Full-Length Plays by Cynthia L. Cooper [Cindy Cooper]
See Synopses and Production Information here for:
HOW SHE PLAYED THE GAME * 24 HOURS IN THE LIFE OF THE BELTED SANDFISH *THE OUTERMOST HOUSE *SILENCE NOT, A Love Story *SECOND SIGHT * STONES OF TIANANMEN *WORDS OF CHOICE * STRANGE LIGHT * SLOW BURN * DIRTY LAUNDRY * WALLS * STRANGE BEDFELLOWS * DEAR ANNE FRANK: PRISON DIARIES BEHIND BARS *SISTERS OF SISTERS * THE HOLIDAY STORY * ALL THAT IS GREEN * SHE PLAYS! *Plays in Development
SILENCE NOT, A Love Story
In the uncertain economic times of Germany in the early 1930s, an idealistic young Jewish woman joins with a rebellious Catholic craftsman, to resist the rise of Nazism while deepening their love for humanity and each other. Drawn from the true stories of Gisa Peiper and Paul Konopka, this is a story of courage and love that thrive despite the dangers, telling of the hope and art of speaking out for the highest human values in the most pressing of times. 4 w, 3 m (multiple roles)(may use more actors)
"The play is innovative in a number of ways.... there are two versions of Gisa on stage at almost all times – the younger activist Gisa and her more grown-up counterpart viewing and commenting from the raised railway station. This adds perspective by enabling us to undergo experiences as they happen to the younger Gisa, and yet still look back at the action from the hard-earned vantage point gained by the older Gisa.... The play is billed as a love story, and it is that. The charming deepening relationship between Gisa and Paul satisfies our romantic thirst. Yet the play is a love story on a larger level, too — a love for humanity, a love for the courage of people who care for others and fight for the betterment of all despite the personal costs, in ordinary times as well as in extraordinary times. ...(A) great many of us appreciate and admire purity of spirit like Gisa’s, and that is one of the reasons that the play is so satisfying.... you (leave) feeling not only entertained but also ennobled and elevated." Midnight East, Jerusalem, Israel.
"Silence Not, A Love Story (has) a meditative, pure tone that reiterates the need to face oppression with unflinching love...Cooper is a playwright at the height of her powers. She easily balances themes of empowerment, struggle, and equality, and raises the stakes ....The result is striking and breaks new ground in much-trodden soil...The action rises steadily to the last act, and only in the final pages is the tension lightened....Gisa is a strong, independent character....Thought-provoking without being abstract, historical without being condescending, Silence Not is a heady, beautifully written play. Worth reading several times, it strikes a lovely balance between poetry and reality, bringing to life a diverse cast of characters in a challenging time period. Cooper reminds us that true resistance to oppression comes from the act of love..." Claire Rudy Foster, ForeWord Magazine
"Everyone loves a love story, especially one with a happy ending, and award-winning playwright and journalist Cynthia L. Cooper’s latest play, a forty-four scene two-act, is a whopper. Silence Not, A Love Story tells the improbable tale — based on a true story...." Eleanor Bader, Feminist Review. "Cooper’s story is a story of courage, for all ages, all sexes, all cultures – reminding us, that courage sees no boundaries.” Janis F. Kearney, former Personal Diarist to President William J. Clinton, author, Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir. "This powerful play recreates in moving drama the (anti-Nazi) struggles and the desperate attempt of good people to remain moral in the most immoral of societies. Powerful, poignant and penetrating, it will move those who read it and cause them to ponder the sources of courage and resistance." Michael Berenbaum, Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Sigi Zieirng Institute, American Jewish University.
