This play begins in the fall of 2011, when a libertarian rancher, an anarchist punk, an aging hippie, a radical priest, and a single mother gather in Courthouse Square in Prescott, Arizona determined to fix America. They all agree that the one percent is too powerful, and the rest of us are getting screwed. When they try to get more specific than that, though, they find themselves disagreeing about nearly everything. Over the next several weeks, unlikely alliances and relationships form among the Occupiers, and new possibilities emerge even as tensions rise. Occupy Prescott is a play about the beauty and fragility of progressive coalitions, why they fail, and why they matter.
Three Scenes in the Life of a Trotskyist
Told in three scenes over the course of forty years, Three Scenes in the Life of a Trotskyist traces the story of Lev Trachtenberg from idealist youth to contrarian middle age to hard-core reactionary old age. Lev is a prototypical New York intellectual: educated at City College and in left-wing movements, he makes his reputation writing for small magazines and teaching modernist literature. He falls out of step with the Left during the culture wars of the 1960s, and by the election of Reagan he has embraced the Right with a convert's zeal. This is a play about politics, literature, and the corrosive power of success in America.
6 male actors
The Trade Federation, or, Let's Explore Globalization Through the Star Wars Prequels
A young experimental playwright named Andy Boyd pitches George Lucas his screenplay for a new Star Wars film. The concept: a prequel to the prequels that fleshes out the economic and social implications of the mysterious Trade Federation. Andy’s script is a full-on Marxist allegory where The Trade Federation is The International Monetary Fund, the Gungans are the Zapatistas, and the Jedi are an international community reluctant to push for any real structural change – the UN, basically. Lucas thinks the movie sounds really boring and unceremoniously kicks Andy out of his office. Then things really get weird.
Flexible casting, (minimum 7 people), 60 minutes
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Red Clay Halo
Red Clay Halo tells the story of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, an interracial union of the rural poor created in the midst of the Great Depression. From the raw materials of fundamentalist Christianity and their own lived experience they created a powerful critique of racial capitalism and successfully lobbied the federal government for housing. It’s a play where the protagonists are sharecroppers and the deus ex machina is public housing.
Inspired by Baptist revivals, Federal Theatre Project plays, and radical theatre groups like Joint Stock Company, this play weaves documentary material, music, and invented scenes to tell a story of resistance against unfathomably bad odds.
This is a play about people who, forced against the wall and with nothing left to lose, fought back.
Flexible casting (minimum 8 actors), 2 hours
One was a communist. The other was a capitalist. One was an artist. The other, an engineer. And yet, for the year between the spring of 1932 and the spring of 1933, Diego Rivera and Henry Ford were friends. Rivera came to Detroit on a commission from Ford’s son Edsel to paint a mural on the theme of Detroit Industry. Rivera and his wife the painter Frida Kahlo arrived in a city on the brink of revolution or collapse: bank failures, violent labor clashes, rallies by Communists and Bible-quoting proto-fascists that drew audiences in the thousands. River Rouge tells the story of the year that followed in a dizzying collage-inspired style mixing vaudeville, docudrama, folk music, protest theatre, and magical realism. It asks a question as relevant today as it was in 1932: how can we use art to remake the world?
Flexible casting (minimum 8 actors), 2 hours
In 1866, several thousand former Confederates left their home in the deep south and headed to Brazil, hoping to recreate the lost paradise of Dixie. This play is their story. When the settlers arrived, they discovered (as we are forever rediscovering) that Latin America is not a blank space upon which Americans can write their fantasies. Part One of this play depicts their arrival in Brazil, as the contradictions and paradoxes of the Southern way of life reassert themselves in the Brazilian jungle, and as the promise of a better life proves to be a lie. Part Two picks up 150 years later, at the annual celebration of Confederate heritage held (this is a real thing) in Americana, Brazil. As a prodigal daughter returns to Americana, she questions the morality of celebrating a history of racism and conquest, and in so doing questions her ability to make peace with her own family.
4 men, 3 women, 2 hours
The Flight Patterns of Migratory Birds
In this play, a small town in the Midwest joins a weightless competition, which throws the delicate balance of the town and its citizens into balance. As Jenny starts a new diet/exercise regimen, her mother Luann worries that her diner may not be able to stay open given the sudden low demand for fatty foods. Meanwhile, Jenny starts an internship at the local bird sanctuary, which is run by two people who are trying to navigate the trails of new love while rehabilitating a family of migratory birds. As the competition progresses, relationships both familial and romantic begin to fracture, leading to conflict but also to newfound understanding.
