Thursday, August 28, 2014

Questions Asked of Dying Dreams

Questions Asked of Dying Dreams adds up to a rousing maiden voyage for new playwright Vassallo and a challenging and enjoyable evening of theater. … Cynical, sarcastic, funny, or angry, all four playlets are insightful and engaging—no mean feat—and each takes a hard look at life, their characters always questioning its meaning.” — Bob Coyne, Asbury Park Press

Since I was a college student, I have seen writing as a dialogue, not a monologue. For this reason, I am not surprised that my way into creative writing of any sort is through dramatic scripts. Whether they are talking points in a guidance memo or a play for professional production, dialogues have always rung in my ear as a real way of communicating ideas, beliefs, and actions.

My attention to the way we speak to each other paid off when my first group of short plays, Questions Asked of Dying Dreams, led to my first staged show in New Jersey, followed by a New York premiere, as well as a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Questions Asked of Dying Dreams, a collection of four related one-act plays, looks at unanswerable questions we often ask ourselves, questions that inspire and disappoint us but ultimately keep us alive, whether in personal or business relationships:
  •    “What Do You Charge for a Cure?” (35 minutes), concerns a director of a clinical program for who confronts her professional and personal doubts as she deals with one of her clients and a new intake.
  •    “How Silent Do I Sound?” (15 minutes), is about a bigoted, aging moving man who unexpectedly meets his new coworker and his own destiny.
  •    “Do I Bleed in the Dark” (25 minutes), looks at a homeless ex-boxer who has a final chance to make something meaningful of his life in his dying moments.
  •    “Isn’t This the Way You Wanted Me?” (25 minutes), focuses on an embittered, frustrated wife who reassesses her marriage and life in light of her husband’s remarkable transformation.

People who have seen or read these plays have talked about their interesting blend of comedy and drama that energize these stories.