Joe Swenson

Joe Swenson

Joe Swenson is an emerging playwright and member of the Dramatist Guild. He has found a voice and a way to tell stories that captivates audiences all over. Primarily his shows focus on the human experience through dramatic/traumatic moments. His show "Joey" is an autobiographical story about an abduction and subsequent abuse over a 7 year period of his life. He has won some minor awards (We Are The...
Joe Swenson is an emerging playwright and member of the Dramatist Guild. He has found a voice and a way to tell stories that captivates audiences all over. Primarily his shows focus on the human experience through dramatic/traumatic moments. His show "Joey" is an autobiographical story about an abduction and subsequent abuse over a 7 year period of his life. He has won some minor awards (We Are The Broken People 2015, Scraps 2019, Justin Thyme 2020) and has just written his first full length shows (Crossing Lines, Right as Rain adapted to full length, Joey, and Prized Possessions).

A Marine Corps veteran (1992-1996), he has been involved in theater for over 30 years. While in the Corps he founded the Cherry Point Players. After moving to Maine he was intricately involved in The Belfast Maskers, he was the president of The Portland Players (2010-2012), and has co-managed the Young Person's Theater Workshop for Lyric Music Theater for the last four years.

Swenson is a published author (Letter #3) and has also created a children's web series (Playground Rules) as well as a post-apocalyptic web series (The Quarantine 2038 Project). He is constantly in a state of creating.

Scripts are divided alphabetically by their length. Full Length, One Act 10+ minutes, One Act 10 minutes or less.

Plays

  • Press The Red Button - A Fragile Mind Show (Show 1)
    (10 to 15 minute Short) (Part of a Series)
    From the messed up mind of Joe Swenson comes another mind-bending, twist laden, trip to figure out what is real and what isn't real. Press The Red Button takes place in a mind altering environment designed to rejuvenate one-off criminals that have committed a violent crime. This rejuvenation process alters the life and mind of the subject that is sentenced...
    (10 to 15 minute Short) (Part of a Series)
    From the messed up mind of Joe Swenson comes another mind-bending, twist laden, trip to figure out what is real and what isn't real. Press The Red Button takes place in a mind altering environment designed to rejuvenate one-off criminals that have committed a violent crime. This rejuvenation process alters the life and mind of the subject that is sentenced to go through this procedure. Nothing is as it appears in this surreal mystery. Press The Red Button is the first in a series of plays called A Fragile Mind.

    #TPCMonthlyPrompt April 2022 Rejuvenation
  • Recurring Nightmares - A Fragile Mind Show
    (10-15 minutes)

    Tammy is having a horrifying recurring nightmare and has had it for as long as she can remember. She has elected to see Therapist Dr. Kelli Emery. Kelli feels an instant attraction to Tammy who reciprocates partially, but is ultimately more concerned about finding a solution to her recurring nightmares that have put her in a state of panic. The question will come up often, what is...
    (10-15 minutes)

    Tammy is having a horrifying recurring nightmare and has had it for as long as she can remember. She has elected to see Therapist Dr. Kelli Emery. Kelli feels an instant attraction to Tammy who reciprocates partially, but is ultimately more concerned about finding a solution to her recurring nightmares that have put her in a state of panic. The question will come up often, what is real and what isn't in this mystery series.

    #TPCMonthlyPrompt April #Rejuvenation
  • Crossing Lines
    (FULL LENGTH PLAY - 2 HOURS)

    What does home mean? Can it mean adventure? Culture? Comfort? Love? In this two-hour adventure as we follow teenage transient extraordinaires Zacharia and Rachel, you learn what home truly means and so much more.

    #FPGMonthlyPrompt
  • Joey (Full Version)
    (Full Length - 60-90 minutes)

    True Story - This is the story of my abduction at 5 years old on October 3rd, 1979 in Bremerton Washington. My sister and I were abducted by my sister's biological father and his brother. We were taken from Washington State to Garden City, Kansas. My experience was vastly different than my sister's experience, which is why there are only minor references to...
    (Full Length - 60-90 minutes)

    True Story - This is the story of my abduction at 5 years old on October 3rd, 1979 in Bremerton Washington. My sister and I were abducted by my sister's biological father and his brother. We were taken from Washington State to Garden City, Kansas. My experience was vastly different than my sister's experience, which is why there are only minor references to her throughout the show. This is my story.

