Shakespeare's DARK LADY
VARIETY Los Angeles
"...a fine Elizabethan juggle of court intrigue, betrayal, passion, and the poetics of power. Relationship between Will and the dark, passionate, poetic Emilia seethes sexuality...literate without being precious. Dialog is studded with stunning repartee. Minor characters are surprisingly well delineated... complexly drawn...the plot holds together and the play is rivetting."
HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM
(screenplay & play)
“Sunde’s timely, gripping, and richly magical play… this modern day Romeo and Juliet…an engrossing look at how war can prematurely turn children into adults… emotional pull of her drama…will haunt audiences well after the end of the play… forces beyond man might be at work.” American Theater Web.com
“A masterpiece…no soft edges…goes straight to the heart of the conflict… outstanding writing, sound, direction, and acting–all the elements that make great theatre"
“The immediacy can't help but move us—the first of many shattering moments in this triumphant production of Sunde's still-timely play. ...unforgettably explosive and emotional ...this dangerous and rapturous night together... See it for the perspective it can provide about our current situation; see it, too, because it is superbly affecting theatre.” Martin Denton NYTheatre.com
“…one of the timeliest productions to make an appearance on the New York stage…quietly yet artfully making an anti-war protest with a political boldness that rivals that of the Dixie Chicks. …a play that may have the power to heal.” OOBR.com
“Critic’s Pick of the Week” Show Business Weekly.com
"Sunde does not take sides in the conflict, and the dialogue has a crisp, biting edge... gripping drama... timely romantic drama ... volatile battle zone ... vivid portraits of offstage characters and action ... cinematic thrust of the pieces summons the inspiration for a dandy film. " VARIETY
“...its events seem ripped right out of today’s headlines. …pacifist tragedy …a fateful night that profoundly changes them – and us. It’s incisive dialogue, riveting action, and searing audience impact... The play would likewise make a first-rate film” Plays International, London
"HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM creates an extraordinary modern pacifist myth in which a wounded male Israeli soldier and a female Palestinian terrorist experience each other's passionate hunger for their homes and rights...it indelibly etches itself upon viewers' souls." CONTEMPORARY DRAMATISTS, London
(1m, 1w, 1 set)
THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE
A 3-Ring circus on a dime: Jackie Cochran, out of barefoot "sawdust row" becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier, and with her buddies Amelia Earhart, Chuck Yeager, Dwight Eisenhower, LBJ, the WASP and Mercury 13, captures more flight records than any human.
**published 2005, www.dramaticpublishing.com
"A thrilling play...amazing…a marvel…unfolds like a rocket…a wonder it's not in a Broadway theatre" NYTheatre.com
"Kaleidoscopic…fascinating true story...streaks forward. … creative theatrical thread running through… clearly displays that Sunde is more than a mere chronicler ... believable and moving" TalkingBroadway.com
"Spunky lady's tale makes fast takeoff…Sunde has done a wonderful job making her maverick character come to life." New Jersey Star-Ledger
"This is an amazing story … non-stop, near improvisatory … moving at an appropriately Cochran-like pace" Montclair Times
"Gripping…fascinating…riveting script makes this a 'not to be missed' dramatic experience." Irvington Herald
"Spitfire…wildcat '…Call Me Madam meets A League of Their Own'... the never-ending appeal of won't-take-not-for-an-answer broads… sweeping across the stage." American Theater Web
"Imaginatively constructed…unwavering desire to soar, boistrous, daring…four supporting actors play a whole nation!" BACKSTAGE
"Funny and thrilling… Simultaneous action and jump cuts...just when we need them but not for a second longer … directors and casts will find the play foolproof. We'll be seeing lots of mountings of this one."
Plays International, London
ANTON HIMSELF First & Last
A Solo Play in which...
The 2nd most produced playwright in the world
finds you in his study
and confides in you
Your First act happens October 18, 1896, the day after Chekhov’s disastrous opening of The Seagull.
Your Last act happens January 16, 1904, the day before Chekhov’s triumphant & final opening - of The Cherry Orchard.
Both days are challenging in the extreme, but essential to him, and for us.
Anton, Himself (First) was commissioned and produced by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, published in Moscow art theatre, a monograph for ATL’s Russian Classics in Context Festival
Then it was exported by Artistic Director Oleg Yefremov to his Moscow Art Theatre, and to the Yalta Festival in Russia.
Next it was performed at Peoples Light & Theatre Company, Malvern PA, together with Masha, Too, which PLT had commissioned to accompany it, and then at the Chekhov Now Festival in New York, and the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
Anton, Himself (Last) was commissioned by and produced at Michigan State University, Allendale to accompany Anton, Himself (First).