Excerpts, Remember the Women, Center for Jewish History; Reading, Primary Stages, NYC, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser,More Info; May 2013: Excerpts, More Jewish Women You Should Know, Anne Frank Center USA; Oct 2012: Anne Frank Center USA; Sept 2012: Norwalk Public Library, discussion; July 2012: Book Expo, Monroe Public Library, PA; Mar 2012: Holocaust Museum, DC, Book Signing; June 2011: Book Fair, PA; Mar 2011: Worthington Players at Shawnee Playhouse, PA; Nov 2010: Staged Reading, Pocono Playhouse, East Stroudburg University, Margaret Ball, dir.; July 2010: Book Event, E.Stroudsburg Library, PA;.June 6-7, 2010: Book Signing U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC; May 2010: Reading, Julia's Room, League of Professional Theatre Women, NYC; April 2010:Production, Center Stage Theater, The Merkaz, Jerusalem, Israel. Directed by Gabriella Willenz. World Premiere. See Review;March 2010: Production, Beit Avi Chai, Jerusalem, Israel. Directed by Gabriella Willenz; Feb. 2010, Staged Reading, Wellstone Center, St. Paul, Directed by Carolyn Levy. Sponsored by The Konopka Institute of the University of Minnesota, in celebration of the Life and Legacy of Gisa Konopka; Press Release; 2009 -- The Anne Frank Center USA, New York, Reading, directed by Joanne Edelmann; Justice Talks Radio; Library, East Stroudsburg, Publisher, Gihon River Press; Hamline University,at the Anne Simley Theatre, St. Paul, MN directed by Carolyn Levy. 2008: Geraldine Page Center for the Arts, New York. Finalist, Original Play Contest, Shawnee Playhouse, PA, 2011.
Published: Gihon River Press
See Play Publications. Selected as Best Historical Fiction, Books and Authors; Finalist, Best Book in Drama/Performing Arts, ForeWord Magazine.
For more information, see MORE INFO: Silence Not, A Love Story
Also see: In The Act Alone by Cynthia L. Cooper; on Women Who Resisted In Germany in On The Issues Magazine.
HOW SHE PLAYED THE GAME
Six spirited women from sports history overcome obstacles and stereotypes:Babe Didrikson, Gertrude Ederle, Althea Gibson, Sonia Henie, Eleanor Randolph Sears, Gretel Bergmann. Simple set, One-woman show (may be performed by six actors),65 min. [Also 45 min. version.] My Elegy for Gertrude Ederle.
Women's Project & Productions, Off-Broadway, Samuel Beckett Th., New York; Primary Stages, New York, Enrichment Works, LA, Venus Theater, Maryland, September 2006 Capitol Fringe Festival, DC, Summer Camp 2011; D.C./MD, Venus Theater, Deb Randall; 2005: Randolph Macon Woman's College[see poster to left]Virginia; The Junction Theatre, Los Angeles; touring performances Washington D.C. by Venus Theatre; Marblehead Festival of Arts; Helsinki, International Women's Sports Conference; Budapest; Los Angeles; Montreal; Vancouver Fringe Festival; Women's Theatre, New Jersey; Theatre Inconnu, Canada; Nashville Public Theatre; Wells College; Women's Arts & Culture Conference; Threshold Theatre, Boston; Barnard College; A Daring Adventure Theatre, Reno; First Stage; Brooklyn BACA Showcase; Grand Valley State College; Touring Performances); Pennsylvania Women's Conference; Stacey Linnartz ("Gretel Bergmann"), Anne Frank Center USA, 2012, The Shed, Brooklyn, 2014, Center for Jewish History & Remember the Women, April 2015; Sports Literature Conference, June 2015; Theater Dept, Milwaukee; Eastern Tennessee State University, Sept 2015, dir. by Bobby Funk.
PUBLICATIONS: WOMEN HEROES (45 min version only); BROOKLYN PUBLISHERS(full version -- 65 min -- NOW available with rights); MORE GOLDEN APPLES; GREAT MONOLOGUES; CROSSING BOUNDARIES; BASEBALL MONOLOGUES; LITERATURE and LANGUAGE ARTS. See PUBLICATIONS. Included in School Assessment Testing programs. Selected, Lifetime Television Spot.
