Monday, February 20, 2017

"Talia" A Radio Play Now on The New Play Exchange

Back in 2015, a radio producer who had read my Arlecchino Am Ravenous invited me to contribute a script for an anthology series he was planning, a collection of audio drama adaptations of the tales the Pentamerone of Giambattista Basile (1566-1632). The Pentamerone is the earliest known attempt to collect a nation's folktales, in this case, the nation of Naples, and was to inspire the Brothers Grimm in their nineteenth-century project to collect German folktales. The work was originally published in two volumes, posthumously in 1634 and 1636, and under the pseudonym Gian Alesio Abbatutis, by his sister under the Neapolitan title of Lo cunto de li cunte.

I was asked to adapt "The Sun, The Moon, and Talia" a fairytale generally considered to be the one of the earliest extant variants of a story known in the English speaking world as "Sleeping Beauty." After two separate drafts of the script, the producer just went silent, so as far as I know, the anthology series is no longer a going concern. So now I am sharing it with readers on The New Play Exchange.

A note to readers: One challenging aspect of adapting the fairytale was that the original folktale describes the rape, which did not carry the same level of moral revulsion in the seventeenth century as it does in our era. So while I felt the need to keep the rape in my version, I could not keep the happy ending of Basile's version. A different choice is made by John Edward Taylor who, in his 1847 English translation of the Pentamerone, instead chose to retain the happy ending and leave out the impregnation by rape of the sleeping protagonist, leading to this weird passage as he attempts to suppress any knowledge of the trauma in his readers:

Meanwhile, two little twins, one a boy and the other a girl, who looked like two little jewels, wandered, from I know not where, into the palace and found Talia in a trance.

Needless to say, my version of the story is not appropriate for young people, at least as we in the twenty-first century understand childhood.

You can read Talia on the The New Play Exchange, along with my other plays.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

JAN KULTURA, SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, MEETS THE CROWD at Silver Spring Stage One Act Festival, August 25-28

Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets the Crowd will be part of the second week of Silver Spring Stage's One Act Festival running from Friday, August 26 to Sunday, August 28 (the Thursday, August 25 show is a pay-what-you-can preview performance.)

The play will be directed by Sue Bevine and will be sharing the bill with plays by D.L. Siegel, Michael Wolfson, and Jacy D'Aiutolo. I will be in attendance at some performances (and love to meet up with D.C. area theater makers while I'm visiting.)

Silver Spring Stage is located at the Woodmoor Shopping Centre at 10145 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20901.

Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets the Crowd was previously presented as a staged reading by UptownWorks NYC this past December. This will be its first fully staged performance.

Tickets can be purchased online on Vendini. Facebook users can also RSVP for the festival here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Photos of JAN KULTURA in Rehearsal With UptownWorks NYC

UptownWorks NYC posted photos from rehearsals for my play Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets The Crowd which they will be presenting as part of the inaugural event in their Liberated One-Acts series of staged readings.

Plays by Michael Panes, Christian Cole-Howard, and Gabriel Straszun will also be featured that evening.

The reading will be held on Sunday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Liberated Fitness NYC at 1005 Columbus Ave, New York, New York 10025.

The event is free but it is recommended that one email to reserve seats.

UptownWorks NYC is directed by Amanda Black and Daniela Hart.

Photos courtesy of UptownWorks NYC

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Staged Reading: JAN KULTURA, SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, MEETS THE CROWD Presented by UptownWorks NYC 12/13

My one-act play, Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets The Crowd will be be receiving a staged reading directed by Daniela Hart as part of the inaugural event in UptownWorks NYC's Liberated One-Acts reading series on Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm.

I will be in attendance.

UptownWorks NYC is run by Amanda Black and Daniela Hart. This post will be updated as more information becomes available

The evening's bill will be:

Reindeer Afterlife by Michael Panes
What Do You Mean? by Gabriel Straszun
Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets the Crowd by Ian Thal
The Arrangements by Christian Cole-Howard

The cast for Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets The Crowd, will include Robert Vail, Kelly Wright, Olivia Stoker, and James Koroni.