What Else They Say about Anton:
“Sunde opens the door for us upon that fascinating, tangled world of the writer in his most intimate moments of creating new work. ...what adds great richness to the underlying comedy is...that here (he) will turn his uncertain career around.”
Roger Ellis, ed, Scenes and Monologs From The Best New Plays, Meriwether Publishing.
“An evening in the mind of...Chekhov. ...beautifully sublime portrayal of a man”
CFRO 102.7 FM Vancouver
“You don't have to like Chekhov to love Anton, Himself ...Sunde credibly takes us to 1896... A compelling performance... The audience loved this production.”
The Fringe Review, Vancouver
“Torn between his passion and his pragmatism...an intensely personal side of the author is revealed…a real treat.”
Terminal City, Vancouver
“With a voice both poetic and theatrical… (Sunde’s is) a distinctive, even unique, contemporary American drama, more akin to European than to other American plays. …she chooses personal canvases upon which to paint her funny, thrilling, searing, moving scenes. …
“While viewers need know nothing about Chekhov to enjoy (Anton, Himself), Sunde interlards the action with jokes...intriguing to knowledgeable viewers.
“In inquiring about our past, Sunde remarks upon our future. That she does so with a sure histrionic sense is a guarantee that her work will endure in the American theatre after our more commercial fare has proven ephemeral.”
Contemporary Dramatists, London
There are many plays and screenplays - (and no way to search- sorry!). I'll be working to make them easier to find, but for now...click Complete Plays below for a brief description of each. For full page info, click play-name links in the column at the right.
IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA
(screenplay & play. Winner of Gold Prize, Hollywood Screenplay Contest)
WHAT STUDENTS AT STANFORD (Sociology of Terrorism) say about… IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA
"I understand better than I ever have before" DB
"extremely time pertinent, both Lebanon and Iraq are 'kingdoms by the sea' --powerful" RC
“Theories must be grounded in the brutal realism of terrorist acts… That is, we must not only talk about terrorism in the language of numbers, but in the language of emotions as well. In In A Kingdom By the Sea, we are treated to a in-depth look at how war and terrorism affect one soldier. …Hogan, a Marine, of whom the audience could say, “Hey, I know him!” …is the cocky, brash American we love…and his character helped the audience relate to the situations going on in Lebanon. I feel I understand the emotions surrounding terrorist acts and their victims better than I ever have before.” --David Baron
“IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA relates to terrorism in the most poignant way by representing the struggle both sides face to determine what is right and what is wrong. … The way Sunde juxtapositions these characters causes the audience to ponder who is in the right. …the human side of terrorism…a valiant commentary magnifying the intense cultural differences and barriers in the way of resolving cross-cultural conflicts. -Anna Strohl
“…provocative…suspenseful…volatile the climate of confusion, double-crossing, and secrecy that characterize terrorist activity and the strategies of network groups working next to each other… IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA exposed the fragile and tenuous relationships between opposition groups, who balance a distant respect for each other’s missions with tit-for-tat strategy.” --Tori Babin
IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA is extremely time pertinent today, as the United States is besieged by the incessant insurgency in Iraq. …(incidentally, both Lebanon and Iraq are “kingdoms by the sea”). The play powerfully conveys Sunde’s central message that war is far from what it is idealistically believed or claimed to be… To my enormous surprise, I found [a reading of KINGDOM] powerful in a unique way. --Ronald Chan
IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA is a haunting and multifaceted view of the consequences of occupation, extremism and idealism through the eyes of the both the perpetrators and victims of terrorism. …Sunde’s power of characterization emerges…subtly heart-wrenching, telling a story of individual lives and emotions, as well as their place in a stark environment of conflict and violence. …This play questions the nature of heroism, the politics of peacekeeping and the values which have shaped both the societies that have condemned terrorists and those that have created them. -- Yuanxin Zhou
in PLAYS BY KAREN SUNDE www.broadwayplaypubl.com/sunde.htm
3 VILLAGER AWARDS
Caught 'tween 2 wars. Ben Franklin’s last night where he longed to stay – the salon of Madame Helvetius - conjures war with his bastard son.
Ten thousand Parisians have stayed three days and nights in the streets, waiting to witness the start of a new age of flight. If you were to walk in unseen on these friends they would all be speaking out of turn – the magnificent widow, the brilliant “philosophes” who somewhat scandalously live with her, the giant Turgot, ousted finance minister to Louis XVI. If you stay through the first drink you’d know how France adores Franklin like a rock star – for his discoveries, his wit, his not-yet country fighting for a dream that will sweep away their world – Liberty.
They love him dearly and know him intimately, but there is ONE STORY Franklin cannot share. It is that story, of the man and his son, that unfolds now, among friends who tried to share lives, loves and ambitions, bending all to serve their nation, and in the lap of the woman he will give everything not to leave – Madame Helvetius.
