Full length two act play based on the novella by Picano published in Tales From a distant Planet.
Set in modern day Wisconisn
Staged produced at Black Hawk Theatre
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2007
Another kind of mystery/character study like The Bombay Trunk, Ingoldsby is not a play in which the main character delves ever inward in his search; but across time itself. The bucolic Wisconsin setting is focused upon an architecturally significant house built in 1939 for a young steel tycoon as a vacation/play spot named Ingoldsby, and the small town it adjoins, Fulton’s Landing.
A student readying his American History thesis for his Ph.D is hired as caretaker for the summer in 2001 as the house is being prepped and processed to become a state museum/historic site. While there, the serious yet solitary Neal meets a trio of locals, including an elderly doctor who seems to know all about the house and a recently widowed post-mistress who is more than ready for young Neal’s attentions.
While living in the gate house, Neal begins noticing inescapably odd happenings from the house, and they begin to increase. Then suddenly he encounters a second trio of extraordinary young people including Bud Ingals, the house’s owner, his best friend Tony, and the lovely young woman, Celia, who he calls his “ward.”
Everything about the second group is intriguing, different; their points of references, their odd innocence and even odder slang, their likes and dislikes. But they accept Neal into their little group and for the first time ever, he begins to feel totally at home among them, and inside the house itself.
The Bombay Trunk
Two act full-length murder mystery/black comedy/psychological thriller
Set in modern day, rural Connecticut
Produced 2002/2003 at San Francisco’s The New Conservatory Theatre.
Workshops/Staged Readings, New York City, 2003, Thorney Theatre, Palm Springs, 2009
A full length contemporary two act comedy/psychological mystery thriller with 3 male and 2 female (or instead 1 other male) characters and one set that changes internally into two more sets in the second act. The play takes place initially during the winter Holiday Season inside the rural Connecticut A-frame vacation house of longtime best-selling mystery writer Jonathan Cavendish who has allegedly committed suicide there.
Jonathan's long estranged son, Cas Cavendish, Jonathan's long divorced wife, Judith Cavendish, and Jonathan's frumpy secretary, Arlen Saunders have taken a Christmas holiday drive together up to the house. They've been directed by a codicil to the mystery writer's will to look into the eponymous Bombay Trunk. Inside one of the many little drawers of the eccentric piece of furniture they are to find the rest of their legacy from Jonathan, although this part of the inheritance is "not of pecuniary value." The local sheriff, Dab Everson, a fan of the dead author, is already in the vacation house, searching for clues, when they arrive, and hides to observe them.
So begins Felice Picano's roller-coaster ride of a play that out-sleuths Sleuth and out-Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of An Author. Using a series of established theatrical forms and genre's from the last half century and twisting them to his own devious ends, Picano brilliantly shuffles and then plays out one possible scenario inherent in the situation after another, as though they were deals of an increasingly intense and baffling card game. The Bombay Trunk progresses from murder mystery, to black comedy, to family drama, to of control truth-or-dare-game, through identity-questioning, and drama-as-therapy, right up to the final, unexpected, setting and revelation.
In staged readings, actors fell in love with the rich, complex and ever-changing characters. Cas Cavendish is a handsome young man, intelligent, suave, sly, devastatingly sexy, and open to pretty much any kind of relationship as long as he benefits most from it. Altogether a smooth operator, Cas' upbringing in the center of wealth and privilege has meant that he never lets little matters like ethics and morality get in his way whenever he wants something or someone for himself.
One O'Clock Jump
One-act black comedy; set in a modern day city
Produced Off-Off Broadway, 1985, 1986 Seattle Rep 1988, Tennessee Williams Festival, 1999
Co-winner of Jane Chambers Play Award, 1986
Three roles: two male, one female or cross
A full length contemporary one act black comedy with 2 male and 1 female (but possibly also male) characters and one set, the play takes place completely on an eighteenth floor rooftop terrace in the heart of Greenwich Village. David Elias, a trendy, somewhat jaded thirty-something graphic arts designer lives almost entirely within Manhattan's chic gay ghetto.
As the play begins, David is confronted by a most unusual problem: Sandy Evans, a mid-twenties straight Midwesterner whom has moved to New York for love and career. Fired from his job across the street, with his advances to bank clerk Betty Sue Ulrich rebuffed, Sandy has made a crucial decision -- at exactly one o'clock he plans to throw himself off David's rooftop. He plans to land in front of Betty Sue as she goes on lunch break, as well as in front of his ex-boss and ex-fellow employees: they'll all be sorry.
David however has his own problems, and they don't include a suicide jumper. -- even if Sandy is, in David's own words, "Semi-cute. Well not un-cute." David is in debt, he's late with promised jobs, his love life is in shambles, and he's just fled from his summer house share. In short, he's totally fed up and he wants Sandy off the roof any way possible but instantly!Their confrontation, interrupted and commented upon by David's dizzy next door neighbor, the soap-opera loving Astrologer Mrs. B -- becomes an extended joust between two very different young men with very different backgrounds and philosophies of life. Their duel -- or is it a dance? --- is laced with humor, anger, flirtation, and semi-nudity, potential sex, ending with an all too brief moment of understanding and fellowship.
One O'Clock Jump is a dark laugh machine probing what lies at the heart of our selfishness, our vanity, and our real desires.
2 Act play with music; based on Picano’s novella, An Asian Minor
Set in Ancient Ionia
produced Off-Off Broadway, 1986
Eight characters: seven male, one female
A comedic dramatization in two acts, originally staged with music and dancing, the play is based on Felice Picano's 1981 best-selling novella, An Asian Minor: The True Story of Ganymede.
The Roman poet Ovid wrote, in The Metamorphoses, how the most beautiful mortal ever born was carried off by Zeus, the king of the Gods, to be immortal. This play updating tells the story from Ganymede's own down-to-earth point of view. He's an ordinary, dirty, mischief and sex-loving boy, one of dozens of children in the King of Troy's extended family, when one day at court his teenage beauty is discovered by royal visitors, almost leading to a war.
Astonished, Troas, the king, calls for a soothsayer who omens enigmatically about the boy, telling how he will gain the gods' attention, and concluding that Ganymede "will never not be." Already used to trouble with horny, manipulative gods and their seldom welcome attention, his father sends the boy away from town and into the country with his yes-man, Polycleites, an amateur mathematician who keeps trying to disprove Ganymede's physical perfection. There the boy is nearly seduced by the fastest talking runner/skateboarder on earth, a guy with a command of languages and a spiel like none other: Speedy, i.e. the god Mercury. But Ganymede is no slouch and he manages to outmaneuver the god of cunning. The results back home are comic-tragic communication screw-ups for weeks.
Troas next sends the boy into the army to work at a blacksmith's forge, where his looks will soon be covered in soot. But every man he meets falls for Ganymede, including the generals, and their top hero, the short-tempered leather-master, Spike-- the god Mars in a human body. Spike too becomes infatuated and goes into a deep depression once Ganymede rejects him too. The result is a strike of the armed forces just when they are needed, and a near disaster.