4 Characters, Simple Sets, 120 Minutes, One Intermission.
Place: Monticello, Virginia
Monticello, 1796. Thomas Jefferson has promised freedom for his Slave Chef James Hemings, provided he train his younger brother Peter in the art of French Cuisine. Hemings has arranged a final dinner for his master to demonstrate his brother’s talent. But the Chef also has a few surprises in store….
“James Hemings” was recently featured at the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Omaha NE
4 Characters, Single Set, 120 Minutes, One intermission
TIME: The Present
PLACE: A large University in the Northeast.
TRACY – an African American professor, 28
LISA – a white administrative assistant, 45.
RAJON – an African American student, 18
PARI – a white basketball coach. 40
CRIB deals with questions of race, scholarship, and mental illness. Tracy is an African American Professor in the midst of a tenure fight. Rajon is a star basketball player, negotiating the challenges of freshman year and his court prowess. When Rajon is accused of plagiarism and faced with expulsion, Coach Pari comes to his rescue, reminding Tracy that the school is run on athletic money, not on anything she hopes to achieve in the classroom. In turn, Tracy finds herself in the middle of an unwanted battle between academics and athletics. At play’s end, we find that both coach and professor are key players in the development of the troubled athlete.
SLUG LINE – An African American Professor finds herself in the middle of a plagiarism scandal.
CRIB was recently given its world premiere at Playhouse On the Square, Memphis TN (July 2018)
SAM and DEDE or MY DINNER WITH ANDRE THE GIANT
2 Characters, Simple Sets, 90 Minutes without Intermission
SAM – Samuel Beckett at various ages
ANDRE – Andre the Giant at various ages
Synopsis: 12-year old Andre the Giant, already well over 6 feet tall and 240 pounds, didn’t fit on the school bus. Andre’s neighbor, feeling sorry for the boy, offered to drive him to school in his truck. The neighbor was Samuel Beckett. Out of that bit of trivia comes “Sam and Dede, or My Dinner with Andre the Giant,” imagining a number of scenes between a giant who cannot hide, and a writer obsessed with silence.
Note: The first scene of this play is based on an actual meeting between Andre the Giant and Samuel Beckett. The other scenes are fictitious. It is, of course, difficult to imagine anyone playing Beckett and impossible to see anyone playing Andre the Giant (except of course Andre himself). His size could be illustrated in a number of ways but what is most important is the essence of both characters.
Sam and Dede was given its world premiere at Custom Made Theatre in February of 2016 (San Francisco, CA). The play was given its NY premiere at 59 East 59 Street, in March of 2017.
3 Characters, Single Set, 85 Minutes, No Intermission
Time: The Present
Place: A City in the Northeast.
Karen (the ex-lover), Mary (the ex-wife), and Adam (the ex-husband), reunite in this dark comedy, in a vain attempt to figure out what happened, to remember the good and the bad, but mostly to put the whole damn thing to rest.
“Three Exits” was recently featured at the Providence Fringe Festival (August 2018)
3 Characters, Single Set, 100 Minutes, One Intermission.
Time: The Present
Place: Providence, RI
Seventy year old “Chick” Chicarella has one prized possession, a 1966 Jaguar Sedan that is in need of repair. When his son “Bone” suggests that the two finish the car to finally sell it off, old family wounds and failures rise to the surface. They decide to employ “Carla,” a talented but strange body woman to help them complete the project. Together, the three learn some hard lessons about repairing cars and smoothing out life’s jagged edges.
Winner of the 2010 Firehouse Theater Great American Play Award
Finalist for the 2011 Laurents Hatcher Award.
2nd place, Premiere Playwright’s Contest hosted by Kean University.
3 Characters, 3 sets, 110 Minutes, One Intermission
Time: The Present
Place: New York City
David Robert Burns is a down and out African American investment banker. As a last resort, he revisits an old flame Chrissy Aurora at the Aurora Group, with the proposal to close a real estate development deal that has been stalled for years. Chrissy reluctantly agrees as her trust in David is slim. When Burns visits the site of the development, he meets William, an old African American man who that the new building venture will take place on what was once the burial ground of African Slaves. David is faced with the dilemma of revealing the significance of the site thereby ruining the development and his career aspirations, or “burying” the information in order to save his own career.
“Reparation” was a Yale Drama League Finalist and will receive its world premiere at Luna Stage in 2011.
