dog ear

plays by Robert Fieldsteel

Robert Fieldsteel: Full-Length Plays

CRAZY DRUNK

Photo by Craig Schwartz

Maury Sterling as defense attorney Earl Rogers in the Buffalo Nights Co. production of Crazy Drunk

Los Angeles, 1903: Col. Griffith J. Griffith, donor of Griffith Park, fires a revolver into his pleading wife's face. He claims she was plotting with the Pope to poison him. Celebrated defense attorney Earl Rogers creates a revolutionary defense – alcoholic insanity! As always, Rogers is accompanied to the trial by his daughter Adela, age 10. But what she witnesses comes back to haunt them both … when she grows up to be famous Hollywood journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns. CRAZY DRUNK presents a picaresque terrain upon which classic American dreams and follies are paraded and a deeply personal battle between father and daughter is fought.

Character Breakdown: 4M, 3F

Set/Technical: Flexible/minimal
Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Awards:

Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle "Ted Schmitt Award" for Best World Premiere Play

Backstage West Garland Award in Playwriting

Production History:

Buffalo Nights Co./L.A. County Arts Commission/A.S.K. Theatre Projects at [Inside]the John Anson Ford Theatre, Los Angeles, 2002

Reviews:

Critics Choice! The script is intricate, layered, and compelling. Crazy Drunk is an exciting play.

Backstage West, Laura Weinert

Recommended! As dramatizations of celebrity crimes go, Crazy Drunk far surpasses its close theatrical sibling, The Cat's Meow.

Los Angeles Times, Philip Brandes

A premium, true-to-life yarn, filled to the brim with Hollywood lore.

Entertainment Today, Travis Michael Holder

Fieldsteel's writing will ingratiate those who appreciate Gore Vidal's or E.L. Doctorow's historical recreations. Crazy Drunk has [an] intoxicating jocularity.

Pasadena Weekly, John Esther

Development:

A.S.K. Theatre Projects Spring Writer's Retreat, 2001

Plymouth Theatre Co., Edgefest 2000, L.A. History Project at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Honors:

Runner-Up for Best Playwright & Best Production 2002, Entertainment Today

Recommended, Los Angeles Times

Critics Choice, Backstage West


 

SMART

Photo by Scott Cooper

Ricardo Gamboa and Steve Ratcliff in the side project production of Smart

An anatomy of a murder at a prestigious New England college. "What am I going to do with my life?" anxiety taken to bizarre extremes.

Character Breakdown: 4M, 2F

Running Time: 2 hrs.

Production History:

End Times Productions, Kraine Theatre, New York, 2011

the side project, Chicago, 2007

Reviews:

One very good world premiere... There are a lot of currents running through the play, and they mostly center on the chafing that anyone -- but especially an adolescent -- feels when the future (and even the present) looms like a trap ... The production unearths more than a few emotions that feel universal and unfaked.

Chicago Tribune, Nina Metz

Recommended! Realistic and engaging.

ChicagoCritic.com, Randy Hardwick

A compelling piece of theatre ... A play like SMART is able to go past the more abstract aspects of murder.

Off-off-online, Bess Rowan

Development:

The New Group, New Works Series, NY, 2006

The Blank Theatre Co., Los Angeles, 2006

Lark Play Development Center, New York, Playwrights' Week 2005, Studio Retreat 2006

Prop Thtr New Plays Festival, Chicago 2005

Loyola Marymount University Playwrights Center Stage Series, Los Angeles 2007

Cypress College New Play Festival, Cypress, CA 2005

Honors:

Finalist, Trustus Play Festival, 2009

Finalist, Pillars Playwriting Prize at Georgia College and State University, 2007


 

ASYLUM

Las Vegas, present day. Nigerian Olujimi “Jimi” Sonuga is a former political prisoner and internationally renowned author. By day, he heads the Institute for Literary Asylum, an organization that sponsors and shelters writers who’ve been victims of political imprisonment and torture. By night, he lives in a crypt-like room in the Luxor Las Vegas, has a girlfriend who's young enough to be his daughter, doesn’t sleep and regularly plays blackjack at 4 a.m.

Ric Ruby, a Vegas lowlife, shows up at the Institute, claiming to Jimi that he’s a writer (he has a blog) and has been a victim of political imprisonment and torture … by the United States of America. Ric’s claim seems bogus … but the more he interacts with Jimi, the more Jimi, a victim of torture himself, senses that Ric’s story may be true. Ric leads Jimi down a rabbit hole of pain rediscovered, creating a bond between the two men that borders on madness.

