Karma. The Generation X Karma Bums, include: DESTINY, the morbidly obese Resident Psychic, who despises Cathy, and DOC, the Resident Herbalist and recovering alcoholic, who loves Cathy. The Generation Y (Millennials), include: BOBBI, the Sexy Tea Fairy and reality show wannabe, and DICK YOUNG, the vapid, Yoga Stud. The Silent Generation is represented by RITA, the eighty-years-young massage therapist, Reiki master, medium, astrologist, numerologist, Tarotherapist, and past life regressionist, who claims: “If it’s New Age, in my old age I do it. The only thing I can’t do anymore in this incarnation is die young.”



  • To the Zoom and Back
    A play created for Zoom during the pandemic. Two lonely, lively, senior citizens meet on The Forever Young Dating Site during the COVID-19 pandemic and decide to try a virtual date via Zoom.
  • Beethoven' s Promethean Concerto in C Minor Wo0
    “In writing my music I’d often ask, “What if two people fell passionately in love, it must be, yes, it must be, and yet they tell themselves, no ... no it cannot be. What happens to that love when it burrows underground?” What is it – to know where the key to the universe is, to know where the love you’ve always wanted is, and to know, so long as you walk this earth, you can never have it again? What is it? It...
    “In writing my music I’d often ask, “What if two people fell passionately in love, it must be, yes, it must be, and yet they tell themselves, no ... no it cannot be. What happens to that love when it burrows underground?” What is it – to know where the key to the universe is, to know where the love you’ve always wanted is, and to know, so long as you walk this earth, you can never have it again? What is it? It is pain without end.”
    The entire play takes place on a hilltop site known as the ruins of Rauhenstein Castle in the quiet Helenenthal Valley near Baden in Austria. Ludwig van Beethoven spent fifteen summers in this serene spa town. Amidst this scenic splendor, he was inspired to write his (“Pastoral”) Symphony, and much of the Ninth Symphony and Missa solemnis. The action begins late afternoon on August 6, 1826 and continues through dusk, darkness, until the dawn of a new day. Earlier on this fateful morning, Beethoven’s nephew, Karl, (Beethoven was his legal guardian at the time) had climbed up to the ruins of Rauhenstein and tried to kill himself.
    Beethoven is 56 years old and gravely ill. A little more than seven months from this day, all of Vienna would watch The Master’s funeral procession making its way through their streets. To the undiscerning eye he looks like a madman, a phantom, a vagabond, but as he speaks and opens up, the audience will come to see his magnitude, his charisma, his energy, his super human gifts and grace, and ultimately his indisputable genius despite all of his clumsiness.
    The Maestro came to this sacred site with a flask, a walking stick, a pistol, a pocketful of letters, and exquisite pain, both physical and psychological. Over the course of a day, one in which Beethoven felt as if whole decades had passed faster than this, he expresses his darkest thoughts, deepest betrayals, and his most haunting desires through the poetic language he utters, which emanates from the very depth of his soul. This heightened language is further amplified by the accompaniment of some of Beethoven’s most breathtaking compositions, many of which he created as an antidote to life’s inevitable angst, anxiety, and unrelenting anguish. Throughout this Two-act, two-hour music drama, the audience comes to intimately know the heart, soul, and mind of one of the greatest composers of all times. The whole premise of the play is based upon Hamlet’s rhetorical question “To be or not to be?” Beethoven simply ascertains that, “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, that is always the question.” Throughout the play he makes compelling arguments as to how life can be so wretched as to push any thinking person to the brink of suicide, and yet, at the end of the play he has come to state: “What can I say to my Karl...to make him want to live? God knows it was my Art, my music that saved me...I will tell him so long as we have one good deed left in us, then it our sacred duty to live!”
    2
    In life, Beethoven’s isolation, due to his deafness, often led him to have many a spirited dialogue back and forth with himself, and this interchange is continued in this play by incorporating a recorded version of his voice. For example:
    RECORDED VOICE
    Why they mock and scorn you. (Imitating a woman’s voice) “Herr Beethoven’s completely insane. We have often seen him walking around in public talking to himself!”
    BEETHOVEN
    The best kind of dialogue for a deaf man! Communication with others (He walks close to the audience) becomes a dizzying game of “Pass the Damn Notebook.” (He extends his notebook toward an audience member.) You write. I read. I respond. Repeat. You write. I read. I respond. Again, and again, and again, until I can’t stand the crazy conversational carousel another second and scream on the top of my lungs to make it stop!
    Many moving monologues reveals the depth of his love for his Immortal Beloved, Josephine, his late mother, and the many siblings he had lived to bury. For example:
    (BEETHOVEN’S ARIA – A PRAYER FOR HIS MOTHER WITH THE PIANO SONATA (“Moonlight”) ACCOMPANYING THIS MONOLOGUE)
    BEETHOVEN
    Memories... haunting memories. It seemed like an eternity as I traveled back to you. Once home, I couldn’t bear to watch you writhe in pain ... witness your delirium ... hear you ask over and over again, “How is Franz?” (Imitating his MOTHER) “Did Franz eat his breakfast?” I couldn’t bear to tell you – your precious son was long dead and buried. In your delusions, or was it in the comfort of your dying dreams that he still lived, still played in the kitchen, still crawled into your bed at night, still called for his mama. How could I put you through those dark days of his dying again? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I didn’t. And, so, I lied. Lied a thousand times over the course of those wasting away weeks. “Franz is doing fine.” “Oh, yes, he has his appetite back.” “Yes, he asks for you.” “Why can’t I bring him to you?” “Why, the doctor says we can’t risk him catching consumption, now can we?” “Yes, yes, we both know how frail he is.” “Papa, how is Papa?” “Fine. Just fine.” “Is he drinking?” “Oh, no. He knows he must be strong for the sake of the children.” “How is the baby Margareth?” “She’s doing fine too.” Fine. God knows she wasn’t fine. Four months later, the death-knell sounded again. This time for you, my dear, beloved baby sister. Margareth, I swear you died of a broken heart. There was no consoling you. Motherless, you refused to eat, to sleep, to live. Day after day, you lay helpless staring into the great nothingness. Night after night you screamed and cried and raged, but here was nothing, absolutely nothing I could do for you. Helpless. I was utterly helpless to save you ... to save our mother or to save our father from himself.
    
