Rich Rubin

Rich Rubin

Rich Rubin's plays have been produced throughout the U.S., and internationally in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Institutional colleagues in the development and/or staging of his plays have included the American Bard Theatre Company, Manhattan TheatreWorks, Castillo Theatre, American Actors UK, UP Theatre Company, Athena Theatre Company, Rising Sage Theatre Company, Stella Adler...
Rich Rubin's plays have been produced throughout the U.S., and internationally in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Institutional colleagues in the development and/or staging of his plays have included the American Bard Theatre Company, Manhattan TheatreWorks, Castillo Theatre, American Actors UK, UP Theatre Company, Athena Theatre Company, Rising Sage Theatre Company, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Capital Stage, Long Beach Playhouse, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Portland Center Stage and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Rich's work has been nominated for the L. Arnold Weissberger Award (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and has been selected as a winner of the Todd McNerney Playwright Award (Piccolo Spoleto Festival), the Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest, the Neil Simon Festival New Play Contest and the Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival. His plays have also been chosen as a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award, Playwrights First Award, Ashland New Play Festival, Trustus Playwrights Festival, New American Play Project (Utah Shakespeare Festival), nuVoices Festival (Actors Theatre of Charlotte), Oregon Book Award, Reva Shiner Award, Heideman Award (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and the Burbage Prize (UK). Rich is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and Portland's Nameless Playwrights and LineStorm Playwrights. www.richrubinplaywright.com

Plays

  • Assisted Living
    When Rose Fowler, a feisty retired schoolteacher, begins to show signs of progressive Alzheimer's disease, her middle-aged children, Ben and Sandy, grow increasingly alarmed. Ben and Sandy propose moving Rose from her apartment to an assisted living facility, but Rose is a woman who still has a mind of her own. Family tensions and laughter arise as Rose's need to retain her independence repeatedly...
    When Rose Fowler, a feisty retired schoolteacher, begins to show signs of progressive Alzheimer's disease, her middle-aged children, Ben and Sandy, grow increasingly alarmed. Ben and Sandy propose moving Rose from her apartment to an assisted living facility, but Rose is a woman who still has a mind of her own. Family tensions and laughter arise as Rose's need to retain her independence repeatedly clashes with her children's wish to ensure her safety.
  • BabyLand
    Bernice and Wayne are two thirty-somethings from small-town America, still down on their luck in the aftermath of the Great Recession. When Bernice answers an on-line ad seeking a gestational surrogate, she soon finds herself carrying the baby of two gay men from Portugal. Bernice's lucrative arrangement inspires Wayne -- and his Bill Gates-obsessed best friend Gil -- to come up with a unique business...
    Bernice and Wayne are two thirty-somethings from small-town America, still down on their luck in the aftermath of the Great Recession. When Bernice answers an on-line ad seeking a gestational surrogate, she soon finds herself carrying the baby of two gay men from Portugal. Bernice's lucrative arrangement inspires Wayne -- and his Bill Gates-obsessed best friend Gil -- to come up with a unique business plan, and a whole new take on the American Dream.
  • Book of Revelation
    Marion Singer, an up-for-tenure associate professor of anthropology at a major university, is nominally a Christian. Her overall world-view, however, is decidedly secular, firmly grounded in fact-based evidence rather than faith. Marion's area of expertise is evangelical Christianity, and her just published text, "The Book of Revelation," focuses on evangelicals' views of science in...
    Marion Singer, an up-for-tenure associate professor of anthropology at a major university, is nominally a Christian. Her overall world-view, however, is decidedly secular, firmly grounded in fact-based evidence rather than faith. Marion's area of expertise is evangelical Christianity, and her just published text, "The Book of Revelation," focuses on evangelicals' views of science in general and evolution in particular. When Marion's teen-age daughter Allie is struck by a car, Marion's world is thrown into turmoil, especially when she is confronted with Allie's grim prognosis. Allie's physicians predict that --even if she survives -- she will be left in a persistent vegetative state, completely unresponsive to those around her. Marion and her physicist husband Paul react to this news in different ways: Paul despondently accepts the information as presented, while Marion, after some initial equivocation, wind up praying for Allie's recovery with Sister Ivy, an evangelical Christian she met while researching her book. When Allie's condition abruptly improves, her doctors and nurses are delighted but at a loss to medically explain her dramatic turn-around. In a subsequent radio interview with Sister Ivy that soon goes viral, Marion opines that "science doesn't have all the answers" and entertains the possibility that Allie's recovery may indeed have been a miracle facilitated by prayer and heavenly intervention. Marion's words come back to haunt her, especially when the Tenure Committee questions her commitment to rigorous, data-driven scholarship, citing her interview-voiced implication that supernatural forces might impact the natural world. Marion finds herself trying to bridge two camps that often eye each other as opposing adversaries across a battlefield, the fact-based world of scientists and the faith-based world of much of the rest of the population, In the culture wars of modern-day America, is it even possible to reconcile serious science with serious faith?
  • Caesar's Blood
    It is late November 1864. The Civil War is still raging, and President Abraham Lincoln has just been re-elected. At New York's Winter Garden Theatre, the elite of Manhattan have gathered to watch a one-evening-only benefit performance of "Julius Caesar" starring the three most celebrated actors in America, the iconic Booth brothers -- Edwin, Junius Brutus and John Wilkes. Until this evening,...
    It is late November 1864. The Civil War is still raging, and President Abraham Lincoln has just been re-elected. At New York's Winter Garden Theatre, the elite of Manhattan have gathered to watch a one-evening-only benefit performance of "Julius Caesar" starring the three most celebrated actors in America, the iconic Booth brothers -- Edwin, Junius Brutus and John Wilkes. Until this evening, the Booths, all greatly admired by the theater-loving President, had never appeared together on the same stage. John, heralded in the tabloids as "the handsomest man in America" is a fervent believer in the Confederate cause, and had already been arrested for his seditious comments about the President and the North. His older brothers Edwin and Junius Brutus, meanwhile, are ardent supporters of Lincoln and the Union. Both before and after the performance of Shakespeare's bloody tragedy, the three brothers spar about politics, theater and the roots of their heated sibling rivalry. The brothers' drama is heightened by the appearance on scene of their mother Mary Ann (whose favorite was always "Johnny") and Benjamin Waters, Edwin's dresser and a former slave, now a free man. A play based, as the saying goes, on true events.
  • Class Act
    Kai, a young African-American woman, is a conscientious student at a prestigious East Coast university. When Rebecca, her sociology professor, seeks a volunteer to portray a living-on-the-edge prostitute as part of an in-class, role-play exercise, Kai raises her hand, believing that she's helping to "give voice" to a marginalized member of society. Kai's performance in that role proves to...
    Kai, a young African-American woman, is a conscientious student at a prestigious East Coast university. When Rebecca, her sociology professor, seeks a volunteer to portray a living-on-the-edge prostitute as part of an in-class, role-play exercise, Kai raises her hand, believing that she's helping to "give voice" to a marginalized member of society. Kai's performance in that role proves to be extraordinarily realistic -- so realistic, in fact, that unintended consequences soon result for Kai and Rebecca both.
  • Costa Rehab
    Wheeler and Corso, two injured Iraq War veterans, are recuperating in the rehab unit of a stateside Army hospital. Their friendship is based on a profane camaraderie and a shared, if unstated, experience of war. Both men, however, are bored and sliding towards burn-out, worn down by the weight of their injuries and the impersonal face of the Army bureaucracy. The arrival of Davis, a third injured vet, serves...
    Wheeler and Corso, two injured Iraq War veterans, are recuperating in the rehab unit of a stateside Army hospital. Their friendship is based on a profane camaraderie and a shared, if unstated, experience of war. Both men, however, are bored and sliding towards burn-out, worn down by the weight of their injuries and the impersonal face of the Army bureaucracy. The arrival of Davis, a third injured vet, serves to rejuvenate the other two soldiers, providing them with a fresh, if unconventional, mission to focus on. Their subversive quest on Davis's behalf leads to a renewed sense of hope for all three of them.
