Bill Bruehl

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          Primary Focus: Writing for the Stage - Also  fiction and essays
PhD University of Pennsylvania
    Emeritus Professor, University at Stony Brook
Bill Bruehl is a member of Actors Equity Association and the Dramatists Guild and the author of more than twenty-five plays. He is the recipient of several fellowships and awards including a
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
He writes plays and videos  for industrial purposes and
welcomes commissions.
  In 1994-98 he was
at the Institute for Medicine in
Contemporary Society
University at Stony Brook 
Medical School.

In New York Bill was a longtime member of the playwright's lab at the Ensemble Studio Theatre with Brother Jonathan and for eight years was a member of the playwrights' unit at the T.Schreiber Studio with Patrick Meyers, Nancy Donohue, and Mick Casale.  

He studied story structure with Robert McKee and has worked with Curt Dempster of Ensemble Studio Theatre,  with Marsha Norman and Romulus Linney at the Sewanee Writers' Conference,  1999.
His study of the internal technique of the actor entitled
The Technique of Inner Action
(or how to get charisma)  is published by Heinemann.
When actors work with the internal objectives of  their characters as found in the flow of action in the play they express authentic emotions automatically.
The same technique is applicable to the work of all performers and
professional presenters including lawyers and teachers.
Bill is also an experienced director with more than sixty professional and university productions to his credit.  He has produced Off Off-Broadway
as well as a professional University Theatre at Stony Brook.
and The Field of Flowers
4 men - 2 women - one unit set
Explores the last 12 hours of the 16th Century Martyr before he was taken out to be burnt alive by the Inquistion in February 1600.
The Vatican, knowing the Church will suffer in the eyes of history offers Bruno a deal he can't refuse.  If he will agree to abjure his heresies he will go free and be allowed to live.
How will this wily & subtle man handle the supposed generosity of the Church?
2 Women - 1 Man - Unit Set -
90 minutes
Second prize winner in the Mill Mountain Theatre of Roanoke Virginia's
2001 New Play Competition.
World Premier January 2002 at
The Merrimack Repertory Company
Charles Towers, Artistic Director.
"Short Haired Grace will make you giggle at little, think a lot and be grateful once more for great theatre in Lowell."
-The Lowell SUN
For forty years during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Grace O'Malley dominated the seas off the west coast of Ireland, leading a band of Irish pirates who the English were unable to defeat.   Finally when both were in their sixties these two powerful women met in London at the Queen's invitation.    
That is history. 
How they dealt with each other is finally revealed in this play.
The Queen has promised her Captain, Richard Bingham, she will send him back to Ireland with sufficient force to  end O'Malley's piracy,  but during their meeting the Queen develops an affection for the old Irish woman and promises her an end to their war if...
The play asks which of these powerful women can we trust?

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If so, Please ....
The Guesthouse of the Holy Ghost
(Unit set 7 men, 6 women)
It is 1952 during the American Occupation of West Germany
two  friends - naive young American GI's ,one white , one black -
involve themselves with gangsters in a low life cafe
that was once a church:   The Heilige Geist.
Unable to deal with Army regulations, wild women, and the black marketers they associate with
the two GI's soon find themselves in a situation out of control.
Stresses their lives have not prepared them for
tear at their friendship and
lead to catastrophe.
"Guesthouse of the Holy Ghost" sizzles with shattered dreams, black-marketeering, racism, and dangerous romance between American GIs and German civilians, set against a backdrop of heartbreaking desperation, unlikely friendships, and violence in post-World War II occupied Germany. 
Angelo Parra
Award-Winning Playwright


The Cruelest Month

Brenda,  sophisticated, successful and the beautiful mother of Karen and Connie, two lovely young daughters, returns home ten years after mysteriously abandoning them to find the Karen, the younger, living with Essie,a Black Lesbian Artist, and Connie, the older involved with a mysterious, possibly criminal  life in the city.  Only by re-visiting the terrible and painful hidden reasons she left in the first place can Brenda restore her relationships with her daughters.

