Carl Rich Playwright

A playwright is one who creates a dramatic reflection of reality.

A Grief of Mind

A Tragedy in Two Acts

Time

The Present

Place

A horse ranch in the American Southwest

A play about lies

The lies we live by

The lies we tell others

The lies we tell ourselve

...fanatic belief

And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith...Which was a Grief of Mind... Gen. 26:34-35

At the edge of the Southwestern desert, Jacob struggles to hatch his fathers utopian paradise, battling his rebellious brother Esau, who for twenty years has blocked that dream by refusing to take his place as leader of the community.

Suddenly, Esau appears with Judith, a beautiful single-minded woman and her stunning daughter, Esther, and announces his intention to take control. But, Leah, Esau’s wife (who Jacob has always loved) has a secret that will give Jacob the leadership. But, Jacob is unaware that Esau has discovered the truth about their father.

Judith’s vitality and Esther’s coyness are a threat that can change their lives forever.

Unfortunately, no one is paying any attention to the canny Joseph.

The conflicts mount, revealing a series of surprises that explode into an unforgettable climax.

A Grief of Mind Cast

Eight Unforgettable Characters

JOSEPH, charismatic (like his Biblical counterpart), able to turn disaster into personal gain, separated from his real father not by distance but by death, he lives in paternal slavery. Unlike his brothers, he is street-wise and adroit at getting his way through every means available. Unlike Joseph of old, he is no dreamer, but knows that in the end the inheritance, and Esther will all be his.

ESTHER, bursting with sexual vitality and the necessary feigned innocence, arrives at the ranch with her mother to challenge the family’s mores. She is Joseph’s future and a last chance for a lost dream for both Jacob and Esau.

ESAU, as a boy loved his father as a “man” and not as the saint his father professed to be. He betrays his birthright by yielding to his thirst for truth. Unreconciled with his father when he died, he stays—torn between his love for his father and his need to escape. Esau returns from a trip to the city with Esther and Judith, and a secret plan that will bring about a final resolution and reconciliation.

LEAH, Esau’s wife of twenty years, panics when Esau returns. She is the sole keeper of a secret known only to her and Esau’s dead father, a secret that Judith’s presence will force her to reveal, a secret that will at last bring Jacob to her bed for whom she has waited on Esau’s many absences only to cry herself to sleep.

JACOB, unlike Joseph, is a sufferer who must fight for his place, losing his personal happiness in the process. He is a man to whom everything comes hard and belatedly. Jacob and Leah in a moment of human weakness consummated their love as teenagers and have lived celibately as man and wife under Esau’s nose, “talking with their eyes.” Jacob has wrestled with God day and night for over twenty years, each day proving again to himself his own piety and the validity of his father’s theology. Jacob is not as lucky as the Biblical Jacob in stealing the blessing from his brother. He must manage the sect his father founded while his backsliding brother sits with his nose in a book. Then Judith, as if by divine intervention, arrives to break his long fast and spread before him a table over-flowing to sate his passions.

JUDITH, bold and tenacious as Tamar in Genesis 38, interjects herself into the blessing, not just to be a partaker but the fountainhead of all who will carry the blessing into the future. Frustrated to be the bearer of the blessing by Esau, just as Tamar was by Judah’s sons, she seduces Jacob using Esther as a plum. Knowing that she is the future, Judith will not accept defeat from any quarter. She has absolute insight into Jacob, and with self-confident single-mindedness, brings him to execute a plan that will destroy Esau and his plan, and give Jacob absolute power while easily deceiving the sheriff.

THE SHERIFF, knows that truth and justice are as elusive as a desert mirage.

BROTHER GOODMAN must have some cause to give meaning to his life, a cause that will make him part of an elite (that will save the world) and bury his feelings of guilt.

Plus, one ghost from the past.

THE FATHER, long dead, still inhabits the ranch house. His large portrait hangs on the wall behind the big table, offset by a cabinet that holds its own secrets, and three large hooks made from bullhorns, all made by his skilled hands.

Quote From: A Grief of Mind

Leah: "There's smoldering going on here Jacob. You and me, we've been smoldering for over twenty years. Now we are free. "

Miss Bonnie Belle

A Modern Fairytale Comedy in Two Acts

TIME

Early 1950'S

PLACE

Hometown USA

About

Self-discovery

The course of true love never did run smooth (Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Act 1, Scene 2)

Will Art Martin, our male Cinderella beat the wicked scheming of his foes that are joyfully planning to sink him. Will he get the girl and reveal his potential, by risking everything? In this contemporary fairytale, as in all fairytales there is more truth then fiction.

Miss Bonnie Belle Cast

Art Martin - A college senior drama major about to graduate

Julie Broskie - His "beauty queen girlfriend"

Peter Broskie - Her wealthy self made social climbing father

Grace Broskie - His blue blood wife

Don Prince - Art's best friend

Kathy Broskie - Don's girlfriend and Julie's cousin

Sanford Cunningham - Lawyer and leader of the local establishment

Trevor Cunningham - His playboy son

Sally Brogenwitch - Trevor's secret girlfriend

Blanche - A theatre costume and wig maker

Professor Hansen - A political Science Professor

Gino - A private eye

Connie and Lynn - Local radio announcers

Bit Roles: Cabby, Socialite, Socialite'sm Daughter, Custodian, Clerk, Blond, Girl on Blanket, Man #1, Man #2, Voice of MC, Voice of Contestant, Little Girl

The following roles can be combined: Gino & Man #2 - Connie & Socialite - Lynn & Man #2 - Custodian, Cabby & Voice of MC - Blond, Socialit's Daughter, Clerk, Girl on Blanket & Voice of Contestant

Quote from: Miss Bonnie Belle

Art: "yes... there is no one here. You're right. There is no one here. No one but, Leslie Art Martin!"