  • Cottonwood in the Flood
    It is the early 1940s, and the United States has just made its entry into World War II. The country is in dire need of ships and workers to build them. From all corners of the land, thousands flock to the shipyards outside Portland, Oregon in search of good pay and steady work. To house the daily-arriving workers and their families, a new city called Vanport is built on a floodplain of the Columbia River....
    It is the early 1940s, and the United States has just made its entry into World War II. The country is in dire need of ships and workers to build them. From all corners of the land, thousands flock to the shipyards outside Portland, Oregon in search of good pay and steady work. To house the daily-arriving workers and their families, a new city called Vanport is built on a floodplain of the Columbia River. By late 1943, its population swells to nearly 40,000 men, women and children. Many of these people are from the South and many are African-American. Over the next half-decade, Vanport becomes a cauldron in which America's nobler ideals and America's history of racial injustice uneasily mix. "Cottonwood in the Flood" focuses on the experiences of a fictional African-American family during Vanport's rise and fall. The life the Hawkins family finds in Vanport is both new and depressingly familiar. Schools and rec halls are integrated, but housing and hospital wards are not. Unions advocate for fair treatment of workers, yet black workers are excluded from membership. The war in Europe uncovers the horrors of the Holocaust while at the same time people in America -- and people in Vanport -- are confronting many of our own troubled ways. As their hopes are raised and their dreams are dashed, the members of the Hawkins family do their best to adjust to daily life in Vanport and grab hold of their fair slice of the American pie. On Memorial Day 1948, the entire city of Vanport is obliterated by a catastrophic flood of the Columbia River, an event that in several discomfiting respects presages the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina nearly six decades later.
  • Grand Junction
    Beth, a fifty-eight year-old editor, is unexpectedly fired from the Los Angeles-based food magazine where she worked for decades. Shaken and shamed, Beth returns to to her modest family home in Grand Junction, Colorado, where she re-connects with her younger sister Pam and Pam's adult daughter Dana. Beth and Pam's relationship is convoluted and occasionally contentious. Beth left Grand Junction...
    Beth, a fifty-eight year-old editor, is unexpectedly fired from the Los Angeles-based food magazine where she worked for decades. Shaken and shamed, Beth returns to to her modest family home in Grand Junction, Colorado, where she re-connects with her younger sister Pam and Pam's adult daughter Dana. Beth and Pam's relationship is convoluted and occasionally contentious. Beth left Grand Junction after she finished high school, focusing on her career and a cosmopolitan life-style in southern California. Pam, on the other hand, has lived in Grand Junction all her life, caring for both their parents during times of terminal illness. Dana, meanwhile, is facing her own considerable challenges, as she considers reconciling with her volatile and verbally abusive husband Riley. As Beth comes to grips with the new circumstances of her life, Pam begins to see her sister as a person of substance despite her foibles and flaws. After Beth intervenes to help Dana, the sisters seem ready to form a new relationship based on mutual respect and a shared desire to mend old wounds and escape the patterns of the past.
  • Left Hook
    The place is Portland, Oregon; the time, the early 1970s. A once-thriving African-American neighborhood has been irrevocably disrupted by urban renewal, as the construction of first a sports arena and then a freeway has forced many businesses to close and many residents to move. City planners now have a new, ambitious project in mind: a major expansion of a local hospital. As scores of additional homes and...