Time: Spring, 1885
Place: Sunset Valley, Texas.
Tyrus Cole, a horse trainer, lives on a ranch with his invalid sister Mary. Because he can’t watch her during the day, Tyrus has Mary confined to a root cellar. When Dwight Foley arrives at the ranch seeking help with his horse, he and Mary fall in love and begin plotting the demise of Tyrus and their eventual escape. Their plan escalates and in the end, the three find themselves trapped in a complex web of greed and secrets.
Dead Ringer was the winner of the 2005 BBC International Playwriting Contest. The play was produced as a short radio play, broadcast over the BBC in October of 2005. Dead Ringer will receive its world premiere at the New Jersey Rep in 2009.
CENTENNIAL CASTING (written with Nancy Bleemer)
Time: The Present
Vincent DiDonato is an overweight, unattached and unevolved Goombah in his late 40’s who spends most of his time doing as little as possible at Centennial Casting, the metal casting shop he owns with his mother on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.When Vincent’s mom dies suddenly, he inherits the shop and is thrown into the front office, where he discovers a pile of headshots sent in by actors over the years that had mistaken the metal shop’s casting service for a theatrical casting agency.Vincent is struck by the photo of one, Edie Keaton. Ms. Keaton, a down on her luck actress in her late 30’s, is trying to return to the business after a difficult divorce.Vincent, who has never been in a successful relationship, saves the picture and resume. When Vinnie’s assistant and boyhood chum, Doo Doo, realizes his boss is interested in Edie, he sets up an “interview” for the actress, hoping it might lead to a date for Vincent, his first in many years. Vincent reluctantly agrees to pose as a casting director in order to meet the actress, and when Edie walks in for her “audition” he falls head over heels in love with her. Edie, in turn, is interested in Vinnie, but is even more interested in getting an acting job.
As the ruse continues, Vincent and Doo Doo realize they must heighten the stakes in order to keep the relationship going.What will happen when Edie discovers that Vincent is only posing as a casting director? Will true love triumph or will the characters drown their sorrows in cannolis? The answer is a heartwarming, hilarious tale of two ordinary people in an extraordinary situation who find dreams can come true at Centennial Casting.
“A fast paced romantic comedy built on a funny premise”. – The Journal News
“In these times of war, higher taxes, higher gasoline prices and other troubles, we need a lot of laughs. And you will be laughing a lot when you see the new comedy Centennial Casting at Penguin Rep in Stony Point” — Rockland County Times
“An excellent comedy of mistaken identities in the Shakespearean tradition” — Times Herald Record
DARWIN AT DOWN
4 Characters, Simple Set, One intermission, 100 minutes.
TIME: Spring, 1850
PLACE: Down House, England
It is 1849 and Charles Darwin is in the beginning stages of his famous book, “On the Origin of the Species”.Egged on by his colleague Joseph Hooker, Darwin is afraid of being scooped by other scientists working on the same problem. He knows that this work will change scientific inquiry forever. But his wife is afraid that God will smite Darwin and his family for publishing such a controversial theory. When Annie, Darwin’s young daughter, contracts a serious illness, Charles begins to wonder if publishing these theories is worth the ultimate cost. Will he lose his marriage? His children? If we challenge the natural order of the Universe, will God exact his revenge?
Darwin at Down garnered 2nd place in the 2007 Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. It has been given staged readings at Urban Stages in NY, New Jersey Rep, Crossroads Theatre in Indiana, Clark University, and at the International Theatre Festival in Timisoara, Romania.
Time – The Present
Place – A Hospice in New Jersey
Sheila Gold, 55, a successful Jewish businesswoman suffering from terminal cancer, is spending the end of her life in a comfortable hospice where her only companion is her 30 year old daughter, Rachel.The two have a tense relationship as Rachel has spent most of her adult life working at Planned Parenthood and is generally a disappointment to her entrepreneurial mother.
While in the hospice Sheila has become fascinated by a late night televangelist, Dr. Julian Strong, a black man in his 50’s. She finds his message inspiring and comforting and she writes Strong, offering to make a sizable donation to his ministry. Much to her surprise, Strong flies out to visit Sheila, presumably to see her sign the check in person. His physical presence is even greater than his TV persona and the two fall head over heels in love. Sheila begins to toy with the idea of converting to Christianity and spending her final days with Strong’s church in California. This revelation upsets her daughter to no end as Rachel is certain that Strong is a crook, promising hope and salvation, when all he really wants is to come between her and her inheritance.
