A close-knit board game group meets for their weekly game night in Oberon's father's garage with an uncomfortable "game" on the menu: kick Dez out. Cleo does her best to manage everybody's feelings as Dez tries to bargain his way back into the group's sympathies, but tensions about identity politics are especially fraught for these liberal outsiders in suburban Maine in November 2016 — and the group teeters towards splintering entirely after Dez makes an especially bold power play.
Deal Me Out will be presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre from 13 February - 1 March, 2020.
The Usual Unusual is a scrappy and quaint bookstore where Boston's LGBTQ+ community has gathered to shop, organize, and flirt since the 70's. When the store's charismatic founder Pete announces his retirement, neurotic staff-member Charlie persuades him to pass leadership on, rather than close the store. Generational disputes about identity, community, and trauma arise as the staff-members advocate for competing visions for the store’s future. Attempting to unite a fractured community under one banner -- or just coordinating a weekly reading night -- leads to fraught and hilarious results.
The Usual Unusual was commissioned by SpeakEasy Stage, and will have a public reading on 21 June, 2019 featuring Steve Auger, Kelly Chick, Dylan Goodman, Krystal Hernandez, Jo Mercado, Hayley Spivey, John Tracey, and Debra Wise -- directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, with dramaturgy by Helen Lewis.
Drama - two women (Black and Asian), two men (White and mixed Hispanic/White).
Winner, 2016 Elliot Norton Award for "Outstanding New Script".
A career-launching prize is at stake, the winner's name sealed in an envelope. As a quartet of visual arts students prepare their graduate thesis exhibition, the gloves come off when one of them suggests that racial and gender identity will influence the prize committee's selection more than the merits of each artist's work.
"It's a topically fresh play of ideas, yes. But it's also a tightly wound drama..." - Boston Globe (link here)
"On the surface, the plot could easily become pedantic. However, Mr. Halberstadt's writing is taut and direct... he avoids excessive description and soliloquies and instead allows action to provide depth..." - Edge Media Network (link here)
"Sometimes the sign of good work is the discussions that follow the play, and like the Huntington's 'Disgraced' earlier this season, this one will leave you and your companions with something to talk about." - Events Insider (link here)
The Launch Prize was presented 3 - 20 March 2016 by Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston (link here) in Deane Hall at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion in the Boston Center for the Arts, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene, featuring Katharine Chen Lerner (Kim), Bari Robinson (Sebastian), John Tracey (Austin), and Angela K Thomas (Michelle).
Photos of the Bridge Rep production by Andrew Brilliant.
Comedy - six actors (gender-flexible) - 75 minutes
A ragtag troupe of six staffers from McMurdo Station in Antarctica offer a breakneck pageant covering 100+ years of milestones and mishaps in Antarctic history, including the first women to winter-over, an existential pair of abandoned sled dogs, the most unheroic explorer of the Heroic Age, and plenty more Antarctic stories you never knew you cared about. Amidst convoluted metaphors and obscure trivia, the team's impetus eventually emerges: to channel their passion for Antarctica into a call for shared stewardship of our planet.
(We Are) The Antarcticans was commissioned by Flat Earth Theatre and the Museum of Science as part of the Greenhouse Playlab in 2017—18. A reading at 7pm on May 20th, 2018 at the Democracy Center will feature Scot Colford, Josephine Moshiri Elwood, Kim Klasner, Kim MacCormack, Nick Osborne, and Chelsea Ruscio.
Dark comedy - two men, three women, one undefined gender. Unspecified racially diverse casting required.
Mommy and Daddy Patterson have raised Sonny and Daughtery to live a sheltered life, comforted by thoughts of storks delivering babies, Santa Claus and the all-too-obvious lie that they are not adopted. The perpetually-recycled soul of the family pets watches on as the family inches closer and closer to moral (and literal) bankruptcy and Daughtery challenges Mommy's answers to life's bigger questions. Oh, and then the house burns down.
"Your inner kid will get a nostalgic kick of innocence recalled, even as your inner adult smiles sheepishly in recognition of the sins and failings that mark, and mar, maturity." - Edge Media Network (link here)
"...a corrosive coming-of-age story, an evening that allows us to laugh and cringe at these little fictions we tell our loved ones." - Talkin' Broadway (link here)
That Time the House Burned Down was presented by Fresh Ink Theatre in April 2016 at Boston Playwrights' Theatre, directed by Stephanie LeBolt, featuring Karina Beleno Carney (Mommy), Scot Colford (Daddy), Ally Dawson (Daughtery) Lizzie Milanovich, (Karma), Marc Pierre (Sonny), and Noah Simes (And A Half).
Photos by Louise Hamill.
Family drama - three teenage boys (one is trans), one teenage girl.
