Shelf Life by Phillip C. Wagner

Comedy-Drama/ 27 Characters, 10 Men, 11 Women, 6 Indeterminate (doubling and tripling possible)/ Full Length, Two Acts

Synopsis: A Christmas dream play for ages 13 and up, combining parody, social comment, and fantasy. An old toymaker is visited by a collectible doll on the run from three “Brats” Dolls. The bad gals recruit Darth Vader, Freddy Krueger, and a not very threatening troll to take on the collectibles’ protectors, who include Popular Pirate Bob, Jack in Box, and a talking dog. The play culminates in a battle royale between the two sides, and a heartwarming Christmas surprise for the old man.

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Contact information: Amateur and professional rights:
Phillip C. Wagner
Artistic Director
Tragically Comic Players
1552 Creighton Valley Road
Lumby, BC, Canada
V0E 2G1
E-mail: phillipcwagner99@hotmail.com
Ph: (250) 547-6045

About the Playwright: Actor, director, musician, and playwright Phillip C. Wagner studied playwriting at the University of Iowa, and both playwriting and directing at the University of Alberta. His other plays include Murder at the Empress and the family musical (with Beth DeVolder) Ichabod and the Headless Horseman, which toured to 14 schools in the Greater Victoria area, and most recently was seen at the Powerhouse Theatre in Vernon In 2009. Currently the artistic director of the Tragically Comic Players in Lumby, BC, Canada, Phil is also a screenwriter and story editor.

Shelf Life was first performed by the Tragically Comic Players, Lumby, British Columbia, in 2009.

Shyllag by Miriam Gallagher

Drama/ 1 Character, 1 Woman/ Full Length, 90 minutes

Synopsis: A Travelling Player, waiting for her train, tells tales to the unseen stationmaster, opening a Pandora’s box of love, struggle and confusion. To Allwych (or Everywoman), life is one long train ride. She spins tales of real and imagined journeys: Happy seaside trains with her daughter Shyllag. Exciting tours as a Travelling Player. Romantic and tragic trains.

Her story spans three generations of women and their lives, from Allwych’s mother, who was a young woman between the two World Wars, to Allwych in the present, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Although partly inspired by real life events, the play concerns itself with Everywoman’s search for freedom.

Shyllag (or “Once upon a Train in Hungary”) lasts 90 mins — without an interval — and can be staged as a one woman play or performed with more players. Some scenes, e.g. station scenes, the wedding and pub scene would lend themselves to group interaction with perhaps dance/mime/music and a soundscape created by the actors.

The setting is a railway station in Limbo.

“A beguiling piece of writing.”
– The Irish Times

“A beautifully told story and Allwych is a memorable narrator. The play has great verve and energy.”
– Max Stafford-Clark, theatre director

“A vibrant and moving piece of theatre.”
– Hampstead Theatre, London

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Contact information:
Amateur and professional rights:
Miriam Gallagher
E-mail: gallaghermiriam@eircom.net
Playwright’s website: http://www.miriamgallagher.ie/
Address: 53 Upper Beechwood Ave.
Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Ireland

About the Playwright: Miriam Gallagher, Irish playwright, novelist and screenwriter, studied drama in London (LAMDA). Her work, staged and screened in Ireland, London, Paris, USA, and Canada with Irish, Dutch, Finnish and Russian translations, is included in the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing and profiled in Irish Women Writers: An A-Z Guide (Geenwood Press). Her plays have been published in Fancy Footwork and 12 Other Plays (Soc. Irish Playwrights) and Kalahari Blues & Other Plays (2006). Commissions include The Ring of Mont de Balison (Ranelagh Millenium Project); Kalahari Blues (Galloglass Theatre Co), which toured nationwide; The Gold of Tradaree (Clare Arts Award); The Mighty Oak of Riverwood (Betty Ann Norton Theatre School 40 years celebration) performed at the Gate Theatre; and Fancy Footwork (Dublin Theatre Festival). Recently her play The Parting Glass was an international prizewinner of the Near & Far Playwrighting Contest (USA).