    Warning: Adult Language, Graphic Violence, Child Abuse

    Production Note: For Scene 2, all abuse should happen without being completely scene by the audience. The actor portraying Willis will want to use his body to shield the violence as well as position the bed to being upstage of the closet doors.

    Production Note: There are many optional endings, including an epilogue, and an additional motivational/inspirational speech by the playwright. In addition, for any Q&A situations, Joe Swenson will make himself available.
  • Right as Rain (Full Length)
    (FULL LENGHTH - 90 Minutes No Intermission)

    Buster Drinkwater and Hank Saddlestrom come from different backgrounds and take different paths throughout their lives. Every Sunday though? You will find them fishing off a dock on Thistle Pond, Monroe, Maine. Through these moments you learn about fishing, love, philosophy, and so much more. From teenagers on the dock getting into a bit of trouble to...
    (FULL LENGHTH - 90 Minutes No Intermission)

    Buster Drinkwater and Hank Saddlestrom come from different backgrounds and take different paths throughout their lives. Every Sunday though? You will find them fishing off a dock on Thistle Pond, Monroe, Maine. Through these moments you learn about fishing, love, philosophy, and so much more. From teenagers on the dock getting into a bit of trouble to old men and beyond. A perspective that is equal parts old-fashion, reflective, and collectively entertaining to each other as much as it is the audience.

    Adapted from the Award Winning Short play "Right as Rain" by the same playwright.
  • The Final Out
    (FULL LENGTH - 2 HOURS)
    Superstar Major League Baseball player, Teddy Luchesni, is at major cross-roads in his life. The World Series has just ended and he was the final out, his wife of 13+ years is divorcing him, he is a free agent, and he's working through the newness of realizing that he's in love with a man. It ends up being a really rough offseason, followed by a confusing spring-training...
    (FULL LENGTH - 2 HOURS)
    Superstar Major League Baseball player, Teddy Luchesni, is at major cross-roads in his life. The World Series has just ended and he was the final out, his wife of 13+ years is divorcing him, he is a free agent, and he's working through the newness of realizing that he's in love with a man. It ends up being a really rough offseason, followed by a confusing spring-training, an absurd decision to cover up everything, and finally Teddy has to make a choice about whether to come out or not.

    Developed based on The Playwright's Connection Prompt: Player #monthtoplay
  • The Ammo Box
    (ONE ACT - 20 Minutes)
    Tiffany is a teenager who is struggling with the recent death of her father. She is forced to live with her grandmother who gives her a World War 1 era Ammo Box and tells her that she will find hope in the box. Defiantly she takes the Ammo Box and sits below an old tree in the backyard and eventually looks through the contents to find several things including letters written back...
    (ONE ACT - 20 Minutes)
    Tiffany is a teenager who is struggling with the recent death of her father. She is forced to live with her grandmother who gives her a World War 1 era Ammo Box and tells her that she will find hope in the box. Defiantly she takes the Ammo Box and sits below an old tree in the backyard and eventually looks through the contents to find several things including letters written back and forth between PFC Gregory M. Pick to Stephanie Tiffaneous Williams.
  • Divine Books
    (ONE ACT: 30-45 Minutes)
    Lawrence Stephens is eclectic and just slightly off kilter owner of Divine Books. A bookstore that was given to him nearly fifty years ago. Carrie Trodder is a teenager who is in the bookstore every day, It's a Blue Moon, Lawrence is wearing an oven mitt, has a pair of tongs, and is chanting something on the couch. Carrie doesn't notice, but things are about to go from...
    (ONE ACT: 30-45 Minutes)
    Lawrence Stephens is eclectic and just slightly off kilter owner of Divine Books. A bookstore that was given to him nearly fifty years ago. Carrie Trodder is a teenager who is in the bookstore every day, It's a Blue Moon, Lawrence is wearing an oven mitt, has a pair of tongs, and is chanting something on the couch. Carrie doesn't notice, but things are about to go from calm and pleasant to absolutely crazy in this unique story.
  • Eleven Days (Play Version)
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)
    Jeri Fincannon is a wife and mother of a two year old. She's also an accountant and two men, Douglas and Tony mistakenly kidnap her. It's now the 11th day and they don't know what to do with her because they only "do bad things to bad people."
  • Eleven Days (Adapted for Short Film - Rough Script)
    (SHORT FILM ROUGH SCRIPT - 30 Minutes)
    This is the non-contracted version with flashbacks to give more context to the original version (15 minute version). Jeri Fincannon is a wife and mother of a two year old. She's also an accountant and two men, Douglas and Tony mistakenly kidnap her. It's now the 11th day and they don't know what to do with her because they only "do bad things to bad people."
  • Joey Age 5
    (One Act: 10 Minutes)
    True Story - This is the moment that Joey is taken by his sister dad and uncle believing that he was his dad. It is October 3rd, 1979 and Joey would live with the guilt that the abduction was his fault because of how he answered the questions that were asked.

