Brendan Drank Here
by Fred Crecca
Time: A cold Christmas Eve in 1982
Place: O'Boyle's Pub in Yorkville, Manhattan, a rundown, seedy place.
This 9 character drama/comedy follows an IRA fugitive wanted for the death of a British officer, during an escape/shootout from a Brit prison in Ireland. Can he find the peace he desperately seeks in the U.S. with his American fiancé?
Conor McNally, alias Tom Owens, incognito as a bartender for the past 2 years at O’Boyle’s Pub in Yorkville, is antsy. He's already given notice to his besotted boss, Petey O’Boyle that he’s heading out west with his fiance in the morning to begin a new life. One of the “regulars” at O’Boyle’s, Goonzy McNair, a harmless, flag waving braggart, rides Tom for his lack of interest in Northern Ireland’s complicated politics, and in Irish history, in general.
Early on in the play Brendan Behan's ghost appears, heard and seen only by Goonzy. Brendan attempts to orchestrate Tom's safe arrest (not his escape) with the old man’s assistance – if he can ever get him to sober up, in the hope that incarceration in a U.S. jail will best serve to focus worldwide attention on the “troubles” in Northern Ireland. Other colorful characters find their way to the pub, including a transvestite and a pair of not so colorful and deadly FBI men, further complicating the proceedings, all of which leads to a wildly unexpected denouement.
ARTHUR MURRAY TAUGHT ME DANCING IN A HURRY
(a synopsis of a two act play by Fred Crecca)
Time:1998 (with flashbacks to earlier years).
Place: Various locations within the U.S. Seven roles for 5 men and 2 women (some roles are doubled).
Can a reformed pedophile be trusted in society? After a 12 year stretch, released parolee, Ron Griffin (early 50’s), is the target of vigilantes, barely escaping death at their hands. The system has classified him a Level 2 sex offender under the then newly enacted Megan’s Law. Levels 3 and 2 (respectively) are the high risk and borderline risk offenders, subject to intense scrutiny; random visits to their domiciles, searches by parole officers (P.O.’s) at all hours of the day or night, work checks, no internet access, and certainly no residence within the proximity of schools. Years of extensive therapy and leadership behavior in prison, have earned Ron the right, or so he feels, to revise his status to a significantly moderate risk Level 1. He must prove this to his newly assigned savvy, hard-nosed P.O. (Anna Corbin).
Flashbacks reveal a past of sexual molestation at the hands of his emotionally disturbed mother and one of her johns as a boy. Later on Ron’s career in the Marines is soon foreshortened through an undesirable discharge for violent behavior. He wanders aimlessly for 20 years until he is convicted and incarcerated for molesting two pre-teenage boys in two separate incidents.
Ron cannot account for this time gap with any degree of accuracy, further complicating his appeal for reclassification. While steadfastly maintaining his crimes were an aberration derived while in a depressed frame of mind, Ron tries to convince Anna, and the system, that he’s completely rehabilitated. Is he? At play’s end, (there are two endings), society faces the choice as to whether it wins or loses.
(a rake’s tale)
TIME: 1979 NYC
PLACE: a bar in NYC’s garment center; a rooftop on the Upper west Side; a hospital room at Sloan-Kettering; a midtown Broadway producer’s office. Locations should be only suggestions of the places they represent.
Billy Ray, a talented musician/composer, looks down at his crumpled, lifeless body from a ten story rooftop on the upper West Side. Bill is also a ladies man and has lived a high and reckless life. Early on he gained entrée to play with the giants of jazz in the be-bop era of the late ‘40’s. Later on his attentions focused on Broadway where he played in orchestra pits and eventually wrote an award winning OFF Broadway show that never made it to the big street - heartbreaker. Bill’s fall from quasi prominence in the dog eat dog world of show business in the city he’s grown to love –leads him to the ultimate act.
Three actors: Two males, one of whom plays the leading role of Bill, a man in his early 50’s. The other male and one female are to play multiple roles, aging up or down as necessary.
CODA (For Freddie Blue)
by Fred Crecca
Place: A NYC project, a hospital nursing facility.
What does Tanya, a reformed party girl and now devoted mother find out about ex-con and former lover Freddie Blue that drives her to revenge? Ramiro (Ram), her fiancé and father of their toddler son, a brilliantly gifted musician beloved by all in their South Bronx project community, is left brain dead, the result of a cop’s errant bullet during an altercation with childhood friend and ex-con Freddie Blue, who escapes unidentified. A little more than a year later, Tanya’s dangerously surprising action will compromise her future and affect the lives of all around her.