    3
    At the end of Act I, Beethoven reads one of the most powerful letters ever written, his “Heiligenstadt Testament,” in which he talks about his desire to kill himself because of his ever- increasing deafness. A small sample of this soul-searching letter is shown below:
    “Born with a passionate and excitable temperament, keenly susceptible to the pleasures of society, I was yet obliged early in life to isolate myself, and to pass my existence in solitude. If I at any time resolved to surmount all this, oh! how cruelly was I again repelled by the experience, sadder than ever, of my defective hearing!--and yet I found it impossible to say to others: Speak louder; shout! for I am deaf!”
    At the end of Act 11, after many grueling references throughout the play to how his Immortal Beloved, Josephine, had hurt and betrayed him time and time again, the audience witnesses – firsthand--the great love Beethoven had for her as he reads excerpts from his three infamous love letters. Playing ever so softly in the background is one of the most moving string quartets ever written (“Cavatina,”) which is a musical offering to the vulnerability of love and to our human failing to adequately express and communicate our truest feelings. Below is an excerpt from one of his Immortal Beloved letters:
    “Be calm; only by calmly viewing our existence can we attain our aim of passing our lives together. Be calm; love me—today—yesterday—what longing. What tears for thee—for thee—for thee—my Life! My All! Farewell! Oh! Continue to love me-never misjudge the faithful heart of thy lover.
    Ever thine Ever mine Ever ours”
    Two brief appearances by his nephew, Karl, and the coming and going of the Chorus as they sing portions of the three great hymms from his Missa solemnis, add drama and theatrics to this basically one-man show.
    The play concludes with his Immortal Beloved, Josephine, who appears as an apparition, reading a heartfelt excerpt from her journal, revealing to the audience how Josephine loved Beethoven as deeply as he loved her. Here is an excerpt of from her journal:
    “I would not have scribbled these words today had I not hoped to honor your request ... your deepest desire -- your heartfelt wish. Oh, your surprise appearance aroused such ethereal feelings in me ... so deep and tender that mere words cannot do them justice. None of us truly has the ability to comprehend why we do what we do -- say -- act upon or deny. When we were as one, the Almighty was in the breast of each of us. The stars and heaven above also a part of each of us -- but once thrust apart ... broken and unhinged, we continually spiraled downward into darkness. Today we stood -- eye to eye
    -- heartbeat to heartbeat -- breath to breath witnessing what we had -- individually -- separately -- collectively ... annihilated.”
  • Angel's Mice and Men
    THE ONE MINUTE PITCH: ANGEL VENTURA, a young, Italian-American widow, thought true love never struck twice, but then given a second shot at it, she must work a miracle to keep her new love alive.

