Radio Plays

Cleaver Magazine presents
Radio Plays
Original short plays performed by professional actors. Old-school radio drama with a contemporary twist.

Here you will find an entree into worlds and characters crafted by playwrights to entertain, amuse, inspire and arouse the senses.

Also available on iTunes.


GREAT a radio play by Parrish Turner

GREAT
an original radio play
by Parrish Turner
performed by Steve Allen
directed, edited, and produced by Grace Connolly

Recorded Performance, full text, plus an interview with author Parrish Turner
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An Interview with Playwright Parrish Turner

GC: What was your inspiration to write this script?

PT: This project started as an assignment in a playwriting workshop. We had three hats to pull from. One hat was our setting; the options ranged from space station to public library. The next hat contained “things that must be referenced” which was mostly historical events. And in the final hat was the number of characters we had to work with, and I had the luck (or misfortune) of drawing only one character.

This was a great exercise as a writer to play around. I often come back to this challenge when I am struggling with some form of writer’s block.

I found myself sitting and wondering what reason would a person be alone at the Pyramids of Giza. And I began to spiral from there.

GC: Who are the main characters in this play?

PT: Great only has one character: the last man on earth. I envisioned him as a generic “every man,” a sort of blank canvas to explore the ideas of humanity’s legacy. As a writer, my favorite part of working in theatre is the influence of collaboration. I like to give directors and actors room to interpret what they see in a text. While I have a huge back story for the character, he is described simply as Man. I am always delighted to see what others see in their own characterization of him.

GC: Why the Pyramids as opposed to any of the other natural wonders?

PT: As I mentioned before, I didn’t exactly choose it, but I remain fascinated by the Great Pyramids and modern humans’ feelings about them. They are so old that we almost consider them natural wonders, even though they are man made. Between the alien conspiracies and mummy myths, these piles of rock are loaded with meaning. But it is hundreds of different meanings.

GC: What playwrights/writers have had a particular influence on you?

PT: I am most influenced by interesting thinkers and those who try to present those thoughts in creative ways. Lately, I have been consuming a lot of nonfiction work, like Maggie Nelson. Eula Biss is someone whose work I am eating up because she manages to talk about tough and dense issues in beautiful and literary ways. Most of my writing comes from me trying to work through my own thoughts on an issue, so I love seeing other writers doing the same in their own ways.

GC: How long did it take you to write this play? How has this piece evolved throughout time, over the course of its development? What has been the development history of this script?

PT: This piece hasn’t changed too much since it was first written. There was a lot of editing to make sure it actually fit the shape I wanted it to be. The first draft was probably written in an afternoon. I tend to be a fast writer when I am in the right headspace for it. There were some factual details that were tricky to make believable. For example, I have done the math on how long it would take to sail to Egypt from the US and doubled that plus some, but people still didn’t believe that he had taken long enough to get there. It is such a grandiose story that it is tricky to strike the right balance of realism.

It was started when I was still in school, so I had a week to turn around scripts for class. It went from there to my school’s short play festival where I was able to see it come to life with a director and actor, although I was out of the country when it was performed, but my friend recorded it on her phone!

GC: Where do you write?

PT: I am a coffee shop writer, which my wallet doesn’t love. I have a favorite coffee shop that is usually full of other writers so I get to feed off of their energy in order to stay focused.

GC: I love the epic journey of this ten minute piece. Would you say that you have an esthetic as a writer you tend to adhere to in your scripts or are there themes in common in which you explore throughout your body of work?

PT: I like the grandiosity of everyday life. I am always exploring the influences that shape our lives, for example religion and gender and sexuality and regionality all shape how we view and navigate the world. We usually don’t realize that other people view the world differently until you are forced to examine that, like when you meet someone new or the world ends. What does it mean to be a human? And how do we approach the ways we tell our stories? You know, the ways that we crop or cherry pick in order to present the image we want to present.

GC: What’s something new youre working on now?

PT: I actually just finished a masters degree in creative writing, where I focused on nonfiction, so most of my writing as of late has been in that. But now I am free to write whatever I like! I am aiming to finish my collection of personal essays and find new outlets for my work. A lot of nonfiction writing is pushed to be in a sort of clickbait format, which can be beautifully done, but isn’t how my work usually turns out. But I am excited to start some new projects.