    The place is Portland, Oregon; the time, the early 1970s. A once-thriving African-American neighborhood has been irrevocably disrupted by urban renewal, as the construction of first a sports arena and then a freeway has forced many businesses to close and many residents to move. City planners now have a new, ambitious project in mind: a major expansion of a local hospital. As scores of additional homes and stores are razed, people in the neighborhood grow increasingly angry about their loss of community and their powerlessness in the face of it. An exception to this widespread sense of frustration is Ty King, an ex-Army sergeant and the owner of the Left Hook Boxing Club, an establishment he inherited from his father. Where others see community disruption, Ty sees opportunity. Hoping to find lucrative work as the hospital expands and the neighborhood rebuilds, Ty uses all his savings to start a small construction company. Ty is dealing with other pressing matters as well, as his protegee Donnie, a young and promising boxer, prepares for an important upcoming bout. Donnie seems to be equally enthralled by the burgeoning Black Panther movement and Ty's seventeen year-old daughter Ava. Ty views both fascinations with great unease, as he sees himself losing control over much of what is central in his life. Events come to a boil when the city unexpectedly runs out of money and the planned hospital expansion is cancelled, Where once there were tidy homes and flourishing businesses, there are now dozens of empty lots, with no prospects for neighborhood rebuilding. As Ty's hopes for a better future are dashed, his frustrations focus on those closest to him.
  • Lunch Ladies
    Dot, Connie and Renee are three school cafeteria workers of a certain age. When they discover a mysterious knapsack in a potato bin, they soon come to realize that the cozy confines of their kitchen -- and maybe the rest of their lives -- will never be the same.
  • Marilyn/MISFITS/Miller
    It is 2004, and a rehearsal of Arthur MIller's last play, "Finishing the Picture," has just concluded in a prominent Chicago theater. Miller, eighty-nine and frail, is in attendance, and -- when the actors take a break -- he is approached by the young and very beautiful actress who portrays the drama's tragic, Marilyn Monroe-like character. The actress's questions prompt Miller to...
    It is 2004, and a rehearsal of Arthur MIller's last play, "Finishing the Picture," has just concluded in a prominent Chicago theater. Miller, eighty-nine and frail, is in attendance, and -- when the actors take a break -- he is approached by the young and very beautiful actress who portrays the drama's tragic, Marilyn Monroe-like character. The actress's questions prompt Miller to navigate back to the 1950s, when he first met and later married Marilyn. Miller's memories focus especially on the disintegration of his marriage to Marilyn on the set of "The Misfits," a legendary 1961 movie that Miller initially writes as a valentine to his wife. To Miller's great surprise and dismay, however, Marilyn absolutely hates her role, which in many respects mirrors the sadness in her own life. The film, set in the Nevada desert, is directed by John Huston and co-stars Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach and Thelma Ritter, all of whom become players in Miller and Monroe's real-life tragedy as it unfolds. As the temperature on the set begins to rival that of the desert floor, Marilyn's escalating emotional instability threatens the entire production, and Miller and Huston desperately work to save the movie from self-destructing. After several harrowing months and numerous setbacks, filming is eventually completed. By that time, however, the storied marriage between two cultural icons has been irrevocably ruined in the most public of ways.
  • One Weekend In October
    It is October 1991, and for one fall weekend the eyes of America are fixed on an unprecedented drama unfolding in a frenzied Senate Caucus Room. Clarence Thomas, a young African-American nominee for the Supreme Court, has been accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, his equally impressive former assistant. Under the hot glare of television lights, Thomas and Hill engage in a tense pas de deux fraught with...
    It is October 1991, and for one fall weekend the eyes of America are fixed on an unprecedented drama unfolding in a frenzied Senate Caucus Room. Clarence Thomas, a young African-American nominee for the Supreme Court, has been accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, his equally impressive former assistant. Under the hot glare of television lights, Thomas and Hill engage in a tense pas de deux fraught with sex and race, truth and illusion, while behind the scenes, Democrat and Republicans alike scramble to achieve maximum political advantage.
  • September Twelfth
    In the week following 9/11, Kevin Donnelly, a New York City firefighter who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center, is sent by the NYC Fire Department to offer the Department's official condolences to Lynn Malloy, the widow of a fellow firefighter. Kevin initially assists Lynn as she wades through a morass of administrative paperwork, but, over time, their relationship deepens and Kevin...
