Plays/Screenplays by Richard Seltzer

Without A Myth (Amythos): A Three-Act Stage Play

The characters are assigned roles in a fantastic myth. They can either act out their lives as pre-written, or drop out with no role in life. The characters have 24 hours in which to decide. A flaw in the rules of this absurd, cosmic game makes the choices and actions of the two main characters a matter of life and death. The play was first staged by High Impact Theater at the Met Performing Arts Center in Spokane, Washington.

Mercy, A Stage Play

Mercy (a two-act historical comedy) is based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and General Johnny Burgoyne. Burgoyne was the British commander at the Battle of Saratoga.  His defeat was the turning point in the American Revolution.  Mercy Warren, sometimes called "First Lady of the Revolution," was intimately connected with leaders of the war. Both Burgoyne and Mercy Warren were playwrights. After the Revolution, Burgoyne wrote several hit plays for the London stage. In 1775, during the British occupation of Boston, he wrote The Blockade of Boston. Mercy replied with a play entitled The Blockheads. While these two natural antagonists meet in this play, they never met in person.  (Works by and about Mercy Warren).

Rights Crossing: A Stage Play

This two-act historical play, was written for Columbia, Pennsylvania, where it was performed as part of that town's bicentennial celebration. The events of the play take place in December, 1777, and center upon the Conway conspiracy.

The action focuses on the strategic importance of the ferry crossing that would one day become Columbia, situated between George Washington's army at Valley Forge and the Continental Congress in York. The fates of the town-to-be and the nation-to-be are interwoven, with local historical figures playing significant roles. General Thomas Conway, plotting to overthrow George Washington, tries to seize the ferry between George Washington's army at Valley Forge and the Continental Congress in York. But he underestimates the determination and resourcefulness of Susannah Wright, owner of the ferry, and her nephew Sam, future founder of Columbia.

Spit and Polish: A Full-length Screen Play

The setting is basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in the summer of 1970. The trainees are all reservists, with the exception of four black draftees. The draftees have deliberately failed basic training to avoid Viet Nam. For the reservists, basic training is a brief but painful interruption in their lives. If nothing major goes wrong, they will return home. But the disappearance of one of the draftees threatens everyone in the platoon. This screen play is based on the novella The Barracks, which is included in Saint Smith and Other Stories.

Traffic Jam: A Short Screen Play

An ordinary ride down a crowded super highway becomes surreal when the drivers realize that they have no control over their vehicles.

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