Monday, May 29, 2017


I've noticed, over time, that I get some notoriety out of being a Quaker playwright. As a Quaker, I should not like this, but as a Quaker playwright, I do. And there is no shortage of ideas, which, as it happens, I'm going to list in this post.

This morning I celebrated Memorial Day by staying home and mulling over Quakers' problem with Memorial Day; I did this by reading a post in the "Quaker" Facebook page, in which some people, perhaps outsiders, got incensed at Quakers who basically were not comfortable getting drawn into the Memorial Day glorification of war. Now, taking a few minutes to honor the dead is different from glorification of war, and many were quick to point this out, but the appearance of being unwilling to do either rankles those whose relatives have laid down their lives. It's a hard point for Quakers and one they need to work on as they present themselves to the world. So, perhaps one of these next plays will hit that issue.

The idea of this next volume is that there would be fewer props, less action, but more intense dialogue. Perhaps I will call it "Quaker plays for adults" on the theory that sometimes you read stuff just for the mental stimulation, and sometimes four people in a very small meeting can simply read a play aloud and use it as a springboard for discussion. All of my plays have been intended as being able to start discussion.

This is what I've come up with so far.

1. World Congress of Friends - though I might have some names wrong, as I've lost my original information, the International Congress of Friends met in Africa a few years back, and there was a kerfuffle about gay marriage. This play is about Americans in Africa, and a difference in worldviews. I started working on it, have that work somewhere, and now can't find it.

2. Herbert Hoover - Interesting to me, partly because of my time in West Branch. I am actually about to write this one, because the idea is fresh in my head. Hoover was the only person who ever tried to be a Quaker while he was president. He is interesting to me now, partly because insensitivity is one of the faults of the current president, and mass starvation could be the result. It's worth exploring a person who takes as truth, things that may not be true. That's what the play is about. Based on this article.

3. Tsarist Russia - Originally I linked this site, which has all kinds of ideas on it. Sometimes one has to read, and see what one finds.

4. Elizabeth Vining and Crown Prince Akihito. People always love a Crown Prince. People especially love a Crown Prince with a human side, and a Quaker connection.

and here are a few more:
5. Rufus Jones, famous Quaker during WWII
6. Cadbury and the Quaker chocolate dynasty
7. Scattergood and the housing of refugees in WWII
8. the Quaker who became bad, spent money, went around the world, etc. (forgot his name)
9. Quakers in Civil War

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