Plays written by Donnetta Lavinia Grays
THE COWBOY IS DYING
LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE
LAID TO REST
THE NEW NORMAL
THE B FACTOR
ABSENCE OF FAITH
CAST: 4W 1M
10-year old Sam takes a sudden overnight trip from her home in Georgia to Brooklyn, NY with a drug addicted woman she barely knows – her mother. One unseasonal Christmas dinner later, Sam’s life is turned upside down as she is left to decipher the mysteries of her mother’s sudden disappearance, her father’s cryptic lessons and a new life with her aunt Rachel all while adapting to her newly changing body.
In the fall of 2001 the air has a marked change in New York City. Dana – a naïve yet self-righteous art critic – and her sports loving partner Kerri struggle to reconnect through its weight. This freshly weighted air, by contrast, provides new life for Naomi – an iconic visual artist – who, after years in the business, finally experiences the throes of financial success just as a debilitating disease threatens both that success and her legacy. When Dana questions Naomi’s artistic integrity the stage is set for a sexy, emotional and intellectual game of football between critic and artist. Secrets are revealed, beliefs are shattered, hearts are broken and art is made in this fast-paced drama that explores loss and sacrifice.
LAID TO REST
CAST: 5W 1-2M
Grace has Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine and Snapchat accounts among others. All the tools needed for today’s modern activist to stay engaged with the world. Since the deadly shooting of her teenaged son, Vanda’s life has now been thoroughly documented by the same social media that Grace so embraces. For as much as Grace has trumpeted Vanda’s struggle online, when these two strangers’ paths cross — on an average day at an average time — none of the activist’s tools aid in simply seeing the woman behind her hashtags.
THE NEW NORMAL
CAST: 3W 1M
Inspired by the life of 2009 Puget Sound Survivor of the Year Anna Warren Schumacher, The New Normal is a hard hitting and, often times, witty play that tells the unique story of how a young woman finds humor and grace in the unexpected challenges of survival. Anna is a 34-year-old broke, clumsy, wine sippin’ southern hairdresser living in present day Seattle, WA. She is a trying desperately to raise her 2 and half year old son…and her would be rock star husband Kevin. In addition to a complicated marriage Anna is searching to make sense of her recent title of “breast cancer survivor.” She has just returned from a weekend of fun with her survivor support group to find the house a wreck, the bills unpaid and a mysterious female stranger parked just outside of her home.
THE B FACTOR
CAST : 3W Playing Multiple Roles/Genders
Inspired stylistically in part by Robert O’Hara’s Insurrection and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, The “B” Factor is a fantastical comedy that explores the lives of Duane and Anthony (played by women) on their quest for sexual identity. The play takes place in an unnamed Brooklyn community. Duane and Anthony are long-term roommates. Duane is the shy artistic type. Anthony…not so much. He is an aggressive ladies man with a foul mouth and big boots to complement. Their journey is lived out in three representative motions. In the first motion, Duane and Anthony appear as two young men, in the second motion Duane appears as female and tries to enforce a more “traditional” existence on her relationship with Anthony (still male) and, lastly, in a movement where both Duane and Anthony appear as female finally coming to grips with their mutual affection. Duane and Anthony argue in each motion, challenging each other’s masculinity or femininity, given the time of day it seems, until they have found their true selves. The catalyst for their evolution comes in the form of The Old Man, a blind blues man (also played by a woman) who taunts them into self-acceptance. In the interim, however, Anthony has impregnated Duane. Yes, impregnated. And Anthony is in clear denial of this miracle, but feels compelled to protect her family from the impending “storm” of objection and hate that they are, in no doubt, going to face. The question remains, however, once these women find the strength of identity and love for one another, is it enough to withstand this impeding doom or have they given this opposition more credit than it’s due?
ABSENCE OF FAITH
CAST: 3W 2M
It’s the Fourth of July in what remains of the Former United States of America. Global warming has set in and the seasons have been reduced from months to days. The island of Manhattan is all that remains. There are only a handful of people who could survive this fluctuating weather and these survivors are all anxiously searching for their homelands and loved ones. Places and people that are fresh in their memories. As it is, they begin their search through local authorities. Others cry out for God but, because “public displays of faith” are now against the law they have all convened in one of the last remaining social institutions; the local police station. This small group is lead by a wisecracking street peddler named Solo who not only guides her compatriots but, also the audience through this odd and complicated world.
Donnetta Lavinia Grays – raised in Columbia, South Carolina – is a Brooklyn based actor and playwright. Her plays include SAM (2015 Todd McNerney National Playwriting Contest Winner. 2014 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist), THE REVIEW OR HOW TO EAT YOUR OPPOSITION (2013 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist) THE NEW NORMAL, THE COWBOY IS DYING, THE B FACTOR and ABSENCE OF FAITH and a short story entitled PEACHES WITH KING. She is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award, is an Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit member and both a terraNova Collective Groundbreakers Playwright group and Civilians R&D alum. Her work has been developed and/or presented by Portland Stage Company, Pure Theatre Company, [the claque], Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem, Slant Theater Project, terraNova Collective, Theatre 4 the People, TOSOS, The Group Lab and Coyote REP. Acting credits include Broadway’s IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY and WELL. NY theater credits include work with Clubbed Thumb, Primary Stages, Ars Nova and The Civilians as an Associate Artist. Regionally she is a 2-time Connecticut Critics Circle Award recipient and Helen Hayes Award nominee. Regionally she has performed at American Conservatory Theater, Portland Stage Company, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Centerstage, The Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company. Film/TV credits include WILD CANARIES, THE ENGLISH TEACHER, THE WRESTLER, BLUE BLOODS, THE BLACKLIST, all LAW & ORDERS, MERCY, RUBICON, THE SOPRANOS and A GIFTED MAN. Proud member of The Actors Center Workshop Company, SAG-AFTRA, AEA and The Dramatist Guild of America.