Eight roles are played by six actors.
During the performance, trumpeter and leader Ram (not necessarily to play – this actor may feign playing to a tape), will become part of the Latino/jazz combo onstage (or offstage, if used at all) lending musical flavor to punctuate action during the play.
The Deadly Dance
(a synopsis of an adaptation of August Strindberg’s
Dance of Death based on the Edwin Bjorkman translation of same)
by Fred Crecca
PLACE: An island fortress home on an island off the coast of Maine
Characters: Two women, two men
An egocentric semi retired naval captain and his venomous wife engage in their lifelong unremitting battles in their isolated island fortress home off the coast of Maine at the beginning of the 20th century. Alice, a former actress who gave up her career for a secluded military life with Edgar boldly cites, on the occasion of their 25th anniversary, the veritable hell their marriage has been. Edgar is quick to agree, and as an aging schizoid and misanthrope, refuses to acknowledge a severe life threatening illness, and continues to sustain his ferocious arrogance and animal disregard for everyone. Sensing that Alice and her cousin recently arrived at the island for a tour of duty as a quarantine inspector, may ally against him as lovers, Edgar retaliates against Alice who has lured Curt into a passionate assignation recruiting him in a plot to destroy Edgar. A hilariously surprising plot twist at play’s end restores a measure of sanity to the proceedings.
TIME: Mid 1980’s
PLACE: An old house in Yonkers, NY
Four characters: 2 women, 2 men
A reckless young mother’s obsession with a neer-do-well lover who involves her in an insurance fraud scheme through the unsuspecting help of her long time friend, attorney and S&M client may lead her to finally admitting the error of her wayward ways.
EENIE MEENIE, MINEY, MOE
PLACE: the Traynor apartment in the South Bronx
Barbara Traynor – 60’s. Lana, her daughter early 40’s. Mark, her son, mid 40’s. Monserrat, a santera. Lenny Klein, late 40’s early 50’s.
The TV screen's eerie light is a prominent feature of the Traynor family’s apartment offering illusory distraction from the oppressively dismal South Bronx ghetto below. They are the last family in the neighborhood who missed the white flight of the 60's due to mother Barbara's neglect. Son Mark (early 40’s) and daughter Lana (a year younger), suffer from debilitating, depressing ailments of long standing. He’s a former drug addict who’s been stuck in a methadone program for over 20 years. She is a shut in, whose many phobias give rise to impossible yearnings for marriage, escape and long sought after sex, even looking to Mark for possible romance, which frightens him - for good reason.
Barbara (mid 60’s), a weary office worker, herself in ill health, but still youthfully attractive, is a domineering presence to her two grown children, who resent her. A once aspiring big band singer offered an opportunity with the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra, Barbara’s dreams are shattered by her fiercely over protective Italian immigrant father. She lives in the past, recalling highlights of former rebellious, glamorous party girl days, when she’d frequently abandon her small children to "go out downtown." She embellishes her own history to entertain Lana, repeating an especially fabulous night when she actually "sang for Frank,” a fairy tale oft repeated to mask the brutal truth of that particular evening of total humiliation. Barbara places her faith in a santera (a seeress) as she schemes to escape the South Bronx to anywhere “white people live,” in hope of stemming the tide of bad luck dogging her family. Instead, the santera accurately prophesizes dire consequences for the star struck Traynors. In desperation, she seeks the largesse of a co-worker, a well intentioned younger man she has no love interest in. He is repelled upon seeing the true condition of Barbara’s home life with her resentful children, leaving Barbara and her ill fated brood to a dire end.
Rye ‘n Ginger
a one act play by Fred Crecca
TIME: mid 90’s
PLACE: An upper Westside bar in Manhattan.
Characters: a woman, two men.
Connie Mae Gunder, a 40ish lonely, a somewhat old fashioned waitress is at one of her quiet favorite haunts having a few too many drinks one evening after a hard day’s work. She encounters Natey, a much younger brash fellow who immediately takes a shine to her. While feigning non-interest, Connie Mae is flattered by Natey’s unorthodox approach and his promise to take her to the hottest Broadway musical in town. Natey’s bragging about his occupation in the city licensing department, and how important he is, leads to an untoward uproarious confrontation until they both reveal their true innermost feelings and succumb to a sweet May/December relationship.
EXIT NORTHERN TERRITORY
by Fred Crecca
TIME: Mid-late 90’s.
PLACE: Various areas in the city of Darwin, in Northern Territory, Australia. CHARACTERS: Two males; one middle-aged (white). The other early 30’s, is a half caste aborigine.
