Wim’s plays

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Wim is an award-winning playwright, poet, and novelist whose diverse work in theater has included playwriting, directing, acting, set design, and technical and construction work. His play The Mad Scene was awarded First Place in the Script category of the 91st Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. His play The Shackles of Liberty was the winner of the 2016 Southern Playwrights Competition. His short play “When the Wolfbane Blooms” was one of 10 plays chosen from about 6 dozen entries for production in the 2018 NC 10×10 New Play Festival. Two collections of his one-act plays, Nine Muses and Stages of History, are currently in print, and his plays have appeared in anthologies along with works by authors ranging from Molière to David Mamet. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and PEN International.

The Mad Scene

On a night in 1793, Marie Grosholtz (known in later life as Madame Tussaud) searches a Paris cemetery until she finds the freshly guillotined head of Queen Marie Antoinette. She uses the head to make a plaster cast of the queen’s face. While the plaster is setting, the young sculptress and the decapitated queen engage in a conversation. Marie Grosholtz takes the cast to her workshop, where she makes a wax sculpture of the queen, adding it to an exhibit that already includes the firebrand journalist Jean-Paul Marat and his assassin, Charlotte Corday; they will soon be joined by the revolutionary zealot Maximilien Robespierre. As the Reign of Terror rages around them, the wax figures come to life and argue among themselves and with their creator about revolution, freedom, tyranny, power, history, personhood, and other themes as vital today as they were in Revolutionary Paris. By the end of the play, Napoleon rules France, and Marie Grosholtz has moved her exhibit to London and transformed herself into Madame Tussaud. While Tussaud dances with a mute wax figure of Napoleon, the other figures become something more than mere hallucinations in the mind of their creator.

The Mad Scene was awarded First Place in the Script category of the 91st Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. It was originally developed in 2020-21 with members of the Yorick Theater Company, the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and Theatre at St. John’s, as part of the Theatre at St. John’s Cyber Salon, hosted by Mark Erson and Everett Quinton. The parts were read by Everett Quinton, Jenne Vath, Sally Plass, Maude Burke, and Shane Baker; Daniel Neiden directed. The Mad Scene has yet to be produced.

The text of this play is available on the New Play Exchange or by contacting Wim personally. The prologue may be read on our home page.

The Shackles of Liberty

Paris, 1789. The French Revolution has begun. On his last day in Paris as America’s Minister to France, Thomas Jefferson helps Patriots of the National Assembly to write the Declaration of the Rights of Man. But he is bedeviled by personal distractions. Maria Cosway, his Italian-English lover, dreams of sharing Napoleonic power with him as the revolution unfolds. His oldest daughter, Patsy, wants to become a Catholic nun. His mixed-race servant Sally Hemings insists upon staying in Paris—and she is pregnant with his child. During the play’s powerful final moments, Thomas and Sally bargain over the terms of her return.


The Shackles of Liberty was performed by the University of Jacksonville Department of Drama in May, 2017. This workshop production and a $1,000 prize were awards for winning the Southern Playwrights Competition, which was open to writers in thirteen states. The play was also a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s 2017 New Playwrights Conference; one of two finalists of 2015 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition; a semifinalist for the 2016 Ashland New Plays Festival; a semifinalist for Road Theatre’s Summer Playwrights Festival 8, 2017; a top 10 finalist for Centre Stage Theatre’s New Play Festival, 2018; and reached the second round for The Phoenix Theatre Festival of New American Theatre, 2017.

The text of this play is available on the New Play Exchange or by contacting Wim personally.


A full-length, three-character play dealing with a love triangle and unresolved grief, Postmortem has been presented in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. The play was chosen as a finalist in the 1985 CBS/Foundation of the Dramatists Guild New Plays Competition; Fourth Place out of 1,100 entries. Produced by Drake University Theatre Arts Department in May, 1985. Also awarded sixth place in the Stage Play Category of the 80th annual Writer’s Digest Writing competition in 2011.

The text of this play is available on the New Play Exchange or by contacting Wim personally.

Ten-minute Plays

When the Wolfbane Blooms


One fall night, Professor Elaine Simmons is visited at home by Sydney, one of her favorite students. It seems that Sydney bit Prof. Simmons the night before—in the form of a wolf. But contrary to traditional lore, not everybody who gets bitten by a werewolf turns into one. What will be Prof. Simmons’s fate? The moon is rising, and she’ll find out all too soon.

Produced at NC 10by10 Play Festival; Carrboro and Cary, NC; July 19-21 and July 26-28, 2018.

Awarded Third Prize in the 2016 Winston-Salem Writers 10-Minute Play Contest; presented as a staged reading at Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem in April 2016.

The text of this play is available on the New Play Exchange or by contacting Wim personally.

Operation Ares


Berlin, December 1944. As the Western Allies retake France and the Russians close in from the east, a delusional Adolf Hitler dismisses as lies any news hinting at the Reich’s impending defeat. Instead, he summons his chief rocket scientist Wernher von Braun to plan a project that he hopes will “make the planet great again.” The complete text of the the play can be found here.

