Home The Plays The Playwright Productions Publications Awards Reviews Links Contact Me

Synopses of selected plays by Rosemary Frisino Toohey
10-18-02
A one-act drama

Four people board an elevator. Destination? Unknown. This particular conveyance doesn’t stop at floors. Instead, it transports passengers from this world to the next. Dissimilar in age, sex, background, is there any commonality among this foursome? And what’s their final destination?

38C
A one-act drama

It’s just an item of clothing, a piece of underwear.

But when Robert brings it home and seems fascinated by it, Greg sees storm clouds on the horizon.

And when Delia, divorced and out of work, comes home without it, does it mean she's hit bottom?

38D
A one-act comedy

Out for his morning run, Jason discovers an item of clothing and carries it home. The fact that it’s a bra (a sizeable one, at that) triggers an emotional outburst from Karen, his significant other.


Back to top


The A Word
A full-length drama

Call it the perennial female condition…any country, any season, any century, a woman between fifteen and fifty is either trying to have a baby or trying not to have a baby

The A Word looks at the pressures exerted by love, family, career, religion and society on four young women. From a high school senior in a single parent household to the wife of a wealthy businessman in India, from a young black woman struggling to make a name for herself in an all-white office to the happily-married mom who's told her unborn baby has big problems…four women, four takes on a controversial subject.

Agnes's Little War
A one-act drama

Do citizens have the right to judge elected leaders on personal morals? An idealistic voter lost faith in a political candidate after his extra-marital philanderings were revealed. She has waged a battle of letters demanding that he return the contribution she made to his campaign. A gentleman with ties to the unnamed individual appears at her door offering her money if she will stop writing the letters. Will she accept his offer?

America's Cherry Pie
A full-length drama, originally titled School Shooter

The Baltimore Sun called this play "carefully crafted and elegantly written." The playwright received a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council for this drama which has eight actors playing 35 characters

It is a rainy Monday morning in a noisy high school hallway. Four teenagers are venting about classes, parents, friends and the opposite sex when a gunman opens fire - and we move from adolescent angst to tragedy. Teachers scurry to crisis stations and the scene shifts as a hospital nurse struggles to answer frantic parents facing their worst nightmare.

When the shooter pleads guilty but mentally ill to murder charges, the families of the slain students sue not only him, but his parents, his teachers, the principal, his friends and the entertainment companies that produced the movies he watched and the games that he played. Ultimately the case against all the defendants except the shooter is thrown out.

The parents of the dead kids are left with the realization that no one truly understands what they lost that rainy morning in a high school hallway.

Animal Instincts
A full-length drama

Incest is the subject of this highly-charged drama. When her son flunks out of college and decides to follow in his dad’s footsteps, a mother resorts to desperate measures. On a hot night in June, she reveals an ugly secret that shatters all family bonds.

Baltimore’s City Paper said the playwright "...demonstrates a sure feel for the dysfunctional forces lurking beneath the placid surface of this farm family." The play premiered as part of the 2000 Baltimore Playwrights Festival.

Annapolis Blues
A one-act drama

It's a rough morning-after. Abby just wanted to relax and have fun after a difficult exam, but did things go too far when she had a few drinks? And if she rats on the guy, will it end up hurting her, more than him? Tough questions, tough answers in Annapolis Blues.


Berry Season
A short comedy

Jon is having a dull day at the cash register of a market ringing up fruits and vegetables and then -- she walks in. All she's after is a box of strawberries, but his appetite takes off at warp speed. He smells the nectar of her breath, hears the pounding of the surf, sees verdant hills, plunges down into deep valleys...and then...she leaves.

The comedy took top honors as Audience Favorite among the ten winners of the 2016 British Theatre Challenge! Watch the winning performance on YouTube .

Berry Season is published by Lazy Bee Scripts, Southampton, U.K.

Back to top


The Body Washer
A One-Act Drama

A young Iraqi woman has been killed at a checkpoint and her death is seen through three sets of eyes.

Mara is the body washer who prepares her body for burial as part of the Islamic ritual. While she admits her work is difficult, Mara says there's a sense of peace that comes after she has washed the deceased and wrapped the body in a shroud.

Nikki is the National Guard soldier who fired the fatal bullet. The mother of a little girl back in the States, she joined the Guard like so many others - to get money for college. But this? It's certainly not what she signed up for.

Amy is an American reporter recording the daily tally of death and destruction in the war. After a chilling interview with the dead woman's sister, she struggles to make sense of the story.
(Photo: Michael McKeon - retrobang.com)

Back to top

Breastworks
A one-act comedy

Two men meet in a doctor’s waiting room and commiserate about what seems to be the obsession of the opposite sex.

