Support   |    Contact Us   |    MEMBERSHIP
Notes from the Crackerbarrel
What we do / History
Who we are
Newsletter (.pdf)
Source Material
New Play Synopses

Join Our Mailing List

For Email Marketing you can trust

New Play Synopses

In its first year, America-in-Play commissioned 16 playwrights to write ten-minute plays inspired by the works of America's earliest dramatists.

The Cheechako Treatment by Deborah Brevoort: The Cheeckako Treatment dramatizes a favorite Alaskan pastime which involves scaring visitors with bear stories and preying on their ignorance of Alaska. The play was inspired by Royall Tyler's The Contrast (1787) and a minstrel show skit called The Colored Senators.

Farmer's Quartette by Erin Browne: Farmer's Quartette is inspired by and borrowed from Denman Thompson's Old Homestead (1887). It's an intertwined story of four generations of American farmers and the struggles that bring them closer to and further from the love of the land.

Argue the Ocean by Erin Courtney: Inspired by James A. Herne's Shore Acres (1892) and Oliver Durivage's Stage-Struck Yankee (1840).

Extreme Makeover (a.k.a. Just Folks) by Lawrence DuKore: Young George, recently out of Yale, decked out in blue blazer, gray flannels, and white bucks, visits Young Laura's ranch in Central Texas. She will rid him of his Eastern establishment, preppy ways and remake him as "Just Folks" so that he will become a major political player on the national level. Young Laura discovers that Young George is ready, willing, and able to play that game.

the orchard, the handkerchief, and the carbon copyists by Stephanie Fleischmann: As an actress acts out a play-about a long lost peach orchard, a long lost daughter, and a couple of girl thugs-an unruly chorus of carbon copyists co-opts the narrative, and the producer's white handkerchief waves at the most inopportune moments. Inspired by Turn to the Right by Winchell Smith (1916).

Collette Duval by P.J. Gibson: A play about identity and disclosure. Inspired by The Escape: or, A Leap for Freedom by William Wells Brown (1858), Turn to the Right! by Winchell Smith and John E. Hazzard, and Within the Law (1917) by Bayard Veiller, and personage of Mary Ellen Pleasant, circa 1814-1904.

Falutin by C.S. Hanson: In a comedy inspired by Cornelius Logan's The Vermont Wool-Dealer (1838), a flutist and trombonist discover whether love can overcome an orchestral divide. Falutin is a modern twist on the city-versus-country theme that was frequently explored in early American dramas.

Lion of the Eas by Les Hunter: The play loosely adapts James K. Paulding's satiric classic Lion of the West in the modern-day Middle East. "East" transposes the iconic "Nimrod Wildfire" (or Davy Crockett) character into a darker, swaggering American Lieutenant who attempts to sway a local leader into allowing a "round-up" of villagers for questioning. By doing so the piece questions the lineage and the contemporary ramifications of this well-known American trope.

The Next Big Thing by Jenny Levison: Mrs. Tiffany is an urban socialite who always wants the next big thing-and this time what she wants is an African baby-because after all, they're all the rage. When her pregnant teenage niece shows up from rural Maine hoping to find an urban socialite to adopt her baby, we discover that nobody is who they say they are, and often, nobody wants what they say they want. Comedy, inspired by Fashion (1845) by Anna Cora Mowatt.

Falderal by Quincy Long: With a nod to minstrelsy, a bow to burlesque, and a wave at post-modern pastiche, Falderal recalls that famous moment in the American Revolutionary War when the armies of General Washington and his opposite, General Howe, took to the stage instead of the battlefield. Gauntlets are thrown down. Talents are tested. The fate of nations is sealed. And all in ten minutes. Or maybe eleven.

Over the Garden Wall by Ruth Margraff: A drawing-room theatrical inspired by Jonathan Postfree or the Honest Yankee by L. Beach (1807), Under the Gaslight by Augustin Daly (1867), The Stage-Struck Yankee (1840) by Oliver Durivage, and Virginia minstrels' "Ole Dan Tucker."

Deleted Scenes from the Love of John Smith and Pocahontas by David Myers: A Romeo and Juliet for early America, the love story of John Smith and Pocahontas is full of sex, fame, and death. This play looks at what first brought the two together and what keeps them united forever.

Literal Lineage with some ROOTS by Dominic Taylor: Maria Stewart, African-American abolitionist, is confronted by Glen, a character from the Escape; or a Leap to Freedom (1858) by William Wells Brown; the fictional Glen wants the real Maria to leave America and go to Canada.

Banana and Booh in SECURITY by Susan Tenneriello: This play celebrates comic duos and wacky Yankee storytellers with a discordant twist. This quirky pair are cast offs, contemporary archetypes derived from nineteenth-century Yankee storytellers. The play shares characteristics with these wide-eyed, spirited journeymen, whose itinerant adventures became the mythos of a national character. Banana and Booh (the wanderer and the hero) embody our historical landscape. Banana has her own idiom, a contemporary logic, which is my attempt to recast for the theatre a heightened, poetic language in order to tell the stories of our times.

Onkel Toms Hutte by Anne Washburn: Foreigners become Americans by finding Americans foreign.

Waiting for Minstrel by Gary Winter: A play inspired by the minstrel show, with modern tendencies, relevancies, ideologies.

Copyright © 2007 America-in-Play dramaturgical project brought to you by Lynn M. Thomson. All Rights Reserved.