by Roy Schreiber
Samuel Pepys wanted to bring order to his seventeenth century world. He dreamed of introducing orderly systems to the navy. The plague, London burning down, the Dutch destroying the British fleet all kept him from achieving his dream. So did corruption and the women he couldn’t resist, including his wife. William Bligh dreamed of outdoing his mentor, Captain James Cook and becoming Britain’s greatest explorer. Bligh played a role in the events that led up to Cook’s death on Hawaii. Afterwards he gathered breadfruit saplings on Tahiti and faced the mutiny on the Bounty. In a tiny boat, he then sailed 3500 miles to safety. It didn’t matter. His reputation was ruined. Paul Gauguin, after his disastrous encounter with Vincent Van Gogh, went to Tahiti. Gauguin called himself a “savage”, by which he meant someone not encumbered by the restrictions of contemporary European society. As a savage painter, he dreamed of revolutionizing the artistic world. Largely using the Tahitian women he encountered, Gauguin tried to achieve his aim. When he took his Tahitian pictures back to Paris to sell in the 1890s, no one would buy them.All these men, Pepys, Bligh and Gauguin, became famous for reasons they never dreamed.
- Cast Size: Solo Show or Flexible Casting
- Running Time: 90+ minutes
- Royalty Rate: $75 per performance
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About the Playwright
Playwriting began as a fluke. It started with writing a biography about William Bligh, commander of the Bounty and target of the well-known mutiny. In The Fortunate Adversities of William Bligh, I wanted to explain how this man, target of not one but three mutinies, ended up dying as an admiral.
After the literary agent read the manuscript, she gave me a list of the cuts needed before sending it around to publishers. Semi-horrified, I told her she wanted to cut some of the most dramatic material. She replied that if I felt that strongly, I should use that material for something else. Like a play. First it became Captain Bligh Against the World and had a production by a university theater company. Then Bligh appears in Dreamers.
Besides writing for the stage, I have also written plays for radio/podcast.
WRHC broadcast the first, In the Real World, mystery set on a college campus.
Besides WRHC, one Canadian and one San Francisco radio station broadcast The Optimist. It’s a play about a deluded history professor. The 2020 Hear Now Festival selected The Optimist for a silver award.
Three National Public Radio (NPR) stations have broadcast another play, Happy Family. Based on true events, Happy Family tells the story of a group of women factory workers in the 1970s who sued a major corporation for equal pay and rights. They won.
All the plays continue to attract listeners on SoundCloud.