CAST: 7 women, 3 men, 1 child (non-speaking)
"The premise is so simple and brilliant—what if a divorce were a public event precisely like your wedding, with guests and presents and an officiant and tons of booze?—that it threatens to overpower the show itself. But Arsenault’s sharp wit and ear for honest dialogue, which focuses on realistically mundane details and then telescopes to huge family drama, makes the concept work beautifully. Bring someone to talk it over with after; you’ll surely want to." - The Stranger Suggests
Undo premiered at Annex Theatre in Seattle, Washington, January 18 - February 16, 2013. Director: Erin Kraft. Cast: Sydney Andrews de Salinas, Zoey Belyea, Nick Edwards, Tom Fraser, Amy Hill, Ashton Hyman, Samantha Leeds, Barbara Lindsay, Marty Mukhalian, Ian O’Malley, Jillian Vashro, and Mark Waldstein.
Parade Productions at the Studio at Mizner Park, Boca Raton, FL, January 29 - March 1 2015, Directed by Kim St. Leon
The Theatre School at DePaul University, Chicago, IL, April 20-26, 2015, directed by Andrew Peters (MFA Directing, 2016)
RECIPIENT: 2013 Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Award for Outstanding New Play
RECIPIENT: 2013 Seattle Theater Writers Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Excellence in Local Playwriting
SHORT-LIST NOMINEE: 2014 American Theatre Critics Association New Play Awards
SEMI-FINALIST: 2014 Princess Grace Award
The full text of Undo is published in Rain City Projects' Manifesto v. 4, edited by Chay Yew. This anthology of work that premiered in the Pacific Northwest is available now from The Elliott Bay Book Company.
"An exceptionally honest piece of playwriting... ambitious, moving, and deeply gratifying." - SeattleActor.com
Undo takes place in a universe that is exactly like our own with one important difference: in order to get a divorce, you must go through a backwards version of your own wedding ceremony.
We meet Rachel, the "bride," and Joe, the "groom," on the morning of their undoing. As their families gather, it becomes clear that the burden of the occasion is weighing on them all, drawing old wounds and secrets to the surface. A religious proscription that, though alcohol is allowed, food is not, further fuels the group unraveling. While Joe resorts to extreme measures to halt the proceedings and Rachel doubles down on questionable choices, the matriarch enlists the best man as her reluctant confessor, a long-deferred romance is rekindled, and the youngest sister emerges as the family’s moral backbone.
Available for premiere
CAST: 4 women, 1 man
2050. Somewhere on the West Coast of the United States. A scrappy group of historical re-enactors—orphans of our next civil war—have formed a chosen family. Abandoned by a government that no longer pretends to serve any but the rich, their survival gig is helping to whitewash some of the worst atrocities in American history for audiences of wealthy schoolchildren.
When an unexpected visitor starts camping out in their dioramas, portending a new and growing danger, they’re forced to face their own histories, and contend with the revelation that the woman they all work for is much more than just their boss.
The Great Inconvenience had a workshop production at Annex Theatre in Seattle, Washington, July 27 - August 18, 2018. Director: Erin Kraft. Cast: Mi Kang, Jocelyn Maher, Nick Edwards, Samantha Canela, Marty Mukhalian
CAST: 4 women, 2 men
Available for premiere
In a nursing home and memory care facility in a remote corner of Washington State, the one male resident, Gil Fletcher, stays busy keeping the beds of female co-residents warm. But questions of consent become tricky with the arrival of a new aide who challenges the home's free love policies. It's the Alzheimerzy sex romp you've been waiting for! There's also quite a bit about Nicki Minaj.
The Manor was read at Seattle Repertory Theatre, June 21st 2015, as part of the Rep Writers Group Showcase. Director: Erin Kraft. Cast: Sean Griffin, Laura Kenny, Kimberly Kay King, Imogen Love, Tim Smith-Stewart, and Priscilla Hake Lauris.
CAST: One woman, one trans man
After learning that she has been diagnosed with a devastating, terminal illness, a woman and her partner enter into a pact that is either heroic or abhorrent. The Cut is a story about loving and dying that asks us to consider how far we would go to save the person we most cherish from suffering.
The Cut was read at Seattle Repertory Theatre, June 20th 2014, as part of the Rep Writers Group Showcase. Director: Erin Kraft. Cast: Gretchen Krich and Michael Place. It was subsequently read at the University of Washington School of Drama. Director: Tina Polzin. Cast: Gretchen Krich and Rudy Roushdi.
Full length, theatre for young audiences
Version for child performers: Up to 16 actors, 1 male, 1 female, 14 flexible (including one non-binary character)
Version for adult performers: 3 men, 3 women (flexible)
Marvelous was commissioned by and premiered at the Drama School at Seattle Children's Theatre, July 31 - August 2, 2014. Director: Amanda Lee Williams. Cast: Hannah Klein, Sydney Mayer, Amelie Whitesell, Milo Palmer, Maya Rice, Mallika Shah, Nila Dudley, Aaron Sterne, Kayleigh Kinder, Reiko Wellington, Fiona Alhadeff, Lily Svelmoe, Mayfield Vashti-Roberts, and Allison McGinnis
Bainbridge Performing Arts, November 12 & 14, 2014.
The year is 1932. Kai and Gertie are best friends who've grown up together in a traveling circus. Gertie's mom is the famous trapeze artist Lula Lane, Kai is the famous Boy Wonder, whose angelic voice is said to heal any ailment. They both live in terror of the evil boss lady, Ms. Maudie Blackmore, who keeps Kai--an orphan--in indentured servitude, forcing him to eat table scraps and sleep with the pigs.