Jenna Johns, an attractive, unconventional American expat owner of a rowdy pub in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, encounters an equally unconventional, rather gruff Australian doctor (Regis Beck) at the pub one evening. Their mutual attraction is immediate. However, their next meeting occurring months later complicates matters. Within a year and a half, the would be lovers are forced into an uncompromising decision; Beck delivers the grim news that Jenna has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and that he heads the world’s first experimental physician assisted death movement for the terminally ill in Northern Territory, Australia, due to a recently passed bill legalizing doctor assisted death. Parliamentary debate over the issue rages pro and con both before and during the passage of the act; Beck is constantly pilloried in the press as a Kervorkian-like “Doctor Death” figure. On the other side, the terminally ill seeking a dignified death hold him in great esteem, and a few, but only a few, desire his ministrations. Jenna, by now is rapidly wasting away, and unequivocally in favor of the bill, presents a profound dilemma for Dr. Beck. Further complicating their lives is Jenna’s good friend and former lover, a younger half aborigine, (Roland) whom she hastily marries in order to legally leave him her property and possessions, while concealing from him her plan to have her life terminated by Doctor Beck. Roland, a leading aboriginal spokesman for the law’s opposition plunges the trio into a gripping, untenable situation at play’s end, as Beck struggles with his emotions in his love for Jenna.
by Fred Crecca
A long overdue reunion of three talented, ambitious African American brothers frames this significant evening. Wendell Bonds (30), a successful engineer, has urged the meeting out of concern for the youngest, Purvis (20), a highly touted sophomore basketball star at State U. Rumors abound that he’s been consorting with known gamblers (KG’s) and drug dealers. Wendell calls on oldest brother, Woody (34), a dashing, self-styled business promoter, idolized by Purvis, for help. Woody has been feverishly working on a promotion involving the world’s most famous and beloved ex-heavyweight boxing champion and a wealthy financier, and has invited them to attend in hopes of finalizing the deal. He’s also brought along a few models from the NY agency he owns with his partner and live/in lover to celebrate the closing to improve chances. The two older brothers clash over memories of their dead father, wrongfully convicted of murder and executed 20 years before. Financial and educational benefits accrue to the brothers due to the state’s egregious error. Meanwhile, Purvis, resents their interference in his problems. Woody’s smooth veneer gradually cracks; his associates don’t show, the deal dies - a development he hides from the others. He falls out with his partner and live/in lover. In a cocaine induced state the mocking laughter of Daddy Bonds is heard in Woody’s head - a haunting echo of all the bad luck that’s dogged him through the years. Desperately, he tries to con Purvis to quit school and jump to the “bigs” (the NBA), under his management, before the rumors become fact and the kid’s value is undermined. Admitting the gravity of his situation, Purvis grows leery of Woody. In a rancorous, albeit poignant finale, the parting of the Bonds brothers is complete; the reunion ends unresolved. They will go their separate ways, Woody to face a future alone; a chastened Purvis to try to straighten out his life, and Wendell to be rebuffed by Purvis after an offer of his friendship and love.
THE TRIAL OF K K KAZOOTIE
by Fred Crecca
Time: 2001. Place: Various places in Noo Yawk City. Six characters.
Can the fearless, baseball loving, cross dressing, tough, shoot-from-the-hip,
popular mayor of Noo Yawk, KK Kazootie, the guy who cleaned up the city, the
same guy who denounced modern art as morally corrupt and started the Culture
Wars, escape from a grungy group of vengeful artists, who hold him captive in a
nondescript dungeon redoubt beneath the city streets? Is it all a bad dream?
These strange people; a beautiful, ruthless art promoter, half naked performance
artists and dreadlocked cinematographers, have filmed him inflagrante delicto
with Shasta, the well-known lusty teenage British porn star artiste. She, ironically,
is the only one who can possibly save him from being blackmailed if he dares run
for the recently vacated New York senate seat when his present mayoral term
The bad dream continues. The lovers are later discovered naked, dazed and
dung besplattered, under the Brooklyn Bridge. KK, in denial, stonewalls the press
at his State of the City address, but has to step down from the race. Demoralized
and shaken and desperate for political redemption a surprising tragic event
catapults him to national prominence.
Such are the vagaries of the art of politics and the politics of art. Will he make it?
a play in two acts by Fred Crecca (a synopsis)
TIME: Early 80’s. Winter. PLACE: An SRO on the Upper West Side, NYC.
Four males, three in their 40’s. A young male of 16. A female in her 30’s.
