Synopses of work

Novels

Against That Day

Against That Day explores how different kinds of love—marital love, familial love, therapeutic love—can be pushed into overdrive by a startling series of events. A marriage of 32 years is threatened when the wife is diagnosed with recurrent ovarian cancer and inexplicably flees her family and home. For her husband William, a trained psychologist, the question is why did she leave, and what can or should he do now?

Full-Length Plays

"Collateral Needs Tending"
(formerly “Inside Out”)

In this full-length drama, a defense attorney and a psychiatrist retained as an expert witness debate the viability of the insanity defense for a serial arsonist who targets gun shops.

“The Lion’s Den”

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“The Lion’s Den” focuses in on one evening in the Ryder home--one particularly fierce battle an Iraq veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome is willing to wage against his wife and young teenage son.

Following an Army reunion earlier that day, Daniel’s “ghost” is stirred and in a series of angry confrontations, eventually comes up against his wife’s very firm beliefs, formed and confirmed by faith in a Christian “God”. A meta-battle takes shape between these two powerful yet invisible entities for dominance in the Ryder household. For a video excerpt please click here.

“Eshon Ayin: (The Little Man In the Eye)”

After their daughter shoots her Israeli-born husband and he goes missing, an American couple set out to find out the reasons this incident occurred. What they find out will test their previously-held views as Jews, Americans, and finally, parents.

Eshon Ayin (The Little Man In the Eye) explores the ramifications of post traumatic stress syndrome on a member of the current Israeli population, and alternately, through the course of 20th century history, the lingering and epidemic tremors of PTSD on generations of various populations.

“Tumbling Through” ("Wisconsin Verse: Vol. 112" online, fall 2013)

“Tumbling Through” (previously titled: “The Promise of Trees”) is a verse play which explores how living with Alzheimer’s disease changes long-held perspectives in a marriage for both partners. As a playwright, I found that I could best wrestle with the tragedy of this disease which robs sufferers of language by highlighting the formal beauty and framework of traditional language wherever I could.

“A Meeting In Marburg”

Based on an odd historical truth, the famed storyteller Jacob Grimm and the infamous Butcher of Lyon Klaus Barbie occupied the same flat in Marburg, Germany in different generations. In this fantastical play, Barbie and the “ghost” of Jacob Grimm come together in the Marburg flat to debate and explore the meanings of “evil”, “deprivation” and “manipulation”, as laid out in both of their careers and personal lives.

10-minutes Plays

“POW”

As a man and his wife prepares to mark the grim anniversary of his brother’s disappearance in Vietnam, they receive a surprising gift in the mail from a stranger—a P.O.W. bracelet.

“The Right Side of Shame”

The Right Side of Shame brings us to a hospital room where a patient lost in the last stages of dementia, her visiting sister, and also the nurse tending to her charge, are all revealed as suffering from unbearable and non-ending mental pain. But Nurse O’Maere has her own way of coping with the shameful way people treat one another, and she reveals her philosophy by spelling out the rules of a “game” she’s devised—a game where the winners can never be truly known.

“THISCLOSE”

Two teenage boys, lifelong friends facing their last year in high school, come to realize their respective futures promise a definitive break. Yet making that break proves a dangerous business for all concerned.

“Four Corners, Six Sides” (“Crawdad” literary magazine 2006)

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Four Corners, Six Sides uncovers the ugly secrets of a family hidden in their Chicago garage one hot summer day. When a couple and their two teenage sons clean out the garage to make space for a car, the mom unpacks a box which contains dozens of photographs of young girls in semi-nude or nude poses. The father of this family, Roy, a longtime traveling salesman is soon exposed as the photographer of this odd collection and what proceeds is a round-about of apologies, regrets and accusations that threaten to “box” each member of this dysfunctional family in from all sides with no easy escape.

Monologues (Published)

“Geraldine” (Stage This! Volume 3: Monologues and Short Plays, 2009)

stagethis

An African-American woman speaks to her pastor about the joys of working for a Jewish family in Milwaukee as their Shabbos goy. She also tells of the worries she carries from their home to her own after this weekend work, and how sometimes it can be a struggle to find a sliver of God’s peace in a tougher, less peaceful, place.

 

 

 

 

“What I Sold To Make The Holidays Bright” (Mothers & Daughters, Vol. 3
Mid-Life Catharsis, 2010
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mothersdaughtersA mother reveals to her therapist the shame she feels when taking so-called “innocent” pictures of her “tween” daughter for Christmas cards and unexpectedly bringing up hints of the girl’s sexuality, ready to bloom—yet developing the portraits anyway.

 

 

 

 

Short Stories (Published)

"Hilde's Son, The Rabbi" (Puzzles of Faith and Patterns Of Doubt 2013)

A rabbi struggles with conflicted feelings for his mother, who challenged many of her son's religious views for years. Now with her death, he finally finds himself ready to answer her, if only in unusual and non-traditional ways.

"When That Most Glamorous Hydra In A Wig Shows Up At Your Door"
("Plum Hamptons", summer 2011)

In this humorous piece, a couple struggles with the husband's decades-old fetish.

“Thanksgiving” (“Lilith” magazine, fall 2008)

A Jewish woman, recently widowed and lacking family and friends near, struggles with the problem of attracting enough people to her home for a minyan, a gathering of people in prayer, on the first night of mourning after the burial. Coincidentally, the evening falls on Thanksgiving and others she might count on will be elsewhere.

“Sentries” (In Our Own Words: Vol. 8, 2010)

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A young boy growing up in the 1960s is troubled not only by the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy, but also by the fact that two people who came out to see his funeral cortege pass by on the train tracks were accidentally killed. The idea that their lives should end for the act of merely coming out to honor another, haunts him inexplicably.

“All Those Angels’ Wings, Beating Round” (“Thema” magazine, summer 2010)

A newly-hired college professor has an uncomfortable, if humorous, meet-and-greet with the university’s dean and his wife at their home, as she reveals her pregnant self and he reveals his own pained discomfort with that fact.

“The Art of Scavenging” (“Crawdad” Literary Annual, 2007)

In this fantastical piece, a shopkeeper runs a scavenging shop—a place where customers comb bare shelves to somehow find their “best memories” brought to life once again and available for purchase. The shopkeeper is visited by a blind man and together, they explore the challenge of sifting through and holding onto meaningful encounters in life.

"Baby Steps" ("Third Wednesday", summer 2010)

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A pregnant woman finds herself stranded on her neighbor's roof: how far down, how safe?

Creative Nonfiction

"Digging"

A short essay exploring the rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile.