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Plays Available for Production

 

Pat Launer, NPR: “Every piece of theater should be like this 'Knife in the Heart' --
a brilliant collaborative effort that forces us to examine who and what we are."

Anne-Marie Welsh, San Diego Union-Tribune:
“(Her plays) lead, as the best art does, not to explanation or outrage, but to contemplation."

Toby Zinman, Variety: “Susan Yankowitz's "Night Sky" is a rare thing: a play with a mind.
It is also ABOUT the mind as universe, where language is internal astronomy. It shows us that more than hearts can be broken.”

 

GUN

GUN opens with a mother's nightmare about the future of her newborn son. In a series of biting, fragmented scenes that move backwards and forwards in time, her nightmare comes true.The play was inspired by the escalating acts of violence in our country -- mass school shootings, assassinations, serial killings - carried out usually by young white men from middle-class families. Again and again, we ask why? Where does responsibility lie? What leads a loved child like Donald to commit a horrific, senseless murder? Like the killer’s shocked mother and father, GUN careens from one perspective to another in a search for understanding.

 

SEVEN

A collaboration with six other passionate female playwrights - Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff and Anna Deavere Smith – SEVEN is based on personal interviews with seven women who have triumphed over enormous obstacles to bring about major changes in their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

“The lives of these women provide a portal through which audiences will be able to experience a diversity of cultures while bearing witness to the varied way in which individual women have overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles to justice and freedom.” —Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues

The play has been widely produced in the USA and abroad, most recently in Istanbul and Amman. For stage rights in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, please contact:

Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
440 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
phone: 212-683-8960
fax: 212-213-1539
Email: postmaster@dramatists.com
Web site: www.dramatists.com

For non-English language productions, please contact:

Tonda Marton
The Marton Agency, Inc.
One Union Square, Suite 815
New York, NY 10003-3303
Phone: 212-255-1908
Fax: 212-691-9061
Email: info@martonagency.com

For all other rights or general questions, please contact:

Robert A. Freedman
Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency, Inc.
1501 Broadway, Suite 2310
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-840-5760
Fax: 212-840-5776
Email: rfreedmanagent@aol.com (Please put "Re: SEVEN" in the subject line.)

 

UNDER THE SKIN

In scenes that alternate between extreme naturalism and surrealism, a successful corporate lawyer attempts to recover his idealism by defending a young homeless man accused of murdering a prostitute. As he becomes gradually more obsessed with the case, the boundaries between his life and that of his client become blurred and he finds himself trapped between conflicting ideas of moral and legal justice, and of personal and political responsibility. There are no simple solutions for anyone in the world of this play. One chord is sounded and another vibrates. The sexual hatred and confusion at the core of the violent acts spill over into the lawyer's domestic life, affecting not only him but his wife and daughter, with startling results for all.

Under its former title, FOREIGN BODIES, the play reached the semi-finals in the 2008 O’Neill Playwrights Conference and a monologue from Act I was published in the anthology, SCENES AND MONOLOGS FROM THE BEST NEW PLAYS II, edited by Roger Ellis. It was presented in 2007 by Vox Nova, a collaborative company in San Diego, directed by Kirsten Brandt. (A review by Pat Launer of this reading can be viewed on the REVIEWS page.)

 

NIGHT SKY

Internationally produced and acclaimed, this drama premiered in a New York production directed by Joseph Chaikin and starring Joan MacIntosh as an astronomer afflicted with aphasia following an automobile accident. The play dramatizes Anna's attempts to recover from this devastating inability to speak, and portrays the effect her condition has on family relationships. The situation also provides a metaphorical spring board to some intriguing speculation on the relationship between the black holes in the cosmos and the black holes in the mind; the poetry of unconventional language; and the ways in which all of us struggle to communicate the thoughts and feelings locked within our most private selves.

The play requires a cast of 3 men and 3 women, and a unit set. (Excerpts from many critics responding to productions in the US and abroad can be viewed on the REVIEWS page.)

NIGHT SKY is available for regional and community productions through Samuel French, Inc. at (212) 206-8990 or info@samuelfrench.com; for first class and NY rights from Robert Freedman at Robert Freedman Dramatic Agency, 212 840-5760 or RFreedmanagent@aol.com and for foreign licensing from Tonda Marton at tonda@martonagency.com or 212 255 1908.

 

PHAEDRA IN DELIRIUM

Adapted from various versions of the myth, Phaedra falls in love with her stepson, who embodies (literally) her philandering husband in his far more tender youth. The expression of her illicit passion, even more than the passion itself, leads to tragedy for all three. The play was first produced at Women’s Project/CSC in NY and most recently at Sledgehammer Theatre in San Diego.

