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December 18, 2017

Top 10 Reads to End 2017


As the year quickly comes to a close, we’ve chosen some of our favorite new plays that Samuel French has published over the past 12 months. From gripping docudramas to a darkly comedic twist on Macbeth to stories of true (and perhaps quirky) love, the below scripts are sure to keep you entertained during your holiday break. Pick your script, pour a mug of hot chocolate, and snuggle up for a good read.

The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe
Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girls indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. A portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals. 10f.

The Harvest by Samuel D. Hunter

In the basement of a small evangelical church in southeastern Idaho, a group of young missionaries is preparing to go to the Middle East. One of them – a young man who has recently lost his father – has bought a one-way ticket. But his plans are complicated when his estranged sister returns home and makes it her mission to keep him there. 4m, 3f.

Vietgone by Qui Nguyen
An all-American love story about two very new Americans. It’s 1975. Saigon has fallen. He lost his wife. She lost her fiancé. But now in a new land, they just might find each other. Using his uniquely infectious style The New York Times calls “culturally savvy comedy” – and skipping back and forth from the dramatic evacuation of Saigon to the here and now – playwright Qui Nguyen gets up-close-and-personal to tell the story that led to the creation of…Qui Nguyen. 3m, 2f.

A Nice Family Christmas by Phil Olson
It’s Christmas Eve, and a young newspaper reporter on the brink of being fired has been assigned a last-chance story about a typical family Christmas – his family’s Christmas. He goes home to his recently widowed mother, his crazy uncle, his eccentric grandmother, and his battling siblings and their neurotic spouses, who provide no shortage of material. One by one, we learn each family member’s secrets, problems, and dysfunctions, and when they learn that he’s writing an article with some very personal family information, the fruitcake hits the fan. The question is, will the magic of Christmas bring this family back together? 3m, 4f.

Shakespeare in Love — Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Young Will Shakespeare has writer’s block… the deadline for his new play is fast approaching but he’s in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse – Viola. This beautiful young woman is Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play. Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece. 18m, 6f.

Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis

Eighteen-year-old Dontrell Jones the Third decides that it is his duty and destiny to venture into the Atlantic Ocean in search of an ancestor lost during the Middle Passage. But his family is not at all ready to abandon its prized son to the waters of a mysterious and haunting past. Blending poetry, humor, wordplay, and ritual, Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea is a present-day hero’s quest exploring the lengths and depths we must go to redeem history’s wrongs. 3m, 4f.

Peerless by Jiehae Park
Asian-American twins M and L have given up everything to get into The College. So when D, a one-sixteenth Native American classmate, gets “their” spot instead, they figure they’ve got only one option: kill him. A darkly comedic take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth about the very ambitious and the cut-throat world of high school during college admissions. 2m, 3f.

Fade by Tanya Saracho
When Lucia, a Mexican-born novelist, gets her first TV writing job, she feels a bit out of place on the white male-dominated set. Lucia quickly becomes friends with the only other Latino around, a janitor named Abel. As Abel shares his stories with Lucia, similar plots begin to find their way into the TV scripts that Lucia writes. Fade is a play about class and race within the Latinx community, as well as at large, and how status does not change who you are at your core. 1m, 1f.

26 Pebbles by Eric Ulloa
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 innocent souls before taking his own life. These 26 innocent deaths, like pebbles thrown into a pond, created ripples and vibrations that were felt far beyond the initial rings. This is the story of those vibrations. Similar in style to The Laramie Project, playwright Eric Ulloa conducted interviews with members of the community in Newtown and crafted them into an exploration of gun violence and a small town shaken by a horrific event. 2m, 4.

Dangerous Music: The American Century Cycle Monologues (A Tool for Actors) by August Wilson

As one of the most celebrated playwrights and distinct voices of the American Theatre, August Wilson’s plays have influenced theater artists for decades. His works span the 20th Century, each play encapsulating the changes and consistencies in language, society, and the human spirit of each decade. Actors now have the opportunity to engage directly with the monologues from Wilson’s American Century Cycle. The monologues are broken down chronologically beginning with content from Gem of the Ocean and ending with Radio Golf, each with a brief synopsis of where the monologue occurs in the play.

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