The Tangled Skirt

by  Steve Braunstein

Full Length Play, Drama  /  1m, 1f

Two strangers await the last bus out of town, as small talk turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse and both seek advantage, trapped in their own secrets and lies, to be the last one standing. As the bus barrels toward the station, Bailey and Rhonda, torn by passion and greed, must confront each other, and themselves, as fate closes in.

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The Tangled Skirt

by  Steve Braunstein

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 1f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Mystery/Thriller
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Edgar Award Nomination
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult

Additional Info

Breathless from running and staggered by a startling incident, Bailey Bryce dashes into a deserted bus depot in the dead of night desperately clutching a travel bag. He’s glad to be alone; to think fast, to collect himself, to figure things out before it’s too late. But he won’t be alone for long. Enter Rhonda Claire, a stunning stranger tightly gripping her own travel bag and frantically looking over her shoulder. She’s clearly unnerved by Bailey, harmless though he may appear. How can she trust anyone in this God-forsaken place? And sure enough, as both anxiously await the last bus out of town, for their very own different reasons, small talk turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse as both seek advantage, trapped in their own secrets and lies, to be the last one standing when that clunker of a bus finally pulls in. As sirens wail in the distance, Bailey becomes convinced that this woman to die for has committed a terrible crime. And Rhonda, cool as the steel of a pistol, suspects Bailey, so comically naïve at times, has done worse. As the bus barrels toward the station, Bailey and Rhonda, torn by passion and greed, must confront each other, and themselves, as fate closes in.
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Accolades

  • Nominee! Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award, Best Play

Reviews

REVIEWS:

"All the steam and suspense of a classic film noir. The laws of attraction and survival clash through surprising revelations and dangerous switchbacks neither one - or an audience - could predict" - Broadway World

"Braunstein's taut script - sharply written - offers up plenty of quotable lines, tense, caffeinated energy (and) a sleepless dynamic so on the money for the genre in its night-owl world" - Asbury Park Press

"Noir infused intrigue...steamy...deftly mannered...twists and turns. An elegant homage to the noir genre by Mr. Braunstein." - The New York Times

"Braunstein doesn't parody or plagiarize the genre. His characters, dialogue, and setting smack of originality. The audience is hooked from the start." - Two Rivers Times

"Stylish, hard-boiled pulp fiction. Given that this is a two-character play, it is amazing that there are so many twists, turns, and genuine surprises to which Braunstein delightfully treats us. You are bound to have a really good time." - Talkin' Broadway

"Excellent dialogue that could be Wilder and Chandler, and some wonderfully paradoxical eyebrow-raising lines." - NYTheatre.com

"Steve Braunstein is one of the few playwrights around who can write a cracking good mystery." - Backstage

RELATED ARTICLES ON BREAKING CHARACTER:

Night Beat: The Heart of Noir
by Steve Braunstein
September 10, 2013

Keywords

Betrayal, Crime, Passion

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: A small town bus depot. 12:30am. The play occurs in real time with no intermission.
  • Additional Features: No intermission

Casting

1m, 1f
BAILEY BRYCE – enigmatic, small town denizen; mid 30s-early 40s.
RHONDA CLAIRE – a stranger in town, to die for; in her 30s.
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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

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Authors

Steve Braunstein

Steve Braunstein has received productions of his plays at theatres across the country. His noir drama The Tangled Skirt was produced at New Jersey Repertory Company and received an Edgar Award Nomination for Best Play from The Mystery Writers of America. It was most recently produced in both England and Ireland. His pl ...

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The Tangled Skirt was first presented at The New Jersey Repertory Company on December 4, 2010.

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