For the first scene of the play, as published in POLYPHONY, click on this link: September 2003. (See excerpts from <p class="maintext"> on REVIEWS web page.)

NOTE: After winning the 1999 poetic play competition sponsored by Quarterly Review of Literature, PHAEDRA IN DELIRIUM was published in Volume 37-38 of that journal, edited by Ted and Renee Weiss. It is also published in “Divine Fire,” an anthology devoted to radical reinventions of ancient Greek dramatic texts, edited by Caridad Svich. It can be purchased through BackStage Books, www.wgpub.com, and www.amazon.com

 

1969TERMINAL1996

This ground-breaking collaboration with Joseph Chaikin and the Open Theatre -- an investigation into mortality -- was first produced in 1969 and then revised in 1996. Ms. Yankowitz won the Drama Desk Award for this unusual work. The original script can be found in “The New Radical Theatre Notebook” and ordered through Applause Books, 212 595-4735 or in ”Types of Drama, Plays and Contexts” at www.ablongman.com/barnettod.

The updated version of the play is available in Performing Arts Journal 57, Johns Hopkins Press, www.press.jhu.edu. (See press on REVIEWS page.)

 

THE REVENGE

is adapted from Victor Hugo's play LE ROI' S'AMUSE (which also served as the basis for Verdi's opera RIGOLETTO). The REVENGE is a highly theatrical, expertly plotted story with classic themes of passion and politics, betrayal among cohorts, and the love of father and child. The play has had several readings but there has been no production to date. Manuscripts are available through susanyankowitz@gmail.com

 

CHÉRI

A work for the crossover territory of music-theatre and opera, with libretto by Susan Yankowitz and music by Michael Dellaira, CHÉRI is a musical love story in two acts based on Colette’s 1921 novel. The story takes place in the Parisian demi-monde just before the first World War and dramatizes the doomed love affair between Léa de Lonval, a 49 year old ex-courtesan, and her lover of seven years, the 23 year old Chéri.

CHÉRI was presented in workshop at the Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio and at the Actors Studio in New York. In 2006, it was a finalist for the Richard Rogers Award. Excerpts from the piece were selected for performance by artists from Portland Opera and Tacoma Opera as part of OPERA America's New Works Sampler. The piece is written in a vernacular harmonic language and requires 9 singers and 4 instrumentalists.

AUDIO: LINK TO aria from opera, The Stranger, Grief (10:24) with Rannveig Braga, mezzo, performed by the Slovak Radio Orchestra with Joel Eric Suben, conductor

For a fuller description, please see the New York Times article THEATER; Where Musicals and Opera Overlap, a Hybrid Emerges - New ...

Selections from Chéri
Albany Records, August, 2009
selections recorded live from The Actors Studio workshop production; Carlin Glynn, director

To learn more, go to www.michaeldellaira.com and use the link to the CHÉRI website. Contact mrd@dellairamusic.com for rights and further information.

 

SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT

A gospel-and-blues drama with composer Taj Mahal and the Lafayette Inspirational Choir on the subject of the Jonestown dream and failure, from the perspective of the people who joined the community, is now available to interested parties in manuscript and CD. A description of the project and some of the lyrics can be accessed at:
http://jonestown.sdsu.edu

A CD of excerpts from a workshop with Taj Mahal and the Lafayette Inspirational Choir can be requested from susanyankowitz@gmail.com

 

WORK IN DEVELOPMENT

 

THE MIND-BOGGLING, TRAGICAL-COMICAL TRIAL OF MADAME P –

wherein a Pig and various 4-Legged and Winged Creatures are Prosecuted for Theft, Murder, Bestiality and Diverse Crimes against Humankind – is a Multi-Media, Low-and-High-Tech, Bizarrely Theatrical Bestiary based on Trials of the Middle Ages.

 

THUMBPRINT

a fusion drama for opera/music-theater with libretto by SY and music by Kamala Sankaram, based on the true story of a young, illiterate peasant woman who defies feudal tradition and becomes an international voice for human rights. After a brutal gang-rape, she refuses to commit suicide, as her culture demands, and instead takes her rapists to court where she wins an unexpected, astonishing conviction – the first woman in Pakistan to do so. Mukhtar Mai’s remarkable story is the inspiration for THUMBPRINT, a boundary-leaping work that embraces East and West, Hindustani music and European opera, Indian ragas and world folk music, the classical and the contemporary, the styles and opportunities of both opera and music-theater.

The piece has received several devoutly-appreciated grants, among them a MAPFUND grant, and is moving toward completion through residencies at The Hermitage, The MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center. It is being developed under the aegis of Beth Morrison Productions, the contact for more information: Beth@BethMorrisonProductions.