Wim Coleman

Wim Coleman

An award-winning playwright, poet, and novelist, Wim Coleman’s diverse work in theater has included playwriting, directing, acting, set design, and technical and construction work. His new full-length play _The Shackles of Liberty_ is the winner of the 2016 Southern Playwrights Competition. Two collections of his one-act plays, _Nine Muses_ and _Stages of History_, are currently in print, and his plays have...
An award-winning playwright, poet, and novelist, Wim Coleman’s diverse work in theater has included playwriting, directing, acting, set design, and technical and construction work. His new full-length play _The Shackles of Liberty_ is the winner of the 2016 Southern Playwrights Competition. Two collections of his one-act plays, _Nine Muses_ and _Stages of History_, are currently in print, and his plays have appeared in anthologies along with works by authors ranging from Molière to David Mamet. Novels and books that he has co-authored with his wife Pat Perrin have been published by Harmony Books, Pocket Books, and Bantam; two of these have been translated into several languages for foreign publication. Their experimental novel _The Jamais Vu Papers_ has become a cult classic.

Plays

  • The Shackles of Liberty
    Paris, 1789. The French Revolution has begun. On his last day in Paris as America’s Minister to France, Thomas Jefferson helps Patriots of the National Assembly to write the Declaration of the Rights of Man. But he is bedeviled by personal dilemmas. Maria Cosway, his Italian-English lover, dreams of sharing Napoleonic power with him as the revolution unfolds. His oldest daughter, Patsy, wants to become a...
    Paris, 1789. The French Revolution has begun. On his last day in Paris as America’s Minister to France, Thomas Jefferson helps Patriots of the National Assembly to write the Declaration of the Rights of Man. But he is bedeviled by personal dilemmas. Maria Cosway, his Italian-English lover, dreams of sharing Napoleonic power with him as the revolution unfolds. His oldest daughter, Patsy, wants to become a Catholic nun. His mixed-race servant Sally Hemings insists upon staying in Paris — and she is pregnant with his child. During the play’s powerful final moments, Thomas and Sally bargain over the terms of her return.
  • Operation Ares
    Berlin, December 1944. As the Western Allies liberate France and the Soviet Army closes in from the east, a delusional Adolf Hitler dismisses as lies any news hinting at the Reich’s impending defeat. Instead, he summons his chief rocket scientist Wernher von Braun to plan a project that he hopes will “make the planet great again”—a military invasion of the planet Mars.
  • Postmortem
    In a Midwestern city, a married architect dies suddenly of a heart attack—in the public company of his mistress, Trudy. Trudy’s long-absent musician husband, Ted, arrives, surprised to find Trudy still living in the home the dead architect built for her—and also having struck up a puzzling friendship with the architect’s widow, Geneva. Ted embarks on an affair with Geneva, and the play descends into tragic...
    In a Midwestern city, a married architect dies suddenly of a heart attack—in the public company of his mistress, Trudy. Trudy’s long-absent musician husband, Ted, arrives, surprised to find Trudy still living in the home the dead architect built for her—and also having struck up a puzzling friendship with the architect’s widow, Geneva. Ted embarks on an affair with Geneva, and the play descends into tragic darkness as Geneva ruthlessly uses both Ted and Trudy to resolve her grief for a husband she never really knew.
  • The Cleansing
    On Holy Monday in Jerusalem, Jesus has just driven the money-changers from the Temple. One of his followers, Judah Ben-Hur, takes this as a signal to begin a Jewish uprising against Roman rule. What happens when Judah tries to recruit Jesus to lead thousands of armed men into battle? “The Cleansing” is inspired by a little-known plot thread in Lew Wallace’s novel Ben-Hur.
  • When the Wolfbane Blooms
    One fall night, Professor Elaine Simmons is visited at home by Sydney, one of her favorite students. It seems that Sydney bit Prof. Simmons the night before—in the form of a wolf. But contrary to traditional lore, not everybody who gets bitten by a werewolf turns into one. What will be Prof. Simmons’s fate? The moon is rising, and she’ll find out all too soon.

    Produced for NC 10by10 New Play...
    One fall night, Professor Elaine Simmons is visited at home by Sydney, one of her favorite students. It seems that Sydney bit Prof. Simmons the night before—in the form of a wolf. But contrary to traditional lore, not everybody who gets bitten by a werewolf turns into one. What will be Prof. Simmons’s fate? The moon is rising, and she’ll find out all too soon.

    Produced for NC 10by10 New Play Festival, Carrboro and Cary, NC; July 19 - 22 and July 26 - 28, 2018.

    Awarded Third Prize in the 2016 Winston-Salem Writers 10-Minute Play Contest; presented as a staged reading at Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Salem on April 1, 2016
  • Talk to the Hand
    A patient asks a physician to amputate her hand. The hand isn’t really hers, she tells the doctor. Naturally, the doctor wants to hear what the hand has to say about all this. But when the hand speaks from the depths of a hypnotic trance, the doctor’s own world undergoes a disturbing transformation.
  • The Throne and the Mirror
    The date is February 1601; the scene is London. Is William Shakespeare guilty of treason against the throne? Queen Elizabeth seems to think so, and she summons him to her privy chamber to explain himself. As Shakespeare pleads for his life, he and the Queen engage in a sharp debate about freedom of expression, the divine right of monarchs, and the looming specter of democracy.
  • Life Is a Dream (La vida es sueño), Pedro Calderón de la Barca, a translation
    Prince Segismundo has lived all his life in a wretched prison cell. What is he to think when he awakens one day to find himself the ruler of all Poland, only to awaken the next day in his cell again? Which is the dream -- his miserable existence in prison or his palace life of power and glory? While wrestling with questions of dream and waking, illusion and reality, Segismundo must learn to tame his own...
    Prince Segismundo has lived all his life in a wretched prison cell. What is he to think when he awakens one day to find himself the ruler of all Poland, only to awaken the next day in his cell again? Which is the dream -- his miserable existence in prison or his palace life of power and glory? While wrestling with questions of dream and waking, illusion and reality, Segismundo must learn to tame his own savagery and prove himself worthy to be Poland’s king. This new translation of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s classic Spanish play is faithful to the original text, fluently readable, and eminently actable.
  • Pas de Deux
    When a ballet lift goes wrong, who is at fault — the lifter or the liftee? Because it matters a lot!