Is Strong truly in love with Sheila or is he only out for her money? Sheila must choose between her daughter and a new love and lifestyle, in what will certainly be her final days.
Apostasy was given its world premiere at the New Jersey Rep in July of 2006. The play received its New York premiere at the Urban Stages Theatre in April of 2007; available through Samuel French.
“When Sheila Gold announces to her grown daughter, Rachel, that she is thinking of trading in her barely used Judaism for late-model, born-again Christianity, it looks as if we’re being set up for a play about religious faith. But Gino DiIorio has something else up his sleeve in ”Apostasy,” the absorbing new drama running through Aug. 13 at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. Sheila’s flirtation with Jesus is going to turn into a flirtation of an entirely different kind. And abortion politics will intrude messily on the play’s relationships. ” – Sylviane Gold, NY TIMES (New Jersey)
“Mr. Dilorio’s fearless play, first staged last year at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, is more than a soap opera. He weaves in compelling exchanges on issues of faith. Julius’s unorthodox explanation of how he views his job is especially delicious.” – Neil Genzlinger, NY TIMES (New York)
“Race, faith, money, betrayal, abortion, nudity, terminal illness, medical marijuana,middle-age sex…a button-pusher that seeks to provoke a reaction at every turn, even as it foils most attempts to predict plotlines and pigeonhole motivations.” – Asbury Park Press
“Playwright Gino DiIorio pairs a terminally ill Jewish businesswoman with a charismatic black Christian televangelist, in a star-crossed love affair that raises questions about faith, self-deception, and what happens when we die.” – NJN
“Playwright Gino Dilorio has done an amazing job of presenting religion with a nice blend of faith and cynicism. This production is full of outstanding performances, surprise twists, and will keep you riveted from start to its amazing finish.” – Gary Wien, Upstage Magazine
Four Characters, Single Set, 90 minutes, no intermission
Time: The Present, just before nightfall.
PLACE: A burned out apartment in Torkham, a town on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, in the Kyber Pass.
In Sandbox,three American soldiers find themselves caught in the no man’s land of “Ambush Alley”, near the border of Iraq and Syria. Ted McClain and Jason Platt are fast tracking soldiers, looking for action and quick promotions. They convince Ramona Valdez to join them in an attempt to capture a supposed insurgent near the Syrian border, while also lining their pockets with anything they can steal. After a firefight goes horribly wrong, the wounded three find themselves trapped with Hassan, a suicide bomber, determined to kill himself and the infidels who have invaded his country. Sandbox is the story of young people at war, prisoners of their situation as well as their own beliefs.
The three must find an escape while also keeping Hassan from his life defining mission.In turn, the four find themselves hostage to their situation and their own beliefs.
Sandbox has been as given staged readings at Clark University and Luna Stage (Montclair, NJ)
ARE YOU THE WIFE OF MICHAEL CLEARY?
10 Characters (8 with doubling), 3 locations, 110 minutes, One intermission
Time: March, 1895
Place: County Tipperary, Ireland
Are You the Wife of Michael Cleary is based on a true story.It is not an adaptation of any book, but there are historical documents and accounts that form a framework for the play.
Bridget Cleary was a 28-year-old seamstress who was murdered in March of 1895 at the hands of her husband and family members.She was very much interested in legends and fairy beliefs and after repeated visits to what was thought to be forbidden land, Bridget took ill. As her condition worsened, her husband became increasingly delirious, believing that his wife had become a “fairy changeling”.Frustrated at the inability of modern science to cure his wife, Michael Cleary and his family conducted a “fairy trial” after which his wife was burned to death, supposedly to rid him of this changeling.Eventually, Michael Cleary and others involved were made to stand trial for the crime. But their explanations in court only served to offer more questions than answers.
Pagan beliefs were prominent in Ireland at the time and it would be easy to dismiss these tragic events as simply the result of backward thinking by people who didn’t know better. But upon further examination, the story reveals itself to be much more compelling and less clear-cut. The characters displayed motives and behavior that often prove illusory and difficult to explain in a modern or atavistic sense. There are many different aspects to the story, which would prove interesting to a modern audience, including feminism and Irish nationalism.But what in my view what is most significant is how the actions here serve as reference points for what remains unexplained even today.
