Monologues

In the last year I've written a few short monologues for one off events here in NYC, and I thought I'd post them here and update this should I write others.

If you end up using them, shoot me a note! Would love to know about it.

1. Skippy's Confession- Male, comedic

2. A Ceiling With the Spark of Life- Female, comedic

1. Skippy's Confession

                                                                                                        SKIPPY
So. 
Amy...
Uh..
My mom and my dad sit there, right, on top of the hill behind my childhood home and the sunset is so fucking perfect.
And they look into each other's eyes, her brown eyes into his, warming each other’s bodies, piercing each other’s souls

And they both smile.
They SMILE!
They grin at each other with a joy that’s so deep it like ripples through each of them, from their wrinkly skin down to the atomic level!

And I mean I'm there, right, I'm watching it, down at the bottom of the hill,
And like I HAVE to call out, just to be funny, you know, I’m like “HEY! Fuck yeah, mom and dad! GET IT!”
But they don’t hear me...

Because the next minute like...my mom’s toes start to grow.
Like her actual toes get longer and darker and harder and then my moms toes start actually burrowing. into the earth.
And I’m like “whoa!” but for some reason they’re not bothered by it? They don’t even notice? 
And in that same fucking moment my dad’s head starts sprouting like a million leaves, 
green and orange and yellow, just like all the perfect fall colors but as leaves, and taking the place of my father's hair, 
TERRIFYING.
Like if that was me, I'd be like “oh no! Am I becoming a fucking tree right now? Because that's not okay, I have life goals even though right now I'm living at home!”
But my parents’ smiles just get bigger!
Like assholes!

And then their arms, which are wrapped around each other, get thicker and barky and fuse together, and then their legs, feet, heads, all of them start melding together into this singular wooden tree thing with NO SPACE!

Seriously, none, like my mom and dad aren’t going to be able to have drinks with friends, or even a quiet minute alone in the bathroom or like even EVEN be able to close their eyes while the other is talking and go to a happy place...
LIKE FOREVER!

So for their sake, Amy, in that moment, I realize I gotta put aside my burgeoning stand up comedy career and join my parents so they don’t become a magical tree creature alone.

I run up the hill, and as their bodies twist and sharp jutting woods shoots out of their backs, I push my hands into the trunk, which does nothing, I lean my knee into the base, which does NOTHING, I reach my hands into the new branches to have them pull me along, but still the branches grow upward without me, still the trunk expands pushing me backwards, still my parents slip further and further away...

I leap at the tree! I kick it! I run against the trunk and fall over and run against it again shouting...“Please don't go! Please! I’m 32 and I didn't finish my master’s degree in psychology and I can't swim or drive or cook a whole turkey and I don’t like anybody in the whole world except for you guys!”

“...and Amy”
Yeah, no, I definitely say “I don’t like anybody in the whole world except for you guys, and Amy!”

But as my parents’ wrinkly faces fade away into the smooth bark of that double parent tree, they never stop smiling. Not once. They don’t even look at me...

So Amy, I guess  what I'm saying is: 
I don't know that I can move in with you right  now.
Like I have to do my own taxes.
And figure out where to go for Christmas. 
And...I just...you know...what we have together feels like magic and I'm scared and...

Amy? AMY!  AMY, STOP,  DON’T GO! 
AMY, I LOVE YOU, LET’S BE A TREE TOGETHER! 