Read Parrish Turner’s Script:

Great_A Radio Play

Playwright Parrish Turner hails from Georgia. He is a writer, essayist, and playwright. With his fellow playwrights, Parrish was honored with the Metro Atlanta Theater award for his work on the musical By Wheel and By Wing. He was a Lambda Literary Fellow in Nonfiction in 2014 and received his MFA from The New School. Parrish’s essay “Sound Over Water” was recently featured on The Rumpus. His work centers around regionality, gender, sex, and religion. He currently works with the Lambda Literary Review.
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Grace Connolly (Producer) has developed, staged and performed work(s) at venues including LaMama E.T.C (script development with Obie-Award winner Ping Chong), Primary Stages, The Wild Project, Dixon Place, Bowery Poetry Club, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Krane, The Fresh Fruit Festival, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Freddy’s in Brooklyn. Training and Professional Development includes: UCLA, Primary Stages and Kent State University where was the only person ever to complete a year long independent study on Women in the Restoration. Her literary publications include Never Apologize/Year of The Pig (Bluestockings), Flying (Cleaver Magazine), The Fool (Blackheart Magazine),  and The Real Bourgeois (The Commonline Journal). Twitter @reforminghpstr.

 

You may also enjoy:

EVERGLADES, a radio play by Brough Hansen

DREAMS OF THE CLOCKMAKER, a Radio Play by Sean Gill

 

EVERGLADES, a radio play by Brough Hansen

EVERGLADES
an original radio play
by Brough Hansen
performed by Nick LaMedica (Jasper) and J. Todd Adams (Fallon)
directed by Rachel Klein
produced and edited by Grace Connolly

Recorded Performance, full text, and an interview with the author by Grace Connolly

A Note from the Editor:

With this production, we decided to harken back to a 1940’s classic radio drama. The epic scope of this story serves this purpose well, as does a timeless, crackling fuzz, which we hope throws you back—beyond 2008 when the arc of this play comes to a head, and into another century, to the golden era of radio. We took a contemporary story line, and infused it with classical music, civil war era songs, and sound effects, creating a new take on an old form. —Grace Connolly 

 

Read Brough Hansen’s script:

Everglades.Hansen.Brough.pdf

An Interview with Playwright Brough Hansen

GC: Who are the main characters in this play?

BH: Jasper and Fallon, brothers that grow up together in the Florida Everglades before going on to lead very different lives.

GC: In this post-election time, I can’t help but think about how this ties into the economic landscape of our nation even now. Can you discuss your exploration into themes of economic despair, education, familial patterns and fate (to name a few).

Though I didn’t write the play with any overt political message in mind, I thought the 2008 financial crises would provide a great opportunity to illustrate the divergent fates of the two segments of America that it effected—the Wall Street class and everyone else. In a post-Trump world, there are thematic echoes of the social and economic disenfranchisement among white, working class men that put him into office, but that’s an (un)happy coincidence.

GC: What was your inspiration to write this script?

BH: I have a taste for good old fashioned Greek nihilism, which I don’t think we experience often enough in contemporary theater, and I wanted to create a play in that tradition. How do we achieve catharsis in the face of the void? Sophocles and Aeschylus seem to suggest that we purge meaninglessness by staring unblinkingly into its depths. I might also add: cat videos.

GC: Why set it in the Everglades?

BH: We forget that Florida was America’s last frontier—it wasn’t really settled until the early twentieth century after Henry Flagler built his railroad through what was essentially one big swamp. I once visited the Everglades and it retains that pre-civilized feel of a forgotten, ancient place. It’s a very compelling setting.

GC: What playwrights/writers have had a particular influence on you?

BH: Nothing too original here: O’Neill, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Churchill, Shepard, Albee, Williams. Also, I must confess that when I’m feeling uninspired I crack a Bible. I’m a secular dude, but that book has it all.

GC: I love the epic journey of this ten minute piece. Would you say that you have an esthetic as a writer you tend to adhere to in your scripts or are there themes in common in which you explore throughout your body of work?

BH: I love epic journeys! Particularly in short plays. We really understand who characters become when we can witness their lives across decades in one sitting—their choices, luck, fate. Hopefully the experience will then help us reflect on our own lives.

GC: What’s something new you’re working on now? (you can be as vague or as detailed as you want here).

BH: I’m writing a screenplay for a production company and a two hander that I will be developing for a residency at the Hangar Theater in the spring. I also have a one man show in the works. Stay tuned!


