Synopsis of "The Seamstress of St. Francis Street"

A Play by Mario Farwell

On a sweltering summer’s day in 1958, Camilla Jackson, a black woman, mid-thirties, brash, vulgar, and hardened like tempered steel, returns to St. Louis, MO, after a five year absence seeking shelter with her sister, Helen. Helen is a black woman in her early forties, timid, frail and soft-spoken is suspicious of Camilla’s motives for returning to St. Louis. Helen eventually discovers that Camilla has been incarcerated for three years for killing a man and has no other place to turn. Helen is married to George Wilcox, a levelheaded, hard-working, God-fearing, black male in his mid-thirties. Helen has a seven year old son, Jesse.

As the play unfolds, we discover that Uncle Raymond, who is living with Helen temporally, has molested Camilla as a child. Camilla blames Helen for not having the guts to protect her from the molestation.

Eventually, Camilla realizes that she has to put her past behind her in order get on with her life. Camilla decides to get a new start on life by trying to get re-established in St. Louis. The first step is to find a job. Helen doesn’t believe that Camilla is ready to start job hunting, but she finally relents, giving Camilla her blessing.

Camilla ends a frustrating day of job hunting in a sleazy bar. She arrives back at the Seamstress shop despondent, ready to give up on life. Camilla literally stumbles into the opportunity that she has been looking for when she discovers that Helen has been creating magnificent high fashion garments as a hobby. Camilla sees these garments as her opportunity to turn her life around by starting a clothing business with her sister.

The second act opens with the sister fashion business in full swing. Helen is worried about all the money that is being spent, but Camilla is ecstatic about the progress they have made in a very short time. Camilla also has a surprise for her sister. She has gotten one of the top buyers at a local department store to agree to come see their new clothing line.

George has developed an infatuation with Camilla over the course of the play. The night before the buyer’s arrival, he visits Camilla and tries to tell her of his concerns about the business. Camilla takes this opportunity to seduce George, and when she is unsuccessful, she try to destroy Helen’s family by insinuating that Jesse isn’t Georges’ son. George exists infuriated. He goes to their upstairs apartment to confront Helen about the information. Helen eventual admits that George isn’t Jesse father, and George goes on a brief rampage and leaves.

The next morning Camilla and Helen are preparing for the arrival of Mr. Engelmeyer, the department store apparel buyer. Camilla is concerned by Helen’s indifferent attitude and confronts her about it. Helen tells Camilla that she is through with her sister, because of what she tried to do to her family. Mr. Engelmeyer arrives in the middle of this tense moment. Camilla tries to create an environment of business as usually, but Engemeyer pick up on the fact that something is wrong. The situation further deteriorates when Mr. Engelmeyer informs them that a white person would have to front their clothing line in order for it to be place in the stores. Camilla is livid and orders him to leave. Once Mr. Engelmeyer exits, Camilla and Helen have it out. The result being that Helen declares that Camilla is dead to her and wants her to clear out.

The next scene Camilla is preparing to leave when Uncle Raymond appears at the Seamstress Shop. He tells Camilla that Helen did try to stop the abuse at one point, but when he found out he tried to kill her. Camilla realizes that she has misdirected her resentment to her sister. Uncle Raymond was the only person responsible for the girl’s miserable childhood, and Camilla decide that he should pay with his life and poisons him. Once Uncle Raymond is dead, Camilla calmly completes her packing and leaves.

Camilla has left a note for Helen; the note brings their long suffering into sharp relief and at the same time resolves it. The final scene we see Helen taking steps that will change of her life and fulfill her dreams.

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Synopsis of "The Last Days of Café Café"

A Play by Mario Farwell

The play takes place in a rundown ramshackle hotel called the New SeaView Hotel located on the beach of San Diego, CA. The time is 1983. At the beginning of the play, Resmount DuFree, a man with a speech defect known as aphasia, speaks directly to the audience of the glorious past and the uncertain future of this hotel slated to be torn down to make way for luxury condominiums. A rich tapestry of eccentric characters is the focus of the play, and their stories are the engine that drives the play forward.

Rebecca Wade is an erudite once renowned writer who has fallen on hard times and taken up pills and liquor. Eaton Pace, Rebecca’s faithful companion, has taken care of her on her spiral to the bottom.

Timothy Constance is an aspiring cartoonist with a fixation on his comic book creation, Dry Gulch Bill Rides Again. He periodically acts out scene from his comic book script to the amusement of the hotel patrons.

