Interested in reading one of my plays send request To my Contact Or Find my plays at New Play Exchange HERE
Shouting Down A Quiet Life Premiere at Rover Dramawerks in Plano, Texas. Review HERE
And Review blogger Doug Sturdivant wrote:
My thoughts on the Texas Nonprofit Theatres New Play Project Winner, Shouting Down a Quiet Life by Holli Harms...or Quietly making a big important noise at Rover Dramawerks.
It is the Orangeburg Massacre that is central to the plot of Shouting Down a Quiet Life, a gripping an engrossing drama of racial and family strife. “Disturbing the dead can cause damage to the living,” says Professor Emmett Fludd, the main character of the play. We see the damage and endeavor to comprehend it, but we also see the healing. Emmett is distant with both his wife and son and prefers silence when he is home. For recreation and tranquility, Emmett and his wife Bernice put together jigsaw puzzles. The puzzles in the lives of the Fludds are both literal and figurative and as the plot unfolds, the pieces begin to fit. The play, directed with skill and affection by Selmore Lorenzo Haines, moves back and forth between 1968 and 1998 presenting Emmett as both a college student and an adult. The contrast between the youthful, humorous, fun loving Emmett and the mostly withdrawn, taciturn adult who is only excited by his career provides a brilliant in depth character study.
The play is so powerful and the acting so compelling that I attended on two consecutive nights to make certain that I fully understood the complexities of the drama. Director Haines sets up the 1968 vibe from the moment you enter the auditorium with an oldies soundtrack. The last song before the play begins is appropriately Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” The set here is minimal, but adequate, and with a cast like Selmore Haines has assembled, scenery would be almost superfluous. Angelo Reid as Emmett Fludd delivers a superbly understated performance. His quiet, mannered demeanor deftly conveys the hollow man that Emmett has become and it is almost frightening when he eventually raises his voice. Reid’s performance will stay with you long after you leave the theater. As Emmett’s wife Bernice, Natasha Wells makes a role that could easily have fallen into stereotype, both nuanced and dynamic. Although she is outspoken and sometimes humorous, we see that she has been broken down by the puzzle that is Emmett. Christian Taylor plays three roles and can disappear into a character just by parting his hair a different way. Taylor’s main role is the affable redneck with a stutter, Doyle Page. Taylor deeply impressed me with his performance. His words tumble or spray out. His frustration with his condition is evident and we also witness his elementary confusion about racism. It’s all in his eyes. Marquese K Johnson, a newcomer to the Metroplex, is both Young Emmett and James Fludd, the son of Emmett and Bernice. This young man pulls off this very challenging dual role masterfully. As Young Emmett, his South Carolina accent is flawless. He projects tenderness and kindness and has the audience on his side immediately. As James Fludd, he is the proper young college student confused by his father’s perpetual silence, but yet caring and concerned. Johnson is skilled beyond his years and has great stage presence. Mercedes Michelle Arndt as Young Emmett’s white girlfriend, Mary Iron, will simply astound you. Every look, every movement is just right. She’s tough, vulnerable, girlish, and mature simultaneously. Her monologue that closes the play in which she relives the night of the Orangeburg Massacre is almost Shakespearean in power. Quite an achievement for someone just out of college.
Shouting Down a Quiet Life shines a strong and unflinching light on an ugly episode of racism in America. It forces you to consider difficult issues, but does so without preaching. It is a story of tragedy and hope that is beautifully told, consummately acted, and profoundly touching. Shouting Down a Quiet Life is a puzzle you will be very glad you put together. — at Rover Dramawerks.
My one-act FOR ABBY had it's London Debut in October 2019 with the Sky Blue Theatre's British Theatre Challenge. See HERE
St. Helena's (2W,1M)
It’s 1972, on the secluded island of St. Helena's, South Carolina, where an Austrian is hiding a secret of his Third Reich past while having an affair with a woman of Gullah descent another secret he must hide. But then a young woman comes to repair his rotting dock and upends the secrets and lies discovering for herself sex, love and stolen art.
Shouting Down A Quiet Life (2W,3M)
Emmett Fludd is a professor of archeology at a small college in the South. For thirty years he has held the truth about his past from his family and himself. But when his past comes back to confront him, he is forced out of his silence and will discover what his quiet has cost himself and his family.
PALMETTO (4W, 4M)
A play within a play containing three intertwined storylines of both time and structure: A prominent and influential theatre company that has made its mark in the world by doing plays by writers of color chooses to do an exciting new play about the Underground Railroad only to learn that the playwright is not who they thought she was. A young couple, runaway slaves, struggle their way north to Canada and discover what freedom really means to each other. A young boy, born into slavery, posses an art unlike any other and, who with his art, takes a journey that lifts him above his tortured bondage.
Make John Patrick Shanley Go Home (3W )
At a restaurant/bar in New York City, three sisters arrive for what they hope to be a nice dinner out. But with no bread on the table, or Calamari on the menu and a famous playwright at the bar, tonight there will be a whole lot of stomping, finger-pointing and bully calling.
Cougar (2W, 1M)
A woman of a certain age arrives at a bar to meet up with her college love but what she finds instead surprises not only her but everyone else, including the broad at the bar. A young man tracks down the love of his father’s life and works to make her his surprising not only her but also the broad at the bar.
For Abby (1W, 1M)
At a writer’s retreat in the mountains, a woman waits for a new friend but when an old one shows up she has to confront a death she has been avoiding for too many years.
Gorilla (3W, 1M)
Claire Holden can no longer have sex with her husband Fletcher so they hire a surrogate to be Fletcher’s sex partner. But things take a turn when Fletcher steps over his wife unexpectedly and leaves her wondering how invisible does a woman become when she is no longer sexually viable...when she has aged past cat-calls, wolf whistles and double-takes. Spinning and chest-pounding and much to do about much ensue.
Two sisters, a dead vole, meat from 1990 and mom in the hospital.
While they attempt to clear their mother’s home of year’s of hoarding, the sisters discover some things about the clutter in their own lives.
The Revolution of Katey and Bear (1W, 1M)
A young couple discovers the repercussions of loss and blame. Katey and Michael have everything or so it seems but a decision they made to terminate her pregnancy has left one moving on and one stuck in pain. Michael’s got a knife and Katey a stuffed bear and hammer and neither is backing down.
Popping Your Skirt and Swimming (2W,1M)
A kayak, paddle and a broom are held as weapons of choice, and the outside sun is kept at bay. There is celery that has to be wrapped and beds that have to be moved. The neighbors are taking their house apart piece by piece, and Greg feels trapped inside with only his mother and grandmother. He has more, a wife and child out there where there are teeth gnashing. Or does he? He has to find out, but how?