Cliff Di Benedetto, a charming middleaged reformed gambler leads a low key existence as a restaurant maitre d’, only occasionally betting small amounts on football - ’just to watch’, he says. The problem had already ruined an earlier marriage and a successful business career as a restaurant entrepreneur. He and his adored teenage son Buddy, a bright, devoted boy of 16, whom he frequently sees, are saving up for a long dreamed of cross-country trip in a van. When a rare business deal comes up for Cliff to be a partner in three thriving restaurants with a good faith commitment of $10,000, he jumps at it. Acting hastily and without credit, he’s borrowed money from a nasty shylock to cover his gambling losses. He turns to his estranged fiancé, Deirdre, a successful investment banker for help. She eagerly embraces this new development in Cliff’s life, trusting that the deal will lead to their secure future together. Cliff recklessly gambles the money away when learning that the deal falls through due to his recent gambling and borrowing binge through mutual contacts. Deirdre, upon discovering the deceit breaks off their engagement. Cliff finally realizes how low he’s sunk. Physically beaten up by underworld creditors, he must now do their nefarious bidding. In a tense, poignant final scene, Buddy accepts his disillusionment about the never to happen dream trip cross country. Both become aware that the son is now father to the man.
a synopsis of a two act comedy
by Fred Crecca
Place: the office of Real Man Hairpieces, Ltd. in New York City. Seven characters, 2 female, 5 male. Single set.
Phomph (pronounced fumfh). From the Yiddish, faking it, getting over on.
Robert Caulfield, 21, a naïve, albeit ambitious hairstylist from the Bronx, is hired by Heshie Buxbaum, alpha male entrepreneur of Real Man hairpiece emporium located in the heart of Manhattan. The promise of financial independence in a new, exciting business appeals to Robert as he’s taught by Heshie to fake (phomph) vulnerable bald clients with shoddy goods made with animal hair, not real human hair as advertised. Troubles mount for Real Man, Ltd. when the customers wise up in revolt. A frantic Robert, already beset by doubts of his sexual identity and pressure from his wig making Latina fiancé, Nora, asks for her expertise. She finally convinces him to stand up to Heshie and champion the clients’ demands for quality goods. Robert proves to himself and to Heshie that integrity trumps scamming unwary customers for the Almighty Buck. Having still more to prove to Nora he reveals the truth of his sexuality to her. Redeemed and wiser, Robert and a chastened Heshie, who winds up with Nora, (he’s really a loveable hustler, after all), form a legitimate and successful partnership, while Robert goes for a zany actor customer (Edgar Roget – “like the thesaurus”), the customers get their new hair, business prospects are looking up, and everyone gets laughs from being in on the phomph!!!
(by Fred Crecca - a synopsis)
Time: December 2, 1967. Evening.
Place: The office of Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman Archbishop of New York
in the chancery of St. Patrick's Cathedral, NYC. (Four actors, three men and a woman will play multiple roles in this full-length one act play.)
This play is an imaginary recapitulation of the final night in the life of Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York.
Can a lifetime of achievement and influence with four U.S. Presidents ensure the legacy of America’s leading Catholic prelate? On his final day on earth amid the din of angry Vietnam War protestors in the streets below denouncing his hawkish meddling in that benighted war, Cardinal Spellman, old and in failing health, prays to the life-like statue of Pope Pius XII, his long dead friend and mentor for succor and support in his final hours of need. The Cardinal’s fall from grace since Pius’s death 10 years before has left him adrift and a pariah in the Vatican where he once wielded so much power. Pius, alive in Spellman’s now delirious mind, appears, reminding the Cardinal of his egregious war mongering and political zealousness to the neglect of his higher commitment to God and church. These reminders lead to outright rebukes, and their past differences, despite the intense friendship they shared when Pius was Pope. Anger surfaces, as Spellman alludes to charges of Pius’s assisting the escape of a number of high ranking Nazis to South America at war’s end, and the even greater charge of the Curia’s silence during the later to be revealed horrors of the Holocaust. A host of colorful historical characters from President Lyndon B. Johnson to Eleanor Roosevelt will appear during the play to remind them both of their many successes and ultimate failures as leaders of the Catholic Church whose worldwide influence was once great. Assailed by doubt about his legacy, the last most politically powerful American Catholic prelate ponders whether or not he will he be forgotten by the church and country he loved so dearly but may not have served as well as he thought.
by Fred Crecca
Time: late 90’s. Early evening.
Place: an upper Westside SRO in Manhattan.
Characters: two men in their late 40’s.
A one act play. Running time around 50 minutes.
