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Member, Dramatists Guild of America
MAJOR PLAYS WRITTEN and PRODUCTIONS
Grand Union (2020): Drama with comedy. Forty years in the life of a small declining central Pennsylvania town, as seen through the intersecting lives of two families, alike in dignity – one African American, the other Jewish. 5m, 2f.
Lies (2019): Dark comedy-drama. The play takes place in 1950, although it is highly timely. A young inexperienced Jewish lawyer for the New York public defender’s office is asked to represent a female German-American WWII radio propagandist, imprisoned for treason, for her parole hearing. Except she’s doesn’t want to leave prison. It’s the closest I could get to putting the White House and lying government officials on trial on stage. (1m,1f) Semi-finalist (as of Dec. 2019), O’Neill Theatre Conference; Winner, Grand Prize, 88th annual Writers’ Digest Writing Competition, 2019; Finalist, SigWorks reading series, Signature Theater, Arlington, Va.; Reading, Baltimore Playwrights Festival, December 2019; Reading (scheduled), Scripted Brussels theatre festival, Belgium, May 2020.
Personal Histories (2017): Comedy of menace. A scientist on the lam meets a disgraced journalist to ghost write his memoirs in a claustrophobic motel room outside Washington. And a priceless statue. Pinter meets the Maltese Falcon. Two characters, no intermission, no break. 2m, but easily gender-neutral. Reading by Theater on the Lake, Deep Creek Lake, Md., June 2018; Semi-finalist, Garry Marshall Theatre, Burbank, Calif., 2018; Honorable Mention, 87th annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, July 2018; Second Round, Austin Film Festival, Aug. 2018; Second Round, Phoenix Theater, Nov. 2018; Finalist, Playwrights First competition, 2019.
Peteys_Parade (2016): Comedy-drama. The play takes an arrogant but talented leading German radio comedian from the cusp of World War II and his changing society, to the blacklist in American in 1947 where we can make amends for his past. While the play takes place in 1933 Berlin and later 1947 New York, it deals with many of the themes we’re dealing with today – how to resist an rising tide of fascism, artistic freedom, the treatment of LGBT writers and entertainers, anti-Semitism, and whether can we separate an artist’s brilliant work from his despicable behavior. 4m, 1f . Reading by Baltimore Playwrights Festival, October 2017.
Lost Souls (2015): Comedy-drama. A cold winter’s night brings Frank, a former lawyer and now a third-year rabbinic student, to a Spanish Harlem apartment about to go co-op, there to help the long-time residents stave off eviction. But when he’s invited for a Friday night dinner of arroz con pollo, the centuries-old secrets he discovers will change their life, and his. Meanwhile, his roommate, another rabbinic student, is asked to prove, conclusively and once and for all, Is he really Jewish? 4m, 3f. Reading by Baltimore Playwrights Festival, January 2017; production by Jewish Community Theater of Montgomery County, February 2019
Stanislavski’s Methods (2014): Comedy. A theatrical producer, Evgeny Stanislavski, is the great grand nephew of the famous director, and like his rundown Russian classical theater, has fallen into a state of disrepair. He has no paying subscribers, little audience, and is hounded by creditors. He owes so much back pay to his company of actors, and “fees” to various bagmen that he is in danger of losing the theater. Grusha, his leading actress – both on stage and, formerly, off – and Elena, his bookkeeper and a would-be actress, try to console him, to no avail. But a proposal from a shady friend of his to bring a notorious American action film actor and his assistant to the theater for a one-night fundraising performance could fill his coffers–and bring Evgeny and Grusha back together. The play blends classical farce with modern fast-paced comedy and good comedic roles for women. 3m, 3f. Reading by Interrobang Theater, Baltimore, Oct. 2017.
Casa Neurotica (1990): Comedy-drama. A pair of former 1960s radicals try to find refuge with their former friends in New York, who have largely moved on. 3m, 2f. Off-Broadway in New York, May 1990.
Peanuts and Cracker Jack (1979): Comedy-drama. The relationship of a young third baseman for the New York Yankees and his older manager through a baseball season. 2m. Multiple productions (Case Western Reserve Univ.; Cleveland Play House; Cricket Theater, Minneapolis; Mint Theater, New York) 1979-1993
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All plays are available on the New Play Exchange https://newplayexchange.org/users/2395/jerry-slaff