Saint John the Divine in Iowa
SCREENPLAY (Drama / Family)
Trying to prove that she's a good mother, an Episcopal priest struggles to be everything to both her newly out daughter and her needy and increasingly rebellious congregation.
Saint John the Divine in Iowa tells the story of a woman minister who can nearly do it all--serve the sick, help the dying and the victimized, love her family. Her passion to do good is untarnished...until her daughter comes home with an outspoken and radical lover who begins the visit by criticizing the minister's work. As the Reverend is forced to see the impact of her commitment on her family, as she fails to meet responsibilities and faces terrible consequences, she uncovers her own humanity in a new version of the values by which she lives.
Click to read an excerpt.You Can't Get There from Here
A twenty-something world traveler comes home to rescue her mother from an abusive marriage, and ends up drowning in the family dynamics.
Erin Donnelly has always tried to do the right thing. So when her mother calls to say that she has finally asked Erin’s abusive father to leave, and that he is now stalking her, Erin feels compelled to leave her life in Spain and go home to protect her mother and sister.
But life in the Donnelly family has never been what it seems. As soon as Erin arrives, she finds herself taking the role of parent with her mother, helping with bank accounts, job interviews, even suggesting lawyers for a separation agreement. At the same time, she finds her father—the man who has beaten her mother—parked in front of the house, passed out drunk with the engine running, Christmas presents for herself and her sister piled in the back seat. The more she struggles to keep her parents from hurting themselves or each other, the more she is drawn to the crucible of her childhood, where there is no protection from caring about both of them, no ability to sustain the toughness she needs to survive. And through it all, Erin is tortured with worry about her younger sister, who is trapped in the same triangle of manipulation and potential violence.
You Can’t Get There from Here is a story about the terrible ambiguity and complexity of family, how a violent husband can be loving to his daughter; how a victim wife can abuse her child in revenge. It asks what we can and must bear in order to hold tight to our families, it asks whether friendship can sustain us in their stead. Erin, desperate with fear for her sister, trying to find her own life, must make the most difficult of decisions: can and should she leave her family? What is left to her if she does?
Click to read an excerpt.Ladders to God (part of the My Mother and the Nun series)
STAGE PLAY (Coming of age / Drama)
Sucked back into memory, a lesbian tries to save her younger self from her mother's internalized homophobia.
In My Mother and thadders, Bernadette O’Malley returns to the in memory to the 1970’s, where her mother, a conservative Catholic housewife, is falling in love with the nun who is the principal of her children’s parochial school. Bernadette’s father has gone bankrupt, and her mother, a woman conscious of duty, of social mores and the need for privacy, applies for a job at the Catholic elementary school with her daughter’s help.
Through the adult Bernadette’s memory (the character is always present on stage,) we see the job interview where Agnes, Bernadette’s mother, meets Sister Rita. Their attraction is immediate. As Agnes and Sister Rita fall more deeply in love, as Rita begins to spend more time at the family house, young Bernadette begins to compete for her mother’s attention and love—and the adult Bernadette can’t change this, no matter how she tries. That Agnes is terrified of anyone learning of her relationship with Rita causes her to tighten her control of Bernadette, which only escalates Bernadette’s rebellion. Rita, caught between them, tries, with disastrous results, to make peace.
The triangle spins out of control. As it does, adult Bernadette continually attempts to control the past, speaking commentary from the sidelines, creating imagined scenes based in biblical iconography (all the women are named for female saints.) But she cannot prevent the past from running its course; all she can do is discover the courage to love.
Click to read an excerpt.