In a dingy, rather messy Upper Westside SRO, the gig awaits - yet another catered affair to be ministered to by two cater waiters. Paul is at the ready in his tuxedo, waiting on Mitch, his friend, and sole resident of the apartment, who dawdles while dressing, airing out his unhappiness with his lot in life. He is an actor of dubious merit and little ambition, a womanizing misfit. Paul ambitiously pursues writing for the stage but has had no real validation. They are, as so many thousands are, unsuccessful, and desperately trying to realize their dreams.
Mitch relentlessly derides Paul's ambitions. Film, he says, is the only way to go. The men clash as Mitch ups the ante, speaking of the futility of pursuing art and frequently lapsing into Pinterese (Sir Harold, that is) to make his points, further antagonizing Paul. In a dark moment, Mitch produces a loaded gun – threatening to alleviate both of their existential horror - fear of failure. Will he pull the trigger? A surprising twist will perhaps leave us all wondering about our own choices and self worth.
Two middle-aged men, an actor and a playwright, prepare for an evening’s catering job they both despise having to do. The actor, in a foul mood he has masked, baits his friend unmercifully, berating him for failing as an artist, when he himself has given up any pretensions to art, preferring instead to chase women. Their exchanges turn ugly and their friendship dissolves in a surprisingly funny ending.
WHAT IT IS
by Fred Crecca
Time: 1980’s -90’s.
Place: A seedy heroin "shooting gallery" in Brooklyn, NY
The play is peopled by 13 characters of various ethnicities and ages.
The denizens of a Brooklyn "shooting gallery" are the subject of a two-person TV crew, who frame the modern urban nightmare of drug addiction and vice in terms of sensationalist media reporting. Part documentary, part drama, What It Is amplifies the seamy violence of this surreal netherworld through objective interviews of the gallery’s denizens, a mosaic of women and men from all walks and classes of American life, capturing their daily desperation. Basil, the gallery's erudite top man, a Black Vietnam vet and social drop-out, with the darkest possible view of life, clashes with the young and beautiful, upwardly mobile (also African American) inquiring reporter, Dorinda Beckwith. Basil’s controversial ideas about race and class are antithetical to Dorinda's preconceptions. She finds him demonic, and is frustrated by his arrogant assuredness of the world's inherent evil. But his keen observations of human nature and streetwise ways are dangerously seductive. They are interrupted during an unlikely love scene by Basil's long time streetwalker girlfriend, China, who is the prime target of a mysterious serial killer of prostitutes, during a gritty crime epidemic griping the city. The denouement reveals Dorinda's innate opportunism that will propel her career forward. Her cynicism leaves us with much to ponder about where we, as a society, are heading.
A Foul Play
Synopsis of a
full length comedy/drama
PLACE: A Bronx funeral home, and other imaginary sites
CHARACTERS: One woman and six men (most in multiple roles)
Time is bent. The fourth wall is broken. Surprise and humor reign in this
sparsely staged play set in a Bronx funeral home. A Playwright (PW) enters his own play and asks his characters to help him complete the project, ostensibly to submit to an important contest to achieve the validation he thinks he deserves.
At first the characters have to be convinced that they are simply characters in a play the Playwright is writing. The PW motivates them to improvise, which they do throughout, but soon they fight among themselves for greater role importance in the script. As the play evolves, the characters’ improves begin to reveal important bits and pieces of the PW’s guilt ridden, dark past – a past he prefers to merely refer to in the script but not to delve into. The characters sense that he is hiding information making their efforts creatively meaningless and so they take over, despite the PW denials and his adamant refusal to rewrite. But we learn he has no real control over events because he is himself a character guided by an unseen, unheard playwright with the power to delete the whole bloody lot of them on his Mac Workbook! The surprise ending completes the company’s journey when the revelation occurs, much to the PW’s chagrin.
SAMMY’S LAST CALL
PLACE: A NY Hospital cancer ward
Four characters, three men and one woman
Old Sammy Moskowitz, a former roustabout, is in bad shape at Sloan-Kettering, awaiting the Grim Reaper. He is consoled by his long time old friend, Yussie, who is complicit in practically all his outlandish schemes, among which is to try to bribe a nurse and his doctor to let him end it all with a strong overdose of just about anything that will transport him painlessly to the next world. His machinations are in vain, and he and Yussie are left to contemplate a different plan of action.
Sammy doesn’t need too much to convince Yussie that a final trip to Vegas is all he needs to settle his restless urge to get to the end. The two old boys do it, and are seen exiting the hospital, Sammy in a wheel chair and Yussie behind wheeling him out the door.