    This is the first of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose of these plays is to bring awareness about...
    (One Act: 10 Minutes)
    True Story - This is the moment that Joey is taken by his sister dad and uncle believing that he was his dad. It is October 3rd, 1979 and Joey would live with the guilt that the abduction was his fault because of how he answered the questions that were asked.

    This is the first of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose of these plays is to bring awareness about abuse, break the stigma that children of abuse are doomed to repeat the cycle of abuse, and the incredible powers that each survivor possess.
  • Joey Age 6
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    True Story - It is early 1981 in Garden City, Kansas. Joey was abducted from his mother in 1979 along with his sister. They are now a year and a half into the abduction. During the abduction, Joey is a abused in so many ways and often, this is the first time he experiences an imaginary friend though.

    This is the second of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose...
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    True Story - It is early 1981 in Garden City, Kansas. Joey was abducted from his mother in 1979 along with his sister. They are now a year and a half into the abduction. During the abduction, Joey is a abused in so many ways and often, this is the first time he experiences an imaginary friend though.

    This is the second of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose of these plays is to bring awareness about abuse, break the stigma that children of abuse are doomed to repeat the cycle of abuse, and the incredible powers that each survivor possess.
  • Joey Age 7
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    True Story - It is December 1981 in Garden City, Kansas. Joey was abducted from his mother in 1979 along with his sister. Joey is now 7 years old and they are two years into a 7+ year kidnapping. During the abduction, Joey is a abused in so many ways and often, the imaginary friend keeps reappearing.

    This is the third of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose...
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    True Story - It is December 1981 in Garden City, Kansas. Joey was abducted from his mother in 1979 along with his sister. Joey is now 7 years old and they are two years into a 7+ year kidnapping. During the abduction, Joey is a abused in so many ways and often, the imaginary friend keeps reappearing.

    This is the third of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose of these plays is to bring awareness about abuse, break the stigma that children of abuse are doomed to repeat the cycle of abuse, and the incredible powers that each survivor possess.
  • Joey Age 8
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    True Story - Joey is now 8 years old, it's been three years since he and his sister were abducted by his sister's real dad. Joey has been brainwashed to believe that Willis is his real dad and that his mom is a monster and has been abused in many ways. This is a normal day in the life of little Joey who is getting older, but the abuse is still full force.

    ...
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    True Story - Joey is now 8 years old, it's been three years since he and his sister were abducted by his sister's real dad. Joey has been brainwashed to believe that Willis is his real dad and that his mom is a monster and has been abused in many ways. This is a normal day in the life of little Joey who is getting older, but the abuse is still full force.

    This is the fourth of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose of these plays is to bring awareness about abuse, break the stigma that children of abuse are doomed to repeat the cycle of abuse, and the incredible powers that each survivor possess.
  • Joey Age 9
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)

    True Story - Spring of 1984, Garden City Kansas. It has now been four and a half years since Joey was abducted by his sister's biological father. While Joey had been enrolled in school and attended enough to pass from grade to grade, he has been allowed to play little league, but it's his mathematical abilities that have really started to excel. They have...
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)

    True Story - Spring of 1984, Garden City Kansas. It has now been four and a half years since Joey was abducted by his sister's biological father. While Joey had been enrolled in school and attended enough to pass from grade to grade, he has been allowed to play little league, but it's his mathematical abilities that have really started to excel. They have excelled to the point where he is getting noticed for his math skills.

    This is the fifth of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose of these plays is to bring awareness about abuse, break the stigma that children of abuse are doomed to repeat the cycle of abuse, and the incredible powers that each survivor possess.
  • Joey Age 10
    (ONE ACT - 15 MINUTES)
    True Story - It's the fall of 1984 and exactly five years since Joey was abducted from his home in Bremerton Washington and taken to Garden City Kansas. He is in fifth grade and becoming more and more aware that his world is not a normal world. As Joey's world evolves, so does his relationships with characters in the show, and with the outside world.