4 women, 1 man, 90 minutes
She Shall Be Praised
In this play, two women in Puritan Massachusetts navigate friendship, love, sin, and death. Mercy Pritchett is a young woman recently widowed who must carve out a space for herself in a society that praises women as wives, mothers, and daughters. Rebecca Gooden is a recent arrival to Massachusetts, a refugee of the tumultuous civil war that led to the widespread discrediting of the Puritan movement. Their unlikely friendship takes us into the founding moment of American exceptionalism even as it reveals the darkness at the heart of our national soul.
2 women, 1 hour
Seven Minutes in Eternity
Seven Minutes In Eternity is an exploded biography of William Dudley Pelley, America's favorite fascist mystic. It follows Pelley from humble beginnings in small-town Massachusetts to revolutionary Russian, Jazz-Age Hollywood, and Heaven. Twice. In the second act, we enter the world as Pelley sees it, uncovering an international conspiracy that only Pelley, with the help of his allies Hitler and Mussolini, can stop. There are Golems. There's FDR getting punched in the face. There are tights. Kind of a lot of tights. There's also a love story. Because isn't every epic multi-dimensional parable about religious extremism ultimately a love story?
Flexible casting, (minimum four men, two women), 2 hours
Acres of Diamonds
Acres of Diamonds tells the story of a family coming to terms with selling the home they grew up in. The house is jointly owned by three adult siblings, with one in favor of selling, one opposed, and one caught in the middle. As the fight over the house intensifies, the tension exposes deep rifts within the family. This is a play about the people we love, the places we cherish, the things we do for love, and the agony of loss.Acres of Diamonds was the 2012 winner of the Phyllis Anderson prize for playwriting, given yearly by the American Repertory Theatre.
Four men, five women, 2 hours
Bitch: A Play About Antigone
This modern adaptation of Sophocles' classic story takes place in a Thebes not unlike modern America. Creon pursues his enemies with relentless vigor, willing to bend any law to keep his country safe. But what if the greatest enemy is the enemy within? When Antigone returns from a long exile and tries to recruit her sister Ismene to her terrorist plot, will Ismene have the strength to resist? Should she?
Two women, five men, 90 minutes
Affordable Rates and Color TV
Kim has a problem. She can't stand life in the dreary hovel of Prescott Arizona, but her only way out is Scott, her over-bearing and unstable boyfriend. Complicating things, she has to figure out what to do with her family's motel, a shabby, dilapidated mess on the outskirts of town. She would let her mother handle the motel, but her mother is slowly decaying in one of the rooms. She can't stay or she will go stir crazy, but she can't leave because then she would be trapped in a pickup truck with someone who might actually be crazy. She decides to wait until her 18th birthday, when she will be the legal owner of the motel. Then she will decide what to do. When the play opens, that day is two weeks away. It's also prom night. Hilarity ensues.
Three men, three women, 70 minutes
Fire God Shows You The Ropes
This one act youth play, Fire God Shows You The Ropes puts a contemporary comic twist on the Greek myth of the world’s beginning. When Prometheus steals fire from the victorious, all-powerful--and quite frankly, pretty smug--gods and gives it to humanity, he unleashes both the wrath of the Olympians and humanity's power to create. As he encounters hardship, friendship, and dancing cows, the deposed titan might just learn how to be a better human being.
Fire God Shows You The Ropes is published by YouthPlays and can be ordered here.
10-16 performers, 25-35 minutes
Suitable for middle school and older.
Towards a Synchronic Historiography:
In Towards a Synchronic Historiography: An Introduction, what begins as a simple lecture in tribute to a late, great historian quickly becomes something more personal, and more strange. Louis Wagner is a respected, tenure-track history professor tasked with delivering a lecture explaining the work of his late colleague and friend, Edward Faust. Through the course of the lecture, we learn of their long standing friendship, rivalry, and professional collaboration. Wagner tells the story of the life of Eddie Faust, but he tells it very much from his perspective, a perspective clouded by equal parts adoration and jealousy. By the time Wagner tells of Eddie's eventual death in the woods of northern Maine, he has taken us on a journey of the mind and soul, a journey into unsolvable questions about man, God, and late twentieth century historiography of colonial America.
One man, 45 Minutes