Rita Boroughs, a loud mouth, uncouth, middle-aged, trailer park babe has contentious relationships with many of the tenants and is always looking for ways to better her own situation at the expense of others. However, Rita Boroughs criminal background finally catches up with her, and she has to leave town or face prison time.

There’s the mysterious Hillary White, a little, old woman that hasn’t left her room on the second floor for six month.

Larry Porter, a religious fanatic, stays pretty much to himself until Rebecca Wade befriends him, and they discover more commonality than difference.

Casey is the proprietor of Café Café, the little diner in the hotel where the tenants take their meals and socialize. Casey acts as a father figure, confidant and guru of the rag tag ban.

Jeffery Winslow is the typical California surfer boy. Jeffery has a chance encounter with Eaton Pace which leads to a strong friendship.

Each character has his or her story, a winding road, that has brought them to the hotel; some of the stories are tragic, some funny, but all of them compelling. When Ms. White finally emerges from her room, with the encouragement of Resmount, she speaks of a life of wrong choices and of being a burlesque dancer well past her prime. With the encouragement of Timothy, Ms. White gives the patron of Café Café a rendition of her burlesque act.

Rebecca Wade and Eaton Pace maintain a symbiotic relationship based on lies and betrayals. Their relationship is tested when Eaton confronts Rebecca about stealing his manuscript and claiming it as hers. Rebecca finally admits her transgression and asks for Eaton’s forgiveness.

The play depicts the psychological and spiritual journey of dysfunctional, disenfranchised individuals who are forced to ban together overcoming their distrust and dislike for each other, bridging cultural, attitudinal and personality divides which lead to acceptance, tolerance and respect for each other and themselves. Situations unfold as collage on the background of life’s struggle, and dreams rises and recede as the characters pursue their uncertain destiny. It is a transient time and place with the power of indelible memory.

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Synopsis of "Life Among the Trees"

A Play by Mario Farwell

In the summer of 1978, on a promenade outside of New York City’s Central Park, two gay men have a fateful encounter that will change their lives. Curtis, a gay black male who habitually cruises the park for sex meets Preston, a white male very much out of his element in the gay fast lane. Their initial encounter is clash of attitude, morals and cultural values. As the evening progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Curtis is maneuvering for a sexual tryst with Preston. Curtis slowly wears down Preston’s resistance and they finally venture into the park.

Three weeks later, Preston meets Curtis in the park and presents him with a sterling silver whistle. Curtis explains that in the world of anonymous sex, gifts or tokens of appreciation are not to be given. Preston reveals that his life is spinning out of control. Curtis talks of his desire to be a Whooping Crane and does an interpretive dance of their mating ritual. Preston convinces Curtis to enter the park for a sexual encounter. While in the park, they witness a mugging of another man and barely escape unharmed.

The next time the two men meet, Preston informs Curtis that they witnessed a murder. Curtis lashes out at Preston and the world for intruding into his haven. Curtis realizes that nothing is going to be gained by getting emotional over the murder. In an effort to lift him and Preston’s spirits, they agree to go to a local bar and get drunk. Before they leave the park and head for the bar, Preston asks Curtis to promise him that he will stop coming to the park at night, and Curtis reluctantly agrees.

Curtis invites Preston to dinner at his apartment. During the dinner the two talk about their lives, their work, their aspiration and their loves. The dinner is capped off with a meteor shower that they view from Curtis’ roof top. The pleasant evening is shattered when Preston reveals that he’s a married man. Curtis is extremely upset, orders Preston out of his apartment, and Curtis ends up cruising in the park.

It is the fall of 1981. Three years have lapsed since the two men have seen each other. Preston has gone through a major metamorphosis; he is dressing hipper, has taking up bodybuilding and smoking. Curtis has gone through his own changes. Preston and Curtis meet in the park and immediately begin to catch up on old times. Preston tells Curtis that he still finds him attractive and would like to get it on with him. Curtis is stunned by the proposition; he confesses that he still has strong feelings for Preston and doesn’t want to jeopardize them. They end up inside the park doing what has become routine and habit. Curtis realizes that he doesn’t belong in this situation anymore. Preston laments that he has turned into a caricature that he doesn’t like much. Curtis calms Preston down, and they sit together under the stars.