Character Breakdown: 4M, 2F

Running Time: 85 minutes, no intermission

Development:

The Lark Play Development Center, NY, 2011

Honors:

Finalist, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, 2011 Finalist, Aurora Theatre Golden Age Project, Berkeley, CA, 2012


 

HOUSE OF HUMOURS

Character actors Bill and Louise are long-divorced. Young leads Hank and Jessie just broke up last night. All four of them are appearing in a regional production of WHO'S HYDE?, a radical re-imagining of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. Small dramas backstage are echoed and extrapolated onstage -- although not in the directly parallel way one might expect. It's even up for grabs whether or not WHO'S HYDE? is a dazzling illumination of a classic or a pretentious piece of crap. And all of this is played out during the course of one performance, in real time.

HOUSE OF HUMOURS is a love letter to actors and a comic/romantic feast of dualities: male/female, old/young, art/science, boss/worker, backstage/onstage, Jekyll/Hyde.

Character Breakdown: 3M, 2F

Running Time: 95 minutes, no intermission

Development:

The Lark Play Development Center, NY, 2009

Ensemble Studio Theatre LA, 2010


 

THE DYBBUK


Jennifer Leigh Warren as Leah in the Wilton Project production of The Dybbuk

An adaptation, with Dog Ear member Jennifer Maisel and April Vanoff, of S. Ansky’s original classic. The profane world of everyday necessity interacts with the sacred and dangerous world of the occult in this rich portrait of life in an 1870s Polish shtetl. Chanon, a young student fascinated with the forbidden, mystical world of the Kabbalah, is enamored with Leah, the daughter of a local bigwig. When Leah, under the demands of her father, marries into a wealthy family, Chanon dies of grief … and returns as a malevolent spirit to possess Leah. The townspeople entreat Rabbi Azrielke, a renowned “exorcist?, to help the girl. But is the retired, world-weary old man up to the task? This vivid adaptation heightens the language of the spirit world while capturing the life of the shtetl with frank and humorous immediacy. Featuring a vibrant and haunting musical score by O-Lan Jones.

Character Breakdown: 13M, 8F

Set/Technical: Multiple settings, flexible unit set, 3-piece instrumental ensemble (optional). Some actors play multiple roles and cross-gender casting is an option.
Running Time: 2 hours plus intermission

Production History:

The Wilton Project, Gascon Center Theatre, Los Angeles

Reviews:

Beautifully composed, with moments of pristine lucidity -- even brilliance.

Los Angeles Times, F. Kathleen Foley

[A] scintillating ghost story that dramatizes the tug between conscience and desire with a kind of lean, operatic theatricality that well defines that overused word, vision.

L. A. Weekly, Stephen Leigh Morris

Honors:

L.A. Weekly Pick of the Week

Five L.A. Weekly Award Nominations

Excerpted in Parabasis Magazine


 

MEDEA/MYTH


Rasheedah Caldwell as Medea

An adaptation of the Euripides original, created for a cast of nine women. Co-written with Jan Lewis and the original ensemble.

Character Breakdown: 9F

Set/Technical: Abstract unit set
Running Time: 65 minutes

Production History:

Wesleyan College, Macon, GA, 2010


 

A POINT IN THE HEART

Co-written with Jan Lewis

Amy Maddox-Nicholson

Rebecca Muth and Josy Jones in the Wesleyan College production of A Point in the Heart

A contemporary, fantastical drama about the mystical dimensions of love. Two young women pledge themselves to one another, but can their commitment survive when threatened by unforeseen obstacles of human and spiritual dimensions? Inspired by S. Ansky's The Dybbuk.

Character Breakdown: 8F

Running Time: 80 minutes

Production History:

Wesleyan College, Macon, GA, 2012


 

GENIUS

Co-written with Jan Lewis

Genius portrays the lives of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and their coterie of artists and writers from 1903 through 1947. In bringing to life such personalities as Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse, Braque, Fitzgerald and more, Genius explores and questions the concept of “genius” and “celebrity.” What makes a genius? What character flaws do we allow, and even embrace in our geniuses? Using a free-flowing, presentational style, incorporating everything from choral passages to blank verse interior monologues, Genius is an adventurous journey through the terrain of Gertrude Stein’s dynamic, 20th Century world.