    This...
    (ONE ACT - 15 MINUTES)
    True Story - It's the fall of 1984 and exactly five years since Joey was abducted from his home in Bremerton Washington and taken to Garden City Kansas. He is in fifth grade and becoming more and more aware that his world is not a normal world. As Joey's world evolves, so does his relationships with characters in the show, and with the outside world.

    This is the sixth of 9 plays in a series called Joey. The purpose of these plays is to bring awareness about abuse, break the stigma that children of abuse are doomed to repeat the cycle of abuse, and the incredible powers that each survivor possess.
  • Joey Age 11
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)
    True Story - 1985, Garden City, Kansas. It's been almost six years since Joey and his little sister were taken by his sister's biological father and uncle. This part of the story will be hard to hear and throughout the story, my internal responses are in-line with the Imaginary Friend's responses. I'm sure you will feel similarly.

    This is the...
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)
    True Story - 1985, Garden City, Kansas. It's been almost six years since Joey and his little sister were taken by his sister's biological father and uncle. This part of the story will be hard to hear and throughout the story, my internal responses are in-line with the Imaginary Friend's responses. I'm sure you will feel similarly.

    This is the seventh of the 9 shows about Joey. The true story of my abduction in 1979 from Chester Ave, Bremerton, Washington.
  • Joey Age 12
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)
    True Story - Joey is in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on the run because Joey's mom has found them. It's been a peaceful year for the most part. Things have definitely changed for the better in Joey's life and he is thriving. There are two major pieces that need to be resolved first.

    This is the 8th play of 9 in the series. Joey was abducted on October...
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)
    True Story - Joey is in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on the run because Joey's mom has found them. It's been a peaceful year for the most part. Things have definitely changed for the better in Joey's life and he is thriving. There are two major pieces that need to be resolved first.

    This is the 8th play of 9 in the series. Joey was abducted on October 3rd, 1979 from Bremerton, Washington. This has optional complete show - ending spots. After the dialogue with Joey and after the first epilogue. The optional endings should be considered based on what the audience is expecting.
  • The Mirror
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes)
    Three humans walk into a public bathroom on a subway platform. An ordinary bathroom with multiple mirrors. Each of these people need a little dose of belief and along the way, they realize that the magic was within them all along.
  • Joey Adult (Optional Series Ending)
    (MONOLOGUE - 10-15 MINUTES)

    Optionally 9th and final show in the Joey series. This is an optional ending, designed for motivational/inspirational purposes.

    Inspirational - want vs. need monologue. Must have watched/read the entire series as this is the final chapter in the Joey series. Imaginary Friend retakes the stage as Joe Swenson and delivers an inspiring monologue taken from...
    (MONOLOGUE - 10-15 MINUTES)

    Optionally 9th and final show in the Joey series. This is an optional ending, designed for motivational/inspirational purposes.

    Inspirational - want vs. need monologue. Must have watched/read the entire series as this is the final chapter in the Joey series. Imaginary Friend retakes the stage as Joe Swenson and delivers an inspiring monologue taken from Joe Swenson's real life motivational event in 2019. (See link)
  • Nashua 2038: Introduction
    (ONE ACT 20 MINUTES ZOOM)

    The year is 2038 and the ripple effects of an ongoing pandemic, political uncertainty has led to multiple civil wars, reshaping the United States, and a massive shift in prioritization and separation between the quarantined walls of major cities and the outlanders or rural populations. Mo-Mo and Dag are two teenagers seeking out love and speak over a video call...
    (ONE ACT 20 MINUTES ZOOM)

    The year is 2038 and the ripple effects of an ongoing pandemic, political uncertainty has led to multiple civil wars, reshaping the United States, and a massive shift in prioritization and separation between the quarantined walls of major cities and the outlanders or rural populations. Mo-Mo and Dag are two teenagers seeking out love and speak over a video call throughout.

    This show is designed specifically for Zoom, however, could be staged with two different rooms instead
  • Don't Ask/Don't Tell
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes) - Formally known as "Sniper"

    The year is 1995 and Don't Ask - Don't Tell has been fully implemented into the military process. This story picks up with three Marines that are trying to find a rendezvous point for the rest of the squad. While this story is fiction, it is based on real knowledge of the bias of gays in the military.

    The...
    (ONE ACT - 15 Minutes) - Formally known as "Sniper"

    The year is 1995 and Don't Ask - Don't Tell has been fully implemented into the military process. This story picks up with three Marines that are trying to find a rendezvous point for the rest of the squad. While this story is fiction, it is based on real knowledge of the bias of gays in the military.

    The subject matter is highly controversial.

