Contemporary Drama, Vol. II

Vol. 8, No. 2

This collection of five plays by Lauren Friesen, James Juhnke, Al Schnupp, Vern Tiessen and Diana Zimmerman, curated by Lauren Friesen, is a complement to Friesen's previous issue on Contemporary Drama by Mennonite Writers in Vol. VI, no. 1, January 15, 2014. All plays appear here by permission of the authors.

In this issue:

  • 0 read more CrossRoads


    by Al Schnupp


    Tobias, a playwright, thirty-seven years old

    Helen, wife of Tobias, thirty-three

    Demetri, son of Tobias and Helen, fifteen

    Melina, daughter of Tobias and Helen, thirteen

    (The family grows older throughout the play)


    Alpha, male actor who plays multiple roles

    Psi, male actor, who plays multiple roles

    Omega, female actor, who plays multiple roles

    (Alpha Psi Omega is the National Honorary Theatre Society)


    (ALPHA is Thespis, the Father of Drama. PSI is a Judge at the Theatre Festival of Dionysus. OMEGA is …

  • 0 read more Old Nettie and Little Bern

    Old Nettie and Little Bern

    by Vern Thiessen

    ACTOR 2: Do you remember?

    ACTOR 1: Do I remember?

    ACTOR 3: Do you remember a time – when there were no phones?

    ACTOR 1: No phones?

    ACTOR 2: No cars.

    ACTOR 1: No cars?

    ACTOR 3: No light bulbs?

    ACTOR 1: No light bulbs?

    ACTOR 2: When people called each other like this:

    They show:

    ACTOR 3: Hello!

    ACTOR 2: Hello!

    ACTOR 1: Hello!

    ACTOR 2: And got around the town like this:

    They show:

    ACTOR 3: Hello!

    ACTOR 2: Hello!

    ACTOR 1: Hello!

    ACTOR 2: And at night…

    ACTOR 3: When it was dark…

    ACTOR 2: So dark, …

  • 0 read more Paradise Café

    Paradise Café

    by Diana Zimmerman

    The Place

    Paradise is a beach town in Costa Rica. The country is not specifically mentioned, but the Spanish is Costa Rican Spanish.
    The Paradise Café, owned and run by an American couple, caters to tourists, serving American breakfasts, fruit beverages and coffee. It has become a gathering place where Paradise’s residents congregate.

    The Time

    In the outside world, the year is 1999 but in Paradise technology is still being born. Paradise has electricity and running water, but very few telephones (due to the lack of infrastructure) and no cell service. There is internet access available in cities, but none …
  • 0 read more Living Creatively

    Living Creatively

    by James C. Juhnke

    (The Setting is the home office of Dr. E. G. Kaufman, with desk, swivel chair, file cabinet, bookcase, and hall tree. Books, files, and papers are strewn everywhere. Telephone and typewriter on the desk.

    (The telephone rings four or five times. Kaufman comes in hurriedly, wearing hat and sweater. He answers the telephone, reaching across to put his hat on the rack.]

    Hello! . . . Yes, this is Grandpa. . . . No I haven't forgotten. Four o'clock. (Looks at wrist watch.) Two hours from now. Do you have a tape recorder or do you want to use mine? …

  • 0 read more The Blowing and the Bending, 1975

    The Blowing and the Bending, 1975

    by James C. Juhnke

    My father taught me drama performance as a means of celebrating family and community history. In 1949 Dad was the teacher of the rural one-room Pleasant Ridge Grade School in southern McPherson County, Kansas. I was eleven years old, the only pupil in fifth grade. For the Christmas PTA program that year, Dad wrote and produced a ten-scene drama, “From Katazufka to Kansas.” It was the story of the migration of our Mennonite people from Volhynia to Kansas in 1874, seventy-five years earlier. Dad assigned pupils to play the roles of their ancestors. The final scene featured a Christmas crèche …

  • 0 read more This Magic Moment

    This Magic Moment

    by Lauren Friesen

    [Elsa and Julia are in sixth grade, coming home from school. Resting under the large oak tree in their front yard. Both have backpacks.]

    Elsa: I’m so hungry…starved…

    Julia: I’ve got half a sandwich—

    Elsa: Let me have it!

    Julia: I’ll trade you.

    Elsa: For what?

    Julia: What do you have?

    Julia: The ruby ring.

    Elsa: Not that. My toy car collection?

    Julia: No, no, don’t want that.

    Elsa: My baseball pictures?

    Julia: You have baseball pictures?

    Elsa: Shhhh. I know, I know, I’m a girl—

    Julia: You are going to get jammed about that.

    Elsa: It’s a secret, so …