Miriam’s other books include Let’s Help Our Children Talk (O’Brien Press) and a novel, Song for Salamander (Trafford). She received Arts Council and European Script Fund Awards for her feature length screenplay Girls in Silk Kimonos (celebrating the Gore Booth sisters), and her film Gypsies has been screened at Irish Film Centre, Galway Film Fleadh, Foyle Film Festival, New York’s Lincoln Center, Plaza cinemas, San Francisco and at the International Children’s Film Festival at Hyderabad, India. A member of Irish PEN, Miriam has served on its committee and as vice president. She has also served on the Irish Writers Union committee, the council of the Society of Irish Playwrights, as a judge for the O.Z. Whitehead Play Competition, and on the Awards Panel for Arts and Disability Forum. She has been a guest lecturer at universities in Dublin, New York, Boston, and Pretoria, and her manuscripts are in the National Library, Dublin and film work in the Irish Film Archive.

Shyllag was first produced at Andrews Lane Theatre, Dublin, in 1993.

Silver Lining by John Chambers

Drama/ 4 characters, 2 Men, 2 Women/ Full Length, Two Acts

Synopsis: Silver Lining looks at what happens when the rhythms of a life — to many, a life that is mundane, decidedly unglamorous, usually unappreciated — are disrupted by catastrophic events. Though written in the 1990s, it is set in the late ’60s during the first Foot and Mouth epidemic, and anticipates more recent outbreaks. Beyond the apparent lack of hope and (literal) shit of life for poor farmers, we find courage, humour, poetry and love.

 

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Contact information:
Amateur and professional rights:
John Chambers
Email: artistan38@tiscali.co.uk

About the Playwright: John’s stage plays include: Stiff Stuff; Shouting at the Radio; Raw Material; Albert Finney Doesn’t Live Here Any More; Robin Hood – The Raven’s Revenge – all at the Library Theatre Company where he was Arts Council Resident Dramatist; Two Wheel Tricycle (Contact Theatre); Silver Lining (Oldham Coliseum); Yoiks Oiks (Bolton Octagon); The Marigold Trilogy (Real Life Theatre. M.E.N. Best Fringe Award); Balling the Blues (One Step); City of Gold (Arden).

John has written three epics for Lancaster Dukes Promenade Seasons – Tales of King Arthur, Jungle Book and The Three Musketeers, and several pieces for/with young people at Manchester Youth Theatre and M6 where he was also Resident Writer.

Co-written theatre work includes: Scandals – The Life & Liver of Frank Randlewith Keith Clifford (which John also directed); Crazy People with Marvin Close (LTC); I’m Marrying Ryan Giggs (Robbie Fowler in Liverpool!) with Dave Simpson (Liverpool Playhouse & national tour); Koff with Brian Morgan (One Step).

He has written around 100 hours of television including: The Bill (Thames);Emmerdale (Granada-YTV). Working on it during BAFTA Best Soap year 2001); Eastenders; Runaway Bay (YTV / Lifetime); 14 episodes of Children’s Ward (Granada. Including RTS Best Children’s Drama Series); 3 fifteen minute films for BBC Education’s Turning Points, (which won BAFTA and RTS awards, 1999); Away From Home and Grease Lightning – 30 minute plays for BBC2 (Northwest); Dramarama (ITV).

Silver Lining was first produced by the Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Oldham, UK, 1995.

Simply Selma by Jonathan Joy

Comedy-Drama/ 3 Characters, 2 Women, 1 Man/ One Act

Synopsis: Selma is a young woman keeping two full time jobs — working as a stripper at a local club, and taking care of her mother at home. Mama is a loving, but overbearing, woman in her sixties determined to convince Selma to stop stripping and to find a mate. When Michael moves in next door, Mama is convinced that he is the perfect man for her daughter. Simply Selma is a touching comedy/drama about family, relationships, and sexual politics.

