A woman brings her fiancee home to meet her parents and secrets are revealed. Based on an old Irish folksong, it’s either a light drama or a dark comedy. But it plays extremely well and taught me something when I first produced it. The play has a pretty important reveal (which is the raison d’etre for writing the piece) and I tried to hide that it was coming in the dialogue but I noticed that some people in the audience figured it out before the play got there. It didn’t matter. They enjoyed the “moment” as much as those who were totally surprised.
I typically describe this piece as an outtake from Oscar Wilde or W.S. Gilbert. This is total fluff, a play mostly about language to the extent it’s about anything. A man calls a woman by the wrong name and the journey begins. Excellent curtain raiser for an evening of one-acts.
Two women try to convince their recently divorced friend, Sally, to come out of the room with the coats at a fancy party and flirt with an eligible bachelor. The play has a twist at the end which confuses some audience members and occasionally infuriates others (notably my friend Cherie Vogelstein). This show has had numerous local productions.
A somewhat odd salesman tries to sell a woman a broom that he claims has unusual qualities.
I wrote this play for Robin Anne, my remarkable wife, when we were first courting. Her previous boyfriend was still in the picture and this was my not so subtle message to her. One of my earliest plays, the writing lacks the economy and sharpness of my later stuff, but whenever I’ve produced it the audiences seem to really enjoy it so I’ve left it as is. This was the first original play of mine that I brought to the TANYS Festival. I produced it again almost 20 years later and it fared better and made it to ESTA. The play came to me when one day I was musing on the phrase “swept off one’s feet.”
One of my most popular plays, one that’s had many productions and won a couple of festivals. A man meets a woman on a blind date but she’s brought with her an unusual companion. When I brought this show in to Aural Stage, the reading did not go well. Because this play derives so much of its humor from the physical, it is difficult to do a reading of it and get any sense of the impact. I lost faith in it. But when it was selected for inclusion in a local festival I asked my wife if she wanted to try to breath life into it. She did a terrific job with the show which played like gangbusters and got me several inquiries from folks wanting to produce it elsewhere.
A couple enjoying a marathon night in bed become convinced that it’s all just a dream but can’t agree on whose dream it is. I love the logic of the arguments that the two put forward, particularly Lucy.
A young woman visits her grandmother, and in alternating flashback scenes we see their difficult relationship as the grandmother paints a portrait of her granddaughter. Certainly a challenge to produce. The young actor must play guitar and sing and even dance a little. The older actor must speak some Yiddish and sing a Yiddish song (Dona Dona, but in the original Yiddish). There are several quick set and costume changes as well. The play loosely borrows from when I, as a teenager, was sitting for a portrait that my grandfather painted.
My crown jewel. Winner of several playwriting contests, produced many times including several times in England, and the one play of mine that I love to act in. A man seeks out his wife in Heaven to ask her forgiveness for the terrible thing he did to her. I entered the play in a contest in Connecticut where it was read by Daniel Gerroll and his wife Patricia Kalember. After they performed, I went up to Daniel backstage to introduce myself. He immediately called out to his wife: “Pat, there really is an Albi Gorn,” and explained to me that they were convinced that the show had been ghost-written by a professional. Certainly one of my best theater moments.
Zach is visited by his ex-girlfriend, Betsy, and the two of them go through a photo album and revisit episodes from their past leading to her leaving him. The play is based on what I thought Jackson Browne’s Fountain of Sorrow was about. But after writing the play and doing some idle surfing, I found out I had it all wrong: Fountain of Sorrow is not about his ex-wife but about Joni Mitchell. But the play is very much about an ex of mine, Rosalind (for whom my song Letting Go was written), although the end of our relationship was quite different from the end of Zack and Betsy’s. The play uses projections of the photographs.
A woman stumbles into an ice cream store and flashes back to a similar store some 35 years before, when she encountered a mysterious and damaged Vietnam vet. Only she comes away from the flashback with new knowledge that changes her life. Two middle aged women, one 13 year old girl and a 40 year old man. Produced in a couple of venues by me and once in Sisters, Oregon. Written for a remarkable young local actor, Maddy Sledge.missing
Alex visits her estranged brother Toby after the death of their mother, and he tries to get her to remember the TV show they had starred in as kids, and to convince her that it wasn’t a show, that it really happened to them. The story first occurred to me when I was watching Dragon Tales on PBS sometime around 2000 but it was another dozen or so years before I attempted to write the play.