2. A Ceiling with the Spark of Life

                                                                                                   POPE JULIA II
You know...I just.... I don't know, Michelangelo. I don't...get it. So...what are they doing exactly? Is that like a weird finger handshake? I mean, yeah, it's the gift of life, God to Adam, I get it, I'm the pope- but if it were me, and it's not me, but if it were, I would at least paint them...holding each other. You know? “And God formed Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life.” How is she supposed to breathe life into Adam's nostrils from all the way over there? Have you ever breathed into someone's nostrils, Michelangelo? Or have them breathe into yours? It's so awkward. Don't do it. It's the kind of thing you only do when have no idea what feels good on a body. But like, maybe, maybe the nostril thing is what God was all about in the beginning. You know? Maybe she was all alone all this time in the dark, in the universe, with no one else, and so Adam was truly her first. So of course God is going to blow into his nostrils! Of course she is going to be like, “oh, oh, this is hot, this is how Adam wants it, PSSSSSSSSH...Oh. Did that feel weird?” God was nervous! She never did this before! THAT'S what's missing, Michelangelo. No one is afraid on this ceiling! And some scary shit is going down! God is taking a HUGE risk on us! God is trusting us with all her favorite shit, like rivers and gorillas and almonds! It's so intimate for God! Just like me saying “Paint the ceiling of my chapel.”, that's intimate. For me, it's the most intimate thing. See, I'm the pope. I speak to people, I touch their hand, I feel their souls, but in some ways, I'm just like God in the beginning. I mean God knew Adam, okay, but then she knew Eve and then she knew Cain and then she knew Moses and Miriam and Mary. So when God got to the Trinity, mmmm, I think everybody knew what they were doing. Me- I've only known God. I'll only ever know God. And some days, that is really enough. And some days, for all the souls I've saved, for all the wars my papal army has won, I need someone to come and paint. the ceiling. of my chapel. So, Michelangelo, go wild! Don't be safe up there, be afraid with me here! I have let you into my holy sanctum. Now paint me a ceiling with the spark of life.


 

PLAGUED blog post thing 1: Nobody cared about accuracy

Note: In advance of the reading of my and Nick Moore's PLAGUED on the 25th and 26th of January at The Gallery Players in Brooklyn, I'm writing a few little posts here about the weird and horrible 14th century in Europe. Enjoy!

In the 14th century, nobody cared about being accurate about anything.

Like anything.

Like, for instance, counting.

From Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th century:

It should be assumed that medieval figures for military forces, battle casualties, plague deaths, revolutionary hordes, processions, or any groups en masse are generally enlarged by several hundred percent. This is because the chroniclers did not use numbers as data but as a device of literary art to amaze or appall the reader. 

This same lack of accuracy in recording events also carried over into things like how people actually looked, behaved and the things they actually did:

Isabeu of Bavaria, Queen of France, is described by one historian as a tall blonde and by   another as a “dark, lively, little woman.” The Turkish Sultan Bajazet, reputed by his contemporaries to be bold, enterprising and avid for war, and surnamed Thunderbolt for the rapidity of his strikes is described by a Hungarian historian as “effeminate, sensual, irresolute and vacillating.”

And this was not true only of counting and people but like, every damn thing imaginable:

 It may be taken as axiomatic that any statement of fact about the Middle ages may (and probably will) be met by a statement of the opposite or a different version. Women outnumbered men because men were killed off in wars; men outnumbered women because women died in childbirth. Common people were familiar with the Bible; common people were unfamiliar with the Bible. Nobles were tax exempt; no, they were not tax exempt. French peasants were filthy and foul-smelling and lived on bread and onions. French peasants ate pork, fowl, and game and enjoy frequent baths in the village bathhouses. The list could be extended indefinitely. 
The Miraculous catch of 153 fish by Duccio, 14th century 153? In that boat? Really?

The Miraculous catch of 153 fish by Duccio, 14th century
153? In that boat? Really?

My first reaction to all this was, naturally, because I am a good person: “Ah ha ha, what silly ancient people! Oh how far we have come, and Oh how foolish they look.”  

But this was a silly reaction. Yes, of course, we do have the ability to record the actual number of things, and yes of course, we have the ability to take a photograph of a person to know what they look like, but yet still people's perception of a photograph can be preposterously divergent and yet still there can exist deep contradictions in how I see the world and how others do, despite all the data and physical evidence that exists right in front of my face. 

This is not news by any means, but thinking more about this, and about the deep divisions in perception that plague (sorry!) the country we live in today, and about how that gap could potentially be bridged, Nick and I decided to write an epic musical comedy about 14th century England. Like you do.

Is it an accurate depiction of that time in that place?