Cornered
A one-act drama

Can love between two people survive when one of them is struck with debilitating disease? Fencing was once Laura's passion, but now that she has multiple sclerosis, the only matches she can win are the verbal battles with her husband. The illness leads her to a decision about marriage that might seem strange to someone not in her position.

The Baltimore Sun says, "What's most intriguing about Cornered is the way it defies preconceptions...Love, like life, can thrust and parry in unexpected directions. And victory isn't always a joyous affair." Cornered won First Prize in the 2005 Baltimore Playwrights Festival. It premiered at Spotlighters Theater and has since been presented in New York, Los Angeles and Silver Spring, MD

Cosmic Fruit Bowl
A one-act drama


Think living in a fishbowl is tough? Try a fruit bowl. Talk about tension! There’s Orange, the self-centered star, Apple, the guy hiding a secret, and Banana, bruised by self-doubt. Is the focus on looks? Or what’s inside? Appeal? Or a peel? The arrival of a strange fruit from down under only ups the ante. Is Kiwi truly a fruit or---horrors!---a bird? And will she be accepted, or will one of the regulars be rejected? There’s lots more than seeds and juice in this fruit bowl.

Cosmic Fruit Bowl is published by Dramatic Publishing, Woodstock, IL.

Back to top

Cucarachas
A one-act comedy


A trio of cockroaches is living the easy life. Ensconced in a research lab, they’re well fed and cared for. They just have to do their thing…run…when the lights go on. But the endgame may not be all roses and buttercups---or sheetrock and insulation from the roach point of view. What happens when the researchers find out all they need to know? Will the guys in the lab coats let these bugs just scurry out the door? Then, a new player appears on the scene and this roach says…rules, schmules! But is he right? And if they change their pattern will it be the dawn of a new day or curtains for cucarachas?

Cucarachas is published by Dramatic Publishing, Woodstock, IL.

Final Round
A one-act drama

The focus is the disintegration of a boxer. Propelled by dreams and fueled by the ambitions of his working-class family, Danny Mannix battles his way to the middle rungs of the sport. But the fights exact a bitter toll.


Fish From Heaven
A one-act drama

In a small village in Honduras, once or twice a year following a torrential rain, a field will be covered with fish. The people, whose diet consists of corn and beans, collect the small, silver fish and relish the chance to eat some seafood. In the house of Esteban and Lucia, there are two different views on the portent of this gift from the skies and what it means for their family.



Fish Have Feelings Too
A one-act comedy

Two couples have a fender bender in the parking lot of a seafood restaurant. Calm prevails at first, but the tension ratchets up over questions about who's at fault. Then, the daughter of the one couple and the son of the other burst in. They engineered this meeting between their respective parents because they have dramatic news: Not only are they madly in love, but they want to save the sea creatures of the world. And…they plan to stage a demonstration in the restaurant dining room!

Fish Have Feelings too is published by Lazy Bee Scripts, Southampton, U.K.

Frozen Fishsticks
A one-act comedy

Three women have been selected by a market research company to be part of a focus group, offering their opinions on frozen food packaging. While expressing their views on boxes of frozen fish sticks, the women reveal themselves on men, sex, and life.

Frozen Fish Sticks is published by Lazy Bee Scripts, Southampton, U.K.

G-Man
A full-length drama

The G-Man is Larry, a garbageman, and he likes picking up trash just fine. If other people have a problem with his career choice, well, that's their problem. He's smart, he's got a good buddy to share good times with and he's got a way with women...he seldom sleeps alone. He also regularly visits his mom in a nursing home, something his sister can't bring herself to do, though he does lock horns with the home's director. Then, a change in his work shift leads to a dreadful discovery, a night of bad decisions and ends with his arrest. But help comes from an unexpected quarter...prompting changes in his job...and in himself.

Gladys in Wonderland
A full-length comedy

"You get up one day, eat a donut, read the paper, and some clown in a Good Humor suit says you’re going to die…" That’s Gladys’ dilemma in this bittersweet comedy that pokes fun at a very touchy subject.

First produced in 1999 as part of the Baltimore Playwrights Festival, the play has had subsequent productions in Baltimore and in 2003 was done as a fund-raiser by the Baltimore County Department of Aging as part of the agency’s 25th anniversary celebration. It’s also been done in Memphis, TN and in Midland, TX, where the critic for the Midland Reporter-Telegram called it a "laugh-out-loud kind of evening".

Gladys is published 2010 by Playscripts, Inc., New York, NY.

