At the Royal Ginkgo Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, college student Alice Holmes waits to be reunited with her mysterious birth mother. Alice never told her adoptive mother in New Hampshire, Madeleine, that she was leaving her summer internship for this life-changing journey. Madeleine, of course, arrives determined to bring her baby home (a second time). The hotel is also the venue for an international botany conference on invasive species—which is being protested by the eco-radical group Pangaea Liberation Front. Botanist organizer Edgar Nunby is trying desperately to salvage the event from political disaster. Soon Alice is suspected by the hotel’s security chief of being a mole, the Pakistani-British concierge is making money on the side dealing pot, and the whole situation threatens to spiral into chaos. Otherland is a serious farce about roots, adoption, and how we must create our belonging. The play was commissioned and developed by Gingold Theatrical Group.
Fear of Art (2016)
These are six one-act plays and monologues that I began separately before realizing they were related in theme, if not in character or plot. As I put them in logical order and started editing (or in some cases, finishing) them, I found deeper connections among the various worlds. I started getting excited by the scope: whipping from Ancient Greece to the dystopian future; slapstick comedy giving way to hints of existential terror; totalitarian regimes leading to PC college anarchy; and a long arc from Aristotle getting kicked in the nuts to America’s first female president embroiled in a sex scandal. In iambic pentameter.
Three Way (2017)
Sex and the City meets Black Mirror: This trio of one-act operas with music by Robert Paterson imagines the present and future of sex and love. Three Way unfolds in three playful one-acts, with average heroes exploring the worlds of android lovers, BDSM and multiple partners in their search for the ever-elusive emotional connections in today’s romantic world. The Nashville and NYC premieres were directed by Nashville Opera’s John Hoomes, with music direction by Dean Williamson. The three acts are: The Companion, Safe Word and Masquerade. The opera's world premiere was co-produced by American Opera Projects and Nashville Opera.
The Scarlet Ibis (2015)
Music by Stefan Weisman. Based on the 1960 story by James Hurst, The Scarlet Ibis is an opera in thirteen scenes about brotherhood, empathy and the wonder and mystery of nature. It’s set in rural North Carolina, a century ago. When he was born, Doodle wasn’t expected to live. But he does. The family looks after Doodle as best they can. Doodle may not be able to walk, but he loves to read and is very chatty. Brother lugs him around in a red wagon that Father builds. One summer, when Doodle is five and Brother eleven, Brother decides that enough is enough: He will teach Doodle how to walk. After much painful struggle, Doodle finds that he can stand and walk. One summer day, a red tropical bird—a scarlet ibis—appears in the “bleeding tree” by the house, and nothing is the same. World premiere at HERE in the PROTOTYPE festival.
An opera in one act with music by Stefan Weisman. A wealthy middle-aged couple arrives in the living room of their summer country house, located in a secluded spot in the mountains. It is their first day there and the sun is setting over a lake. There’s a Housekeeper there, with whom the husband flirts as he drains drink after drink. The wife complains about the wastefulness of the mansion. The husband complains about the poor cell phone reception. Suddenly, there is a blackout. The only light is the faint final glimmer on the horizon. Will the power come back? Fade was commissioned by the U.K.’s Second Movement and had its world premiere at Hoxton Hall, London.