Barry Jay Kaplan

Barry Jay Kaplan

Bananas and Water was produced at the Key West Theater Festival and in a workshop at the Actors Studio with Estelle Parsons and Reed Birney, directed by David Greenspan. It won the Whitfield Cooke Best Play Award from New Dramatists. Landscape of Desire is published by Smith and Krause and was the American representative to the 25th Australian National Playwriting Conference. Two Good Boys was produced at the...
Bananas and Water was produced at the Key West Theater Festival and in a workshop at the Actors Studio with Estelle Parsons and Reed Birney, directed by David Greenspan. It won the Whitfield Cooke Best Play Award from New Dramatists. Landscape of Desire is published by Smith and Krause and was the American representative to the 25th Australian National Playwriting Conference. Two Good Boys was produced at the McCarter Theater and off-Broadway at the Neighborhood Playhouse Theatre. His musical biography of Rock Hudson, Rock and Roy (music by Stephen Weinstock), was developed at New Dramatists with grants from the Frederick Loewe Foundation and the Cameron Mackintosh Foundation and had workshop productions at New Dramatists in New York and at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, both directed by Simon Callow. His musical Like Love (music by Lewis Flinn) won a DramaLeague New Directors/New Works Project Prize and premiered at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. His new musical, Step Aside (music by William Foster McDaniel) has been developed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the York Theatre in New York. He received a grant from New York State Council on the Arts to develop the historic play Blood and Water. In partnership with Rosemarie Tichler, he is the author of the interview books, Actors at Work and The Playwright at Work. He has taught playwriting at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, New Dramatists, the Roxbury Arts Center and Ramapo College. He has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop where he had a research assistantship to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Plays

  • Bananas and Water
    Mam and Bub are in their eighties. Bub is bedridden. Mam waits on him. Their sons, Martin and Russell come to visit. The brothers disagree on what to do, suspicious of their father and his controlling ways. Bub refuses all food. Russell offers to help him shave, provoking Bub’s tears. Martin confronts Bub over his homosexuality. Russell and Mam hatch a plan to have Bub taken away but it comes to naught when it...
    Mam and Bub are in their eighties. Bub is bedridden. Mam waits on him. Their sons, Martin and Russell come to visit. The brothers disagree on what to do, suspicious of their father and his controlling ways. Bub refuses all food. Russell offers to help him shave, provoking Bub’s tears. Martin confronts Bub over his homosexuality. Russell and Mam hatch a plan to have Bub taken away but it comes to naught when it is clear that Bub is breathing his last. After his death, the brothers return home. Russell’s wife is sympathetic to Russell’s fears about his own mortality. Martin is energized by the experience and has a new appreciation of the joys of simply being alive. Mam is quietly accepting of Bub’s death, making and remaking his bed and finally lying in it herself.
  • The Laws of Blood
    Ben writes other people's memoirs for a living. His newest client is a 90 year old Russian Jew who was born and raised in China. At the same time, Ben's estranged father, Mike, loses his home in Florida during a severe hurricane and must come to live with Ben until other arrangements can be made. In his relationships with these two old Jewish men, Ben comes to the beginnings of understanding the...
    Ben writes other people's memoirs for a living. His newest client is a 90 year old Russian Jew who was born and raised in China. At the same time, Ben's estranged father, Mike, loses his home in Florida during a severe hurricane and must come to live with Ben until other arrangements can be made. In his relationships with these two old Jewish men, Ben comes to the beginnings of understanding the limitations of his experience of the world.
  • Other People's Lives
    Ben Davis, a 42 year-old divorce man, makes his living writing other people’s memoirs. His client is Jakov, an elderly Russian Jew who grew up in China when his father was stationed there in the Russian Army. Ben is fascinated and impressed by Jakov’s eventful life. At the same time, Ben’s estranged father Mike, who left Ben’s mother when Ben was very young, loses everything in a Florida hurricane and comes to...
    Ben Davis, a 42 year-old divorce man, makes his living writing other people’s memoirs. His client is Jakov, an elderly Russian Jew who grew up in China when his father was stationed there in the Russian Army. Ben is fascinated and impressed by Jakov’s eventful life. At the same time, Ben’s estranged father Mike, who left Ben’s mother when Ben was very young, loses everything in a Florida hurricane and comes to live with Ben. Jakov tells Ben a personally shattering experience that happened when he emigrated to Israel in 1950. When Jakov dies, Ben meets Jakov’s son, who tells a different version of his father’s life. When the relationship between Ben and Mike reaches a crisis point, Ben realizes his need to hear his father’s stories, just as he has heard Jakov’s.
  • The Limits of Admiration
    Buddy and Julie, in their late 30s, have been writing friends since college days. Julie published several early novellas. Buddy declares he is giving up his life as a playwright because he can’t bear the rejections and the debts he has incurred. Julie announces she is getting married to Martin, an extremely rich securities analyst. Buddy and Martin seem to be in competition for the affections of Julie, though...
    Buddy and Julie, in their late 30s, have been writing friends since college days. Julie published several early novellas. Buddy declares he is giving up his life as a playwright because he can’t bear the rejections and the debts he has incurred. Julie announces she is getting married to Martin, an extremely rich securities analyst. Buddy and Martin seem to be in competition for the affections of Julie, though Buddy is gay. At Julie’s urging, Martin offers Buddy a corporate job that will pay enough money to get him out of debt. Buddy reluctantly does the job and gets used to having money. Then Martin asks Buddy to read the new novel Julie has written, the only stipulation being that he tell Julie what he really thinks of it. Martin will produce Buddy’s new play if he does. What does Martin really want Buddy to do? Who is manipulating who? How far will each of these characters go to get what they want and what of friendship and idealism?
  • Rock and Roy
    Rock and Roy is a musical biography of Rock Hudson. Handsome Midwesterner Roy Fitzgerald goes to Hollywood in the 1940s. He is taken up by agent Harry Wilson, who turns him into Rock Hudson. Wilson learns Roy is gay and warns him to keep it quiet. When he begins a relationship with Charlie Booker, that becomes difficult. After a growing list of larger and larger movie roles, Roy becomes a star. Just as this...
    Rock and Roy is a musical biography of Rock Hudson. Handsome Midwesterner Roy Fitzgerald goes to Hollywood in the 1940s. He is taken up by agent Harry Wilson, who turns him into Rock Hudson. Wilson learns Roy is gay and warns him to keep it quiet. When he begins a relationship with Charlie Booker, that becomes difficult. After a growing list of larger and larger movie roles, Roy becomes a star. Just as this happens, the federal government is investigating communism and homosexuality in the motion movies. To protect Roy, his agent arranges a marriage of convenience. As his fame rises, the hiding of his true self becomes too much to bear and he breaks with his wife. Roy is lonely and unhappy having sex with multiple strangers. His career is sliding. And he discovers he has AIDS. Finally admitting this to the world releases him from his duplicity and puts a name and a face on the disease.