Liberated One-Acts will be presented at Liberated Fitness NYC at 1005 Columbus Ave, New York, NY Admission is free, but it is recommended that one make a reservation at

The text of Jan Kultura, Substitute Teacher, Meets The Crowd is available on The New Play Exchange.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


My one-act play, The Second Annual Administration Building Takeover And Slumber Party, will be be receiving a staged reading as part of Arts Resources for the Tri-State's New Works festival in Huntington, West Virginia on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

The reading will be directed by Stephen Vance and feature a cast of Michael Naglee, Joanna Murdock, Nora Ankrom, Dylan Clark and will be followed by a staged reading of Mike Murdock's Brighter Days. Tickets for the paired reading will be $10.

Arts Resources for the Tri-State is located at 900 8th Ave, Huntington, WV.

The text of The Second Annual Administration Building Takeover And Slumber Party is available on The New Play Exchange.

N.B.: Arts Resources for the Tri-State has created a Facebook page for the New Works 2015 festival.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ilan Stavans "The Oven": Performance and Panel Discussion At Charlestown Working Theater

Tonight, November 20, I will be moderating a panel discussion after a performance of Ilan Stavans' The Oven at Charlestown Working Theater. My panelists will be Stavans, who wrote and performs in the show, and director Matthew Glassman.

The Oven is an autobiographical piece about Stavans' experience of an ecstatic ritual as a guest of an indigenous religious group in the Columbian Amazon.

Stavans is a professor of Latin American and Latino cultures at Amherst College, and a prolific translator of English, Spanish, Yiddish and Hebrew literature.

Matthew Glassman is an actor, director, and playwright affiliated with Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On The Arts Fuse: New Rep's Boston Premiere of Arthur Miller's BROKEN GLASS

On The Arts Fuse I review New Repertory Theatre's production of Broken Glass, a play by the major American playwright, Arthur Miller, that first premiered in 1994 had to wait until his centenary before it was ever presented in the Boston-area.

A major theme of the play is anti-Semitism: Both the violent anti-Semitism that erupted in Germany in November 1938, in a pogrom now known as Kristallnacht and the more polite form it takes in America. Most radical is Miller's treatment of the internalized anti-Semitism exemplified in the figure known as the "self-hating Jew":

Today’s dramas about identity politics are usually confident tales of empowerment. Miller goes in a far more radical direction: he creates a harrowing portrait of Jewish self-hatred. “Self-hating Jew” is a charge that has been leveled by and against Jews from a number of directions — religious and secular, the ideological left and right. Typically, this involves Jews adopting or excusing the attitudes, beliefs, rhetoric, and behaviors of anti-Semites – often with the benefit of increasing their status as individuals amongst anti-Semites.

Philip works as the head of the mortgage department at the Brooklyn Guarantee & Trust Company. (He brags he is the only Jew employed at a company owned and operated by what would later be known as White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.) However, when Philip first meets Margaret Hyman (Eve Passeltiner), he is offended when she mistakenly addresses him as Goldberg; he even goes so far as to insist that he’s not Jewish, but Finnish. He will only affirm his Jewish identity when it confers special status: he is not just the only Jew at Brooklyn Guarantee, but the only one to set foot on the yacht owned by his boss, Stanton Case (Michael Kaye). Philip imagines that his son, an Army captain and West Point graduate, will someday become the first Jewish general in the U.S. Army (in truth, that title may belong to Civil War-era Brigadier General Frederick Knefler).

I also consider the historical contexts of the play: Its 1938 setting, the on-going atrocities in Rwanda and Yugoslavia when it premiered in 1994, as well as the human rights crises faced by the world in 2015.

Read the entire review on The Arts Fuse!