    Playwright is a Marine Corps Veteran and while I have no specific knowledge of these events, it was implied over and over again through boot camp and Marine Combat Training.
  • We Are The Broken People
    (ONE ACT - 25 Minutes)
    Blending Slam Poetry/Spoken Word Monologues into a story about a night club shooting. Keying in on what can break people and yet what their superpower might be. This powerful award-winning piece of art has many fantastic visual as well as metaphorical references to it. The monologue's need to be moved at brisk pace to keep with the style.
  • Alpha Omega Incorporated
    (ONE ACT - 10 MINUTES)
    We here at Alpha Omega Incorporated recognize there's a problem with the God of the Earth. However, due to God's track record, the board of directors has been reluctant to make a change. Recognizing that belief in self has become the new normal, Alpha Omega sends in New to relieve God of his duties and send him to the vacation destination planet Eros. The evolutionary...
    (ONE ACT - 10 MINUTES)
    We here at Alpha Omega Incorporated recognize there's a problem with the God of the Earth. However, due to God's track record, the board of directors has been reluctant to make a change. Recognizing that belief in self has become the new normal, Alpha Omega sends in New to relieve God of his duties and send him to the vacation destination planet Eros. The evolutionary prompt is at stake and the fate of the planet hangs in the balance.

    Created as part of the prompt #AwkwardSilence for #FPGmonthlyprompt February
  • The Door
    (ONE ACT - 10-12 Minutes)
    Sarah has just died in a doctor's bed in Rural New England. A place where many have died. Some of the dead have remained as ghosts and witness the transformation from alive to dead to afterlife for Sarah. Dealing with the realization that she's dead, that her family isn't with her, and a door that ultimately she has to choose to go through or not. She's...
    (ONE ACT - 10-12 Minutes)
    Sarah has just died in a doctor's bed in Rural New England. A place where many have died. Some of the dead have remained as ghosts and witness the transformation from alive to dead to afterlife for Sarah. Dealing with the realization that she's dead, that her family isn't with her, and a door that ultimately she has to choose to go through or not. She's greeted by other ghosts and they are just as curious as she becomes about what is on the otherside of the door.
  • Justin Thyme Part 1
    (ONE ACT - 12 Minutes)
    C.I.A. agent Justin Thyme is hot on the trail of telenovela star Isabella Ringing in an airport heading towards Mexico. He's running behind and runs into a less than willing to cooperate TSA agent. Will he be late or will he be Justin Thyme?
  • Justin Thyme Part 2
    (ONE ACT - 12 Minutes)
    C.I.A. agent, Justin Thyme, is working on a weapons deal with a Russian arms dealer and international model. He is on a train and by his side is the fiscally responsible Penny Pincier. The hilarity continues in Part 2 as this deal is taking place on a train from Paris to Lyons.
  • Right as Rain
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    Buster and Hank would meet at the dock on the lake that Hank grew up on every Sunday for the past 43 years. They tell stories of the past, stories that they've told hundreds of times. Today is different though as Hank has something to tell Buster that is going to change everything. This play has two twists in it and if you're paying close attention you'll figure it...
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    Buster and Hank would meet at the dock on the lake that Hank grew up on every Sunday for the past 43 years. They tell stories of the past, stories that they've told hundreds of times. Today is different though as Hank has something to tell Buster that is going to change everything. This play has two twists in it and if you're paying close attention you'll figure it out before the end of the play.

    The opening scene with Marge and Hank is optional - while it enhances the story and relationship of Hank and Marge, removing it doesn't take away from the story at all.
  • Scraps
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    United States Marine Corps Veteran Mark has been home from war for a couple of years. He has PTSD and as a result he's been issued a service dog that the family has named Scraps. The family has had a rough couple of years, but the last year has been the roughest. Join this family at their dinner while they feed the dog under the table.

    Content Warning:...
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    United States Marine Corps Veteran Mark has been home from war for a couple of years. He has PTSD and as a result he's been issued a service dog that the family has named Scraps. The family has had a rough couple of years, but the last year has been the roughest. Join this family at their dinner while they feed the dog under the table.

    Content Warning: Adult Language, Suicide, Mental Illness, Depression
  • Vinterlys
    (ONE ACT - 10 Minutes)
    Samantha and Akuma are on their way to meet Akuma's parents after being married for 6 years. Akuma has been dragging his feet on this, but Samantha believes it's important enough to continue to pursue this so they trudge up a hill, not knowing what's on the other side. This isn't your typical couple, or is it? You decide.