Is it an accurate depiction of the present in our place?

Well. That depends on your perception of either...

But hopefully it'll make you think a little bit about both.


PLAGUED (a musical comedy adventure)
Music by Nick Moore
Book and Lyrics by Daniel John Kelley
Story by Daniel John Kelley & Nick Moore

In 14th century England, being a peasant is kind of the worst. Famine, filth, slaughter, and endless toil fill a peasant’s day until eventually they die horribly and ascend to Heaven. This is the way it is…until a young peasant girl named Sarah dares to dream of one day that is marginally better than the one before it- a day on earth that is not entirely terrible. Her tremendous, preposterous, impossible dream- sung to a score whose styles evolve as the characters change, from classical to pop, from folk to rock, from jazz to funk to heavy metal and beyond- will shake the nation to its core and change the fate of England…until tomorrow. But perhaps that is more than enough.

The Gallery Players
199 14th St btw 4th and 5th in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Sunday, January 25 at 7pm
Monday, January 26 at 7pm

Tickets are $10, and available here

Production team:
Composer- Nick Moore
Book and Lyrics: Daniel John Kelley
Director: Joshua William Gelb
Musical Director: Keiji Ishiguri 
Stage Manager: Hannah Johnson-Walsh 

Cast: 
Alex Birnie*, Lily Drexler, Trisch Hubbard, Michael Kirk Lane*, James Salem, Jillian Stevens, Juson Williams*, Zach Wobensmith*, Sam Tedaldi*, Tauren Hagans*, Tony Lopez, Colleen Clancy, Peter Lam*

*AEA member

For more information about the Overtures series please visit: http://galleryplayers.com/overtures/



A Piece Featured in an Evening of Fancy Folk At a Fancy Place.

I've been asked to write a piece for Caps Lock Theatre's third annual PUSSYFEST.

A striking name, no? 

The evening has writers writing two minute monologues for female actors about the human body. Or the robot body. Maybe alien bodies too.

This year it's happening at the Gym at Judson:

A striking space, no?

The evening will feature writing from such fancy folk as Jose Rivera, Mike Daisey,  Sheila Callaghan (who I don't know but think are awesome) and awesome folk that I DO know and think are awesome such as Johnna Adams, Mac Rogers, Kari Bentley-Quinn, J.Stephen Brantley and more! It's a really spectacular line-up, in fact. 

The actor I'll be writing for is named Yeauxlanda Kay- who I saw earlier this year in Kari-Bentley Quinn's play The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens, directed like a boss by Chris Diercksen. We had a great drink the other night telling tales of our lives, and she revealed to me her penchant for fantastical tales, fierce self-determination, her family's fascinating and troubling history, her ability to be a lawyer and claim victory with no legal background, the perils of altitude sickness and her passion for Harry Potter fan-fiction. 

Suitably, I'm going to write something wild and preposterous for her.

Here she is on Def Poetry Jam, a few years ago:

Onward!

PLAGUED featured as part of Gallery Players Overtures Reading Series

Exciting news: My epic musical PLAGUED, which I wrote with great Nick Moore, will be featured as part of the Overtures New Musical Reading Series at the Gallery Players in Brooklyn, NY as part of their 2014/2015 season. 

For more about Plagued, click here. 

The reading is currently scheduled for January 25th and 26th of next year- more details will be announced as the day draws closer!

For more info on the Overtures New Musical Reading series, click here. 

 

MAXIMUS Concerts in April and May in CA

Maximus 3-show poster-page-001.jpg

As a lifelong opera fan, this is one for the bucket list.

My first opera, a chamber piece entitled MAXIMUS, will be going up in LA this weekend, and for two days in May 2014.  

The opera, with music by Georgi Dimitrov and directed by Julianne Just, is a dystopian tale of a man named Maximus who gets a parking ticket- and because the world is a bureaucratic hellhole- it tears his life apart.

It's part Gogol, part Brazil, and part dissonant Andrea Chenier. Should be a good time had by all. 

More details here(and at the composer's site):