Lost Laughs: The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle
co-written with Aaron Munoz
Hollywood legend. Unexpected tragedy. Historic scandal. During silent film’s golden age, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s comedic genius outshone even Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as Hollywood’s first million-dollar man. Then after one tragic weekend, he became America’s biggest villain. What really happened to him and Virginia Rappe?
Cast: 1M, 1F
Productions: Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, MA (2018)
45 Plays for 45 Presidents
co-written with Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston & Karen Weinberg
A chronological, biographical survey of the lives and presidencies of each of the men who have held the office so far. Their mistakes and successes are celebrated by a company of actors who take turns donning a star-spangled coat that symbolizes the presidency. Beginning with George Washington’s almost Eden-like perfection, the scenes shift frequently between the comic and the tragic, from Ben Franklin giving Thomas Jefferson a Borscht Belt-style roast, to the frank portrayal of William Henry Harrison’s life as an “Indian slayer,” and later the grim onset of the Civil War. Act II starts off the twentieth century with the assassination of William McKinley, moves through a Nixon-praising dance number, a George Bush Sr. mini-musical about dirty campaigning and arrives at a polarized America in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama plays. Audience members consider their role in shaping the history they’ve just witnessed, as they are left to ponder where the presidency has gone since its fall from paradise…and where it will go next.
Cast: 5, any gender (5-158 actors possible)
Published: Playscripts, Inc.
Productions: See production history (138 productions as of 3/18), highlights include Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Forward Theater Company, The Neo-Futurists
45 Plays for America’s First Ladies
co-written with Chloe Johnston, Sharon Greene, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates & Bilal Dardai
45 Plays for America’s First Ladies leaps from comic to tragic as it surveys the lives of the women who have served (and avoided serving) as first lady, from Martha to Melania. A biographical, meta-theatrical, genre-bending ride through race, gender, and everything else your history teacher never taught you about the founding of America. After the success of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, this diverse team of collaborative playwrights returns with 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies, utilizing the same structure and aesthetic, but responding with an edge that the political climate of 2018 requires.
Cast: 5+, any gender
Workshops: Ground Floor residency at Berkeley Rep, 2018; Northwestern University 2017
Productions: Currently seeking world premier
The Peculiar Distraction of Mr. Lincoln’s Social Media
A play about social media. Set in the 1850’s. Any brilliant young woman in 1853 with ambitions to change the world would be scorned. But Mabel Prescott finds such an opportunity in a unique venture led by failed Congressman, Abraham Lincoln. The business–a printed version of Facebook–promises to bring the country together and avoid civil war. But its future depends on the outcome of a living room wager between a would-be investor and a Tribune-hater– polar opposites who both happen to love Mabel. In this historical what-if, Mabel’s choice between these rival suitors, and her own faith in truth over appearances, will determine the fate of her improbable career, Lincoln’s future, and the imperiled union of the United States.
Cast: 3F / 4M
Workshops: Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA (2017)
Productions: Currently seeking world premier
A History of Human Stupidity
An intellectual, vaudeville-variety show in three acts and a roast that examines world history through the lens of helpful beliefs gone bad. This history geek-out is performed by five energetic actors who first define human stupidity (which is harder than you think), then take the audience on a journey from stupid human behavior to culture-specific moments of stupidity to the top five dumbest people in human history.
Cast: 5 any gender
Productions: Rough & Tumble, Berkeley, CA (2010)
Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes)
While writing for the flagship, Neo-Futurist production (now re-branded as The Infinite Wrench) from 1999-2004, I generated hundreds of 2-minute plays. Some of them are available in publications that can be found on Amazon, though they don’t represent my best work. Others I may make available in the future.
Published: Hope & Nonthings
A 60-Minute History of Humankind
From the first homo sapiens to the 24-hour Home Depot, A 60-Minute History of Humankind is a serious attempt to distill the scope of human history into roughly sixty minutes of highly physical theater.
Productions: The Neo-Futurists of Chicago, 2003.
header photography: joe mazza – brave lux