Playwright

Jack Karp

Sex and Money and

Money and Sex

This is a comically and darkly absurd take on the way couples have the same arguments and play out the same patterns over and over as relationships progress from the first blush of love through frustration and anger to violence. (One-act play.)

Selected Plays

Synopses of some of Jack Karp's longer works

Sleeping with Strangers

Shacking Up

This comedy is set around the production of a hackneyed, cliché-ridden murder mystery that begins to spin out of control when the star’s jilted fiancée shows up and takes over the lead role. Characters are added, scenes are rewritten, and even the play’s title gets changed by a group of actors unhappy with the script they have been given to play. Eventually even the audience gets pulled into the action as the characters begin to confuse drama and reality, character and actor, audience and witness. (Full-length play.)

Trapped in a cliché American diner in a cliché American 

town, three cliché characters watch the country change as Barack Obama wins the presidency. Egged on by the diner’s lonely Old Man and mocked by its vaguely Hispanic-looking Cook, the young and naïve Waitress allows this victory to raise her hopes that she will finally be able to escape to the big city where she dreams of becoming an actress. But when the money she thought she had saved disappears – yet again – she is forced to face the fact that she and the others are stuck in their hackneyed and threadbare world, no matter what clichés the politicians promise. (One-act play.)

The Colonial Diner

Tell Me You Love Me

This play tells the story of four friends living in New York City in the months following the September 11th attacks and the effects the fear of that period has on their marriages and relationships. This quickly paced whirlwind of a play echoes the relentless cycle of government warnings and breaking news that was the norm after the attacks. From the stripping of our civil rights to the rounding up of Middle Eastern immigrants to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the prison abuse scandals that followed, the play, much like the morning paper and the nightly news, is about the mean, stupid things people do to each other when they're scared. (Full-length play.)

Incendiary Agents

Incendiary Agents takes place in 1969 and is the story of five friends led by a charismatic and idealistic Catholic priest on a daring nighttime raid of the local draft board office in an effort to disrupt the draft and make a statement against the Vietnam War. But when the FBI offers one of the raiders a choice between carrying out the raid and getting his own son sent home from the war, each of them is forced to decide which is more important – their principles or the people they love – and how much they’re willing to give up for what they believe in. (Full-length play.)

All plays are available for production. If you would like to read a full script or are interested in producing one of these plays, please contact the playwright at jackkarp@gmail.com.

Irreversible

It is 1944 and Robert Oppenheimer and his brother Frank are frantically working to beat the Nazis to the nuclear bomb. Afraid Germany has a two-year head-start, Robert and his boss, General Groves, push their scientists to avoid “waking up to a mushroom cloud over New York.” With difficulties mounting and growing concern over his Communist associations, Robert has no time to think about the consequences of his “gadget.” But in 1945, when they finally see their weapon’s devastation, Frank has doubts about its use. General Groves, however, is determined to go forward, and when Robert realizes that opposing the weapon will ruin his and his brother’s careers, he is forced to choose between his conscience and his ambition, his brother and his bomb. (Full-length play.)

Don't Write a Bad Play, or A Cautionary Tale About the Brutality of the War on Terror and the Futility of Using Violence to Stop Violence 

A playwright is taught a lesson when he writes a particularly violent and brutal play about torture and his characters, sick of being subjected to such treatment, kidnap and torture him into changing the ending. (One-act play.)

Sleeping with Strangers is an absurdist comedy that takes place in a world where everything the characters say about each other suddenly comes true, using fantasy to explore how we don’t really fall in love with other people as much as we fall in love with the image we create of those people in our imaginations. (One-act play.)