Several months have passed, and winter has stripped the park bare of foliage. Preston sits on the park bench singing. Curtis has come to the park to tell him that he’s leaving New York to start a new life and that he loves him. Preston is taken aback by Curtis’ expression of love and wonders why he couldn’t have said that three years ago. The two men say good bye, and Curtis exits. Preston is left alone on stage and speaks of the mating habits of the Whooping Crane of the bird’s eloquent dance that keeps them committed to each other for life.

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Synopsis of "The Healing of Joey Padowaski"

A play by Mario Farwell

Joey Padowaski is an extraordinary, black man trying to live and ordinary life in the East Village of New York City. Joey works as an auto mechanic at Saffle’s Auto Repair Shop in Brooklyn, NY. Joey has managed to hide his power to heal for most of his life, until he heals a fellow mechanic’s injuries and is thrust into the public spotlight. Throngs of the curious, strange fanatics and true believers lay siege to his apartment.

Neil Levin mysteriously appears from the shadow and Joey efforts to ignore him. During the scene it is revealed that Neil is a spirit trapped in Joey’s apartment. Neil was a close friend of Joey who recently died and doesn’t know how to move on. Neil figures their dilemmas are some how interrelated, and if he solves one, the other will resolve.

Saffle Graham, Joey’s boss at the auto repair shop, arrive with advice on how to remedy the situation. Saffle wants to capitalize on Joey’s situation by having Joey agree to heal people from his soon to be revamped garage “The Healing Pit Stop.” Joey wants no part of Saffle’s get rich scheme, and Saffle leave disappointed but undeterred.

A nosey neighbor, Sarah Fedderson, pays Joey a visit under the guise of being a concern citizen. She has an abusive boyfriend, Howard McKenzie, who keeps her on a tight leash. While Joey and Sarah are getting acquainted, Howard burst into Joey’s apartment being boorish and threatening. He insults Joey and drags Sarah out of the apartment.

Joey laments that his life is spinning out of control. Neil never gives up hope in finding a solution and is always there for comic relief. Clarisse Constanza is a drag queen that Joey knew briefly, and was instrumental in Clarisse coming out the closet, appears on the fire escape in full drag. Clarissa has seen Joey on the news and has decided to come to New York to help manage what she considers to be a great, spiritual movement. Clarissa soon becomes aware of the presence of Neil Levin. She tries to communicate with him and find out why he is unable to move on.

The crowd outside grows restless and Joey’s becomes more frustrated by the untenable nature of the situation. Sarah returns to Joey’s apartment after a fight with Howard, determine to finally end the relationship. Howard follows her to Joey’s apartment and tells Sarah that nobody breaks up with him. Howard tries to punch Sarah and Joey intervenes. During a brief confrontation, Howard is seriously injured, and Joey decides rather than let him die he will heal him. When Howard regains consciousness, he is a changed man. Sarah is amazed by his kindness and gentle demeanor and thinks Joey has done more than heal his body. Howard realizes that he’s been given a second chance at life, and he is determined to make the most of it. Much to Sarah dismay, Howard decides to leave New York in search of the life that he’s been missing. Sarah is heartbroken by his decision, but acquiesces and takes up a quest of her own.

Mildred Padowaski, Joey’s domineering mother, arrives on the scene just as the healing of Howard is taking place. Mildred has been instrumental in Joey seeing his ability to heal in a negative light. Joey relationship with his mother is tense and soon erupts into all out hostility when he finds out that she’s had his father committed to a Veteran hospital.

Neil Levin begins to transcend his disillusionment with an unfulfilled life and realizes that it was a pretty good life he led. After all, he had a good friend in Joey and he did experience the full spectrum of life. Joey begs Neil not to leave him. “I need you” Joey laments. Neil replies that you need real people, and you seem to have found them. Neil disappears into the shadows leaving Joey alone. One final gesture, Joey opens the window and there are only ordinary street noises, no throngs of followers. He takes in this new day.

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Synopsis of "Apollo's Way"

A Play by Mario Farwell

A story of two parallel worlds driven by greed, deceit and a quest for power. The play takes place in the ruins of The Apollo Theatre and makes use of song, juggling and multi-media elements.

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Synopsis of "Icarus Wings"

A Play by Mario Farwell

The play is set in the New York City headquarters for a fictitious cult named BOTT, which stands for Bio Organizational Temporal Transfer. The play explores the mechanics of how a cult functions through the view points of several of the staff members. Josie Reyes, a young idealist Puerto Rican girl, has been a member of the BOTT organization for several years; she has become disillusioned, and wants to leave. Her departure is complicated by a secret that she has discovered. The organization is holding a girl against her will. They believe this girl to be the “Electus” the chosen one who is the link being mankind, and what members believe to be “their ancient alien ancestors.”