Brough (pronounced “Bruff”) Hansen (Playwright) has an MFA from the Brown/Trinity Graduate Acting Program and graduated with a BA in American Studies from Dartmouth College. His most recent full length play, Buttonholes was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2015 National Playwrights Conference. His play Night Vision premiered at Brown’s annual Writing is Live Festival, curated by Erik Ehn. As an undergraduate he earned honors for his thesis play, Our Guy Rich, an adaptation of Richard III. Brough has worked as an actor in New York and in regional theaters around the country.

Nick LaMedica (Jasper) has appeared in Hand to God (City Theatre Company), War Horse (1st National Tour/Japan), As You Like It, Benediction (Denver Center), and Much Ado About Nothing (Two River Theatre). He is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College’s BFA Acting and Musical Theatre programs, and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
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J. Todd Adams (Fallon) has an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater. He has performed with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, the Pioneer Theatre Company, the Denver Center Theatre Company, the South Coast Repertory, the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, the San Diego Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, and Washington National Opera. His films include Flyboys and Warriors of Virtue, and his TV appearances include The West Wing and Gilmore Girls.
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Rachel Klein (Director) is a New York-based director and choreographer. Her Off-Broadway credits include Around the World in 80 Days (The Davenport Theatre); The Anthem (Starring Randy Jones, the Original Cowboy from the Village People); The Vanity (Theatre Row); Gay Bride of Frankenstein (iStar Theatre Lab). Selected NYC Theatre: Tink! (New York Musical Festival); More Than All the World (musical adaptation of Marlowe’s Edward II); Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions (Fringe NYC); Symphony of Shadows (a Jerome Robbins Foundation commission); Secret Summer (an immersive Midsummer Night’s Dream).She holds a BA in Theatrical Direction from Columbia College, and studied at the International Directors Symposium in Spoleto, Italy. She is a member of Musical Theatre Factory. More at http://www.rachelkleindirector.com/

Grace Connolly (Producer) has developed, staged and performed work(s) at venues including LaMama E.T.C (script development with Obie-Award winner Ping Chong), Primary Stages, The Wild Project, Dixon Place, Bowery Poetry Club, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Krane, The Fresh Fruit Festival, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Freddy’s in Brooklyn. Training and Professional Development includes: UCLA, Primary Stages and Kent State University where was the only person ever to complete a year long independent study on Women in the Restoration. Her literary publications include Never Apologize/Year of The Pig (Bluestockings), Flying (Cleaver Magazine), The Fool (Blackheart Magazine),  and The Real Bourgeois (The Commonline Journal). Twitter @reforminghpstr.

DREAMS OF THE CLOCKMAKER, a Radio Play by Sean Gill

DREAMS OF THE CLOCKMAKER
an original radio play by Sean Gill
performed by Kelly Chick
produced by Grace Connolly

Recorded Performance, full text, and an interview with the author by Grace Connolly

Read Sean Gill’s script:

dreams-of-the-clockmaker-script

 


An Interview with Playwright Sean Gill

GC: Who are the main characters in this play?

SG: There is primarily “The Woman on a Stage,” our host and raconteuse. Eventually she recalls and embodies a few of the more formative figures from her life, including her mystical Grandmother and a master manipulator known only as “The Clockmaker.”

GC: Why clocks?

SG: This never really was a story that fit neatly between the lines. It bleeds into the past and the future, and its mood and space and tonality are always shifting. The clocks give it a kind of order, and I wanted the show to have a musical flow, so adding a “metronome” was only natural.  When the hypnosis sets in, there is that loss of control, and the rhythm of the clock can be soothing or ominous, depending on your (or the characters’) state of mind.

GC: Where is the story set?

SG: On a stage, perhaps unmoored from time and space. In Alston, Oklahoma in the distant past. In California, at a stately, foreboding mansion. At any of these old, out-of-the-way places—a land of splinters and shadows and the darkest corners of the world…

GC: Who is ‘The Woman on a Stage’ and what is her emotional journey throughout this play? 

SG: She’s is a woman of vision and strength and good humor, but she possesses a certain dimension of angst and vulnerability. Above all, she derives a primordial pleasure from telling stories. She offers up the soothing mysteries of her early life, stories of childlike wonderment and deepest trauma. Ultimately, we witness her confrontation with the abyss and her relentless search for certainty and closure.

GC: What was your inspiration to write this script?

