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SYNOPSES of THEATER WORKS
by Franco D'Alessandro


Plays

ROMAN NIGHTS – a bio drama that examines the extraordinary inspirational and volatile friendship between Tennessee Williams and Anna Magnani.  (*selected/published one of the Best Plays of 2002)  Set in the 1950s and 1960s this pas-de-deux looks at two lions of 20th century theater and film as Tenn - the artist and Anna - his muse  who inspired The Rose Tattoo, Orpheus Descending, The Sweet Bird of Youth, and The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.  (productions have sold-out in New York, London, Prague (touring Easy Europe for 6 years) and opening now in Buenos Aires in June 2011 and in Moscow 2012. The new 90 minute Regional/Touring version is entitled The Roman Nights of … TENN & ANNA debuted in Los Angeles in March 2011 and is now available for production regionally and internationally.  SOLO ANNA: The Life and Art of Anna Magnani;  a one-woman play inspired by the same material has already received critical and commercial success in Italy. Starring Italian stage and screen sensation Lidia Vitale.

 

 

The Claddagh Ring Cycle: Love/Gra`, Loyalty/Dilseacht and Friendship/Cairdeas

DANCING BAREFOOT (IN THE DARK) - this 90 minute play is a non-stop train ride that, in 8 scenes, reveals the complicated, undeniable yet forbidden love between a student and his teacher; a question society has struggled with from the ancients to today’s headlines. With references to Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams and DH Lawrence this three character play set in a New England prep school contains poetry and politics that are sure to unsettle and challenge an audience’s moral compass and leave them talking about (if not arguing over) the love that, 100 years later, is daring to speak its name.

THE BRONZE SON – explores the tender and twisted dynamic of an Irish-Italian American family of three sons.  Upon returning from the funeral of their beloved Italian mother, Big Frank McGrace decides it’s time he make amends and reconcile all accounts with his three sons, one of whom has moved back home “temporarily”, while the other two fall into the categories of “forgot what you looked like” and “you’re here again with your advice and counsel.” Loyalty can easily be warped and twisted, especially when secrets, lies and betrayals no longer have anywhere to hide.

TROUBLE ME  - tells two simultaneous stories: one of the H Block prisoners of Belfast in 1981 and a Bobby Sands-like character on a hunger strike during the Thatcher regime and her media blitz to portray Irish Republicans as terrorists and to be treated as criminals; the other is a young Irish American man struggling with his homosexuality amidst the 80s tableau of tele-evangelism, neo-conservatism, and politically charged homophobic propaganda.  The play explores the power of language and the nature of true oppression as the focus switches from the martyrs to those they leave behind…and our salvation often lies in the most unlikely friendship which find us at the most likely time..

 

 

THE TALE OF HOT-HOUSE FLOWERS aka HANGING IN THE BALANCE – a drama of inter-racial love set in 1890-1891 amidst the backdrop of the Parish Prison Murders wherein 11 of 19 Italian immigrants (who were wrongly indicted for Police Chief Hennessy’s murder) were lynched on a single day.  An Italian immigrant rides the train deep into the south where he soon falls in love with an African-American woman share-cropper; their affair must endure the stifling climate of ignorance and the heavy oppression of hate.

MAXIMUM HAPPINESS – Comprised of two two-act plays which twist, turn and intersect as four couples, whose relationships are in various states of disrepair, meet and /or almost meet in New York and Venice both before and after 9-11.  A power game of different sorts as the savagery of the attacks is mirrored in the anger and insecurity that several of these partners are feeling as they decide whether or not they get pleasure from hurting the one they love.

THE SHATTERING  - It is the late 1980s –Reagan/Bush New World Order and AIDS dominate the headlines as we look inside this haunted house where the demons are self-imposed and wounds self-inflicted.  An aging immigrant woman, once an opera diva, has just stabbed her husband and seems not to care one bit about it.  Alba struggles with her sins of omission as she assumes the blame for her son’s death by AIDS and faces some neglected truths about her own life, marriage and motherhood. * Workshopped with Olympia Dukakis at The Cherry Lane Theater in 2004.

WHITE ELEPHANTS DANCING THE FLAMENCO -Loosely inspired by two Ernest Hemingway short stories, set in Spain and Italy in 1928 the story follows a 40 year-old WWI veteran and his 26 year-old girlfriend and their incessant traveling all across Europe as their relationship is ravaged by years of itinerancy, partying, things unspoken and wounds unhealed. This is a tale of young woman coming into her own amid the backdrop of pre-Civil War Spain and eve of The Great Depression and confronting issues such as abortion, women's rights, and the horrific psychic damages of war.

STRANGER LOVE (five one-act plays) –a dark and absurd look at modern American love from the perspective of friendship, romance, and family.  A woman masturbates with a loaded gun as her husband arrives home from an affair; two old friends (or complete strangers) meet a train station and only one of them will live to see the train arrive; a son gets ready for a big date as his mother and grandmother re-tell old stories which helped to create the loveable womanizer he is; a couple at a cross-roads in their relationship go to a fancy dinner whereat the spiritually bereft wife meets the man of her dreams…Italian Jesus.  * Workshopped at Manhattan Theater Source in June 2012.

THE MUSEUM HOURS – a trilogy of 30 minute plays (Finding Magdalene, Lifting Antaeus, Overlooking David) that examines the transcendent powers of art. A specific work of art serves as a looming, spiritual deus-ex-machina to various couples falling in and out of love.  Exploring the three mythologies which are closely associated with each of these works, as well as the more tangential themes of homoeroticism, fraternal incest, sex versus intimacy, and the virgin/whore complex, art plays a role in our everyday lives. 

 

• Mother’s Day or Half the Story - (drama/comedy) Three widows -Jewish, African-American, and an Italian immigrant- share the weekend with their estranged children.

• Beauty of Exile - (drama) A young woman struggles with her identity and culture in New York while married to a man who only wants to possess her.

• The Tale of Hot House Flowers - (drama) In late1950’s Georgia a young African-American women falls precipitously in love with an Italian immigrant working on a rich land-owners farm.

• Elephant Bones – A young writer lives with his Aunt and Uncle since childhood. His awareness of the hatred non-artists have for artists spurs his chance encounter with a dying old man.

One Act Plays

• My Love Gun - a woman’s waking dream involves her cheating husband and a gun.

• Dying from the Details - a TV news anchor comes undone while spewing the lurid details of the daily news

• Waiting Station - two men meet…one is a friend, the other a stranger, do they share a past?

• Jesus, Mary and Joseph - a power-couple debate having a child and get help from sexy Italian Jesus.

• The Song of the Crickets – (drama) Original One act version of The Beauty of Exile. An Italian immigrant struggles with her Americanization and a domineering husband.

• Is That You or Is That Me? – self-importance and technology mania in the 22nd Century.

• And On… - Three generations struggle with loss and love.

• House (or What If) - an Italian Jew comes home after the war…except Hitler won.

• Before and After – Two plays in one, dealing with the tragedy of September 11th 2001.

• Venice, Again - Two couples share a vacation full of secrets before and after September 11, 2001.

• One Hundred Dollars Worth of Change - A man struggles with his relationship and drugs.

• What Play? - A young writer gets put through the ringer - make that "the process" by a Hollywood agent and producer.

 

New Plays In The Works

• The Passionate Thief

• I Could Eat

• All-Star

All Rights Reserved. The author is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

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Contact (Professional Matters): franco@francodalessandro.com

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