When 19-year-old Devon Fleeter and his younger brothers flee from their parents, who have been punishing the boys' allegiance to middle child Joshua's gender transition, they find sanctuary in an off-the-grid apartment far from "home". They find that safety is not without its own challenges, and confront the growing pains that come with learning what it means to be a man.
"Riveting... urgent... [the play] displays an impressive sense of theatrical direction pusuing empowerment for the trans community." - Boston Theatre Wings (link here)
"Moving and thought provoking..." - White Rhino Report (link here)
"...a family drama that's marked by sadness and anxiety, elevated by poignance, and enlivened by rough-housing humor." - Edge Media Network (link here)
Boston Teen Acting Troupe presented i don't know where we're going but i promise we're lost 30 July - 16 August, 2015. The production was directed by Jack Serio and features Brian Ott (Devon), Aaron Piracini (Josh), Alec Shiman (Ty) and Emily White (Annie). Original "beermelon" music was composed and performed by Covey.
Photos by Jen Myronuk.
Dark comedy - gender-nonspecific speaking roles for sixteen and a small ensemble.
Chaos ensues at the Zuzzolo Zoo when Brutus, the zoo's most entertaining primate, puts on an unusual show for his guests. The Primate Specialist struggles to preserve the health and safety of her chimp companion, while the rest of the staff and visitors stand by and...watch.
Brute was performed at Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA from 7 - 9 November, directed by Arlynn Polletta with the following cast (in order of appearance): Nina Lubeck, Jenn Vargas, Nick Laezza, Lydia Umholtz, Max Kelly, Luke Caruso, Lydia McGinn, Martina Rethman, Hannah Voteur, Andrew Coughlin, Sarah Netland, Muna Abdulle, Leorah Wood, Rachel Fonseca, Emily Whalen, Alexis Lynch, Cady Netland, Ani Pula, Ilana Mack, Rachel Trowbridge, Joel Fernandez, Henry Shcarfe.
Dark comedy - two women, one man.
In the wake of their mother's death, Jenny and Not Jenny reunite after thirteen years of estrangement. The twin sisters navigate the fraught ancient history they share and the murky recent pasts they don't share- which only becomes more complicated when they are joined by their younger brother Jimmy who has more than a few grudges to bear and secrets to spoil.
“…a dark comedy whose characters might feel at home in a play by Edward Albee or Tracy Letts… the dialogue is heavy with sarcasm and cutting remarks and light on warmth.” - Broadway World
"funny and poignant" - Boston Events Insider
"intense, intimate and beautifully acted" - Boston Arts Diary
not Jenny was presented by Bridge Rep of Boston from Dec 6 - 15 in Deane Hall at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. The production is directed by Rebecca Bradshaw and featured Adam Lauver (Jimmy), Amie Lytle (Jenny) and Philana Mia (Not Jenny).
not Jenny was presented as a workshop as part of Room to Live Plays at Boston University in August 2012. The workshop was directed by Hondo Weiss-Richmond and featured Melissa Carter (Jenny), Jesse Garlick (Jimmy) and Antonia Lassar (Not Jenny).
Dark comedy - two men (Black and White), one woman.
Benny and his widowed grandmother Constance enjoy a placid living arrangement together until he brings home Darius, a one-night-stand he meets online. When Darius introduces himself to Constance under false pretenses, Benny is forced to face his own insecurities and risk losing the little family he has left.
My Grandson the Power Bottom was presented as a staged reading by Fresh Ink Theatre in September 2013. The reading was directed by Sarah Gazdowicz and featured Tyler Catanella (Jamie), Cheryl McMahon (Constance) and Jöan Mejía (Darius).
Comedy - two women.
Attempting to put an uncomfortable history behind her, Cali retreats to an igloo in Marie Byrd Land, the unclaimed wedge of Antarctica, and devotes herself to a mysterious research project. Cali's bubble is burst when her sister Zara inexplicably swims to the ice, begging her to return. Their argument (literally) snowballs as they unearth more and more layers of their relationship. A fast-paced and whimsical two-hander, the play marries comedy and theatre, and imagination with activism.
Request the full script, rights, or a Boston or New York-area performance by contacting me! View a trailer here.
A 35-minute excerpt was presented in the Arctic Group 1st New York International FRIDGE Festival in September 2017 in New York, NY, directed by Christian Amato, with Allyson Condrath (Zara) and Lauren T. Mack (Cali).
A 10-minute excerpt was presented at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston as part of the Greenovate Boston forum in May 2017, directed by the playwright, with Amie Lytle (Zara) and Gigi Watson (Cali).
Dark comedy - one woman.
Peggy indulges a laundry list of grievances in a series of unlikely and explicit analogies as she presents a lesson to her sixth-grade math class, played by the unwitting audience.
