“Please know that our reading team expressed great admiration for Higher Education- admiration that we share too…Your voice, and your ideas, have made a significant impact on our office”2019 O’Neill Theater Center, Wendy C. Goldberg, Lexy Leuzler
Higher Education is set in a state that was purple and has turned dark red. The play focuses on three interconnected couples who are caught in the attacks on public education. The setting could be North Carolina, Wisconsin, or Kansas to name a few. This is not just an “issue” play. The play takes a deeper view of what happens to people when pressured. Do marriages become frayed? Do good people make bad decisions? We often think about politics as an expression of power and policy, but Higher Education looks at the ramifications of both power and policy on a personal level. The story also touches on the loss of privacy in our electronic world.
The stage should make use of minimal setting to allow for smoothly paced scene changes. There are antic moments, but the play’s intent is to examine what happens to marriages when for better or for worse is not just a homily.
A southern university, the present. One unit set.
Warrior Brothers (under submission to Milwaukee Rep)
Semi-finalist O’Neill National Playwrights Conference
A group of Vietnam Vets meet in a banquet hall somewhere in New York around Christmas. These guys did more than survive. They found professions and raised families. They have also given back, helping Vets who were not as fortunate as them. And that is why they gather every few years, to see how their work is going. Set in the anteroom of the banquet hall with a handsome bar and tall plants, four of these guys have a special bond forged on a day when they risked it all to save one of their own. Moving back and forth in time, each of these four is facing a difficult issue in his life and the gathering and that fateful day have brought these problems to the surface. There is also a young man, the bartender, who reminds each of these guys of a soldier and yet when asked if he served, the bartender replies, only drinks. There are also two women deeply embedded in this evening’s drama. This night, sometimes playful, sometimes tense, is not so interested in the politics of two wars, but rather its aftermath with its seen and unseen wounds.
Two acts, seven characters, one set, NYC –the present and various war zones.
Frank —Just past sixty.
Tommy—a little younger
Sweet (African American)—a year or two older
Down in Jungleland (under submission to the Royal Court Theatre London
Down In Jungleland is based on a true story, the prosecution of Sandy Salim Lewis by Rudolph Giuliani in the late 1980’s. This play goes against the grain of recent dramas that take Wall Street to task. The play examines an insider who is bent on reforming the Street. He’s smart, abrasive, uncompromising, and is a product of a special school for troubled children. The play also focuses on the man who prosecuted him for a case that was later pardoned and called an act of “market vigilantism”, an act of financial civil disobedience. The prosecutor is also smart and single minded, and he, too, has a troubled family history. The story is not just about the case, but follows both characters from the late 1960’s until the late 1980’s so that the collision can be understood in relation to the eras and how these men changed. The play is thoroughly researched through archival journalism and close contact with an author who wrote about Lewis. The style of the play is cinematic, a backdrop, a bare stage surrounded by chairs where a “chorus” plays multiple characters and sometimes interacts in expressionistic ways with the two protagonists.