photo by Peter Cunningham

PLAYS BY KAREN SUNDE

Collection includes HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM, TRUTH TAKES A HOLIDAY, and IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA, Broadway Play Publishing, New York, 2001.

“[Sunde]tackles war and politics... explosive theatre many would swear couldn't have been created by a woman... distinctive, even unique, American drama... funny, thrilling, searing, moving scenes...”
--Contemporary Dramatists (St. James Press)

"How His Bride Came To Abraham indelibly etches itself upon viewers' souls.”
--(Israeli/​Palestinian story)

Truth Takes A Holiday: 1st 24 hours after Presidential sex scandal breaks.

In a Kingdom by the Sea: kidnapped Marine vs. Muslim world. Based on a true story.

Click here to order from Broadway Play Publishing


Scroll below for scene excerpts; See individual titles for more info.

Scenes from IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA:

HOGAN:
Sunrise on Beirut--golden wash, gleaming, pastels, astonishing. And Sunday. The boys are nested, having a last dream, an extra half hour. (Beat) I saw the grin. Like he was sharing a secret. Dark beard, dark blue shirt, blurred past the gate. His big truck, yellow, sitting alone in the lobby, looked silly. Then came the orange white flash, too loud to hear, glued skin to my cheekbones, wind... lifted the rooms, pulled out their air, set four stories down in one pile. Some boys woke with their ceiling in bed, and the floor above and its ceiling and the next, too strange to believe. They said God, oh God help me. Now I lay me down to sleep. The boys covered in ash, scattered, parts without arms, without heads, caught in trees, never woke, but were found by boys who never slept after. And the boys with head and arm hanging free, bodies crushed between slabs, dripping slow... red on gray ash, when they woke, those were the worst.
(page 119)

* * *

HOGAN:
So we two split, circle round behind the guys, both sides. Then, while this guy's shooting, you tap him on the shoulder and say--uh, what are you doing? Well, right off, he's got to think. He's thrown off guard. So first he thinks "what kind of asshole's gonna walk up, when I'm in the middle of shooting and ask me what I'm doing? He can see what I'm doing!" Well, but in order to answer he has got to think what is he doing, and as he thinks, the instant he does, you're on him. You say, look, my partner's over there talking to the guy you're shooting at, and we think it'd be a great idea if you both would just stop, say, five minutes from now. Just a sec, let me check (Mimes talking to radio)--How bout in five--Yeah. OK. Five it is. (Snaps his fingers, grins) See it's hard to argue with that. First, cause it's the last thing you expect, you know, when you're screwed up to shoot. The other guy is supposed to screw up and nail you back. But then, after a while, you get conditioned: When the guy rolls up in the blue and white jeep, you're gonna hafta stop your shooting. So pretty soon you don't even bother to start. And that's what's called Pavlov's strategy.
(pages 122-123)


Scene from TRUTH TAKES A HOLIDAY:

KAT:
(Beat) What if it's true, Russ?

RUSS:
What?

KAT:
What Laurinda says on the tape.

RUSS:
Good god, Kat, make sense! (Kat doesn't answer)

RUSS:
Do you think he's out of his mind?!

KAT:
No. (Beat) I think he's male. I think he's arrogant. And reckless. And sexually driven.

RUSS:
You think he's out of his mind.

KAT:
I think he can't keep it in his pants!

RUSS:
(Stares at her) Why are women so quick to believe the worst?

KAT:
(Shrugs) Experience.

RUSS:
Be serious a minute!

KAT:
I'm scared to be, Russ!

RUSS:
Just consider the source.

KAT:
All right. An over-stuffed, salivating groupie...

RUSS:
...who fantasizes.

KAT:
Yeah. That's where the mind goes. Instantly. At least a woman's does.

RUSS:
Careful, you'll lose your PC rating.

KAT:
I'm being honest. Fantasizing, I can imagine. And being so insecure she blubbers to friends about it, to make herself interesting. Of course, if you say that you're sexist.

RUSS:
But I am. Card-carrying.

KAT:
No, really. Because men always think women are fantasizing. Especially about them.

RUSS:
When you aren't?

KAT:
Of course we aren't. Fantasies are reserved for the big guns we can't handle.

RUSS:
Can I enter that statement in evidence, Kathleen?

KAT:
Whatever you want. But a fantasy can be intense--and scary.

RUSS:
This is experience talking?

KAT:
Not lately. But when eroticism grabbed me, at about 12, I developed a fantasy life that overlapped reality so far that when something real did occur with a boy, I couldn't tell if it actually happened. That's how intense my mind-life was.

RUSS:
"Mind-life."

KAT:
Ever had one?

RUSS:
Sure. But I think boys at that age are more... object focused, you know?

KAT:
This boy was not on the page. But he did make a few right moves.