Trial

A Tragedy in Two Acts

Time

Summer Morning Late 1920's

Place

The main room in a middle class home in a happy town on the main railroad line somewhere in the inter-mountain west.

About

Veracity

...visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation... Exodus 20:5

Teenage sisters Annie and Betsy are unaware that in their home the family skeletons are not in a closet, but in their grandmothers old trunk. Accidentally, their fiddling with the trunk brings them to the brink of a teenage disaster, which they escape by the skin-of-their-teeth, by engaging in girlish tomfoolery. Unfortunately, their mother, and Aunt Ora, who surreptitiously arrived to try to bury the skeletons forever, discover that a Trial of the past has created for them a "Trial" from which they can never escape.

Trial Cast

Leah - A housewife in her thirties

Annie - Her sixteen year-old daughter

Betsy - Annie's fourteen year-old sister

Aunt Ora - The girls great aunt (mid-sixties

John D. Lee - On trial, sixty-five years old

Samuel Knight - Prosecution witness, in his late fifties

Nephi Johnson - Prosecution witness in his late forties

Jacob Hamelin - Prosecution witness in his seventies

Quote From Trial

Annie: "My hearts been in my mouth all day. Now! No one will ever know what really happened."

Gilgamesh

A Play in Act Based on the Ancient Sumerian Epic

Time

Today and 2000 BCE

Place

A small evangelical church that is about to be disbanded and Sumeria

About

Being

My joy is death- Death, at whose name I oft have been afeard, Because I wish'd this world's eternity. (Shakespeare: Henry VI, Part 2: Act 2, Scene 4)

An evangelical minister tells his flock, which is about to be disbanded, and us, the Epic of Gilgamesh.

A story about, Gilgamesh, a powerful, accomplished and unequaled king, who is restless and fears he will be forgotten after he dies and is driven to do a heroic deed that will never be forgotten but runs up against a god who fears that man’s restlessness will lead to the gods being forgotten and who wants to keep man fearful by humbling Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh who is now alone and fearful of death is forced to use all his physical prowess and stubbornness in order to defeat the god who is forced to use the furies of nature and persecution in order to defeat Gilgamesh.

In the end, Gilgamesh who is now certain to die decides to use wisdom and reason in order to finally defeat the god.

Gilgamesh learns that the joy of living is in the struggle and that death gives meaning to life.

Gilgamesh Cast

Utnapishtim - Storyteller and survivor of the deluge

Gilgamesh - King of Urik

Enkidu - Man of the wild

Ishtar - Goddess of the city of Urik

Shamhat - A Harlot

Shamash - The sun god

Humbaba - The rogue of the forest

Hunter

The Barmaid

Utnapishtim's Wife

The Guide

Ingenue

Chorus - Mimimum of four. All the other actors except Utnapishtim join the chorus when they are not wearing a mask playing a part. The. Play can be performed with as few as six and as many as sixteen or more cast members. The play is written for the blackbox theatre.

Quote From Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh: "Youth is never plain."

Circus

A Short One Act Tragedy

Time

Late evening 1944 and May 7, 1945

Place

Hometown USA

About

Folly

Kitchen in a small house and the Front Line in Germany

I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all lmoonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell. (William Tecumseh Sherman)

Roy a "gung ho" young father determined not to miss out on the biggest event of the 20th Century - misses out.

Circus Cast

Roy - A twent-five year old laborer

Karen - His wife

Captain - A thirty-year-old officer

Sgt. Porter - A twenty-five-old NCO

First GI - A twenty-year-old soldier

Second GI - A eighteen-year-old soldier

Quote from: Circus

Stg. Porter: "Damn...! Anybody know his name?"

Friendly Divorce

A Short One Act Comedy

Time

The present

Place

A conference room in the courthouse

About

Compromise

Marriage is a matter of more worth Than to be dealt in by attorneyship. (Shakespeare: 1Henry VI 5.5.50-1)

Quentin and Harmony are passionately in love and happily married in a marriage where there is no compromise. An unfortunate incident has forced them to get divorced, so that they can live together and compromise.

Friendly Divorce Cast

Mr. Stone - A No-fault Divorce Referee

Quentin - An Accountant

Harmony - His Wife

Quote from: Friendly Divorce

Harmony: "oh, I know everyone says a good marriage is based on compromise - what nonsense. When two people compromise, what have you got? Two unhappy people who never get what they really want because they always compromise. It's the death of marriage. But, if they don't compromise, that means they each get what they want some of the time. So, instead of being unhappy all the time, both get to be happy some of the time."

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Carl Rich, playwright - stgtheatre@gmail.com

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