One Acts

NOT A MERMAID – Sylvie and Tess are sisters, but they may as well have grown up in two different homes.  Years later, Tess wants to know Sylvie, if it’s not too late.

POWERLESS – Amy needs help caring for her grandfather.  But her grandfather is pretty sure that she needs more help than he does.  Their conflict takes an unexpected turn in this intergenerational superhero origin story.

BARDTOPIA – Judith’s dream job is to work at Bardtopia, an extremely popular Shakespeare-themed amusement park.  When she finally lands an interview, things don’t turn out exactly as she’d hoped. This quirky comedy is a send-up of both Shakespeare and Disney.

A LITTLE HELP – Catherine and Pete have been divorced for years, but Pete has never been happy about it.  When he wangles an invitation to their daughter’s holiday gathering, Catherine is surprised by more than just his presence.

ANZIA, a fiction – Anzia Yezierska, immigrant author and self-inventor, introduces herself and her work in this one-woman short play. Anzia, an actual person, may or may not be a reliable narrator. From a review of the Melbourne, Australia production: “Take this opportunity to see some real treasures shine, and some important stories being told. Oh, and keep your ears open for ‘Anzia, A Fiction’ (written by Dana Leslie Goldstein). It has some important resonances for the times in which we live.” ANZIA, a fiction is published in “Frozen Women/Flowing Thoughts” (Palmetto Press, 2024).

FRAGILE – Rennie is on the verge of losing his beloved comic book shop.  When Alana walks in, everything starts to change.  Secret identities are revealed, but it’s going to take more than super-strength to forge a new origin story.  A monologue from FRAGILE appears in “Best Men’s Stage Monologues of 2022”, published by Smith & Kraus.

COGNITO – Having a secret identity can’t make you invulnerable, but it definitely has an effect on your self-confidence.  When Kira enters Infinity Flux Comics dressed as the Scarlet Witch, Rennie can’t help paying attention.  What happens next is a surprise to them both.  COGNITO is a companion piece to FRAGILE.

FRIENDLY SKIES – Marion has resolved to face her fear of flying.  What could go wrong?  This absurd comedy was written for PlayGround-NY and selected for both their zoom presentation and their live Best Of series.

THE CALENDAREric has something to tell his father-in-law, and he knows it won’t be well-received.  

PROM GOLEM – It’s time to come out of his room for dinner.  But teenage Sammy can’t stop now – not when he’s so close to finishing the project that’s going to solve all his problems…

THE GOD PART – Matthew and Leah are old hats at loss, unlucky in – well – pretty much everything. Can that change when they meet each other? Published in BEST 10 MINUTE PLAYS 2021

SILENT MORNINGJennifer and Genevieve are sisters with an unusual relationship. When Christmas rolls around again and Genevieve decides to change the rules, Jennifer has to change her life.  

GIVE or TAKE – Against her better judgment, Letty bails her grandson out of jail and takes him in.  But what he really wants from her isn’t something she’s willing to give.  A monologue from GIVE or TAKE appears in “Best Women’s Stage Monologues of 2023”, published by Smith & Kraus.

GOOD DAUGHTER – There’s no pleasing Deborah’s mother, so why does Deborah keep trying?  A monologue from GOOD DAUGHTER appears in “Best Men’s Stage Monologues of 2023″, published by Smith & Kraus.

BORDER LAND – After the Earth has suffered nearly irreparable harm, a group of scientists and military personnel draw on their pasts to try to find a way forward.

NATURAL –  Erica and Maggie couldn’t be more different, or at least that’s how it seems to them. When Erica, very pregnant and two weeks overdue, begs Maggie to use her acupuncture and massage skills to help her go into labor, the sisters embark on an unexpected path. Published in “Birth, Death & Bourbon: 3 Short Plays by Dana Leslie Goldstein” (Next Stage Press)

UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY – They’re an unlikely pair, but Elizabeth and Teddy have been happily married for decades. After Teddy’s passing, Elizabeth struggles to find a way to go on without him, but maybe she doesn’t have to. Published in “Birth, Death & Bourbon: 3 Short Plays by Dana Leslie Goldstein” (Next Stage Press)

RED IN THE MORNING –  Evan has been living in the woods, off the grid, for years. He abandoned his wife, his child, his job and his identity, with no explanation. When Evan’s father dies, Evan’s older brother, Mitch, comes looking for him. Arrows fly, blood is spilled, bourbon flows, and old wounds may have a slim chance at being healed. Published in “Birth, Death & Bourbon: 3 Short Plays by Dana Leslie Goldstein” (Next Stage Press)

EAT DESSERT FIRST – An estranged daughter comes to know her late mother, a cookbook writer, through the recipes and cooking tools she left behind. In a larger sense, EAT DESSERT FIRST is about how parents feed their children, not just with food, but with their own hopes and disappointments and absence. The title of the play refers to the title of one of the mother’s cookbooks, but EAT DESSERT FIRST is also advice the mother gives, that ultimately leads the daughter on a journey toward forgiveness.  A monologue from EAT DESSERT FIRST appears in “Best Women’s Stage Monologues of 2022”, published by Smith & Kraus.  THEATRESCENE.NET: “EAT DESSERT FIRST” by Dana Leslie Goldstein is the most accomplished and was saved for last.  It’s a poignant memory play about a high-powered career woman going through her recently deceased mother’s possessions. 

PRETEND – Kitty and Lauren, both eight years old, are pretending to be grown-ups.  But their role models haven’t been stellar, and their misunderstanding of adult behavior has both comical and painful results.  NOTE: Adult actresses play these children.

BURN –  A young couple has trouble getting past the life-threatening injury of their toddler.  Healing is under way for the child, but it’s less sure for their marriage.  Published in “Rowing to America and Sixteen Other Short Plays” (Smith & Kraus)

THIS TIME – Edie and Lang are having some issues in their marriage. When they visit an extremely unconventional therapist, everything changes in unexpected ways.

GATEWAY FOR ASHES – When elderly sisters Chana and Rifke visit Ellis Island to see the new American Immigrant Wall of Honor and search for their father’s name, the past becomes the present, and long-held questions may be answered.

TRAINWASHED, an AtrainMusical – librettist (music and lyrics by Tim Carless)

THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM, a play with songs – librettist & lyricist (music by Jonathan Goldstein)

COURTING –  Can love really conquer all? In this four-character, romantic farce, the answer is a resounding yes. George and Sylvia are senior citizens with a lust for life and each other. Ted and Christina are young academics who over-think everything. When Sylvia plays matchmaker for the younger couple, the results defy death, fate and a bad tarot reading.  Love is in the air and in the cards.