Drama – Mystery – Thriller/ 6 Characters, 3 Men, 3 Women/ Full Length, Two Acts
Synopsis: Part African-American family drama and part murder mystery, The Scavenger’s Daughter explores the impact of senile dementia and mental instability on a single family. When their father John is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, middle-aged Alan, Brian, and Connie Pickett find themselves in a virtual war with their unstable stepmother Ruthie, who at every turn—whether through ignorance, stubbornness, or insecurity—thwarts their efforts to secure John’s care and the family’s financial stability. Beginning at the scene of a murder-suicide that Detective Maxine Travis senses is really just murder, the play unfolds in police interrogations and a series of flashbacks. Travis must work her way through sibling conflicts, family secrets, and a case long cold until she understands what compelled Ruthie Pickett to point a gun at her husband and pull the trigger.
“A complex tale of our times . . . . Ross tells it well.” — The Buffalo News
Gary Earl Ross
228 Highgate Avenue
About the Playwright: Gary Earl Ross, a retired UB/EOC language arts professor, is the author of more than 200 published short stories, poems, articles, op-ed articles, scholarly papers, and public radio essays. His works include the short story collections The Wheel of Desire (2000) and Shimmerville (2002), the children’s story Dots (2002), the novels Blackbird Rising and Nickel City Blues (2017), and the stage plays Sleepwalker (2002), Picture Perfect (2007), The Best Woman (2007), Matter of Intent (winner of the 2006 Edgar Allan Poe Award from Mystery Writers of America), Murder Squared (2011), The Scavenger’s Daughter (2012), The Guns of Christmas (2014), The Mark of Cain (2016), and The Trial of Trayvon Martin (2017).
Ross’s plays have been performed in Buffalo, NY; New York, NY; Rochester, NY; Bend, OR; Knoxville, TN; Spring Lake, NJ; Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada; West Sussex, England; Manchester, England; London, England; Shanghai, China; Manipal, India; and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Ross edited Nickel City Nights (2008) and co-edited (with Gunilla Theander Kester) The Empty Chair: Love and Loss in the Wake of Flight 3407 (2010) and The Still Empty Chair (2011). Released in 2017 by Black Opal Books is Nickel City Blues, the first Buffalo-based Gideon Rimes mystery.
In addition to the Edgar, Ross’s honors include three Emanuel Fried Outstanding New Play Awards, a LIFT Fiction Fellowship, a Saltonstall Foundation Playwriting Fellowship, an ASI/DEC Fiction Grant, public radio commentary awards from the New York Associated Press and the New York Broadcasters Association, and numerous awards for teaching or professional, university, or community service. A member of the Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Dramatists Guild of America, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the National Writers Union, Ross has written, directed, or acted in plays for Ujima Company, the Subversive Theatre Collective, New Phoenix Theater, Road Less Traveled Productions, and the Towne Players.
The Scavenger’s Daughter was first produced by Ujima Company, Buffalo, New York in May, 2012.