The over-achieving daughter, Stevie, returns home and falls through the ice. Her PhD has stalled as she witnesses its subject, the Cryosphere, disappear due to our warming climate. Coming home to the suburbs of Washington DC seeking a respite, she finds instead her mother and younger sister frozen in their own isolation. Overwhelmed by her sense of impotence to change anything globally Stevie's attempts to impact her world locally seem equally unmanageable - until actions are taken - a kiss, a swim, a gun-shot - a connection.
Reading at Capital Stage, Sacramento, CA
Reading at the Playwright's Center, Minneapolis, MN
Finalist for O'Neill Festival
Developed at Soho Rep, Writer/Director Lab
After Warren proposes to Josie, she decides she must make one last attempt to find her long-lost father before she walks down the aisle. What she finds instead is a dangerous, seductive world of secrets and magic from which she may not want to escape. Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest is a lyrical, haunting, and surprisingly funny fairy tale about children and parents, forgetting and remembering, and the power of a good story to capture us or set us free.
"Playwright Kristen Palmer crafts a contemporary fairytale that feels timeless. She gives us a classic hero’s journey and a variation on princess tales while subtly subverting and exploring classic tropes of the genre. Evil queens, magic spells, true love quests: Palmer touches on all these without patting herself on the back or spelling things out for the audience. She gives Once Upon A Bride... a dream-like feeling that weaves its own lyrical spell." Amanda LaPergola, Theatre is Easy.
World Premiere production by FLUX Theater Ensemble, NYC
Production by Acadiana Repertory Theatre, Lafayette, LA
Reading at University of Tulsa, Women's Work Prize, Tulsa, OK
Reading at Hunter College, NYC
Winner of the Zarkower Prize for Best New Play, Hunter College
Finalist for PlayPenn, Bay Area Playwright's Festival and the Leah Ryan Prize
Semi-Finalist for O'Neill Playwrights' Festival and the Princess Grace Award
D’lady returns home after years of wandering and expects everyone to greet her with open arms, instead her arrival is met with closed doors and accusations and she must figure out where she fits in the new landscape.
"Hometown is a metaphor for the relationships that have made us who we are. Palmer's exploration of her characters' reasons for clinging to one another is like a treasure map, giving up one clue at a time and concealing the reward till near the end. This map is well worth following, for it illuminates the mysteries of ordinary life and our hopes for happiness." Kat Chamberlain, ITN Review
World Premiere Production, MadCap Theater, Washington DC
Production, Overlap Theater, NYC
Production, Four of Us at Theater of NOTE, LA
For Cara and Andrew it is the end of summer, the end of college, and the beginning of everything else but first they must say goodbye.
"It's the oldest story in the world—boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl—but it feels new again every time it happens to you. And as an audience member at Kristen Palmer's play Departures, you feel like it's happening to you all over again, because director Kyle Ancowitz's visceral production puts the audience in such intimate contact with the stage that you're (literally) trapped in the bedroom with a couple as they work out their relationship. The production makes physical the play's emotional subtext, its structural metaphors, in rich and powerful ways." - Loren Noveck, nytheater.com
"These two may speak less poetically than those star-crossed lovers, but there's something more immediate in their contemporarily beautiful words. By staying simple and true, with a fine cast and focused direction, Departures is a quiet marvel on its own; not meant to be compared with Shakespeare, but of fine caliber all the same." Aaron Riccio, Theater Talk's New Theater Corps
World Premiere, Blue Coyote Theater, NYC
Full script at New Play Exchange.
The Heart In Your Chest
available for World Premiere. Full script at New Play Exchange.
The play opens in the parking lot of a disintegrating motel on the outskirt of the district. A group of agents put a plan in motion to locate Milla, a daughter of a dissident, reported to be dead. In one of the rooms she is being secretly kept by Clyde, one of the agents now charged with finding her. She is often addled from drug use, but is kindling the will to ask the questions no one is asking - why, who's orders, and where else could they go? The play pits coarse dialogue, familiar archetypes, and slapstick violence against heightened language and moments of serenity to ask serious questions about violence, individual agency and belief.
Workshop/Staged Reading, The Brick, Brooklyn, NY
Reading, Women's Project, NYC
Reading, Circle X, LA
Reading, P73, NYC
Reading, William Inge Center, Independence, KS
Semi-Finalist O'Neill Playwrights' Festival and Bay Area Playwrights Conference
Mysteries of the Unknown (an analog comedy)
2W, 2M. In the year 2000, in New York City, Suze and Charlie answer phones at the TimeLife Books office. They fill orders for CD sets, Groovy Sounds of the 70s, Moody by Moonlight and other compilations. They process requests for books of general knowledge, including Folklore in America, The Sciences, History. They are being phased out, these easy to read summaries of the world’s information, and a new digital age is on the horizon.
All the rules have changed and yet, the cute white guy always ends up winning.
A comedy about privilege in a world before smart phones.
Midsouthern Night’s Dream
Flexible cast 12 - 24 actors. A new adaptation of Midsummer’s — In the woods of the Shenandoah Mountains the most unlikely of worlds collide - Christian Youth, Radical Queer Faeries, Burners and Artists - Jack shall have Jill and naught shall go ill.
Come. Meet by moonlight.
Persephone (a new myth for a hotter world)
Flexible cast 6-15 actors. Persephone leans into a cave and is kidnapped by Hades. Maybe though she was seduced, she may have been ready to grow up, to run off with a lover. Demeter was so miserable that she stopped nourishing the earth, crops failed and people starved. Demeter pleads for the return of her daughter, Zeus agrees, but she’s already eaten food from the underworld. Zeus decrees her time will be spent. Six months above, six months below, and the Earth finds a balance of the seasons.
Demeter, not satisfied with a mere half a year, pursues Hades. She instigates her followers to mine the earth of its riches, its minerals and its fuel. The more they release, the more her power grows, the longer she can keep Persephone with her - and the longer summer reigns. Persephone, after centuries, was happy with her life, half the year with her doting husband, half with her mother. She pleads with her mother to relax - to let her go, she has a family down there with Hades. Demeter refuses. She spurs on developments to extract whatever can be extracted from the depths of the earth to wring the life from the rival for her daughter’s love. She succeeds. Oil, gas, fracking, her efforts destroy Hades and return Persephone to her mother. Demeter will keep the earth warm all year round - she will defy the gods and she will have her daughter with her forever.
5W. Meg's yoga studio is barely getting by, though she's committed to the local neighborhood and to the community she's gathered at her studio. Her partner, Frida wants to add Spin and maybe some of that car-pulling or whatever they do at the garage down the road. Meg creates a position for Amira, a young Syrian refugee, at the studio.
The convergence of worlds; the attempt to create a safe space; the dream of community and fulfilling lives and the limits of good intentions.
All The Girls Love Bobby Kennedy
2W, 3M. In the Spring of 1968 on a rural college campus in the mid-west, Gracie dreams of Bobby Kennedy and he dreams back at her. A play that looks at a moment that shook america through the eyes of one young woman and wonders how her choices ripple out to the present day.
Full descriptions, scripts, development histories of more plays by Kristen Palmer at the New Play Exchange. Or request via email, using the form below.