John Angell Grant is the author of 12 produced stage plays. These plays have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you are a theater artist and would like information about any of these plays, or are interested in reading a script, please contact the author.
MATCH: John’s new full-length romantic comedy, titled “Match,” is about an older woman and older man meeting for a dinner date, through an online dating service. Their surprising evening is one with hilarious, touching and insightfully life-changing results. Read more about the play here.
LANGUAGE AS COMMUNICATION: John’s one-act play “Language as Communication,” has been produced 15 times. Here is a review by Robert Hurwitt of the play’s first production in Berkeley, California. The play was later produced in New York by MCC (Manhattan Class Company), information here.
A monologue spoof of academic double-talk, “Language as Communication” is based loosely on Chekhov’s “On the Harmfulness of Tobacco.” Here an over-the-hill, dissociative and not very competent assistant professor gives a talk on linguistics and the meaning of language; in which he gets confused by his own concepts, and rolls into rants about his personal life without realizing what he is doing. The play is very funny, and is especially popular in university communities. Robert Hurwitt later reviewed the play’s third production.
A PACKAGE FOR MAX: John’s full-length play “A Package for Max” is a mid-life crisis sex comedy. It has been produced three times. Here is a link to a review of its production in Mountain View, California, by the Pear Avenue Theatre. In this play marriage, money, children and work all come tumbling off the high-tech economic roller coaster. To celebrate the buyout of his start-up, entrepreneur Max suggests to his wife and friends that they forego a game of charades for an unexpected game of musical beds. Changing partners leads to poignant self-discovery for some, and self-delusion for others, as they struggle to sort out their partnerships, friendships and dreams. A hilarious, rueful four-character play about marriage, commitment, sex and philandering.
TIME OUT: John’s wistful romantic one-act about two lost souls has been staged several times. The East Bay Express had this to say about the production:
“…notable is the gentle Time Out, by Bay Area playwright John Angell Grant. A former party boy (Mackay) meets his old college girlfriend (D’Amato) twenty years later, with hesitation and regrets. It’s the most nuanced piece in this festival…Mackay hits the right awkward, hopeful note. Certainly it’s a nice slowing of pace in an over-the-top evening.”
Read the full review here. You can also read David Kashimba’s mini-review of “a fun evening” here. In the wistful “Time Out,” a man and woman meet for coffee for the first time in decades. Former college sweethearts, she has become a successful lawyer, while he has slid downhill and become a near street person. The two review their lives and renew their friendship in this poignant meeting. A two-character one-act.
THE SUICIDE FRANCHISE: This black comedy has had two productions. At its center is a friendly, glad-handing, can-do, self-made entrepreneur named Murph, who runs his start-up on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, where depressed people can come and jump off. The play is both funny and horrifying, as it looks at personal, political, social and psychological reasons for suicide. “The Suicide Franchise” has had two productions. Reviews here.
OUR TOWN SPERMBANK: Co-authored with Elizabeth Murphy, “Our Town Spermbank” was produced in San Francisco at Climate Theater. The play speculates on what might happen when the government starts executing low I.Q. children, in a dark, but painfully amusing look at a group of activists trying to address political and ethical problems caused by genetic engineering. More information here.
John is also the author of three scripts currently in development: “The Chemical Orchard,” “Grace” and “Barstow Bill Hope.”
“THE CHEMICAL ORCHARD” is a full-length play, based loosely on Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.” It is set in the not-too-distant future, in an underground shelter, somewhere in the USA, right after a nuclear attack. When the feuding husband-and-wife owners of a family business must choose between saving themselves and saving their employees, what choice will they make?
“GRACE” is a full-length play about resentful parents and children struggling to find peace with each other. When the now-sober, alcoholic adult daughter of an abusive father comes to his retirement home to make her amends, after years of alienation, how will her angry and abusive father react? What about the teenage girl from a broken home, currently recording his oral history for a school project? Three strong parts for women of varying ages.
“BARSTOW BILL HOPE” is a futuristic science fiction play, set in California, and based on Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus.” When superhero Barstow Bill agrees to take on the defense of his community in the war to end all wars, the mechanisms of democracy break down. “Barstow Bill Hope” looks at the relationship among power, political leadership, military might, economic entitlement, and the decline of empire.
If you are a theater artist and would like to read one of these plays, please contact John Angell Grant.