Linda Eisenstein: Plays, Music, & More

Thursday, May 08, 2008

THREE THE HARD WAY - in South Africa

I got an email yesterday from Dennis Cunningham, a Massachusetts actor currently living in South Africa. He will be playing the role of Albert, the father in my play Three the Hard Way, later this month.

The production will be at the Milnerton Playhouse in metropolitan Cape Town, from May 23-31.

"I'm having a ball with the role," he writes. "Wonderful play. Thanks for writing it. I'll let you know how we do."

I also heard from Karen Jeynes, a colleague from the International Centre for Women Playwrights, who lives in Cape Town and plans to see the production. So nice to have friendly eyes and ears around the globe!

I found the theatre's April newsletter on the web - here's an excerpt:

"Three the Hard Way is now in rehearsal with my hardworking cast learning the techniques of playing pool and craps. My suggestion that we have the photo shoot in a pool bar or casino was greeted with great enthusiasm: I just hope they don’t all become candidates for Gamblers Anonymous by the time the play goes on the boards in May."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I got a funny piece of mail a while ago: a Worker's Comp claim for somebody claiming to work for "Acme Temporary Services". I spent several telephone calls with the legal services company trying to explain that I was not an employer or the owner of a temp firm. I'm the playwright of a comic monologue about a fictitious temp company who mainly employs artists, misfits, and burnouts: ACME TEMPORARY SERVICES.

"Do you really think anybody would actually run a company with the motto 'Ack me if I care?'," I asked the customer service rep, who ended up in stitches. But even then, her supervisor had to call me back to grill me about my "employee", who apparently lives in San Diego. I'm guessing he must be an actor who read my monologue in a Heinemann anthology, or saw it somewhere.

Life is stranger than fiction...

Monday, November 12, 2007


In September I performed a slightly cut version of my monologue ACME TEMPORARY SERVICES at the annual Pandemonium benefit at Cleveland Public Theatre. It was a hell of a good time. I'm a playwright, not an actor, and I usually read my own work rather than doing a full performance, so memorizing the monologue was a stretch for me. You wouldn't believe all the "cheat" props I had to help me get through it -- "resume" page (with script on it), "application" form (with script), "Employee Manual" (with script pages) -- you get the idea.

But I barely used them, and it went really swell. Raymond Bobgan, the A.D., told me later that he'd heard many compliments about it, and more than one person told me it was their fave piece of the night.
I wore my "prop" eyeglasses, some ancient Harlequin-style glasses on a chain I inherited from my favorite aunt. Unbelievably, her prescription was so close to mine -- including the amount of astigmatism -- I can read through them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An Evening of LUV

Three lovely comedies -- Just in time for Valentine's Day
February 2-4, 2007 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Everaftering by Greg Edwards
Optional by Linda Eisenstein
In Paris You Will Find Many Baguettes but Only One True Love by Michael Lew

Directed by Lisa Siciliano

Benjamin Gregg
Remy Halliday
Bernadette Johnston-Peck
Arian Steiner

February 2 and 3, 2007 @ 8 pm
February 4, 2007 @ 2 pm

The Theatre at Acting Out
The Acting Out School of Performing Arts
23945 Mercantile Road Suite H,
Beachwood, OH 44122

$8 tickets at the door, $5 tickets if reserved in advance
For reservations email:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Traveling to the Asphalt Jungle

Getting itchy feet from too many weeks at home, so I decided to take a short cruise into Ontario in 2 weeks. The Asphalt Jungle Shorts Festival in downtown Kitchener is featuring two of my short plays and I decided to go see them.

My monologue BALANCING ACT, about a Libra, is being performed in a bar -- this will be its North American premiere. (Its first performance was in London, England by Short & Girlie Productions.)

Also, JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, about a bride-to-be waiting for her lesbian wedding, is being performed in the Kitchener City Hall.

