The Benevolent Women’s Craft Society

Full Length Comedy — Single Set — 4 Women, 1 Man, 1 Male Voice

Benevolent Women's Craft Society    

Photos courtesy of Green Bay Community Theatre, Green Bay, WI and West Sacramento Community Theatre, Sacramento, CA

Award: 2003 Grindstone Award for New Comedy, Presented by the Mountain Playhouse, Jennerstown, PA

Description: When Jason, a gay Gender Studies professor, joins a small town craft group to gather research on rural women, both comic and near tragic disaster results.

Synopsis: On a forced sabbatical because of an academic infraction with a female student, Jason Beck finds little success researching his new “Rural Women of Today” class in this Minnesota town. Good with needle and glue, the openly gay professor tries to access the Benevolent Women’s Craft Society. Loraine’s craft group has set a goal to make enough crafts so the Arton Group Home can purchase a used mini-van. With the Pioneer Days craft sale looming three months away, Loraine agrees to let him join—hoping that she can both orchestrate a romance between Jason and the eccentric Fiona while still making her fundraising target.

Although Loraine’s matchmaking has little effect on the solidly gay Jason, Fiona falls in metaphysical love with the glib professor. Jason suddenly goes from scientifically observing rural female behavior, to actively participating in it.

Why It Was Written: While I was a member of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco, I got to know members of the gay community pretty well. Often while driving home from play readings, I contemplated what a different journey my life was on. Here I was, a farm kid from the rural Midwest, getting to know an entirely different group people in urban California. I had bridged two cultures, and I wanted to write a play that reflected my experiences.

When I was about ten, I went with my grandmother to ceramics class. I was the only male (and boy) in the room, surrounded by women. So I thought what if instead of me, a gay man from the San Francisco Bay Area was in that class?

The play won a national comedy award sponsored by the Mountain Playhouse in Pennsylvania and has been produced several times since then. The play is a comedy that means something, and I’m proud to have written it.

Read the First Ten Pages: Script Sample