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Contact information:
Amateur and professional rights:
Jonathan Joy
9604 SR 7 #35
Proctorville, Ohio
USA 45669
Ph.: (740) 886-7223
E-mail: joyjonathan@yahoo.com

About the Playwright: Jonathan Joy is theatre artist-in-residence at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Kentucky. Annually, he works with over two thousand students (K-12) in educational theatre classes at the Paramount and at the Huntington Museum of Art and Huntington Renaissance Center in Huntington, West Virginia. His first play, Simply Selma, was published in 2003 by the One Act Play Depot. A Match Made in Heaven is now available at Brooklyn Publishers. His full length, American Standard, won two regional awards for playwriting including the 2003 Wallace E. Knight Excellence in Writing Award. His written work will also be included in three upcoming theatre books: Millennium Monologues 2, Shakespeare Festivals Around the World, and 60 Seconds to Glory: 220 Monologues for Women. His new play, The Princess of Rome, Ohio, was a 2004 Finalist for the Seven Devils Playwriting Conference in McCall, Idaho and a Semi-Finalist at the Dayton Playhouse Futurefest. Professional acting and directing credits include work with the Phoenix Theatre Circle in Columbus, Ohio; Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, Virginia; Huntington Rep in Huntington, West Virginia; and the Backstage Players in Ashland, Kentucky. Since 1998, Mr. Joy has served as Director/Manager of Free Spirit Productions, a regional theatre troupe located in Kentucky and West Virginia. He holds an MA in English (Drama/Creative Writing emphasis) and a BFA in Theatre (Acting/Directing emphasis) both from Marshall University, where he is currently an adjunct professor teaching Theatre Appreciation.

Simply Selma was first produced by Free Spirit Productions at the Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia in August, 2001.

Small’s World by John Chambers

Drama/ 2 Characters, 1 Man, 1 Woman/ One Act, 30 minutes

Synopsis: Jamie has a secret fixation, and every Tuesday evening he amuses this fetish by wearing his mother’s skimpiest undergarments. He presses “play” and dances his way into another world, a happier world. Every week he looks forward to his one-man party, but one evening his mother comes home early and finds her son in mid-enjoyment. She is less than pleased.

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Contact information:
Amateur and professional rights:
John Chambers
E-mail: artistan38@tiscali.co.uk

About the Playwright: John has had some 40 plays premiered in his native North West of England — ranging from a Number One tour to fringe. He has written for most Reps in the region and was Arts Council Resident Dramatist at Manchester LTC and Resident Writer at M6 Theatre. His plays have subsequently been performed around the UK and as far afield as Australia and the US. He’s also written over a hundred hours of TV drama, as well as plays for radio.

Small’s World was first presented by the Real Life Theatre Company, Manchester, in March 2009

Stiff Stuff by John Chambers

Drama/ 6 Characters, 3 Men, 3 Women/ Full Length, Two Acts

Synopsis: Ranging from a back street Manchester pub to an Oxford dinner table, Stiff Stuff melds an audacious array of characters, including a salesman on the edge, a celebrity footballer, and a professor of nonsense verse, into a wildly inventive collage of modern life. 

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Performance rights must be secured before production
Contact information:
Amateur and professional rights:
John Chambers
E-mail: artistan38@tiscali.co.uk

About the Playwright: John has had some 40 plays premiered in his native North West of England — ranging from a Number One tour to fringe. He has written for most Reps in the region and was Arts Council Resident Dramatist at Manchester LTC and Resident Writer at M6 Theatre. His plays have subsequently been performed around the UK and as far afield as Australia and the US. He’s also written over a hundred hours of TV drama, as well as plays for radio.

Stiff Stuff was first presented by the Library Theatre Company, Manchester, U.K., in July, 1988.

Stuff by Jim Reyland

Drama/ 2 Characters, 2 Men/ Full Length, Two Acts

Synopsis: (from The Tennessean [Nashville]): “Two former Army buddies are hired to clear out the, well, stuff that has accumulated on the stage of an old vaudeville theater.

