“Imagination is like a tree. The branches farthest high and farthest wide are the sources of all new art. Sometimes a tree can die from the base and the last bits of life are found at the tips of the branches, green and still growing, despite the fact of death. And sometimes a tree dies from its branches downward until the trunk and then the root itself crumble into peat. I can’t tell what the theatre of my day was- the last remaining heights of a dying tree or a travel to the death of the root.”
Dean Icon in the play - Moral & Political Lessons on “Wyoming”
Vincent Sessa is the author of an expansive body of plays, various in subject and manner. Many are comedies, or have elements of comedy. The plays have in common a lyricism of language and illuminating imagery. All evoke the condition of humankind through incisive portrayals of men and women in personal, often political struggle.
“I am writing you about Vincent Sessa, a playwright whose work I have recently come to know. I’ve come to know it in some detail, actually, because Vincent has written many plays, and once I read the first one that was shown to me, I demanded to see more. Vincent is that ideal thing: an eclectic writer with a personal style... a combination that gives his work both range and intimacy. His sense of dramatic language is simply extraordinary. The people he writes about come vividly alive in the dialogue he writes, and what fascinating people they are. And this language is at once heightened and absolutely down-to-earth. I don’t know how he does that. But it allows him to blaze his way into many different worlds, and make us, his readers and his audience, feel alive there. I recommend Vincent, and anything he writes, to anybody who’s looking for a new, electric voice in the American Theatre.”
Found here is an alphabetical list of 29 plays written over the course of thirty years. A
30th play is in the works. Each play was rewritten, revised, relived and thought through
anew between 2017 - 2020, resulting in a master script: to my mind, a new play.
(Rewriting is akin to renovating a house; one house might need only a fresh coat of
paint while another a new foundation.) Cast size is indicated for each play with a brief,
limited description. Upon email inquiry to me, I will be happy to answer any questions
about a play and describe it in detail, its structure, its themes, etc., including any
production history. I welcome sending a play in PDF format to any theatre company,
producer, director, actor, or to anyone who works in the theatre and is interested in new
plays for the American and world stage.
I remain, as the plaque in New York City’s Shubert Alley reads, “Dedicated to all those
who glorify the theatre and use this short thoroughfare.”
Cast size: 11. A sprawling, multi-character, two-part political play. One character in the play describes the evolving gamesmanship as “a bedroom story about politics.” The plays are ideally performed in repertory.
Cast size: 3. (All female cast.) A play in three scenes: 1944, 1975, 1995. The consequences of war and grief and of love. A family’s story set in three different eras.
Cast size: 2. A mother and father face the aftermath of a school shooting committed by their son.
Cast size: 2. A searing sexual encounter between an older man and a young man based on the homecoming of Odysseus.
Cast size: 7. An unusual romantic triangle tears a rural family apart.
Cast size: 7. A fractured love story and political drama reconstructed and recounted by a madman.
Cast size: 4. Friends gather to bury Glad Grace, and set out for the day to the sea, with a picnic along the way, remembering her all the way there.
Cast size: 9. A young man in rural America is discovered to have a unique structure in his brain that may be a leap in human evolution. He’s fled town, and everyone in town has an idea about that. The play in large part is told in monologues.
Cast size: 6. A lurid and thrilling tale set in NYC of misattributed love and misattributed art work, and ending in murder.
Cast size: 6. Two Manhattan detectives, one black, one white, investigate a brutal murder at the home of the US Ambassador to the UN. A search for a possible terrorist device hidden in the city ensues. The play is a city-song of the men and women caught up in the search.
Cast size: 10. A multi-character play that takes place from Monday to Friday at the offices of a cruise line in Manhattan. The vessel’s name: The Wine Dark Sea. Based on Homer’s Odyssey.
Cast size: 6. A playwright walks the city in an attempt to piece together a play that he’s abandoned. The characters in the abandoned play accompany him. An exploration of self and playwriting and the creative process.
Cast size: 7. Three middle-aged friends meet after long silence on a hot summer day upstate, in driving distance from Manhattan. Lunch is interrupted when three young people out for a day hiking ask for some water. Old friends and new friends meet, and they may all be the same friends.
Cast size: 6. Noel Berol, the leading expert on William Butler Yeats, is compelled to hire a detective to investigate some very shady goings-on at the home of friends where he had recently stayed a night. It’s the most tangled, fraught of situations and everyone (almost everyone) speaks with an English accent.
Cast size: 7. Mrs. Stanchion delivers a “commitment-talk” at a college about “the perniciousness of theatre” and its malign influences. The dean of the college, emboldened by students awakening to a new experience, begs to differ. Miraculously the lecture becomes live theatre.
Cast size: 8. A retelling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet.” And like none other.
Cast size: 11. A multi-character comedy of the theatre. A takedown, a sendup. Hilarious, but watch out. A heartbreaking ending.
Cast size: 24. A Sicilian idyl. A writer crosses paths with the others of his life as he walks the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily. Inspired by the C. P. Cavafy poem, “Myres: Alexandria in 340 A.D.”
Cast size: 3. A young woman is dying of love. Is she? An intense drama of love and obsession.
Cast size: 5. Based on the story of Lizzie Borden, and the murders that took place in Fall River, MA on the morning of August 4, 1892. This is Greek drama. This is modern drama, as real-time as the headlines today.
Cast size: 6. Set in a mythical kingdom. King, queen, wizards and dunces. Shakespearian in the writing. An adult fairytale. The power of love. The power of destruction. The power of renewal.
Cast size: 16. Set in the Hotel Heliotropic, during the course of a weekend, family and guests gather to celebrate the life of Titus Brown, military marshal and man of the people. An event planner, Kaiser Rise, has been hired to plan and direct the celebration. Much is known of Titus Brown’s heralded, decorated life, his military and civilian achievements. But there is still a history to be discovered. The play is a dazzling battlefield of human comedy and terror.
Cast size: 4. A mysterious young lady jumps all the way up into the air, as high and higher than she can go, and falls onto the deck of a boat. A father and his two sons have fled a world spiraling to its end, and call the boat their home. What will they do with her? What will she do with them?
Cast size: 7. A dystopian tale of a world and a society come apart and cracked open, and still people have to decide what to do now. The battered house belonging to the Keenings family is located a way up from the railroad station. Those from the house and those passing through the station anticipate the train’s arrival. But will it, and where is it to?
Cast size: 6. The love story of Longfellow Putti, astrophysicist, and Parker Since, anthropologist, and it all takes place one afternoon in the offices of Broker Cinch, arms manufacturer to the world.
Cast size: 7. Brooklyn, and a man thinks he’s Shakespeare. The play unfolds through the eyes (and the narration) of the man’s son. A soaring play of ambition and heartbreak.
Cast size: 6. A four-act play that takes place in one day, set on Long Island in September 1990, the day before a wedding. An unconventional, deeply layered and moving family drama. An Italian-American family, and a friend of the family, a Dutch woman who emigrated to America at the end of WW2, prepare for the wedding. Leaves are added to a table to accommodate one generation passing into another.
Cast size: 4. The rise of a new political party personified by one woman, Belle Abide, and the past, as far back as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, converge in a family home in Connecticut.
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