THE SECRET SHIP
THE SECRET SHIP
Action Adventure & Romance
Photo by Paul Mila
Vivacious RAYE makes a deal with the devil when gorgeous billionaire,
LARS, with MIKE, a sexy pirate she hates, leads her search for a sacred
wreck she must protect from these powerful men she desires.
On Lars' yacht with a superstitious Greek family crew, they find erotic
rivalry, thrilling discovery, storm, fire, betrayal and disaster at sea before
the surviving two sail for the sunset.
With "elements" of lost treasure, sea adventure and intense romance
combined in one small yacht THE SECRET SHIP's entertainment "bang for
the buck" is phenomenal - revenue ratio, when budget is a fraction of
comparables like The Perfect Storm, The Da Vinci Code and Poseidon, is
likely to be colossal:
• Thriller with euphoric uplift. Characters sexy, smart. Fight is for civilization.
• Undersea scenes inside dive capsule; actors need not dive
"I love it, I love it, I love it!" David Gallo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst. (Consultant to James Cameron)
"Good characters, good story, good suspense. I really enjoyed Secret Ship. " Adam Leipzig, President
National Geographic Feature Films
"Read SECRET SHIP all in one go; what a wonderful, finely crafted script! I love how Raye resolves her genius
by explaining that she is simply a two year old. It's perfect." Victoria Kaharl, WATER BABY
(Alvin - submersible that found Titanic)
"SECRET SHIP was sooo wonderful. It is so full of everything. It is a glorious and beautifully written story!"
Danielle Gaydos, Development, Moving Pictures
This breathlessly romantic true story begins backstage and winds through Anton Chekhov's life in the theatre. We meet the bewitching Lika, whom he will not take and cannot let go, and his valiant sister Masha, who gives up her happiness for his peace. We are caught up in Chekhov's stormy partnership with the irrepressible Stanislavski; his passionate star-crossed marriage to the brilliant actress Olga Knipper; the final clash over his magnificent Cherry Orchard; and Chekhov's tragic death.
With infectious laughter and tears, this ensemble makes the story unfold, giving birth to the Moscow Art Theatre and their own souls, and enchanting any audience.
"...remarkable... (Sunde) juxtaposes humor and suspense and grief and elation, leaving us not the tiniest fraction of a moment to stop feeling intensely..." (Plays International)
"...pure and delicious... delightfully grand." (Time Out)
CHICKS GOTTA SWIM
Action / Adventure true story (based on Deborah Sampson)
Coming of age - low budget guerrilla action.
To find her M.I.A. love, Deb breaks the law. passing as a man, and joins the Continental Army, proves a crack shot, but has to fight off eager females who hit on this pretty “boy”. Deb’s capers are wild, but when she’s shot in a midnight raid, she begs to be left to die so as not to be found female by the maverick Sergeant she’s fallen for. Keeping her thigh wound secret, Deb survives, leads a daring attack, winds up a decorated hero. Only when she’s near death from fever does a shocked physician uncover her breasts, and find this young hero a woman…at war with her heart.
Presents “the making of a hero least likely,” when George Washington, in the final months of 1776, leads the bedraggled Continental Army. They are chased out of New York, down New Jersey, vomited half-naked on the Pennsylvania bank of the Delaware, then finally turn, charge...and become America. A full-length play first performed in New York, 1978.
“(George Washington) cut a dubious figure. He fell into greatness as if it were a chasm and he has suddenly found a parachute. This making of the hero least likely, Miss Sunde has captured in her play. She has also caught the mood of the revolution... She also exposes the remarkable image of a democracy fighting with men who were bound by nothing... ...a nervous amateur ... becomes the legendary figure...” Clive Barnes NEW YORK POST
“With a voice both poetic and theatrical, Karen Sunde’s plays dramatize historical epochs in epic scope, making hers a distinctive, even unique, contemporary American drama, more akin to European than to other American plays. She tackles topics of war and politics to produce usually presentational, often explosive theatre which many would swear could not have been created by a woman. Flesh and blood passions...People achieving greatly, now and then crippled by arrogance and intolerance, suffering mightily, dazzled by possibilities, devastated by disappointments yet continuing and surviving are what she dramatizes No matter how sweeping the setting and cast, she chooses personal canvases upon which to paint her funny, thrilling, searing, moving scenes, which probe the stuff of which our heroes - and by extension we ourselves - are made. In inquiring about our past, Sunde remarks upon our future. That she does so with a sure histrionic sense is a guarantee that her work will endure in the American theatre after our more commercial fare has proven ephemeral.”
Excerpt from "SUNDE" entry pp 643-45; CONTEMPORARY DRAMATISTS