Kabuki-West

Kabuki-West

Karen Sunde

Karen Sunde

Kabuki plays “dazzling” “haiku-like” Chicago Sun-Times “best of two worlds, fascinating” Oakland Tribune “resounds with Kabuki’s passion, fascination...in Sunde's adaptation, Zen philosophy is engrained into story, not imposed” L.A.Daily News “Essence of passion. Sunde's play compresses Homeric epic, is lucid and direct, makes you see and hear with awakened eyes and ears." Philadelphia InquirerKabuki versions of classic stories in which – ghostly spinners of fate, with KABUKI MACBETH’s severed heads, hanging sword and resounding temple bell recount humans metamorphosing to demons, while KABUKI RICHARD III presents him as Shiva, the god dancing creation and destruction, and exposes a hidden family drama to make the Borgias blush, and ACHILLES’ war-prize concubine relates his rage, his sea goddess mother enchants, he dances his fight with a corpse-choked river, his race before mangling great Hector of Troy, to finally find peace in his enemy's embrace.These plays were originally created for professional American actors working in a Japanese tradition, directed by Shozo Sato, a master of Zen arts awarded the “Order of the Sacred Treasure” by the Emperor of Japan. Since then, other college, high school, even grade school students have taken exuberant delight (with their audiences) in creating their own productions of Kabuki plays I’ve written. KABUKI OTHELLO and KABUKI LADY MACBETH, not included here, are available from www.dramaticpublishing.com
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Me & Joan (of Arc)

Me & Joan (of Arc)

Karen Sunde

Karen Sunde

Suicidal stand-up comic Lili meets Joan of Arc; and, playing her side-kick, makes war on "the Fathers of the Church" exploring sexuality, love, guilt, faith, and the place of women.Though almost Banned In Philadelphia, a Catholic priest cheered: “a very authentic interpretation of St. Joan of Arc…renders more clearly than [Shaw or Anouilh] her religious faith…relates Joan to modern feminism.ME & JOAN (formerly titled La Pucelle) was conceived and directed by Ken Marini at Cheltenham Center for the Arts. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he said: “Joan is a spiritual woman, but she has lost her physical self, and Lili is a very physical woman who has lost her spiritual self. They are like a single woman who has been divided, and it’s time to reunite the two selves…”“Joan projects magnificent power and grace, while Lili embodies contemporary sexual energy and charm. .. Despite the fact (the play) reaffirms both Lili's faith and ours, the locals went ballistic and vowed to close it. ...Sunde's take …nevertheless proves sympathetic toward St Joan and her spirituality” Tish Dace, PLAYS INTERNATIONAL“Crossing the paths of two outcast young women – one of great spirituality but no worldly experience, the other of abundant sexuality, but no faith … having them reach out across the centuries, bringing the assumptions of two vastly different times and cultures to their search … (is) intriguing. … Her (Lili’s) wry, cut-to-the-chase curiosity is meant to be funny, and it is. But what particularly impressed me was the sweet, unaffected nature of the exchange … in which we hear the authentic, unedited voices of these two interesting women as they seek to share a common search for integrity and purpose across a gaping cultural divide.” Clifford A. Ridley, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER “A holy backfire has occurred at Cheltenham Township on the fringe of Philadelphia, where a group of Roman Catholics freaked at a preview of La Pucelle, (ME & JOAN) …many more Catholics who never saw the show jumped on the pageant bandwagon…: some 200 zealots … descended on the township’s commissioners’ meeting and persuaded the commission to “request” that the center close the show. …(the Center) refused to shut the show, although the feckless faithful protested outside its scheduled closing. The theater’s own congregation grew by 30% on the controversy. And best of all, the commissioners finally did see the show… ‘and they loved it! The theater came out way ahead’”… Porter Anderson, VILLAGE VOICE, (New York)
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Radio Plays