RUSS:
But our Laurinda is past adolescence.

KAT:
Barely. And she's very likely frustrated. And certainly spoiled.

RUSS:
And psychologically... I hate to say... challenged?

KAT:
Lord help us. Tell me he couldn't!

RUSS:
I'd love to! (Silence) She could do us in, Kat. The whole mountain--could come tumbling down.

KAT:
I know.
(pages 63-65)


Scenes from HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM:

ABE:
...I'm out here forty days at a time, and every minute of every hour of those forty, I keep a vision of my death, moving with me, clear. I have to. Because I'll never see my waiting death... before it comes. And I have to stay alive. So my eyes are dry, on constant alert, sweeping, with my head on my taut neck. "Don't blink. Don't let down. Catch anything that moves." Could you do that? On a warm summer night... it's impossible. Spread out for ambush, lying in the grass, impossible. It gets so clear, so soft. The star fires so close overhead. How can I keep death alive inside me?
(page 25)

* * *

SABRA:
Home. Yes. (Beat) What's it like.

ABE:
I... What?

SABRA:
Your home.

ABE:
My home.

SABRA:
Yes. You have one?

ABE:
Of course!

SABRA:
What's it like.

ABE:
It's... What do you mean?

SABRA:
A house. A farm?

ABE:
Just a house. A...

SABRA:
On a hill?

ABE:
Well... Yes, a hill.

SABRA:
Is there a tree?

ABE:
What are you after?

SABRA:
It's old, isn't it.

ABE:
(Amused) I don't understand.

SABRA:
(Asking him to imagine himself there) You're at home. You see your mother. Your father. A rug by the door. A picture of your sister and you--but younger.

ABE:
(Seeing his home) Yes...

SABRA:
Are you afraid?

ABE:
At home? No.

SABRA:
No one is?

ABE:
My gramma.

SABRA:
She's afraid?

ABE:
My mother was born in a camp... in Germany.

SABRA:
A camp? With no sewer.

ABE:
No, I think... I think they had a sewer.

SABRA:
She was afraid.

ABE:
Yes.

SABRA:
So then, in the camp with her baby--your gramma had no home.

ABE:
No, then she didn't. And later...

SABRA:
Did someone take it? Did she fight?

ABE:
It wasn't exactly...

SABRA:
You have to fight. It's your home.

ABE:
Yes.

SABRA:
If they come in the night. Where it's safe. Where your mother holds you. Where you go to sleep.

ABE:
(Alarmed) Sabra. What is it? What happened.
(26-27)

* * *

ABE:
So kill me! (Pause) You can't.

SABRA:
Yes I can. I kept thinking of ways.

ABE:
Does your God enjoy killing?!

SABRA:
Does yours?

ABE:
(Almost laughing) Oh, you'll be welcome in Jerusalem. Center of the world, city of God, the first God ever to say "you must not kill." Where everyone says they come to worship, but what they do there is hate. The city stinks of blood. (Pause) They'll tell you there's another Jerusalem. A pure one, hanging above the first one in the sky. It's a lie. There's only one. And it is brilliant, breathtaking. So why can't its golden light burn off its poison!
(page 40)


America's first heroine outfoxes all the guys until they thank her. A finalist at Sundance.
NEW: Televangelist's wife teams with hooker to sell sperm. Bill Boyle Coverage: "very talented writer... exceptional"
“One of the most powerful antiwar plays ever penned.”
--Plays International, London
U.S. Marine abduction, "brutal realism, human/ terrorism, struggle both sides face"
Lost treasure, sea adventure, intense love triangle. "I love it!" Consultant to James Cameron.
Plays and trilogy collections. Many FREE downloads:
Washington ignites Continental Army.
3 plays: Achilles, Kabuki Macbeth, Kabuki King Richard
Haiti: A Dream (WNYC, NPR) , The Sound of Sand, How His Bride Came to Abraham
Stand-up comic meets Joan of Arc - 'banned in Philadelphia"
Three plays:Please God No Wedding Or Shooting At The End!, Anton Himself, Masha, Too
Three plays :Tracking Blood White, Native Land, Sweet Land of Fire.
three plays ripped from headlines
"delicious... delightfully grand." TIME OUT Outer Critics Circle, VOICE CHOICE
"Americana with the spirit of a musical!" - at Edinburgh Festival
"haiku-like clarity…hypnotically beautiful, emotionally dizzying." —Chicago Sun-Times
“Unforgettable... You wish it would stop, but know you’d feel robbed if it did.” NEW YORK TIMES E-book available Free
"primal emotions... dazzling... beautifully distilled script" Chicago Sun-Times
“...fine Elizabethan juggle of intrigue, betrayal, passion... seethes sexuality... riveting.”
--VARIETY