Collin Horton, an undercover reporter at the New York Post, arrives at the BOTT offices to enroll in the introductory course. He soon makes contact with Josie and enlists her help in gathering information about BOTT for his exposé on the organization. About a week later, a blistering article on the inner workings of BOTT runs in the New York Post. The same day that the negative article appears in the Post, Josie Reyes falls out of a fifteen-story window to her death. Collin and others suspect foul play.

Charles DeMarse, the charismatic, elusive leader, arrival is marred by all the bad publicity about the death of Josie Reyes. Charles DeMarse, also known as “Father” to his followers, is livid about the unstable state of the organization, and hostel press the organization has been receiving. In a tense and confrontational staff meeting, Charles DeMarse chastises staff about their poor performance and several members are demoted.

Later that night at a staff rally held to celebrate the appearance of the “Electus,” Collin Horton confronts Charles DeMarse about the death of Josie Reyes and implicates a staff member in her demise. Collin is bent on exposing Charles DeMarse as a fraud and proving BOTT technology to be a shame. In order to assuage Collins hostility toward the organization, Charles offers to give him a session in BOTT believing that if Collin is able to experience the transformative power of BOTT, he will change his view of the organization. During the session given by Charles DeMarse, Collin experiences a life change revelation which his leads him closer to believe in doctrines of BOTT.

After weeks of turmoil, the organization is beginning to return to normal. There has been no arrival of the alien race to claim the “Electus,” and Charles has become quite discouraged. On an otherwise ordinary business day with the machinery of the organization turning in a predictable manner, the beginning seminar is interrupted by an eerie humming noise and the flood of search lights from above. Believing this to be the sacred moment that they’ve all been waiting for, the return of the ancients, the staff all take their reverent posture as the long shadow of the “Electus” stretches across the stage.

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Synopsis of "You Know I Can't Eat Buffalo Meat When
There's a Terrorrist on the Loose"

A Play by Mario Farwell

The play takes place in a quiet suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Lowell Lovelace, an ordinary, middle-age, black man who happens to be part Indian, wants to become part of the Creek Indian Tribe. He is due to meet with an Indian representative who will determine his eligibility. Lowell has made the most elaborate preparation for the event including redecorating his house with an Indian motif and preparing a feast of buffalo meat. That same weekend he is schedule to meet his new upper-crust in-laws, the Barondorfs, for the first time. Lowell’s wife, Maggie Lovelace, is determined to make the meeting of the in-laws a successful occasion despite Lowell lack of enthusiasm for his daughter’s marriage and the fiancé’s family.

When the Barondorfs arrive at the home of the Lovelaces, Lowell is crude, rude and insulting, especially to Loretta Barondorf, the matriarch of the Barondorf family. Loretta is snide, condescending, and contemptuous of the Lovelaces. Matters are farther complicated by Noola Brown, Maggie’s mother, who displays the early signs of Alzheimer, and lives with the family. Noola is a woman with a checkered past and an unpredictable nature. LAX, the Lovelace teenage son, who fancies himself as a rapper, is a thorn in his father side, and much comic relief. The next door neighbor, Darrel Jenkins, rounds out the madness with an unexpected appearance in a kilt and playing the bagpipes. The two families clash over where the wedding should be held, and how much it should cost. The evening looks like it’s turning into a complete disaster when things really take a turn for the worse.

Lowell invites a young man into his home, believing him to be the Indian representative who has come to induct him into the Creek Indian Tribe. The man turns out to be a terrorist on the loose, and he decides to holds both family hostages until he can successfully avoid the police.

The second act opens with the hostage tied up, fearing for their lives, and trying to find out what the terrorist wants from them. The terrorist, Rajeem Nasir, turns out to be a bit of a buffoon. His main object is to destroy the King of Beer by blowing up the Anheuser Busch Brewery. The situation is looking pretty bleak for the hostages, until Noola Brown, the grandmother with a shady past, goes into action. She systematical gives Rajeem hell in the most humorous manner. Noola eventually triumphs, Rajeem is vanquished, and the family is saved.

The next morning is one of reflection on what has transpired the previous night and the recognition that certain attitude and believed had proved to be detrimental to family unity. The Indian representative finally makes an appearance and thorough his wisdom as a two-spirit, (gay Indian) brings the two families together.

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