From my body of non-narrative fiction, an honor roll of my favorite work that never made it to an audience:
My Juliet. Life is art for three generations of an acting family cast in a production of Romeo and Juliet. Fabulous parts for a maiden, a mother and a 70 year old scene stealer. My Juliet was my last stage play, by which I mean my final stage play. If you write a 90 minute no-intermission bare-stage 4 actor play that is loved by every dramaturg who reads it loves it and you still can’t get so much as a staged reading, there’s really no point in continuing to write plays!
Spellchecker (a screenplay). The true story of the fairy godmothers in Sleeping Beauty. I know, I know. Fairy tales are sooo hot! Well, they weren’t when I wrote this. Too bad, because it’s charming as hell. Funny story about this one: a film producer I knew at the time asked me to email her a copy, then refused to open the file because she thought the title made it sound like a computer virus.
George Bailey, Won’t You Please Phone Home. Five couples—strangers—at a weekend house, waiting for the only person they have in common. Everyone has a secret. Imagine Waiting for Godot meets The Big Chill. I envisioned a long run (Off-Broadway, transferring to Broadway), with a rotating cast of celebrities who were looking for a taste of stage work without a long commitment and audiences who would go multiple times to catch their favorite stars, followed by a deal with HBO for an adult dramedy. Such stuff as dreams are made on.
Moonshine and Lion Are Left. Subtitled “Shakespeare Held Hostage.” Written more than a decade before the US declared war on terrorism, Moonshine is the story of an international production (large multi-cultural cast) of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the moon (stage must have flies and a trap), which is highjacked by a terrorist kidnapping. Art, terrorism and a love story. Yet not a single Shakespeare festival in the US or Canada was remotely interested.
Sonny’s War. A New York family burdened by its own mythology. In retrospect, it reads like bad Wendy Wasserstein. Or Nicky Silver, or Jon Robin Baitz, or… You get my drift! I list it here because, with all its flaws, it got an unusual number of encouraging responses. In fact, it’s the only play of mine that got an encouraging (please submit more) turn-down from the O’Neill.
A L’Auberge Goutte de Rosee (At the Dewdrop Inn). In what I hoped was a sincere form of flattery, theatrical mash-up that envisioned what might happen if one of Tennessee Williams’ Southern Gothic families met up with the family from Long Day’s Journey Into Night (more or less) and, eventually, characters out of a Neil Simon rep company. The exception to the “made it to an audience” comment at the top of this page. “Dewdrop” did have a staged reading in Johannesburg, by Kultcha Klub, thereby establishing my claim to being an internationally-known playwright.