Thursday, April 28, 2016

“Suburban Redux” Audio Book Now Released!

The novella adaptation of my play “Suburban Redux” has now been released as an audio book and is available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes and the Audible website.

The book is narrated by the wonderful Mill Scott, who has brought her exceptional talents to this rollicking yet poignant tale about love, truth, and acceptance. She captures the essence of each character perfectly and brings just the right amount sly wit and emotional honesty to make this romantic comedy for the modern family a joy to listen to.

“Suburban Redux” is a witty satire set in the South of England and centers around a bored housewife, her presumed gay son, and supporting characters with secrets of their own!

Reviews for the stage version of the book:

"A witty drawing-room comedy à la Oscar Wilde...Shocking admissions, tearful recriminations and several jolly good laughs...Highly entertaining" --The Montreal Mirror

"A stylish Wildean comedy...The writing is finely tuned...Consistently entertaining" --The Soho Theatre & Writers' Centre, London

Friday, April 15, 2016

“Carbon-Based Life Form Seeks Similar” to be Published

I’m pleased to report that an abridged version of my play “Carbon-Based Life Form Seeks Similar” has been selected for publication in the forthcoming anthology “105 Five-Minute Plays for Study and Performance.” The book will be published by theatrical trade publisher Smith & Kraus, Inc. and is edited by John Capecci and Irene Ziegler. The publication date is tentatively scheduled for August, 2016.

The play in its original form was first produced by The Independent Theatre Collective in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 2010. The play was subsequently produced the following year by The Curan Repertory Company at the American Theatre of Actors in New York, as part of its Notes From The Underground Festival.
The popularity of the ten-minute play has risen exponentially over the past 15 years and is now the dominant format in most short play festivals, so it will be interesting to see how this further reduced configuration fares.

A sketch or a skit, of course, can be as short as the writer chooses, but in order to be considered a work of drama, a ten-minute play has to conform to certain rules. It has to have a substantive story, it needs an identifiable beginning, middle and end, and it has to engage and involve its audience within a very short space of time. The challenges of accomplishing that in half that time are clearly even more daunting, and so I very much look forward to reading the achievements of my fellow playwrights upon the book’s publication.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"The Craft" Now Published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2015

Today I received from Smith & Kraus Publishers a hot off the press copy of "The Best Ten-Minute Plays 2015," included in which is my play "The Craft." This year’s edition contains quite a number of plays that experiment with style, so "The Craft" is right at home, along with many other wonderful plays by talented playwrights, some of whom are well-known and established and others just beginning their playwriting careers.

I’m very pleased and proud to have had another of my plays included in this long-running anthology series, and especially glad to see "The Craft" get some wider exposure, which I hope will lead to some additional productions. Not that the play has exactly been short of those to date – it’s close to being my most produced play (that distinction still being held by "Indigenous Peoples") – but it’s a lot of fun for both actors and audiences, so a few more would be warmly welcomed.

It’s available now from the Smith & Kraus website, Amazon, and other fine, incredibly discerning retailers.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Rebel Among the Wretched

I’m pleased to report that my play “A Rebel Among the Wretched” has been selected for publication in the forthcoming anthology “The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2016,” published by Smith & Kraus, Inc., edited by Lawrence Harbison.

The play itself was a Heideman Award finalist and is one of my personal favorites, so I’m hoping this additional exposure will lead to many more productions in the coming years.

This will be the 7th edition of Smith & Kraus’ “The Best Ten-Minute Plays” anthologies I’ll have had a play of mine included in, with 5 already in print, and the 6th (“The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2015”) - which includes “The Craft” - due to be released next month.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"The Meta Plays" Now Available from Cyberpress!

The Meta Plays, my anthology of short comedic plays, is now available through Cyberpress, the publishing arm of the website Stageplays. Stageplays offers the largest collection of Plays & Musicals in the world. Based in the UK and the USA, they’ve been serving the online theatre community since the last century…if you can remember that far back.

I’m very pleased to have this play available through another publishing platform, especially one that is geared specifically to the theatre community where it’s likely to have far greater exposure to its target audience.

Check out Stageplays the next time you’re looking for a play to produce or a monologue to perform – they’ve got it covered. And now they’ve also got…The Meta Plays!

This unique compilation of wittily inventive short comedies can be performed by as few as 4 actors or as many as 18, all with minimal set and prop requirements. Many of these plays have gone on to receive highly successful productions around the world, garnering glowing reviews along the way.

You can read an extract from the opening play in the collection, The Craft, here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Long Road to a Cure

It’s been a long road to the Amazon Kindle Store for my play A Cure for the Common Cold.