"Peggy's Properties" was a regional semi-finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region 1 Festival in Fitchburg, MA. A reading was presented, directed by Gregg Henry and featuring Liisa Yonker (Peggy).
"Peggy's Properties" has been presented with Boston Playwrights' Theatre in Boston, MA (directed by Jeff Mosser and performed by Obehi Janice), The Brick in Brooklyn, NY (performed by Kirin McCrory), StrangeDog Theatre in Montclair, NJ (directed by Brendon Votipka and performed by Allyson Condrath) and tea in a big mug productions in New York, NY (directed by Mickey Lee Nelson and performed by Samantha Steinmetz).
The “Placid Purlers” spread out across a museum to talk about their knitting group, recruit new members, and provide 5-minute knitting lessons. Before long, their varied strategies for keeping calm during complicated times collide.
Attend the MFA Late Nites on October 19th (at mfa.org), find the knitting characters, and eavesdrop on their conversations! Begin anywhere, follow any character, leave and return as you wish — scenes occur simultaneously in different locations, and loop every 15 minutes!
“Hardly Soft” is an immersive play commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, and features Dylan Goodman (Tommy), Ben Heath (Sal), Kim Klasner (Ula), Kim MacCormack (Quinn), Chelsea Ruscio (Doreen), and Grace Trapnell (Christy).
Dylan Goodman (he/him/his) is a union organizer by day and an actor by night. He is a proud alum of Davison College and the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN) for Justice Fellowship. On and off the stage, he builds community through the power of storytelling and collective action. Boston theatre credit: The Ghost Sonata (Bengtsson), Fort Point Theatre Channel. New York theatre credits: Body Maps (deviser/performer), Dixon Place; Not for Resale (unicorn ensemble), Dixon Place. He is deeply grateful to his whole family—both inherited and chosen.
Ben Heath is an actor and fight choreographer. He graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Acting. Recent area credits include Rick in Six Degrees of Separation (Bad Habit Productions), Guiderius in Cymbeline (Brown Box Theatre Project), and Horatio in Hamlet (Brown Box Theatre Project).
Kim Klasner is excited to take part in HARDLY SOFT. Some of her recent credits include WINTER PANTO: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (imaginary beasts), A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY (Flat Earth Theatre), PEERLESS (Company One), MISS PENITENTIARY (Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company), and LANGUAGE OF ANGELS (Happy Medium Theatre).
Kimberly MacCormack is beyond thrilled to collaborate with MJ on another immersive play, after last November's One Last Ride: A Car Play at MIT Hacking Arts (Olivia)! Kim holds a B.A. in Theater Studies from Emerson College and is a proud troupe member of True Story Theater. Some favorite past credits include: Mary in How the Other Half Loves (Hovey), Four in (We Are) The Antarticans! (Flat Earth Theatre), Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (EVVY Award Winner: Best Leading Actress), and Sylvia in The Pride (RareWorks Theater Company.) Upcoming: Nell/Jeanine/Patient Griselda in Ghost Light Player's Top Girls. Let's do this thing!
Chelsea Ruscio loves being a part of curious theater endeavors. She’s been in plays in cars and plays in people’s living rooms so naturally she was down to be in a play in a museum. If you have ever taken a Freedom Trail tour you may have seen her dressed in colonial garb and if you have children you may have seen her appear as DW at the Boston’s Children Museum. In September she embarked on an exciting new adventure teaching math and social studies to 5th graders. She lives in South Boston with her very strange corgi and her delightful husband.
Grace Trapnell is thrilled to be taking part in Hardly Soft ! Recent regional credits include Gay Shorts (Open Theatre Project), Wit (Hub Theatre), Julius Caesar (Praxis Stage), and Love’s Labor’s Lost, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CSC). She will be appearing in Boston Theater Company’s Move Your Face at BPT this spring, and is a Core Member of Artists' Theater of Boston. Grace hails from Charlottesville, Virginia, and holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Vermont. Many thanks to MJ and the rest of the fabulous cast!
Three audience members at a time are led into the backseat of a car, where two characters sit up front and take them for a (literal) ride — sometimes with and sometimes without a “fourth wall”. These short plays are being mounted all around the greater Boston area, produced by Nicholas Medvescek.
"One Last Ride" was presented as part of MIT's Hacking Arts Festival on 12 November 2017, featuring Kim MacCormack, Michael Ciszewski, Ben Heath, Tonasia Jones, Kim Klasner, and Audrey Seraphin.
"Me Monster" was presented in Jamaica Plain on 14 February 2016, featuring Michael Ciszewski and Ben Heath.
"Triple Word Score" was presented in Harvard Square on 26 January 2016, featuring Rachel Belleman and Tonasia Jones.
"Teddy" was presented on 13 December 2015, featuring Will Madden and Chelsea Ruscio.