(4 women. Kitchen sink reality - one set)
Martin, a Gay Franciscan Brother 
is in deep trouble with the Memphis police because of his unconventional but successful work with
homeless boys. 
Mattie, a black lawyer, volunteers to take his case, succeeds and brings a utterly unexpected bonus into Brother Martin's life.

(4 actors, unit set)

Herman, an obstreperous billionaire developer in New Mexico afflicted with terminal disease unpleasantly surprises his heirs by tieing up thousands of acres of wild land so itcan never be developed. 
His decision pits the dying old fighter into a legal struggle with his children.  His only ally in this fight is his adopted daughter, Hannah,
a black woman. 
Their struggle leads them into hallucinatory adventures with family and the law.

4 men - 5 women - unit set
A Roman Catholic Priest and a Protestant Minister run the most successful home for runaways in the country.  Everything falls apart when the minister announces she is a Lesbian.
Miwana, a young Black runaway leads the charge to save the home from extremists in the town who want it destroyed.   The local Bishop may or may not act to save the home.  ...or punish the priest.

(7 men - 7 women - unit set)

An indictiment of America's culture wars
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Fifteen Short Plays by Bill Bruehl:
*A Game of Just Pretending: at the moment of death is a secular life as comforting as a religious one?

*Burnt Orange,  and   Blackbelt,: two very short plays about unlikely lovers, produced at EST workshop

*Three Guys Playing Hearts, what happens when physicians forsake empathy for cool detachment?

*The Safest Place, a "one page" play.  A Mother protects her nursing child from gangs ...absolutley

*Buds, A Ten Minute Play about a smart New York broker and a simple Hawaiian girl who sells grass.

*Ain't Just a River in Egypt, Two women learn how they've been emotionally betrayed by their men.

*Lost on the Intercoastal, a cinema critic, animal lovers and military men - values in conflict.

*Dogs Growl! Man? He Sing! A clown show & ritual drama about changing values.  Chicago, 1991

*Wolf is a Dog Who Won't Come to the Fire, First Prize, National Video Festival, New Orleans,La.   experimental dance drama.  A man confronts the animals he would destroy.

*Beachdream, .  Produced in Annual NY One Act Festival

*But the Whores Danced Barefoot, a fantasy about strong women, produced  at T. Schreiber Studio

*January Thaw, Mom returns from the sea, produced at T. Schreiber Studio & Ensemble Studio Theatre

*You Can't Repeal the Second Law, a physicist confronts domestic chaos. Staged at Univ. at Stony Brook

*Lunatics,  At the hospital's request a judge forces a patient to take chemotherapy.

*The High Priest,  overtreating in an ICU ward. Staged with Lunatics at SUNY Medical School 8/95.

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( 3 men, 2 women, unit set)

This full length play is based on one of the most staggerinly ironic stories of modern times. Robert Fitzroy, a Fundamentalist Christian and Captain of HMS Beagle invited Charles Darwin to be the Beagle's Naturalist in 1831 even though the Royal Navy had already assigned a Naturalist to that ship.  Fitzroy had a secret agenda.  He believed that Darwin, soon to be ordained a priest in the Anglican Church, was just the man to help him collect scientific evidence to prove the Biblical creation story and the absolute un-changeableness of all life.

The play introduces us to Fitzroy thirty years after that world changing voyage.  We find him struggling with his conscience for having betrayed God by having chosen Darwin as his Naturalist;  the same Darwin who -ironically again- Fitzroy had come to love.  Or was Fitzroy's guilt even worse?

Had Darwin's devilish ideas caused Fitzroy to come to doubt his beloved Christian Faith and the Word of God as found in the inerrant Bible which had come to rule his entire life?  Had Darwin's ideas caused him to doubt that the world had been created in seven days by the personal Father God?

What choices are left to a human being confronted by the shadow side of Faith?
DARWIN'S CAPTAIN was featured at the
Phoenix Theatre's New Works Festival
2002 and at The Warehouse Theatre's On the Edge New Plays Program in Greenville SC
in October 2003