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One-Act Plays


A woman is preparing to entertain an old friend who has just been released from four months in jail for engaging in some sort of antimilitarist action. They reveal their inner feelings by speaking out loud the stage directions that would normally be used to guide the actors' interpretations of the part (“She laughs; He doesn't.”). As she begins to break the rules and say what she really feels, the meeting collapses and both are left trapped by their insurmountable loneliness. (1 woman, 1 man) – first produced at the Actors’ Theatre, St. Paul, 1987. Published in SLANT SIX, New Rivers Press & The Playwrights’ Center, MInneapolis, 1990.

Written as a companion piece to PIMP, THE GELDING is a play for three men: the father (Eban), his son (Jules) and Eban's mute shadow-self (Beethoven). Episodic and imagistic in style, the play is about Eban's struggle to make contact with Jules through the barriers of convention and frozen emotion. Based on the true story of a man who castrated his son in Texas in the early 1970s, the father's eventual castration of the son is an insane gesture of compassion and hope.  (3 men) – first produced At the Foot of the Mountain, MInneapolis, 1974.

LABIA WINGS is a mad, surrealistic romp into a world in which three old crones predict the end of an era, we witness the world's change-over  into a matriarchy, and the Three-Headed Goddess comes for a visit. Putting some old myths to rest she bursts others open like popped balloons. (6 women, 1 man) – first produced At the Foot of the Mountain, MInneapolis, as part of PREHISTORIC VISIONSan FranciscoR REVOLTING HAGS, 1979.

THE LAST FIRE is a surrealistic portrait of the world after a nuclear holocaust when the frightened opportunist, Babaganoose, seeks redemption by burning a witch and a faggot; and Karushka, the old hag, cries out for repentance from all.  (3 women, 3 men) – first produced by Theatre Limina, MInneapolis 2007.

LOVE SONG is a short and affectionate "song" or poem for two women. Their friendship is revealed in a prismlike series of images created through sudden and frequent transformations. They are seen as school chums, career women, mothers, daughters, teachers, students, lovers, amazon warriors, visionaries.  (2 women) – first produced At the Foot of the Mountain, MInneapolis, as part of PREHISTORIC VISIONS FOR REVOLTING HAGS, 1979

Mother Rat sits draped in a gray robe. The play consists of her musings in a one-sentence monologue as she thinks about the horrors that her species has perpetrated on other creatures of the earth and even on her own kind. She compares rats, unfavorably, with the race of men, the only other creatures who have committed such crimes and so maligned the earth which we all share. (1 woman) – first produced at The Playwrights’ Center, MInneapolis, 1988.

Based on a true story of a woman in Ohio who sold her daughter to a married man for $40,000 in the early 1970s, this play is about women selling out each other and themselves for the men in their lives. It is an imagistic excursion into the minds and feelings of three women: a mother (Jo), her daughter (Adrian), whom Jo sells in order to secure the attention of her lover, and the wife of the buyer (Ruth). A montage of scenes reveals each woman's fears, fantasies and needs. (3 women)  - first produced at the Academy Theater, Atlanta, 1973. Published in A CENTURY OF PLAYS BY AMERICAN WOMEN, Richards-Rosen Press, NY, 1979.

“An extraordinary play. PIMP is the sort of play one can imagine changing viewers’ lives profoundly…Myth and fact remain beautifully intertwined, interdependent. Martha Boesing is an important playwright, whose work deserves to reach a wide and sensitive audience.” – Bill Cutler, PEACHTREE NEWS, Atlanta, Ga.

Conceived originally as a radio play, but easily produced on stage, this 30 minute play is about Johanna, mother of five and a radical community leader, who retreats at mid-life into a desperate and lonely search for spiritual meaning by sitting for 10 days in the bathtub. There she fantasizes long conversations with the whales, whose songs are heard behind her musings. Her husband, Gerry, and her teen-age son, Matthew, meanwhile try to connect with her and each other in their abandonment. (1 woman, 2 men) – first produced by KSJN radio, MInneapolis, 1980.

SONG OF THE MAGPIE is an hour-long monologue focusing on the plight of the aged who live on the street. It follows the journey of an older homed woman who lives for a week as a homeless person, and then morphs into a street person speaking about what it’s like to actually be old, homeless, and living in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, portraying the dangers, hardships and unexpected humanity that is found there. (1 woman) – first produced by the Faithful Fools Street Ministry, San Francisco 2005.

“SONG OF THE MAGPIE is a masterpiece of homeless drama. It conveys both the individual's harsh experiences on the streets, along with the political injustices perpetuating homelessness. Most importantly, Boesing somehow reveals the inward fears and joys and the hidden, deep emotions that very few artists could render so well on stage”  --  San Francisco  STREET SPIRIT

TRESPASSO is a fantasy dealing with two women's struggle for power. Agatha has fallen off a ship and has been treading water for several hours; she now sees everything around her as an hallucination which she has created in order to survive.  Mick, a nomad,  thinks that everything and everyone she meets is setting up  a test that she must pass in order to survive. They discover that their friendship means more to them than their need to be in control.  Music by Paul Boesing. (3 women -- 2 actors and a singer). – first produced by Lileth Theater, San Francisco, 1977.

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