    In the week following 9/11, Kevin Donnelly, a New York City firefighter who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center, is sent by the NYC Fire Department to offer the Department's official condolences to Lynn Malloy, the widow of a fellow firefighter. Kevin initially assists Lynn as she wades through a morass of administrative paperwork, but, over time, their relationship deepens and Kevin eventually breaks up with his fiancee so he and Lynn can marry. The relationship between Lynn and Kevin is complicated, however, by the fact that Lynn is pregnant with a child fathered by her former husband, Chris, and the hard reality that Chris's family is adamantly opposed to Kevin's entrance into Lynn's life, especially so soon after Chris's death. A further complicating factor is Kevin's increasingly fragile and erratic emotional state, a manifestation of the PTSD brought on by his 9/11 experience. The play's action begins in June 2002, several weeks after the baby's birth, on the day of her christening. Then, in flashback, we get to see how Kevin and Lynn met and how their relationship evolved in the wake of national catastrophe and personal devastation. The play's final scenes bring Kevin and Lynn back to the day of the christening, as they return home after a church ceremony that was eventful in unexpected ways. At the play's conclusion, the question of whether Kevin and Lynn's marriage is indeed viable is brought to the forefront for the characters (and the audience) to ponder.
  • Swimming Upstream
    Jen is a young marine biologist whose life is currently in turmoil. Climate change is affecting the world's salmon, but Jen's boss won't let her report her findings. Jen's new boyfriend, a super-hero aficionado, thinks the salmon's life-story is eerily similar to Superman's. And did we mention that Jen's mother tries to help by repeatedly quoting Ronald Reagan? As Jen...
    Jen is a young marine biologist whose life is currently in turmoil. Climate change is affecting the world's salmon, but Jen's boss won't let her report her findings. Jen's new boyfriend, a super-hero aficionado, thinks the salmon's life-story is eerily similar to Superman's. And did we mention that Jen's mother tries to help by repeatedly quoting Ronald Reagan? As Jen encounters the zigs and zags of both her professional career and her personal relationships, she discovers that going with the flow is sometimes not a viable option and that swimming upstream is the only way to proceed.
  • The Court Martial of Austin Tate
    Sergeant Austin Tate, a U.S. Army military policeman stationed at a Baghdad prison, is accused of abusing multiple detainees prior to their interrogation by military intelligence officers. His media-savvy civilian attorney, Peter Conroy, contends that Tate was merely following orders, whereas Army prosecutor Robert Whittaker argues that Tate is nothing more than a renegade soldier who acted solely on his own...
    Sergeant Austin Tate, a U.S. Army military policeman stationed at a Baghdad prison, is accused of abusing multiple detainees prior to their interrogation by military intelligence officers. His media-savvy civilian attorney, Peter Conroy, contends that Tate was merely following orders, whereas Army prosecutor Robert Whittaker argues that Tate is nothing more than a renegade soldier who acted solely on his own. As Tate's court martial unfolds, Robert's brother Randy, a reporter assigned to cover the trial by his Washington newspaper, hears from a well-placed source that Tate's actions, however sadistic, may have been set in motion by secret directives issued at the highest level of the government. While Robert and Conroy battle in front of a military jury, Robert and Randy engage in their own version of civil war outside the courtroom.
  • WRITING ON THE WALL
    The time is 2017; the place, a high-school in the heartland of America. On a moonless night, a wall of the building is defaced by racist taunts and white supremacist slogans. Caught on a security camera are three figures clad in black, each face hidden behind a mask with the distinctive features, complexion and hair of Donald Trump. Karl, Troy and Lance are seventeen-year-old juniors whose hero and role...
    The time is 2017; the place, a high-school in the heartland of America. On a moonless night, a wall of the building is defaced by racist taunts and white supremacist slogans. Caught on a security camera are three figures clad in black, each face hidden behind a mask with the distinctive features, complexion and hair of Donald Trump. Karl, Troy and Lance are seventeen-year-old juniors whose hero and role model is America's forty-fifth president. Heidi and Bree are two of their classmates, gamely traversing the everyday ups and downs of high-school life. Layla is also a seventeen-year-old junior, new in town and a Muslim of Somali descent. Layla's arrival at the school results in a heightening of tension, as the students are confronted with a fundamental question: Who is a real American and who is not?