Note on casting: Genius was written to be performed by a company of eight women. If men are cast, cross-gender casting is encouraged.

Character Breakdown: 8 Either male or female

Running Time: 100 minutes

Production History:

Berry College, Rome, GA 2013


 

Robert Fieldsteel: One-Act Plays

INTELLIGENCE MEASURES

CIA recruitment in academia. "Professor" Beverly Dade recruited student Tessa DeCinces seven years ago; now they're on their first covert mission together. A reunion in which nostalgia is never far removed from menace.

Character Breakdown: 2F

Set/Technical: Minimal set. Offstage or recorded sound required.
Running Time: 20 minutes

Development:

Reading - Crossroads Writers Conference, Macon, GA, 2010

Staged reading, 24th St. Theatre, Los Angeles, as part of Dog Ear's CHATTER, June 10-12, 2005


 

Robert Fieldsteel: Ten-Minute Plays

ESSENTIAL MAGICK

Photo by Molly McMahon

Shannon Hurst in the BoxFest Detroit production of Essential Magick

A suburban mom worries about her 13 year old daughter’s immersion into witchcraft and self-mutilation. As the daughter casts a spell with her own blood, the mother journeys into her own dark side and ultimately relives the bloody ecstasy of her child’s birth.

Character Breakdown: 2F

Awards:

Finalist, Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award, 2003

Production History:

BoxFest Detroit at Planet Ant Theatre, Detroit, MI, 2015

MET Theatre, Los Angeles, Fall 2005, as part of Dog Ear's The Witching Hour

Reviews:

Beautifully written and directed by Robert Fieldsteel, Essential Magick is an emotionally vibrant story about a mother (Melina Bielefelt) who comes to terms with her daughter's (Dawn Worrall) fascination with Wicca.

L.A. Weekly, Lovell Estell III

Eerily engrossing ... sharply directed by the playwright, Robert Fieldsteel, and expertly acted by Milena Bielefelt and Dawn Worrall.

ReviewPlays.Com, Travis Michael Holder

Development:

Staged reading, Black Dahlia Theatre, Los Angeles, 2004 as part of Dog Ear's The Witching Hour

GreenwayReads Series, Greenway Cout Theatre, Los Angeles, 2003

Honors:

Published in The Loop e-zine, December 2007


 

FABRIC

Matt Kaiser

Carl J. Johnson, Ambre Lowe, Julie Fulton, John Cragen in The Road Theatre production of Fabric

With an eye for fashion and a handy pair of scissors, Jewish-American textile designers Max and Rachel (alias “George” and “Abigail”) infiltrate the high society of the Ascot Races, circa 1910. But is the hair-raising anti-Semitism they witness enough to make them blow their cover?

Character Breakdown: 2M, 3F

Set/Technical: Sound effects/design required

Production History:

The Road Theatre (as part of Dog Ear's Cuts), Los Angeles, 2007

Reviews:

Go! CUTS: Eight short plays, smartly produced and acted, provide snapshot views onto the provocative imaginations of the Dog Ear Playwrights Collective. Some are particularly striking, all are worth seeing. ... Robert Fieldsteel's "Fabric" takes a stylish glimpse at early-20th-Century anti-Semitism via the ugliness of an interaction between a Jewish-American couple (John Cragen and Julie Fulton) and English horseracing enthusiasts (Carl J. Johnson, Ambre Low, Mara Marini) at Ascot. Low's subtle haughtiness is exceptional.

L.A. Weekly, Stephen Leigh Morris

Honors:

Recommended - L.A. Weekly


 

COTTON

Photo by David Purdue

David Bickford and Katharine Gibson in the Theatre of N.O.T.E. production of Cotton

Trying to sell fabric in Beijing on New Year's Eve 2000 is making one American sales rep feel awfully insignificant. His wife finds solace in reading Gone With the Wind. A man, a woman, a hotel room, and the Decline of the American Empire.

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Production History:

the side project (as part of Tail Eats Snake), Chicago, 2004

Theatre of N.O.T.E. (as part of Cahuenga Passages), Los Angeles, 1998

Reviews:

What a treat!

L.A. Weekly, Stephen Leigh Morris

Smart, thought provoking theater ... Cotton is a sharp, economical look at a couple in the far East, and how the husband’s failure to win over some Asian clients might bear a scary resemblance to Gone With the Wind.