Radio Plays

Karen Sunde

Karen Sunde

3 Radio Plays 3 Voodoo to Paradise: tropical night, mysterious wooden boat-load casting off for better future.The Sound of Sand: Blind boy’s mighty dangerous venture from sand-castle beach onto the sea.How His Bride Came To Abraham: Enemies trapped in no-man’s land make it paradise.An NPR, WNYC broadcast; a Bob Hope Award winner; a radio-adaptation of oft-produced, twice-published peace play.Radio opens a direct link to the audience’ imagination. Sound alone telling a story is instantly absorbed onto the mind’s creative canvas, and the resulting composition will be personal and intimate to a higher degree than that of any other medium. My first radio assignment was also the first play I ever wrote. Initiated and produced for the National Foundation For The Blind by the Iowa State University Radio Players, it won the Bob Hope Award. The Sound of Sand presents a blind boy’s mighty dangerous venture away from his sand-castle on the beach far out onto the sea on a raft. The second time I wrote for radio, WNYC’s Radio Stage asked me to adapt my stage play Haiti: a Dream and then produced and broadcast it on WHYY and NPR as well. Voodoo to Paradise began when I read a tiny New York Times clipping “wreckage of a wooden boat” on Florida’s coast and instantly “saw” its lost passengers. Founder of Full House Productions in New York, Phil Lee, prompted the radio adaptation and production of How His Bride Came To Abraham so that its battlefield parable of Mid-East peace could reach audiences anywhere. Set in South Lebanon, when a fleeing refugee encounters a soldier wounded by a roadside bomb, irresistible Palestinian and Israeli characters clash, then ignite a passion that heals. A sample of the audio is online at the film's website. The two stage plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing.
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America Finding Her Way

America Finding Her Way

Karen Sunde

Karen Sunde

Sweet Land of Fire: Rebellion. New York, 1970. the 24 hours before the “Weatherman house” on 11th street explodes.Native Land: Rejuvenation. The rebirth of a family to serve their nation by following their delinquent child’s dreams.Tracking Blood White: American magic: A dying red-neck town’s struggle with its Native American neighbors and the killer bear that haunts the mountain they shareSWEET LAND OF FIRE explores the question: what tips exceptional young people toward political violence? The play is an imagining of what could have gone on in this elegant New York townhouse during the 24 hours before it exploded – shaking the nation – on a solar eclipse day in March 1970. At that time, the anguish of our brightest youths – over wrongful war, race divisions, poverty, and greed in this country – led them to plant bombs, (the police found enough dynamite to blow up half a block) with which they ruined their lives in an attempt to alter what they found unacceptable for America. I wanted to know “why?” – because understanding them then may help us now.NATIVE LAND: Passionate, swift, funny rebirth of a midwest urban American family into the service of its crumbling nation by way of the mother's fierce trust. Each brilliant, stifled person in this family rips away generations of greed and betrayal to find that embracing their rebel child’s dreams will not only revive him, but rekindle them all.Kate, once charismatic sparkplug of Viet Nam protests, now a tamed neurologist studying dreams, which her publisher husband, Alan, and their children tolerate. But when wartime buddy Mike, now a prominent lawyer, resurfaces to ask Alan to run for Governor, his daughter Jen, 19, (eager to play politics), and son Jamy, 13, (who haunts an urban excavation, bringing home an unstable vagrant), both lobby Alan to run against Kate’s wishes...until Jamy runs away, falls in the excavation, and is comatose. The evolution of the family while Kate insists they must follow Jamy’s dreams, saves everyone.TRACKING BLOOD WHITE: Depressed south-west hunters, unemployed after drought and fire, take off from their raucous red-neck tavern to bring down a legendary killer bear that guards the timberline of their stripped “holy (to Indians) mountain.” Their skeptical women stay behind, one with a child terminally ill after being lost in the woods. They resent the Native Americans with whom they share the mountain, and who are faring better on the “Rez” (with a casino and a girl healer). The sick child’s mother defies the town, gets astonishing aid from theIndian girl healer while the hunters, attacked by the gigantic raging bear, race terrified back down the mountain, but find the Indian girl gathering herbs in a meadow, and take brutal revenge for all their humiliations. The horrible fall-out for all, and the guilty hunters’ ascent back to the mountain top to face their mystical nemesis, Blood White, bring a devastating and transcendent battle before peace returns to the People.
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