The Throne and the Mirror:
Elizabeth and Shakespeare after Essex’s Rebellion


London, February 1601. Is William Shakespeare guilty of treason against the throne? Queen Elizabeth seems to think so, and she summons him to her privy chamber to explain himself. As Shakespeare pleads for his life, he and the Queen engage in a sharp debate about freedom of expression, the divine right of monarchs, and the looming specter of democracy. The complete text of the play can be found here.

The Maiden and the Nation: Joan of Arc at Orléans


After the Siege of Orléans, Joan of Arc listens to her advising saints as she nurses a dying soldier. But when an English saint speaks through the soldier’s mouth, Joan is shocked by her own saints’ response to it. “The Maiden and the Nation” is a drama of divine and worldly dimensions. 

The complete text of the play can be found here.

In the Belly of the Fish: Darrow and Bryan After the Scopes Trial

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

On the day after the Scopes “monkey trial” of 1925, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan are exhausted and bitter from their now-famous debate over evolution. When they meet at the Dayton railroad station, what do they have to say to each other? It might surprise you; it certainly surprises them.

The complete text of the play can be found here.

Talking Leaves: Sequoyah and the Conjurors


In the early 1800s, a silversmith named Sequoyah invented a syllabary for writing the Cherokee language. It was an astonishing achievement—all the more so because Sequoyah himself was illiterate. But as the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Sequoyah’s own people suspected him of witchcraft, and he was almost put to death by Cherokee shamans—an episode dramatized in this play.
The complete text of the play can be found here.

The Gateway of the Soul: Queen Christina and the Death of Descartes


This little play brings together two fascinating historical figures—the French philosopher René Descartes and Queen Christina of Sweden. In 1649, Christina brought Descartes to her court to serve as her personal tutor. What role did the brilliant and impetuous monarch have in Descartes’ death the following year? This black comedy of ideas suggests an answer. The complete text of the play can be found here.

Talk to the Hand


A patient asks a physician to amputate her hand. The hand isn’t really hers, she tells the doctor. Naturally, the doctor wants to hear what the hand has to say about all this. But when the hand speaks from the depths of a hypnotic trance, the doctor’s own world undergoes a disturbing transformation.

The text of this play is available on the New Play Exchange or by contacting Wim personally.

The Cleansing


On Holy Monday in Jerusalem, Jesus has just driven the money-changers from the Temple. One of his followers, Judah Ben-Hur, takes this as a signal to begin a Jewish uprising against Roman rule. What happens when Judah tries to recruit Jesus to lead thousands of armed men into battle? “The Cleansing” is inspired by a little-known plot thread in Lew Wallace’s novel Ben-Hur. The text of this play is available on the New Play Exchange; it also can be found here.

The Comedy of Falstaff


Click here for Wim’s performance of the first 13 stanzas of his epic-in-progress, The Comedy of Falstaff, relating the adventures of Shakespeare’s immortal rogue in the afterlife. When completed, this aggressively eccentric work will follow Falstaff from the moment of his death through hell, purgatory, and paradise—along the way exploring themes of human destiny, sin and redemption, and the evolution of life and consciousness.

Published plays … 


Nine Muses: Modern Plays from Classic Myths, plays based on Greek and Roman myths and legends for middle and high school students and community theatre groups. (Perfection Learning Corporation, 2001)


The photo is from McCall Children’s Theater production of Phaeton and the Sun Chariot in 2015; directed by Kay Addington MacDonald.
Buy Nine Muses.

Download an excerpt of Phaeton and the Sun Chariot from Nine Muses. 


Stages of History: Plays About America’s Past, eight one-act plays for middle and high school students based on themes and episodes from American history. Co-authored with Pat Perrin. (Perfection Learning Corporation, 2005)
Buy Stages of History.

pub plays

“Eye in the Sky,” a one-act play in Reading & Performance: Collection One, with works by Horton Foote, Athol Fugard, Carlo Gozzi (adapted by Lowell Swortzell), Stephen Gregg, Cleve Haubold, Wendy Kesselman, David Mamet, Merrill Markoe, Kathryn Schultz Miller, Celeste Raspanti, Rod Serling, Charles Smith, Gary Soto, Wendy Wasserstein, and Paul Zindel. (Perfection Learning Corporation, 2nd ed., 2008)

“Phaeton and the Sun Chariot,” a one-act play in Drama for Reading & Performance: Collection Two, with works by Woody Allen, Christopher Durang, Horton Foote, Athol Fugard, Silvia Gonzalez S., David Ives, Kikuchi Kan, Stephen King, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, David Mamet, Molière (adapted by Marvin Kaye), Rod Serling, Neil Simon, Katherine Snodgrass, Rabindranath Tagore, and August Wilson. (Perfection Learning Corporation, 1st ed., 2000)

Wim has also written many short plays for school use, including 20 Readers Theater plays published in READ magazine and 8 titles published by Red Chair Press (some co-authored with Pat Perrin).

Here, Wim and his daughter Monserrat read a scene from Wim’s play “Sequoyah and His Talking Leaves.”