"Makes you feel like praising." The Village Voice. "Important and inspirational." Billie Jean King. "The perfect theatrical hook." Marilyn Stasio, critic. "(G)raceful pastiche" ... "Cooper shows the relentless, indomitable human heart as it defeats the limitations both of society and of the body." Tim Trainer, critic, DC. "We left the theater with a mixture of admiration and elation." Bill T. "Fascinating insight into society and the culture." The Budapest Sun. "Audiences around the country are inspired." Women's Sports and Fitness magazine. "Funny, intelligent and arousing." Ronnie Gilbert, folksinger. "Emphasizes the courage and virtue of the human spirit." Estelle Ritchie, producer.
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See CONTACT for further information on productions.
Two women performers explore six characters from sports history, and the challenges and successes that people encounter on any field of endeavor. Stories include: Althea Gibson, Gertrude Ederle, Wilma Rudolph, Gretel Bergmann, Gertrude Ederle, Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson. (A new and different version of How She Played the Game.)
SUNY Delhi, NYSSSA. Dir by Michelle Bossy, featuring Stacey Linnartz, Krystel Lucas. Ivy Theatre Company: 24 Hours of Women, International Women's Voices Day at Unarthodox, New York City
STONES OF TIANANMEN
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, released from re-education camp in 1999, struggles with his conscience and tries to find his footing in a quest for freedom of speech and democracy in China. Spurred by his encounters with Ding Zilin, founder of the Mothers of Tiananmen, and the Lost Souls of 1989, Liu Xiaobo charts a path of peaceful resistance. But, as his wife, poet and artist Liu Xia, discovers, the consequences can be harsh.
Readings: Urban Stages, NYC, sponsored by the Visual Artists Guild; HBO Play Reading Series of the TV Academy, NYC. Workshop: Urban Stages, directed by Keira Loughran, Nov 2015, NYC.
SemiFinalist, PlayPenn2015; SemiFinalist, Bay Area Playwrights' Festival.
"'Stones of Tiananmen' was so engaging... People in the audience were laughing and crying.” "The audience applauded with excitement." Jing Zhang, Women's Rights in China.
Two neighbors finally connect after a tragic escalation of incidents between teenagers with snowballs and an elderly man. Drama. Single set of 2 locations; 3 w., 3 m. [including two teen m., one senior m; one senior w.]; 2 hr.
Finalist, Source Theatre; Finalist, Original Playwriting Award, Aspen Theater Conference; Finalist, Western Illinois University Playwriting Award; Finalist, Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence; Semi-Finalist, Promising Playwright Award, Colonial Players; Semi-Finalist, East-West Players FDG/CBS New Plays Program. [Wings Theatre, NY (Michael Warren Powell, dir.; film option (expired) Greenspan Productions.)"Rather than present the audience with a courtroom drama ... Cooper shows us the people and the events." N.R. Adler, critic. "Gripping play." Alberto Isaac, East-West Players.
A woman with radical political beliefs languishes in prison in the mid-1980s when she hears from a gay man she knows from childhood. As the two reconnect, their interactions help them emerge from real and cultural constraints that are stifling them. 2m, 2w. SEMI-FINALIST, O'Neill Theater Center Conference; Finalist, Kitchen Dog Theatre Festival
Julia's Reading Room of the League of Professional Theatre Women, dir. by Melanie Sutherland with Susan Maris, Lee Seymour, Varin Ayala and Joyce Sylvester; New York -- Chelsea Studios; New York, Circle Workshop, Tom Wolfe, director.
24 HOURS IN THE LIFE OF THE BELTED SANDFISH
Religious zealots and liberals unite to object to a couple's scientific supertricks with DNA and stem cells to make themselves intersexual. Comic drama. Single set, 1 m., 2 w. (1 off-stage voice, male), 1 hr. 40 min.
Semi-Finalist, Trustus Theatre Playwriting Festival (Readings: New Amsterdam Repertory (featuring Connie Britton, Seth Gordon, dir.); Women's Project (Melanie Joseph, dir.); Primary Stages (Liz Margid, dir.); Break-a-Leg Productions, NYC); Option, Playwrights' Theatre of Baltimore. "The subject of genetic engineering and human cloning is hotly debated today. Where do we draw the line? Perhaps scientists Alicia and Duncan have crossed the line. Duncan's not sure he's happy about being pregnant, Alicia is infatuated with her rising testosterone level, and the world is at their doorstep ..." Baltimore Playwrights' Theatre.