Windy City Times, Rick Reed

Development:

The Wilton Project at L.A. Contemporary Exhibitions (as part of You Made Me This Way), Los Angeles, 1997

Honors:

L.A. Weekly Pick of the Week

Windy City Times Critic's Pick


 

DOUGLAS

A woman loses her husband's masterpiece: Douglas, a life-sized taxidermy elephant. How do you lose an elephant? What does this do to a marriage?

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Production History:

Triangle Theatre, 4th Annual Beast Festival, New York, Fall 2005


 

BOO-WHO

An electrical blackout, two boys, a scary, dual-faced mask ... and an unnerving meeting years later. A tale told by man and mask.

Character Breakdown: 4M

Production History:

the side project, Chicago, November 2007

Commissioned and presented in conjunction with Suzan Lori-Parks' 365 DAYS/365 PLAYS project


 

IN THE SHADOW OF THE NORTHEAST KINGDOM

A local woman and her college-senior lover on the eve of his graduation from a nearby college. She's been drying the same plate since morning. What makes a good day’s work?

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Development:

Plymouth Theatre Co., Los Angeles


 

Robert Fieldsteel: Plays for Young Audiences

4 Virginia Avenue Project Plays

Photo by Leigh Curran

Kevin Wiseman and Robert Fieldsteel rehearse Bug Brothers at the Virginia Ave. Ojai Retreat, 1999.

Four 10 minute plays written for the Virginia Avenue Project "One on One" series, in which an adult interviews a child and then writes a 10-minute play for them to perform together. All 4 plays are for 2 males and the original boys were 12-15 years old. These plays can be performed separately or together.

Bug Brothers -- Two half-brothers, one 13 and one 35, locked together in a car, driving cross-country. The ways in which they "bug" each other intensify until a classic showdown in Monument Valley brings unexpected results.

The End of the Bench -- Major League Baseball. A jaded, faded veteran and an ambitious rookie at the end of the bench. Somebody has to be sent to the minors after today's game. Major League mind games ensue.

The Buddy System -- Two 13 year old boys, old friends, go on a treacherous rock climb and, as they climb, they look back on key events in their friendship to see why they're not feeling very friendly anymore.

Fits for a King -- Time: The Middle Ages. Cliff, a socially conscious jester, and Ferdy, his pragmatic agent brother, have drastically different ideas about what Cliff should perform in his upcoming debut before the King. The age-old conflicts of Art vs. Commerce and Speaking Out vs. Watching Your Back explode in hilarious fashion.

Character Breakdown: 2M

Set/Technical: Minimal set. Sound and music cues. The first 3 plays each have one song. The Buddy System requires slides and/or very defined light cues. The End of the Bench and The Buddy System have offstage voices, preferably live. Fits for a King has an additional, very small role.
Running Time: Approx. 10 minutes each

Production History:

Bug Brothers, Virginia Avenue Project, UCLA Little Theatre, 1999

The End of the Bench, Virginia Avenue Project, UCLA Little Theatre, 2000

The Buddy System, Virginia Avenue Project, UCLA Little Theatre, 2001

Fits for a King, Virginia Avenue Project, UCLA Little Theatre, 2006

Honors:

Bug Brothers was presented at the Los Angeles International Arts Festival for Youth, 2000


 

Robert Fieldsteel: Plays for Solo Performer

BAD LANGUAGE


J. Kingsford Goode in the side project production of Bad Language

Words make Lisa uncomfortable. Dance, song, and sounds, however, are something else entirely.

Character Breakdown: 1F

Running Time: 12 minutes

Production History:

the side project (as part of Bare Bones and Skin), Chicago, 2005

Reviews:

Bad Language is a dense, rich monologue ...Here is a woman who has been haunted all her life by words, fearful and awed by their power ... Funny and provocative, the writing and acting here meld to become an intimate and moving portrait of a woman ...

Windy City Times, Rick Reed

Bad Language playfully spoofs our ambivalence about obscenities, which are useful only so long as they retain their shock value.

Chicago Reader, Lawrence Bonner


 

THE ISTHMUS

1906: A chipper, young U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer experiences malaria, madness, and manifest destiny at the building of the Panama Canal.

Character Breakdown: 1M

Running Time: 12 minutes

Development:

Theatre of N.O.T.E. Marathon, Los Angeles, 2000