One morning when Gertie goes to find Kai, he is gone. And Gertie's in for another shock: Kai's bunk mate, Sal the Educated Pig, can talk--and so can all the other animals in the circus. Sal believes that Kai has been kidnapped, but he knows that there's only one person in the circus who can find out for sure: Goleta the Snake Charmer. Scared, but determined to help Kai, Gertie and Sal visit Goleta, who sends her snakes out to search the vast snake network for information on Kai's disappearance. After a long night of waiting, Virgil the Snake returns with the news that Kai has, indeed, been taken, and by none other than the world's most nefarious sorceress: The Snow Queen.
Gertie and Sal go on a quest to rescue Kai. Along the way, they are captured (and then befriended) by Lou, the robber kid, who helps them talk their way into another circus where they plan to put Gertie up as a magic kid in an effort to tempt The Snow Queen's henchmen into kidnapping her, too.
But here, things go a little sideways. The henchman does show up, but in a surprising form, and Gertie does make it to The Snow Queen's camp, but she finds something very different there than what she was expecting.
In the end, Gertie learns that there's more than one way to be special and that even the most "unmagical" of us can make a difference in the world.
Marvelous is based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen.
If you're on the New Play Exchange, you can download the full text of Marvelous here.
CAST: 1 man, 1 woman, 4 flexible
"A masterful example of a narrative's power to allure, betray, and seduce us." - From the preface to Manifesto Series, v.2
Through his front window, an agoraphobic man sees a beautiful woman drop a disposable camera, and decides to leave his apartment for the first time in two years in order to retrieve it. The journey across the street takes him somewhere unexpected.
FINALIST: Heideman Award, National 10-Minute Play Contest, Actors Theatre of Louisville
"My favorite show of the night was Holly Arsenault's Alfred." - Theatre uber fan Brett Love
A man, a woman, a bus stop, a bunch of knives, and infinite parallel universes
Alfred premiered at 14/48: The World's Quickest Theatre Festival at The Erickson Theatre in Seattle, Washington, June 2013. Director: Maria Glanz. Cast: Sam Read, Amelia Meckler, Wonder Russell
Read the complete text of Alfred here.
A Fish and a Bear in Purgatory premiered at 14/48: The World's Quickest Theatre Festival at The Erickson Theatre in Seattle, Washington, June 2013. Director: Deb Pralle. Cast: Mark Waldstein and Rebecca M. Davis
"I also really liked A Fish and a Bear in Purgatory." - West Seattle Weisenheimer
A fish and a bear find themselves in death's waiting room: she ate him, he poisoned her. Can they work it out and patch things up?
Read the complete text of A Fish and a Bear in Purgatory here.
These two plays premiered at the 1st Seattle One-Minute Play Festival, May 10 & 11, 2014 in the Bullitt Cabaret at ACT Theatre in Seattle. Juice was directed by Jen Moon and featured Sarah Milici and Mahria Zook; Fortune was directed by Richard Ziman and featured Lisa Viertel, Jill Snyder Marr, and Frank Lawler.
Copyright Holly Arsenault, 2013. All rights reserved. This text may not be reproduced or performed without explicit, written consent of the author.
Please direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Holly Arsenault
A bored juicemaker stands behind a counter, talking to a customer. Nothing in either character’s tone or manner should indicate that anything in their conversation is out of the ordinary.
JUICER. Strawberry banana blast.
JUICER. Marionberry peach-o-rama.
JUICER. Blueberry hucklefest.
JUICER. Pear passion picnic.
JUICER. Wheatgrass melon finger.
JUICER. Plum eyelash squid.
JUICER. Peanut butter blood rash.
JUICER. Amniotic apple crack.
JUICER. Hotel hobo jelly.
JUICER. Skintag piss shot.
JUICER. Dandruff bile belch.
JUICER. No, bile.
CUSTOMER. Oh. No.
JUICER. Mustard gas pickle mucous?
JUICER. Bathwater vomit.
JUICER. Band-aid bone shave.
CUSTOMER (makes a ‘thinking about it’ face) Uh…no.
JUICER. Windex shit cum.
CUSTOMER. (positively) Hm.
JUICER. That one?
By Holly Arsenault
A city bus. A man sits on one end of a bench seat. A woman sits on the other end with a closed book on her lap. Between them sits a crazy lady. They all look forward. Whenever the CRAZY LADY says “you” she indicates with a slight head movement or other subtle gesture which of the two she is referring to.
THE CRAZY LADY. (Delivered rapidly and without pauses, in the manner of a mentally ill person talking to herself or an unseen other person.) You met on the bus. You were reading a book. You asked what the book was. You were annoyed that you were talking to you while you were reading. But then you saw a kind of dog that you like out the window and you looked at the dog too and said something nice about those kinds of dogs and you said something nice about them too and that is how you met. Later you had a baby and it was supposed to be a home birth but your water didn’t splash instead the fluid just leaked out of you for a few hours and then it was too late and you had to go to the hospital (the woman pulls the cord, the bell dings) and you felt bad you felt like a failure but you made you feel so much better even though you couldn’t really understand but still you tried and that is when you really fell in love with you and you thought it was scary that you had been together for so long and had a baby together but only just then fallen in love but oh well at least you were in love now and it’s good because you had this baby. (The woman stands to exit the bus) The baby grew up and found out a special gene that caused a rare disease that not that many people die from but enough people do and now nobody dies from that anymore because of your baby. (She exits.)
NOTE: As the woman stands and exits the bus she pulls out her phone which we see is connected to ear buds in both ears. At the same time, the man pulls an iPod out of his pocket to switch songs and pushes back his hoodie and we see that he also had ear buds in both ears.