Grace Goes To Sea
A one-act drama

Harry hates the water but that doesn’t keep him from learning to sail. Bereft after the death of his wife, he’s got a plan to bring about her lifelong dream of going sailing. This moving one-act drama, is now on You Tube, starring Steve Lichtenstein in a masterful performance.

Gravy Anxiety
A full-length comedy

Thanksgiving with the family…what could be nicer? Except that this celebration in Mary Reilly’s tiny apartment looks nothing like the Norman Rockwell picture. Marital discord, bizarre funeral arrangements, vegan issues, the hangover of an acrimonious divorce, and a turkey that catches fire all come into play. And the arrival of annoyingly “nice” visitors from out of town who may or may not make an offer on a house doesn’t help at all. Then, just when several members of the gathering are about to give up and take off for parts unknown, an environmental accident traps everyone inside.

Harpies Shooting Craps
A short drama

Claws, wings and a pair of dice. Three harpies shoot craps for the fate of the city or maybe the world.


The Ice-Cream King
A full-length comedy

The hero in this full-length comedy is Lenny, the original nice guy. He runs an ice-cream shop in an old downtown neighborhood and, in the eyes of some people, his biggest accomplishment, at the age of 33, is concocting butterscotch sundaes.

His sister thinks its time he got a "real" job, his best friend wants him to be more of a "player" with women, his mom thinks he ought to move in with her and his grandmother, and the pizzeria owner next door says he's got to persuade the landlord not to tear down the buildings and put up condos. Lenny is struggling to respond to this list of demands when tearful young woman enters the store. Over a shared tunafish sandwich, a bond is formed, a transformation occurs, and we learn that nice guys don't always finish last

Back to top

In the Tank
A one-act comedy produced more than 70 times around the world.

"What kind of a life is it, if it looks like a death? Or, to put it another way, if you spend all your time acting like you're dead, what's the point of being alive?"

This award-winning one-act focuses on two lobsters: Stu and Harry. Harry, a clever lobster in the tank of a seafood restaurant, is pretending to be dead to avoid becoming someone's dinner entree. Stu, a new arrival in the tank, takes a more philosophical approach to their dilemma. The two move from confrontation to understanding as they share observations about life, death, and the humans who wield dominion over all.

Catch a video on YouTube , in a 2015 production by Britain's Drip Action Theatre.
In the Tank is published by Dramatic Publishing, Woodstock, IL. Photo courtesy Silver Spring Stage.

Judy And The General
A full-length musical

A semi-comic re-telling of the Judith - Holofernes story from the Bible, this story is told through the eyes of Judith's maid. When their town is besieged by the massive army of the mighty, bloodthirsty general, Holofernes, the beautiful Judith bravely goes to his camp to confront him. He is bewitched by her charms and sets out to seduce her. She flatters him, plies him with wine and promises to "do things with him which will amaze the world." Indeed, she does just that, cutting his head off using his very own sword, thereby saving her town from destruction. The story is told through the eyes of Judy's maid, a woman in servitude who has her own axe to grind.

Package Tour
A one-act comedy

Kate and Henry are about to leave for a cruise to Hawaii. But last minute questions arise over the mail, the newspaper, whether or not to leave the lights on, and complicated issues involving hula girls.

Saying Good-bye to Papa
A one-act comedy

Three siblings have gathered following the recent demise of their father. Angela stayed home taking care of her elderly parents before they passed away and now her brother and sister have come back home to visit the mausoleum where Papa has been laid to rest. But there are questions about the arangements. Would Papa really be okay with the fact that his name is misspelled on the stone? And even though Angie says he’s closer to the angels, would he appreciate being in a niche way up under the peak of the roof?

School Shooter
A full-length drama, retitled America's Cherry Pie

The Baltimore Sun called School Shooter "carefully crafted and elegantly written." The playwright received a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council for this drama which has eight actors playing 35 characters

It is a rainy Monday morning in a noisy high school hallway. Four teenagers are venting about classes, parents, friends and the opposite sex when a gunman opens fire - and we move from adolescent angst to tragedy. Teachers scurry to crisis stations and the scene shifts as a hospital nurse struggles to answer frantic parents facing their worst nightmare.

When the shooter pleads guilty but mentally ill to murder charges, the families of the slain students sue not only him, but his parents, his teachers, the principal, his friends and the entertainment companies that produced the movies he watched and the games that he played. Ultimately the case against all the defendants except the shooter is thrown out.

The parents of the dead kids are left with the realization that no one truly understands what they lost that rainy morning in a high school hallway.

