by Dante DeAmicis
Fringe Festival (San Francisco) play pitches – best of my ideas that I will write a one hour play from if commissioned by an interested producer and director
1 – “FIJA” This is another jury room drama. This theme persists because of the natural limited set and scene changes. In this case the struggle is not over whether a criminal charge was correct. Here the struggle is over whether juries have the right to rule on the law as well as the facts. Most judges deny that juries have this power to decide when a law should be applied or whether a law was legitimate in the first place. This play focuses on a locality’s deceptive practice of using planning ordinances to functionally overturn California’s Medical Marijuana law. A county has given the ordinance teeth by making violation a misdemeanor instead of the normal infraction. However, this escalation also guarantees defendants a jury trial where one informed and determined juror can bring proceeding to a screeching halt.
Characters: Judge, Prosecutor, defendant, four jurors
2 – “Unreserved” Christians almost have a lock on the “passion play” genre. Not many subjects can produce a series of events and conversations where each one contributes to an outcome of sweeping significance over succeeding generations. In fact, the events must stand alone as vignettes within the play. The implementation of the Federal Reserve System has this kind of scope for people with an economic history bent. During a period of distrust of big money interests a group has a series of secret meetings to plan a grand deception in plain view, binding politicians to their agenda and turning a population into subservient peasants for a hundred years and counting.
Characters: three conspirators, Congressman, a typical American family (father, mother, child), William Jennings Brian
3 – “Scabs” A shadowy management group convinces a local government to let them run their bus to lower costs. The out-of-towners turn out to be a front for union busters on steroids. Their operating manual is a comprehensive list of unfair labor practices. Short term goals include bust the Union and fire the remaining old drivers who remember what a fair contract was. But rumors persist of a transit based final solution to the elderly and disabled base of the ridership. Actors should be prepared to play multiple fast paced roles.
Characters: two scab drivers, two union drivers, evil transit manager, reporter, county supervisor, three passengers, anti union heckler, security guard
4 – “Tasting Room” Two fashionable demons sit at a tall cabaret table with a built in wine rack (Yes, I have one). They are preparing to sample the various vintages of pain and suffering created with practice and expertise by their fellow fermenters of misfortune. Categories include, “personal”, “institutional”, and “grand atrocities.” Each cork they pop becomes a new vignette by the actors with following commentary by the sophisticated demons.
Characters: two tasters, two teams of three actors each
5 – “Dicey Spicy Madness” An Italian Restaurant, famous for its pasta sauce, decides to market the sauce to the public. The secret ingredient is a potent variety of sage that some think is the source of their lucid dreams. Restaurant chains committed to sugary chemical sauces are not happy with the competition. Political and religious opportunists see a chance to whip the lethargic population into a frenzy while garnering a ton of free publicity for their personal agendas. Soon, all the problems of society can be traced to this pasta sauce ingredient calling for prohibition by pundits, politicians, racists, imbedded news journalists, and police spokesmen.
Characters: Italian restaurant owner, family of three customers, crusader, news reporter, politician, various institutional spokespeople in rapid succession.