SG: I always wanted to create an atypical one-person show, one that eschewed the typical memoir format and was capable of inducing an atmosphere of pure, mesmerizing sensation. At the time, I’d been reading a lot about animal magnetism and hypnosis, and always had a soft spot for the mythical archetypes of Americana’s underbelly––the carny, the fortune teller, the traveling preacher, the con man, and the drifter. I wrote it for my sister, Jillaine Gill, who knew the creepy nostalgia of a Midwestern childhood quite well, and the voice emerged.

GC: How has this play evolved throughout time, over the course of its development?

SG:I wrote “Clockmaker” in a single concentrated burst; the first draft was complete by the second week, and the final version was ready by the third. It didn’t change much during the initial rehearsal process; I tweaked a few lines with Jillaine here and there before its first, limited run (at The Duplex) in 2010, and used the same, unaltered script for its full run (at The Wild Project) in 2011. Certain moments yielded more powerful reactions when we added choreography and colored it with vibrant lighting (by the brilliant Ben Kato). This radio drama version—abridged and directed by the talented playwright Grace Connolly—amplifies different aspects and dimensions entirely; I feel like there are even moments when, to my delight, it begins to resemble a Laurie Anderson spoken-word album.

GC: Where do you write?

SG: I do 95% of my writing at my computer, seated at an old desk in my apartment. But because inspiration doesn’t always strike on a schedule, I find myself scribbling sentences and ideas onto sticky notes which I cram into my wallet and pockets like a lunatic.

GC: What playwrights/writers have had a particular influence on you?

SG: For this particular piece, I’d probably say Jorge Luis Borges’ mind-benders, Flannery O’Connor’s American grotesques, and William Lindsay Gresham’s carnival noir.  Outside of Clockmaker, I’d say my biggest influences are probably Yukio Mishima, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, and George Orwell.

GC: The Clockmaker seems, to me, to be a very symbolic character. In this pre-election time, I can’t help but make political comparisons. Can you tell me a bit about the symbolism behind the creation of this character or what themes you were hoping to explore with the creation of this character?

SG: While writing Clockmaker, I’d had a vivid dream—not specifically political, not consciously about climate change or revanchists or horrors ripped from the headlines—in short, it was a vision of serpents coiling the Earth, peeling the flesh from the surface and drinking the marrow from the bones. To me, it was the Clockmaker’s id, personified. He craves every manner of power and control, and obsesses specifically on knowing what the future holds. In The Lady on a Stage, he sees an opportunity to make this dream become flesh, and not for trifling (to him) reasons like fame or monetary gain. I think perhaps his worldview is best described in one of my favorite lines by Borges, from “The Garden of Forking Paths”: “The author of an atrocious undertaking ought to imagine that he has already accomplished it, ought to impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.”

—Grace Connolly


sean-gillSean Gill is a playwright and filmmaker who has studied with Werner Herzog and Juan Luis Buñuel, documented public defenders for National Geographic, was a writer-in-residence at the Bowery Poetry Club from 2011-2012, and was named a semifinalist by the 2016 Eugene O’NeillTheater Center’s National Playwrights Conference. He won the 2016 Sonora Review Fiction Prize, and other recent stories have been published or are forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Word Riot, So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, failbetter, and Akashic Books.
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kelly-chickKelly Chick was most recently featured in the official showcase for Meryl Streep’s Female Writers Lab in conjunction with A&E networks. She is a graduate of the BFA Acting program at Emerson College. Favorite Boston credits include the title role in The Good Person of Setzuan (Fort Point Theatre Channel), The Edge of Peace (Central Square Theatre), and the world premiere of Three (Boston Public Works). Between auditions, Kelly can be found wrangling the CEO of the period panty company, THINX.
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Grace Connolly has developed, staged and performed work(s) at venues including LaMama E.T.C (script development with Obie-Award winner Ping Chong), Primary Stages, The Wild Project, Dixon Place, Bowery Poetry Club, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Krane, The Fresh Fruit Festival, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Freddy’s in Brooklyn. Training and Professional Development includes: UCLA, Primary Stages and Kent State University where was the only person ever to complete a year long independent study on Women in the Restoration. Her literary publications include Never Apologize/Year of The Pig (Bluestockings), Flying (Cleaver Magazine), The Fool (Blackheart Magazine),  and The Real Bourgeois (The Commonline Journal). Twitter @reforminghpstr.

Image credit: Cliff Johnson on Unsplash