    THE PLAYERS:

    ROSE BLOOM … This seventy-five-year-old bubbe thought true love was a match made in heaven before you were born, but a little earthly intervention couldn’t hurt.
    ...
    THE ONE MINUTE PITCH: ANGEL VENTURA, a young, Italian-American widow, thought true love never struck twice, but then given a second shot at it, she must work a miracle to keep her new love alive.

    THE PLAYERS:

    ROSE BLOOM … This seventy-five-year-old bubbe thought true love was a match made in heaven before you were born, but a little earthly intervention couldn’t hurt.

    ANGEL VENTURA … This thirty-eight-year-old widow thought true love was like lightning – it never struck twice.

    GINA SIGNORELLI … ANGEL’s twenty-eight-year-old sister thought finding true love was as simple as finding a new business partner – a well-placed classified ought to do the trick. Oh, and scusa the “French,” but sooner or later the merda’s gonna hit the fan.

    STEELE LA CHANCE … This forty-five-year-old house painter/would-be novelist thought true love was a great hoax: the stuff of fairytales, fiction and fantasy.

    For Angel and Steele, it took one red-hot July, a surprise summer storm of the century, two celestial pests, and a little help from two down-to-earth matchmakers to show them the way.

    The action throughout takes place in Angel’s fifty-something-year-old, Dutch Colonial-style home in Lynbrook, Long Island, New York. The time is 1992.

    THE SCENE:

    The play begins before sunset on July 1st and continues throughout the month.
    When the play opens we meet MRS. BLOOM, ANGEL’S new tenant. Mrs. Bloom is lighting the Shabbat candles at the very same moment GINA is trying to convince Angel to go to a disco with her to meet men. Gina feels Angel has elevated her dead husband to sainthood, and fears Angel will spend the rest of her life alone. Gina’s master plan is to be married by this time next year, and she feels so confident about this, that she recently put a deposit down on her favorite catering hall.
    Angel has a whole month off from motherhood and teaching and plans on cleaning her house (Gina claims it’s already sterile), catching up on her reading, and having her house painted. Angel wants no part of Gina’s dating scene because Gina could write the book on “real dates from hell.”
    Gina will not be deterred and decides to write a personal ad to meet men. Angel types the ad for her on her word processor, while Mrs. Bloom edits.
    From Gina we learn that Angel is terrified of mice, an important piece of information needed later in the story.
    At the end of Scene 1 we meet STEELE LA CHANCE.
    In Scene 2, Mrs. Bloom and Gina plot to get Angel and Steele together. They set up a romantic evening, and “the surprise storm of the century” that takes place that night forces Steele to spend the night on Angel’s sofa bed.
    In the middle of the night, a mouse wakes Angel. Her screams of terror send Steele into her bedroom. Their conversation takes a romantic turn, and the two of them make love.
    Two weeks pass between that scene and the next one. We learn that Steele left in the morning after they’d made love and has not returned. Angel fears she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Gina is thrilled to death by all the answers she’s received from her personal ad.
    Steele returns and is blind drunk. He tells Angel, due to the storm, he has lost everything. His house was destroyed, and his nearly completed novel was ruined, buried beneath the sand and sea.
    When Steele wants to leave Angel’s house that night and drive drunk, Angel is forced to re-live the nightmarish evening when TONY, her husband, drove drunk and was killed in a car crash. Angel, determined that history will not repeat itself, struggles with Steele, and cuts her hand badly. The sight of Angel’s blood, sweat, and tears moves Steele, and he collapses in a drunken stupor in Angel’s arms.
    Angel decides to try to resurrect Steele’s manuscript. She goes to his home and finds several half-destroyed versions of his novel. Using her word processor and Mrs. Bloom as an editor, they work day and night to bring his book back to life.
    Meanwhile, Gina bought Angel a home pregnancy kit. Angel is pregnant. Gina tells her to plead “Immaculate Conception.” Angel makes Gina swear on her eyes she won’t tell anyone, especially Steele, about the pregnancy.
    Miraculously, in the eleventh hour, they finish re-writing Steele’s book. The book becomes the wings that carry Steele back to Angel.