See CONTACT for availability.
A women lawyer, Bayley, and her girlfriend, Shue, a struggling musician, see their relationship teeter as Bayley's mother falls to Alzheimer's and the looming memories of a long-deceased father linger uninvited. In stylized storytelling with the World's Fair in the background and the WNBA in the foreground, Bayley seeks to recharge her life and chart a new path.
Various settings; 3 w.; 1 hr. 35 min. [Philadelphia, Shubin Th., Phil GL Theatre Festival., Swerve Prods.(Robin Eisenberg, dir.); Women at Wings, Wings Theatre, NY; Bailiwick Repertory Co., Chicago (Robin Hughes, dir.]; HAG Theatre at Smith Theatre, Buffalo, 2002 (Margaret Smith, dir.)] "Cooper is a graceful and skilled writer... exceptional writing ... You won't regret seeing it." Stewart Benedict, NY critic. "Speaks to the complexities of life ... and dealing with a parent's mental and physical decline." Theatremania.com. "Takes on the dynamics of relationships and the reconciliation and changing nature of the family." NY Blade"A poem of a play ...elegant construction ... sure to evoke emotion and provoke thought long after the theater grows dark.""A winner." Rick Reed, Lambda Publications.
See CONTACT for production availability.
THE OUTERMOST HOUSE
A meditation on love, nature, war and the human spirit ... A writer, traumatized by service in World War I, seeks respite in nature, and in the process rediscovers his humanity, a sense of connection to "elemental forces" and capacity for love. Henry Beston, described inspiration for Rachel Carson (author of 'The Silent Spring'), finds what is important by living simply "all the seasons" on the isolated dunes of the outer shores of Cape Cod. Dedicated to Marvin and Annie Einhorn, originally commissioned and performed as a one-man show by Marvin Einhorn.
"(A)n eloquent script" -- Don Wilding, Executive Director, The Henry Beston Society.
Performances and readings by Marvin Einhorn: Cape Cod National Seashore Outdoor Ampitheatre; Backgate, Portland; Primary Stages, NY (Casey Childs, dir.); Chapel in the Pines, Eastham,(Kathryn Morooney,dir.), a benefit for The Henry Beston Society and WOMR-FM; The Culture Center, NYC (Michelle Bossy, director) a Benefit for the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.Truro Public Library, part of One Book Festival; The Outermost House with Marvin Einhorn, filmed by The "Dune Tramp."
Nov. 2014, St. James-in-the City Episcopal Church, Los Angeles, CA, Catherine Roskam, director, in a two-person version; a tribute to Marvin and Annie Einhorn.
Gerard Croiset, known as the 'Mozart of psychics,' spins open the lives of an FBI agent and woman journalist investigating a child's disappearance in the 1960s. Croiset, a Dutchman with limited education, comes to the U.S. for a conference with a European professor who has taken him under his wing. Known for his contribution to overseas crime investigations, Croiset, a fragile man, is besieged with questions about the child's disappearance, but is personally overcome with the image of a tragedy befalling a friend. At the same time, the FBI agent finds buried pieces of his life cast into the open. In a multilayered story, these three mysteries unwind. The play asks: How do we know what is true and what is not? What are the roots of knowledge? Are 'psychic' abilities real? And, what, after all, is the essence of the human condition? Various settings at a conference retreat; 3 m., 2 w.; Under 2 hrs.
Runner-Up, Pulse Theatre Festival, New York Readings: 2010-29th Street Rep's The Hive, Founded by Paula Ewin, at Soho20Gallery Chelsea, NYC (Michael Hillyer, dir.); 2015, The Drawing Board, NYC (Dan Salyer, producer); Theatre Beyond Barriers (Michael Johnson, dir.); 29th St. Repertory, New York (Michael Hillyer, dir.) Blue Heron Theater Center, New York (Michael Hillyer, dir); Playwrights' Advocate, Illinois (Richard Pahl, dir.)