I first became aware of the story of Ronald Maddison back in 2003. The UK press were reporting on the opening of an investigation (named “Operation Antler”) by the Wiltshire police force into the death of Mr. Maddison at the Porton Down chemical warfare establishment in Wiltshire, more than 5 decades after the fact. Although the inquiry wasn’t able to find sufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal prosecution, their findings were given to Lord Chief Justice Woolf at the time, who then moved to quash the original inquest (held in secret) and open a new one.
Leading Aircraftman Ronald George
Maddison (c. 1933 - 6 May 1953)

The tragic, ghastly tale of what befell this innocent, trusting young man affected me quite profoundly and I wanted desperately to write a play about it. However, at that time I simply didn’t feel equipped as a writer to do it justice, daunted as I was by the scale and complexity of the story. After all, this wasn’t just about Mr. Maddison’s dreadful fate, there were a host of other mitigating factors such as national security, the Cold War arms race and the existing geopolitical situation that had to be taken into consideration and somehow woven into the plot.

Some years later, however, I saw a production of Equus on Broadway (starring Daniel Radcliffe), and afterwards I began to realize how I could at last begin forging this story into a theatrical work. The economical yet ingenious staging of Equus showed me that I could encompass everything I needed to include without a cast of thousands or a multitude of elaborate sets. And so I set to work.

I spent a vast amount of time on research, much more than I’d ever done with any other play up to that point – or since. There was so much to do: The facts of the story itself (both sides of it); what was happening in Britain and the rest of the world at that time, both politically and culturally; understanding the particular dialect that working class people from County Durham would have spoken; and, of course, the advancements that were being made with biological and chemical weapons.

I should also point out that back in 2003 when I was doing some preliminary research into the story, I came across a website put together by a number of surviving Porton Down “guinea pigs” from the 1950s and beyond, detailing the terrible ailments they’d suffered throughout their lives as a result – allegedly – of their participation in similar experimental trials. All claimed they had never been truthfully informed of what exactly had been used on them during those experiments, and they had created the website to let their voices be heard and to seek some form of compensation. However, when I began writing the play several years later, there was not a trace of that website to be found. It was as if it had never existed. I do know that a number of volunteers were compensated after the Maddison case, so I can only assume that part of the settlement was to agree to have their online protest airbrushed out of existence.

When at long last I finally completed the play, I felt a level of satisfaction I’ve not had with anything else I’ve written. That’s not to say I feel any less proud of any of the other plays I’ve written – I don’t. But this particular story affected me on such a personal level and stayed with me for so long (to this day, in fact), that it also felt like something of a personal victory. Having wanted to tell this story for such a long time, I’d finally done it. And in doing so, I felt as though I’d perhaps given just a little more importance to the brief life of a young man which the powers that be at the time did not.

Alas, despite the monumental marketing effort that followed, and sporadic attempts sine then, the play has not yet been able to secure a staging. I had several major Off-Broadway theatres express great interest in it, along with a number of UK theatres, but ultimately none went that (big) extra step to mounting a full production.

However, I have every confidence that it will receive its premiere in the near future; it’s just a matter of when. In the meantime, I’m very happy to have had this play published and available to be read by a wider audience, and in doing so, helping pay tribute to one who trusted too much in a higher power.

“In those days you trusted the authorities and didn't ask too many questions. You kept yourself to yourself.” –Eyewitness Alfred Thornhill

Purchase "A Cure for the Common Cold" on Amazon here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"The Meta Plays" now Available!

Though it may have appeared as though time itself might actually expire before The Meta Plays would finally be released, in the metaphysical world, that seemingly endless wait for one of the most hotly anticipated works of fiction in the known (and unknown) universe actually took place in the mere blink of an eye.

And so it has arrived, without great fanfare, without fuss, and without any grinding and tiresome ad campaign desperately trying to flog it to death to all and sundry. No, instead it quietly – some might say eerily – materialized one day in that vast expanse of literary agglomeration known as the Kindle Store. And that day, of course, was today…or, if you’re reading this in the future, quite some time ago.

And what better way to ring in the holidays than with a collection of metaphysical short dramatic works hell-bent on tinkering with your jaded sense of reality. Imagine the look on little Timmy’s cherubic face as he wakes up on Christmas morning, delves into his virtual stocking, and finds The Meta Plays staring back at him, questioning his very existence.

So don’t delay, head over to the Kindle Store now and reassess your preconceptions of everything you hold dear. While suspension of disbelief is an unspoken prerequisite of traditional theatre, The Meta Plays goes one step further, one step beyond, asking you to suspend your suspension until your critical faculties have become stretched beyond all reason and recognition. It sounds painful, but it isn’t.

Don’t be shy; come on down the rabbit hole…