Story: In 1938, 8-year-old Berry Gordy Jr. witnessed the thrill his parents experienced when American boxer Joe Louis defeated German fighter Max Schmeling in a heavyweight bout. Gordy Jr. was determined to bring happiness to others in a way much like he saw in his parents’ faces at news of that epic boxing event.
Story: An original, found-text performance created entirely from postings on the website Craigslist, which runs posts varying from classified ads for buying or selling merchandise to lonely hearts entreaties and sometimes graphic sexual notes.
Story: It’s another deadly dull day for Angela and Stu. The couple, who’ve been married for some 20 years, aren’t nearly as passionate as they were when they met in high school, at least not Angela. She’s grown weary of their threadbare existence and the livelihood that depends on their moribund convenience store.
Story: Five months after the outbreak of World War I, a number of British, French and German troops positioned in trenches alongside “no man’s land” in Europe stopped their fighting for a brief but poignant period on Christmas Eve, 1914. Tentative and leery at first, they slowly emerged from their rat-infested trenches to extend holiday greetings to each other. They sang songs, exchanged simple gifts and even participated in an impromptu soccer game on the frozen terrain.
Elizabeth Marie DiLoreto & Jordan Keith Strope
Story: The place is England and the time is the 1930s, between the two world wars of the 20th century. Richard Hannay is an unadventurous British chap, much taken to pondering his dull life but not inclined to do much to alter it. Then, one night while attending a performance by “Mr. Memory” at the London Palladium, he is approached by a beautiful but mysterious young woman who convinces him to escort her back to his home.
Story: Benjamin Murphy is a square peg in a round hole. He is not compelled to conform to the daily routine at the “Continental branch of Consolidated Shirt Makers,” where his colleagues dress alike and act alike in unison. This confounds the manager, Mr. Gum, who is further perplexed when Murphy refers to some unknown “stairs to the roof” that Murphy climbs to alleviate the boredom.
Story: Figaro, valet to Count Almaviva of Seville, is set to marry Susanna, maid to Countess Rosina Almaviva. The womanizing Count, determined to have Susanna, threatens to invoke the “feudal right of the manor,” by which he may take the place of his valet on the latter’s wedding night. This doesn’t set well with either Figaro or Susanna, who make plans to thwart the Count’s efforts.
Story: The times are tough in County Kildare, Ireland, and business hasn’t been good at the convenience store run by married couple Aiden and Dee. In fact, they’ve been forced to rent out their house and move their family of four into the back of their small store to make ends meet.
Story: Oh, the pressure. As the parents of a 4-year-old, Greg and Alexandra are steeped in stress. That’s because they are New York City yuppies who are convinced that they must spend thousands of dollars to get Jake into one of Manhattan’s prestigious academies for kindergarten students.
Story: Polly and Walter’s living room sofa doubles as a bed in their tiny and cramped New York City loft apartment. Space is at a premium because Walter, a seldom-employed actor whose glory days are behind him, has filled their dwelling with costumes from his many performances through the years as well as outfits he’s purchased along the way.
Story: Ariel, mermaid and youngest daughter of Triton, king of the sea, yearns to learn more about the humans above water who fascinate her so much. Her aspirations are different than those of her six mersisters, who are content frolicking in the ocean.
Story: Frances “Baby” Houseman is spending three weeks following her high school graduation in 1963 with her sister and parents at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. It’s her physician father’s first vacation in quite a while, and it’s Baby’s time to relax as well before heading off to college at Mount Holyoke, where she plans to get an education in economics before joining the Peace Corps and helping change the world.
Story: Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, arrives in Messina following success in battle, accompanied by several of his men, including Benedick, Claudio and Don Pedro’s illegitimate brother, Don John. Don Pedro is invited to spend a month at the home of Leonato, whose daughter Hero is in love with Claudio.
Story: Theseus, Duke of Athens, prepares for his wedding to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. He is approached in his court by a nobleman named Egeus, who complains that his daughter, Hermia, prefers to marry a young man named Lysander rather than Demetrius, the suitor selected by her father.
Story: Otto Frank, a German-Jewish businessman, moves his family to Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1933 following Adolf Hitler’s ascendance to power in Germany. Otto, his wife Edith and daughters Margot and Anne remain there after the Nazis take control of most of Europe.
Story: Eteocles and Polyneices, sons of the late King Oedipus of Thebes, each dies in battle on opposite sides of the civil war fought in Thebes. Their uncle Creon, now ruler of Thebes, declares that Eteocles shall be honored as a patriot and given a proper burial, but that Polyneices’ body will be left in the streets to be preyed upon by carrion birds and animals.
Story: Ten people arrive at a mansion on Soldier Island off the coast of Devon, England. Two of them are the newly hired domestic help of a mysterious “Mr. Owen,” who instructs them to prepare his home for a number of guests who are to arrive on the same day.
Story: At a carnival shooting gallery, the proprietor encourages a motley group of misfits to purchase guns and take aim on their frustrations by assassinating an American president. Historical eras overlap as disgruntled actor John Wilkes Booth commences the violence with the murder of President Abraham Lincoln to avenge the South’s loss in the Civil War.
Story: Bo lives a quiet but adventurous life with her parents in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in New Mexico. The “Land of Enchantment,” however, can be challenging for the home-schooled Bo, who yearns for amenities such as indoor plumbing and modern communication devices.
Story: Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were two kids chafing to escape the cross-hairs of the Great Depression. Clyde’s father was an itinerant farmer, always beholden to someone else for the meager wages that fed his wife and two sons, while Bonnie was raised by her God-fearing widowed mother to work hard and respect the system.
Story: Six comic vignettes comprise two acts of humor. In Sure Thing, a man meets a woman in a coffee shop, where their dialogue is altered continually until they finally ‘click’ into a mutual attraction. Words, Words, Words focuses on a trio of chimpanzees placed before typewriters by a research scientist who is monitoring whether, given enough time, they can write Hamlet.
Story: An article buried in the back pages of the New York Times on July 3, 1981 tells about an unknown disease that has taken the lives of several men in the New York City area who share the common trait of homosexuality. A physician named Dr. Emma Brookner has treated a number of them and believes that they may represent the tip of the iceberg of a horrible epidemic.
Story: Vagabond preacher Purlie Victorious Judson has returned home to rural Georgia. He has his heart set on buying Big Bethel, the local church, with money that he believes rightfully belongs to him. Trouble is, those funds are in the tight-fisted hands of bigoted plantation owner Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee, who is none too eager to let go.
Story: Francis “Confidential” Henshall is hungry for work, literally. The erstwhile skiffle musician can’t think of anything but food as he wanders the streets of Brighton, England in 1963. As fate would have it, he finds employment working for a two-bit gangster named Roscoe Crabbe, who was thought to be dead but apparently is not. Soon, Roscoe and Francis are strong-arming Charlie “The Duck” Clench, another small-time hood.