“As the evening progresses, the audience discovers that there’s a violent and, until now, unspoken history shared by the two men. Years earlier. Milton, a gay man, was the victim of a savage beating that he suspects his friend of having failed to prevent — or worse.”

Character Notes

“Entertaining, fast-paced and emotionally fearless”
– The Tennessean (Nashville)

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Contact information: Amateur and professional rights:
Jim Reyland
1102 17th Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee
USA 37212
Ph.: 1-800-726-3612
Email: jreyland@audioproductions.com

About the Playwright: Jim Reyland is the writer of many poems and seven one acts. He studied English at a small liberal arts college in North Carolina, hosted a national radio talk show, and for the past seventeen years has owned a recording studio/production company, Audio Productions on Music Row in Nashville.His writing career began with thirty-second commercials and evolved to longer form network radio shows. Jim has written hundreds of programs for top country and pop artist like Garth, Vince, Reba, Hootie, and Creed.

Stuff was first produced by b. scott productions at the Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, Tennessee in March 1999.

Syllogism by La-Tonia Denise Willis

Drama/ 3 Characters, 2 Women, 1 Man/ One Act

Synopsis: A cross between Sartre’s No Exit and Genet’s The Balcony, the world of Syllogism centers around three troubled souls who are compelled to perpetually revisit the tragic situations and circumstances surrounding their institutionalization.

Arlene is the anal-retentive executive of the den — irascible and given to strike at a moment’s notice. She wields her intellectual prowess like a weapon, mercilessly ridiculing her fellow companions with lethal word play. Leonardo — the big-hearted man-child hopelessly in love and desperately in need of courage — spends most of his time trying to clear the damage in his head left by an abusive childhood. And then there’s Jessica — the affable teenager carrying an overwhelming burden that will continue to haunt her the rest of her life. Her role as a mediator of the Group both calms and provokes the others into action. The three find themselves inexplicably tied to one another’s criminal past. Through desperation and despondency, they gather each day for a series of scatological free associative banter that belies a much deeper psychosis.

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Contact information: Amateur and professional rights:
La-Tonia Denise Willis
1212 Queen Anne Ave. N., #602
Seattle, WA
USA 98109 E-mail:latonw@msn.com

About the Playwright: La-Tonia Denise Willis went to Bard College and Fordham University, with a discipline in Comparative Literature. She also studied creative writing at Seattle Central Community College, and Digital Video at 911 Media Arts, a Seattle Film collective. Most recently, she was a finalist in the San Jose State University Writer’s Fellowship program.

Syllogism was first produced by The Theatre-Studio, Inc., New York City, in May, 2004.

The Audition by Kenneth Robbins

Drama/ 1 character, 1 Woman/ One Act

Synopsis:
Amy arrives at a small out-of-the-way theatre in New York, expecting to audition for a new play. But no one is there. She is locked into the theatre accidentally. Since she is alone on a stage with no way to get out, she decides to share her audition pieces with the ghost of the theatre. She offers selections from numerous plays including Hamlet, Hedda Gabler, and others. The fact that she suffers from paranoia becomes apparent as she discovers a bag of props left at the back of the theatre and in it, she finds a pistol, loaded. How she uses this prop is the payoff of the play.

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Contact information:Amateur and professional rights:
Lettie Lee
Ann Elmo Agency, Inc.
60 E. 42nd Street, Suite 437
New York, NY 10165
Telephone: (212) 661-2880; fax: (212) 661-2883.

About the Playwright: Kenneth Robbins is the author of four published novels and 21 published plays, as well as four collections of literary works. His work has received the Toni Morrison Prize for Fiction, the Associated Writing Programs Novel Award, the Charles Getchell Award, and a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award, among others.

His works for the stage have been produced by the New Works Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Nashville Academy Theatre, Theatre Atlanta Off Peachtree, and the Project Arts Center, Dublin, Ireland. His radio play, Dynamite Hill, was aired over National Public Radio and BBC Radio 3.

The Audition was first presented by Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and received its professional premiere at Teaterpaedogy, Copenhagen in 2001.