I'm particularly thrilled about the latter. It should have a very different resonance in Ontario, where gay marriage has been legal for a year (see Toronto Pride brides in photo) than here in Ohio, which recently passed an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment (ick).

While I'm doing my theater swing through Ontario, I'll also get to see 3 other shows -- LONDON ASSURANCE at Stratford, and THE CRUCIBLE and THE MAGIC FIRE at the Shaw Festival. Both of these companies are among the best in North America, and it's great for them to be within driving distance. I'm crazy for Tadeusz Bradecki (THE CRUCIBLE), who is one of the best directors I've ever seen, and I've always wanted to see one of Lillian Groag's plays (THE MAGIC FIRE). And how often do you get to see a Dion Boucicault play?

HEART SMART at Pandemonium 06

Because Cleveland Public Theatre's Pandemonium! benefit's theme is "The Cure for What Ails You", and A.D. Raymond Bobgan invited me to contribute a piece, I decided to mount a production of my award-winning 10-minute play HEART SMART.

It's a seriocomic dust-up in a hospital ward between a cardiac patient's 50-something wife and 20-something mistress. I have two terrific actors for the roles, who are divinely matched: Jacqi Loewy (photo), whom I've wanted to work with for years, and Teresa McDonough, whom I'm just getting to know. Terrific chemistry between these worthy dames!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Too Quiet Here Lately

Mainly because of too much wacked-out stuff life has tossed my way in the past month, including a family hospitalization, lots of follow-up doctor visits and tests, and trying to get the big freakin' willow tree in my back yard removed after it CAUGHT ON FIRE where it's tangled up in the electrical lines of two competing power companies.

I've also been busting my hump trying to get a draft of my revised book ready for publication. It's called THE PLAYWRIGHT'S FIELD GUIDE: Insider Insights on Writing It, Fixing It, Getting It Staged. It has a bunch of cool cartoons by my friend, playwright Mike Sepesy (see above).

I wanted to get pre-publication copies to a university that had been using PRACTICAL PLAYWRITING (its former title) in its playwriting class, and that ate my brain for way too long.


That's the name of the one-minute play festival in Sarasota, Florida being organized by Jeff Kin at the Eclectic Theatre Company.

It's a fundraising benefit to support The Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, in honor of the producer's mother, a breast cancer survivor. I think it's a great idea.

My play MRS. JONES CELEBRATES VALENTINE'S DAY is in the "11 o'clock spot" -- the penultimate play of the evening. The show runs from Sept. 14-17 at Sarasota's Backlot Theatre Complex.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words - DAGNABBIT!

I had my first "getting to know you" phone call this week with the young director who will be staging my play THREE THE HARD WAY at East Tennessee State University this fall. She's a student, and very excited to be working on the play.

We had more words than usual about the set design -- because she is working with a student designer, for whom this is the first set. It was a relief to her that we were on the same page -- very spare set, non-realistic -- rather than a stage full of literal furniture. She was particularly relieved to know I definitely agreed there shouldn't be a real pool table, even though it says so in my author notes. I told her that the only production I know of where they put a real table on stage, it was problematic -- the audience kept wondering whether Albert could make the shots, when his near-Zen artistry with the cue should seem unbearably natural. And anyway, the audience's attention should be on the relationships, not the shot-making.

"But there's a real pool table in the picture on the cover of the script," she said. Cripes! I'd forgotten that! I told her that the photo isn't from the actual
Dobama production, which didn't use a real pool table, but from the pre-production publicity shots taken at our Cleveland Heights Jillian's -- the billiard hall where Mark Maryo, a nationally ranked pro, gave our actors several crucial lessons on stance and cue handling.

As our production consultant, Mark also choreographed the pool practice in Scene 1 -- and because he did, it was the most convincing pool game in any production I've seen. There were times where you could have sworn you saw the balls move, even though there were none!

I'm glad we got that straightened out. I wonder how many other directors and/or designers have sweat over the decision of pool table/no pool table because of that picture...