Are You the Wife of Michael Cleary? received its world premiere at the Irish Arts Center (NYC), January 2008.The play has also been produced at various venues throughout Ireland. Are You the Wife of Michael Cleary? won a Higgins School grant for research and development in 2004.
Eight characters, 3 locations, 100 minutes, one intermission
Place: Providence, Rhode Island
Time: Spring, 1990
Set in Providence, Rhode Island in the early 1990’s, SLEEPING DOGS tells the story of Dominic Maglione, a young man in between jobs and disenchanted with the world. He is confused about his Italian American identity and what it means to his life, and frustrated by his prospects. When he returns home for his grandmother’s funeral, he becomes re-acquainted with his Uncle Vin, a delusional man who has been estranged from the family for years.For reasons he can’t explain, Dom is drawn to Vin, much to his parents’ disapproval. He decides to stay in Providence, determined to uncover the truth of his past. What Dom discovers irrevocably changes his ideas and beliefs about himself, his family and his history.
Sleeping Dogs was a finalist at New Dramatists and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. It has been given public staged readings at 78th Street Theatre Lab and Urban Stages NYC.
6 characters, 3 locations, one intermission, 100 minutes
Setting: New York City
In White Noise…. Kim Warren had always considered himself to be a liberal, his belief system and his politics concerning race consistent. After losing his job, and watching one of his black co-workers retain his position, Kim’s belief system is called into question. He and his friend Ricky (who is also fired), search for a way of fighting this perceived injustice. While Ricky has little doubt that he is a victim of Affirmative Action, Kim is not convinced. But as job possibilities appear increasingly bleak, Kim decides to go along for the ride, looking to simply “do something” in his own defense (with little idea as to what that might be). The two men eventually meet James Cartwright, the elegant leader of a White Man’s Defense League.Rather than shaking Kim out of his funk, the meeting with Cartwright only serves to confuse him even further. Conversely, the meeting makes it clear to Ricky that action must be taken. Ricky and Kim may be opposite sides of the same coin–one man showing restraint and patience, the other impulsive and impetuous. Individually, the men remain dormant. But taken together, they resort to actions that neither man could have foreseen.
White Noise received a second prize in the Delaware Theatre “Connections” Contest for plays dealing with racism and a Pilgrim Project Grant for play development. The play was a finalist at both New Dramatists and the O’Neill Center. It also was a finalist at the 2000 Humana Festival. The first public reading of the play featured Oscar Winner F. Murray Abraham.
The play received its world premiere at the Turnip Theatre Company (NYC) in 1998.
“Gino DiIorio’s play White Noise examines racism and affirmative action in the workplace when two white men find themselves unemployed while a less experienced (and in their opinion less qualified) African American co-worker remains on the job. To lengths to which these men go to re-establish their self-worth and salvage their careers and identities brings the play to a startling conclusion. It is an almost perfect play in every way.” (Theatre Reviews Limited
“a forceful tale” (Time Out New York)
“the final scene is edge-of-your- seat action”, (Off-Off Broadway Review)
WINTERIZING THE SUMMER HOUSE
3 characters, single set, 100 minutes One intermission
Time: The Present
Place: Martha’s Vineyard
Winterizing the Summer House is a three character play that takes place on Martha’s Vineyard. Steven, an up-and-coming photography professor at a New England University, spends his summers building his portfolio, looking for the one image that will bring him recognition as a serious artist. Abbi, a 20 year old life long islander, is Steven’s dark room assistant. She is very much enamored of her mentor, but Steven is too much in his own work and his own head to allow their relationship to develop. On the last weekend of the summer, they are visited by John, an old drinking buddy and colleague of Steven’s. John was responsible for Steven’s earlier success in gaining tenure, but has fallen on hard times.During the course of this lost weekend, the true natures of these characters are slowly revealed, bringing the summer which began with such promise, to a final, tragic end.
Winterizing the Summer House was given its world premiere at the New Jersey Repertory Theatre in 2002.
The play was also a finalist at both New Dramatists (NYC) and The O’Neill Festival. It won top ten honors in the 2002 Writers Digest National Best Play Competition.
Winterizing the Summer House, succeeds splendidly as both drama and comedy. It’s anintelligent play, where situations evolve naturally and the dialogue flows conversationally, revealing three characters who command your fondness.- (Two River Times)