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The Best Woman by Gary Earl Ross

Comedy-Drama / 9 Characters, 5 Men, 4 Women / Full Length, Two Acts

Synopsis:
For the first time, both major party presidential candidates are women. Dr. Nea Gilchrist, former Secretary of State and the first African-American woman Vice President, must distance herself from Sam Houston Bullard, the conservative Republican President to whom she owes her political success. Senator Amanda Dean Styles, a white northeastern liberal and the widow of Brendan Styles, a charismatic Democratic presidential candidate, must emerge from the shadows of the tragedy that shaped her political future. Tonight is their first debate . . .

From The Buffalo News: “The strength of the play comes not in the scenes between the two candidates, but as their political advisers strategize and plot backstabbing techniques before the debate . . . . Surprisingly, Ross reserves equal vitriol for both sides of the aisle in this play, while he could very well have let it slip into a raving diatribe against the Bush administration. In a particularly telling scene, Gilchrist, the Republican candidate, gets a call from Rev. Bob Patterson, Ross’s version of televangelist Pat Robertson. Speaking about the gay group the Log Cabin Republicans, Patterson suggests, ‘If they want to be gay, they should just be Democrats.’

“When the phone call is over, Gilchrist quips, ‘People like him used to be presidential assassins, not presidential advisers.’ It’s an unexpected humanization of the Republican side of things, and a look into the hypocrisy inherent in running a campaign for either party. It’s refreshing to see Gilchrist not as a possessed neoconservative pawn, but a woman, as Ross puts it, whose ‘good intentions deprived her of a deeper social conscience.’ But, conversely, the good intentions of The Best Woman can only make our social consciences deeper.”

“Well-written and tightly constructed, its characters imbued either with authentic good nature or downright fiendishness . . . . [the] smart, cutting dialogue is engaging enough to make the drama at least as amusing as the political process of the last few years.
– Colin Dabhowski, Buffalo News

“Gary Earl Ross, who achieved a huge success with his play, Matter of Intent, which won the Emanuel Fried Award at the Arties before going on to win the 2005 Edgar Award for best play from the Mystery Writers of America, has turned his attention to politics in his new play, The Best Woman . . . . Ross’s writing is witty and provides a rapid pace for the actors . . . . The playwright lavishes time on a second act television debate making it clear that his main goal is parody, not drama.”
– Anthony Chase, Artvoice Theater Week

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Contact information:Amateur and professional rights:
Gary Earl Ross
228 Highgate Avenue
Buffalo, NY
USA, 14215
Ph: (716)308-0807
Email: geross@buffalo.edu

About the Playwright: Gary Earl Ross is a language arts professor at the University at Buffalo EOC and the author of more than 170 published short stories, poems, articles, scholarly papers, and public radio essays. Named Erie County’s 2003 Artist of the Year, Ross has won numerous awards for writing, including a LIFT Fiction Fellowship, an Artie Award for the play Matter of Intent, and for his public radio essays first place commentary awards from the New York State Associated Press and the New York Broadcasters’ Association.

Readers of Artvoice voted him the 2008 Best Writer in Buffalo. His books and staged plays include The Wheel of Desire and Other Intimate Hauntings (2000), Shimmerville: Tales Macabre and Curious (2002), Sleepwalker: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2002), the children’s tale Dots (2002), Matter of Intent (2005 Ujima Theater world premiere and winner of the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America), Picture Perfect (from the 2007 Tennessee Stage Company New Play Festival in Knoxville), and The Best Woman (from Ujima in 2007).

A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, the Mystery Writers of America, and the Just Buffalo Literary Center, Ross was recently named playwright-in-residence at Ujima Company and was awarded a 2008 Constance Saltonstall Foundation Playwriting Grant. His novel,Blackbird Rising, was published in 2009, and Matter of Intent received a staged reading at London’s Bridewell Theater in June 2009.

Best Woman was first produced by the Ujima TheatreLoft, Buffalo, New York in 2007.

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