Production availability: see 'Contact.'
WORDS OF CHOICE
Funny and serious: essays, stories, theatre collected from a dozen writers and compiled into a powerful ensemble of voices supporting women's reproductive rights. Now, WORDS OF CHOICE II presents a second excellent collection of works. 3 w. (diverse), 1 m. See CHOICE;
Performances (selected): The Left Forum, NYC; First WiredArtsFest, Live in NY, Live Streaming Everywhere; Soho20Gallery, excerpts; New Jersey; Maryland, Summer of Trust; Buffalo; Amnesty International Human Rights Arts Festival; Benefit for Planned Parenthood NYC at Judson Memorial Church NYC; Colorado, Kansas, New York, directed by Francesca Mantani Arkus. Fall 2006: Rhode Island, South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Brookings, Vermillion, Rapid City); Ramapo College NJ (directed by Francesca Mantani Arkus); Panel: Social Justice and Women Playwrights, Marymount College; Workshop, Feminists Fighting Forward, NYU; Summer 2006: Iowa (directed by Francesca Mantani Arkus); Winter 2006: New Haven, CN, North Carolina, Long Island, Wings Theater NY (directed by Cindy Cooper); Fall 2005: Missouri, Kansas directed by Joan Lipkin; Stand Up for Choice! featuring Kathleen Turner, an event by Planned Parenthood at the Beacon Theater, NY; The Culture Project, Benefit for Planned Parenthood of NYC, directed by Peg Denithorne, March 2005; Union Theological Seminary, NYC; Princeton Club, NYC; Wash-VA, sponsored by Virginia NOW at -- Offices of the March for Women's Lives, George Washington University, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Randolph Macon Woman's College, Hampton University-Tidewater NOW, Arlington Unitarian Universalist Church, directed by Suzanne Bennett; New York: "Octoberfest," Fall 2003, Ensemble Studio Theatre, initiated by Susann Brinkley; June 2003: Boston, Benefit for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts; HERE, 30th Anniversary Roe, Planned Parenthood of NYC; Ceres Gallery, "Celebrating Choice", NY; NAF Convention, Plenary, Chicago, Sheraton Ballroom] Suzanne Bennett, dir.; Ohio: Feb-Apr. 2004 Queen Bee Productions: Akron, Cleveland, Kent State, University of Cincinnati.Honors: Anne E. Fisher Champion of Choice Award, NARAL Pro-Choice America; Citation for Outstanding Work, City of Providence, RI; Vision Award, Abortion Conversation Project.
June 2009:, publication, Front Lines: Political Plays by American Women ed.Alexis Greene and Shirley Lauro, The New Press. See Play Publications.
Article: Pro-Choice Advocates Act Out Women's E-news
Other touring shows: Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, Missouri Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Univeristy of Missouri, Rutgers, Puffin Cultural Foundation NJ,Maryland, Coral Gables, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Orlando, elsewhere
READ MORE ABOUT "WORDS OF CHOICE"
Now on DVD produced by Linda Haskins, TakeTen Productions, distributed by National Film Network. For DVD Info.
CONTACT for Performance information.
DEAR ANNE FRANK: DIARIES FROM BEHIND BARS
by Cynthia L. Cooper and Maureen McNeil
Diaries of prisoners from across the U.S., as they write in response to reading the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, working with PEN America and the Anne Frank Center USA.
Reading: Museum of Tolerance, NYC.
High stakes are at risk for a woman politician who is drawn into a debate about pornography in which all of the usual players are not in all of the usual places. Drama with comedy. Varied settings, includes slides; 2 m., 4 w. (doubling); 2 hrs.
