In 2008, I managed a black-box theatre and rehearsal space just off of Times Square. A bit more on that can be found in an earlier post.
One of the things I just failed to launch was one evening a week where our resident ensemble performed an hour of original short plays and vignettes. “Slice of life in NYC” sort of thing. Short, punchy, experimental stuff. I had written a number of short pieces to try out in the first evening, and would have been joined by some other writer friends of mine in time had it been successful. I wanted to call it Express Stops.
Unfortunately, we shut things down that winter and I departed for South Korea where I taught at a university and was a radio personality for the next year. I’ve never been back to work in NYC since then.
As an undergraduate art student just outside of Chicago, I had often gone to see The Neo-Futurists perform their Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind show, which just closed this past December after a 28-year run making it the longest running show ever in Chicago. Impressive.
The structure of the TMLMTBGB show was 30 short plays written and directed by the ensemble and performed in 60-minutes. Some plays were recycled, others were taken out of the running over time, and new content was always being introduced. Typically the plays were a combination of autobiography and performance art that made for an entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking evening. I think subconsciously I was channeling something of that structure and intent in what I had planned for Express Stops.
I’ve always appreciated performances that nailed the 60-minute mark. To me, it seems the perfect length for writers, performers, and audience. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen was SITI Company’s War of the Worlds – The Radio Play, which was only an hour long, but in my experience much longer.
Anyhow, below are some of those original short scripts I wrote back in 2008, never performed at the time. Some of them were near-transcriptions of life around me… on the streets, platforms, and other spaces of that great city I called home for a brief window.
(Note: If anyone wishes to use any of the scripts posted here for performance, please do! Just drop me a line to let me know they actually getting some use, and I’d appreciate being acknowledged in some way if the production is more substantial than scene-study work.)