Franklyn meets Jesse at a concert at which he resuscitated a member of the audience. They hit it off until they learn that they come from very different worlds. They try to make it work until…
After not writing a play for ten years, for some inexplicable reason (although I have postulated quite a few quasi-explicable ones) I met a couple of actors who blew me away and I decided I wanted to write for them. This is the first of three two-character plays that followed.
A woman makes her boyfriend go through past life regression analysis to check out what kind of husband he’s been in previous incarnations. I had a friend who tried regression analysis and it put the idea in my mind.
A couple is awakened in the middle of the night when their downstairs buzzer rings. They each start to bare their guilty consciences when they suspect the worst about their unidentified visitor. Ah, if only the play were as clever as the title. But there are a few good laughs and it plays well.
When I interact with people, I always try to read them, to understand them and do a lot of questioning. Can’t do that with a therapist so I have to fill in the blanks. And the one thing that I wonder about the most is how guilty they might feel if they fail their patients; or worse yet, if one of their patients acts on something the therapist says with a bad result and, in the case of this play, collateral damage. A man, whose wife has apparently just left him, walks into her therapists office and asks to take her session, but what he really wants is to understand why she left him. The show has had a few productions and eventually I was able to get a tight script. This latest version seems to work well.
An elderly woman, unresponsive in advanced dementia with complications, relives some warm memories of her children as the two of them discuss whether or not to pull the plug. When my own mother drifted off into this state, I would visit her and wonder what was going on in her mind. Written originally for the children to be brother and sister but changed to sisters because, let’s face it, there are way more women actors around than men.
A father is coerced into reading to his daughter and they are interrupted by an unlikely visitor, the title character from the book. I think the plays ends up in a very sweet place. I list the girl’s age as 8-10, probably can be a tad older.
A couple of misfits on a blind date hire a counselor to help them negotiate the relationship. I have no recollection of what prompted me to write this. My favorite part of the show is the language the “Date Dinger” employs.
Oliver wants Delia to move in with him, but before she does she wants to know about his ex-wife Sylvia. As he describes her and their relationship (in flashbacks) Delia is astonished that he could have ever gone out with such a coarse and uncultured woman. He can’t explain it so Delia decides she needs to meet Sylvia for herself.
Inspired, I guess, by the many times in my life I’ve met the ex-boyfriends of women I went out with and had a similar reaction.
Two office workers discover that they had the same dream. A play about the pitfalls of falling in love too quickly, and of investing too heavily in one’s expectations. A nice twist at the end wraps the play up neatly until another twist leaves things up in the air. This play made it (with another play, Verbatim) to the AACT Finals in Tacoma in 2009. We didn’t win anything, but the director of the winning production asked me for copies of my two plays, which for me is a more important mark of success.
A woman, frustrated at how her husband says provocative things to her and then denies having said them, hires a court reporter to make a record of what they actually say when they’re having a fight. One of my most popular shows, winner of a couple of national playwriting contests, and of personal meaning to me since court reporting has been my day job for 50 years. The plays always generates lots of laughs and the surprise at the end works beautifully.
A 13 year old girl takes her parents to a hilltop to view a comet, but really to try to salvage their faltering marriage. I knew a family who was going through something similar to this, and so I wrote the play for them (since they all acted) but we never had the chance to do it.
A middle-aged man is given three wishes and he and his wife disagree on how to use the final wish. Nice roles for a couple of older actors. The play was inspired by a joke that was part of the funky dialogue in the computer game Planescape: Torment. The wish-giver can be either gender.
While waiting at a restaurant for my longtime theater buddy Laura, this play came to me. A man and woman meet at a restaurant; he doesn’t recognize her and she has his name wrong, but they clearly know each other. The play is meant to reflect my notion that people frequently relate to others via their expectations and impressions of them rather than who they are.