Commissioned, Women's Theatre Project, Minn.; Finalist, O'Neill Theatre Conference. [Hennepin Center, Women's Theatre Project (Carolyn Levy, dir.); West Coast Playwrights, Playwrights Festival (Michele Linfante, dir); Reading, Primary Stages (Nicola Sheara, dir.] There are almost as many viewpoints about pornography as there are people." Pioneer Press. "Arguments on either side shoot across the stage with the rapidity of virtuoso Ping-Pong.... Cooper has a strong theme here. Star Tribune"
See CONTACT to inquire about availability.
More than washers are churning in a laundromat even before the lights go out and a slasher races through. Drama with comedy. Single setting; 4 m., 4 w. (including 1 w. youth)(5 m. without doubling); 1 hr. 30 min.
Elitch Theater, Denver (Peg Guilfoyle, dir.); Women's Playwriting Conference, MN. (Carolyn Levy, dir.); Playwrights' Center, MN; 13th Street Repertory, NY (Jeff Corrick, dir.) "A comedy of light menace." Denver Post.
See CONTACT for production information.
THE HOLIDAY STORY
A family's giant holiday light display is in jeopardy when neighbors protest, kids rebel and tradition, however warped, must carry on.. Comic family drama. 3 Settings; 4 m.. 3 w. (including 2 y. men; 2 y. women); 2 hrs.; One song. FAMILY audiences.
Lakeshore Players, MN (Sally Childs, dir); Centre Stage, NYC, Perry St. Th.(Jack Adolphi, artis.dir; Alma Becker, dir.)[In development for film script.]"Charming ... tender treatment of contemporary family life -- compassion without too much sugar." Pioneer Press. "About giving, forgiving, and the strength and joy to be found in caring relationships ... a funny, warm, touching play." Mary Alden.
See CONTACT for availability.
Three pairs of sisters -- two mothers and their sets of daughters, 14 to 36 -- toss and turn when each ends up living with her sister. Drama with comedy. Multiple locations, 6 w., 2 hrs.
Winner, Hutchinson Festival of New Plays; Finalist, POW Festival, NY (Hutchinson Festival (Robert Patrick, dir); Wings Theatre, NY (Jonathan Silver, dir); Up and Over Theatre, MN. (Beth Cherne, dir.); Readings: Women's Theatre Project, St. Paul; POW Festival, Public Theatre, NY; New Theatre, NY; Tory's, NY; London; New Jersey Women's Theater Cooperative (Barbara Krajkowski, dir.); Howard Kaiser Productions (option, expired), at Second Stage.) [Publication, excerpt, "The Note" in Monologues for Student Actors II, see PUBLICATIONS.] "'Sisters of Sisters is an intelligent, moving, thoroughly satisfying comedy-drama ... The author, Cynthia L. Cooper, has infused a potentially deadly subject with freshness and originality, and most importantly, honesty ... The play is at times gently evocative, at times wrenching about families and the ties that bond ... inspired writing ... a stimulating and moving production." Spectator. "Pleasant and amusing... all of the sisters minuet through 'Sisters of sisters' with grace and poignant humor." Twin Cities Reader.
A woman tries to decipher whether a man is interested in her for love or for a green card. Various settings, 2 m., 1 w.; 1 hr., 50 min.
Northwest Area Foundation Grant, Co-Labs; Semi-finalist, The Original Theatre Works, Lee Korf Playwriting Prize; Cerritos College, Best of the Rest; University of Alabama, New Playwrights' Program, Dr. Thomas Taylor, dramaturg, Sarah Gabel, dir.; Playwrights Center; Hennepin Center, Excerpts, (Marion McClinton, dir.)(Music, Cliffard Sloane) ; Reading: Wings Theatre, NY.
"State Secrets" -- Original works by four diverse writers responding to information leaks, the Internet, government secrecy and transparency, world politics, and what it means to our lives. A collaboration by writers Joi Barrios, Kia Corthron, Ismail Khalidi and Cynthia L. Cooper. Part of the Jonathan Larson Lab, New York Theater Workshop, Readings at 3. (Dir: Joanna Settle).
Currently seeking workshop opportunities.
"Equal Wrongs" -- An all-male jury of the late 1800s convicts a woman of murdering an abusive husband and sentences her to death.