The Sleeping Beauty of Brooklyn
A one-act comedy

It’s a tough real estate market, and just when a couple gets a showing on their condo, they find a dead body in their bedroom. Sleeping Beauty premiered in Baltimore, becoming The Sleeping Beauty of Burbank in San Diego before the New York production, as The Sleeping Beauty of Brooklyn .

Smoke in the Canyon
A full-length drama

It’s mid-June when Mary Beth arrives in Colorado for a summer job at the Last Chance Café and everyone there seems to be hungry for something, whether it’s true love, financial good fortune, courage, or just megawatt fame. There’s Dixie, a girl much too generous with her favors, Sherri, the ambitious runner-up in the Miss Snake Day contest, Gail, the girlfriend who can’t let go, and Will, the bartender with a past. The boss is a womanizing scrooge named Jack who’s always just a step ahead of his creditors. As Labor Day looms on the horizon and Jack’s bill collectors become more demanding, he decides to solve his financial problems with a marriage proposal to Gail, whose daddy is hip-deep in oil. She says “yes” and the wedding day is set, but there’s a surprising hitch in the proceedings.

Back to top

Socks
A one-act comedy

The inside story of a clothes dryer. Left behind by careless owners, three socks and a leg warmer debate the existential realities. At least they’ve got a leg up on humans: socks know how to pair up.

Socks is published by Lazy Bee Scripts, Southampton, U.K.

They
A one-act drama

How do we see one another? In a time of heightened awareness about what divides us, are we really so different? Or have our pre-conceptions made us forever blind?

Tilapia
A one-act comedy

Deserted by two younger couples who had been their dinner guests, an aristocratic older couple savors a meal. We hear of broken chairs, a smashed piano, a nasty fall into the baked alaska…there seemed to be some sort of….row among the young people. And then, the "he" of one couple went off with the "she" of the other. What did it all mean?

Premiering in Baltimore in 2001 as one of four one-act plays under the title Seafood Buffet, Tilapia took second place honors in the Baltimore Playwrights Festival.

Tilapia is published Lazy Bee Scripts, Southampton, U.K.

Back to top

Under the Poplar Trees
A full-length drama

Two prisoners in the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany, become friends despite their differences. Josef, an idealist, encourages Meyer, a realist, to dream, to sing and together they endure the brutalities of camp life, even the endless hours standing at roll-call.

Years later, Meyer is living in the states with his wife, Clara. He’s had a full life: children, grandchildren and soon even a great-grandchild, but there’s bitterness inside: he never speaks of his days at Dachau. Even when his grandson, Aaron, a journalist, asks him to tell what he remembers, Meyer is adamant. The spirit of Josef often visits his old friend, battling, as always, for Meyer’s better self. In between visits, Josef enjoys the company of the beautiful Desiree.

Back in 1945, Meyer and Josef are sitting under the poplar trees when another prisoner makes a suicide run to the electrified fence. Josef tries to stop him but he’s shot by the guards. Meyer binds Josef’s wounds but both know Josef will soon be dragged off to the infamous Nazi doctors.

In the present, Meyer’s wife dies suddenly and grandson Aaron comes to pay his respects. He tells Meyer his plan to name his baby Josef. Touched by this and in his grief for Clara, Meyer opens up. For the first time he tells of the awful night Josef died. When Aaron points out that he is the only one who can tell all of Josef’s story, the old man recognizes the wisdom of this and agrees to share his memories.

Way, Way Up
A one-act comedy

The year is 2046 and a reporter is interviewing a media spokesman for the “Space Elevator” about to make its inaugural ascent in Clearwater, Florida. Two retirees have paid to be aboard the craft, but there are problems. There’s a marital squabble between the elevator passengers, and what’s with the cavalier attitude of the elevator design team? What exactly will happen when the car goes way, way, up?

By the way, there really ARE space elevator projects in the planning stages. Take a look at what NASA has in mind.

Woman on the Edge
A full-length comedy
Why would sane, sensible, 64-year-old Nettie wrap explosives around her bathrobe and fire a gun at a police officer? Is it because her husband is driving cross-country with his late brother’s ashes, showing his deceased sibling the sights? Could it be because her niece insisted on holding the family reunion at Nettie’s house? Perhaps it’s because Nettie’s older sister keeps telling everybody where to get off?

Even before Woman on the Edge premiered in the 2004 Baltimore Playwrights Festival, the play won the prestigious National Towngate Theatre Playwriting Contest at the Oglebay Institute. Awarding the 2004 prize, the theater called the play "a riotously funny play about a woman’s searching for a raison d’etre."

(Photo courtesy Chesapeake Arts Center)

Back to top

Home The Plays The Playwright Productions Publications Awards Reviews Links Contact Me