The Plays of Keith McGregor
Three women – one exterior set – modern dress – running time: two hours, including intermission.
- The National Play Award from the National Repertory Theatre Foundation
- The Festival of Firsts New Play Award sponsored by the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
- The Oglebay Institute/Towngate Theatre New Play Award (Wheeling, West Virginia)
The Far End of the Earth is an intense, but at the same time intimate drama of reconciliation among three generations of the women of one northwest family. The grandmother, Annie, is something of a hermit and the owner of one of the last privately owned, old-growth forests in western Washington. Her daughter, Gayle, is a single working mother who wants Annie to sell the trees, so she’ll have the money to take care of herself in her old age, and also so that she can put Jo, the granddaughter, through college, and thereby guarantee her future.
“The script’s strengths — and they are considerable — are to present three likable, worthwhile individuals in crisis periods, putting them in a slightly bizarre yet believable situation, and then working through the problems that separate them. And McGregor has the confidence in his writing ability and insight to keep it, most of the time, conversational and low-keyed. The Far End of the Earth’s quieter moments are its best moments.” – Monterrey Peninsula Herald
“The writer has incorporated humor, pathos and some nifty surprises into two acts of real-time drama. The production is without scene or lighting changes and there are no audio effects. McGregor allows nothing to interfere with the dialog and body language of his players. He skillfully crafts a storyline in which both mothers and both daughters argue and reconcile. The granddaughter and grandmother bond with each other and, in the course of this action McGregor creates a simple morality play that at the final curtain leaves the audience misty eyed.” – Lake Chelan Mirror
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A Romantic Comedy
Three women/two men · one interior set · modern dress · running time: 115-120 minutes, plus intermission.
- The Festival of Firsts New Play Award sponsored by the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
- The Best play award and the Gordon Mauermann Best Overall Manuscript award at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference.
Martin Lakefield is something of an eccentric recluse. He owns a used bookstore in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle and lives, by himself, in the back of his shop, which is managed by his faithful employee, Elaine Appleton. One night a punk, Al Ganz, breaks in-he’s wielding a wicked looking knife and is being chased by the police. In a moment of generosity (or temporary insanity) Martin hides the kid from the police. Then he can’t get rid of him. When Elaine meets Al the next day, she decides she’s going to help him get his life back on track; and she’s insistent that Martin let Al have a place to stay…”for just a few days.” Things quickly go downhill from there.
The Bookworm Gets Big Laughs in Carmel – …In The Bookworm, a fine comedy, a reclusive bookseller finds his orderly world turned chaotic when a young hood moves in on him , ‘temporarily,’ and takes over.
“McGregor writes very well. He is facile, the play is well-structured with the clever time-saving device of Martin addressing us directly to fill in the gaps. But mainly, in Martin and Elaine, he has created two very likable, humane individuals, people of kindness who do no other person harm but suddenly find themselves victims, exploited and used.
“…the comedy in The Bookworm comes from character and irony, and it gets big laughs.” – Monterrey Peninsula Herald
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Four men/four women · one interior set · modern dress · running time: 120-125 minutes, plus an intermission.
Approaching 60, Joseph McReynolds is a successful man with an empty life. To kill some time he decides to try something he’s always wanted to do – buy a big old house and fix it up. In the process he meets Edna, a crazy/wise old lady who happens to love the old house that he chooses; Rick, a drifter and confirmed dropout who he hires to help him with the project; and Ann, who is Rick’s travelling companion. Over the course of the project, more than just the old house gets renovated.
“Renovations …is such a lovable play — and the people in it are so lovable — that cynical old Yours Truly actually longed for it to have the sugar-coated ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ ending the author so truthfully refuses to provide. …Renovations‘ abundant warm humor grows naturally out of the personalities and interplay of his winning characters…” – The Houston Post
“…McGregor maneuvers them (plot and characters) with efficiency and creative energy, avoiding the obvious stereotypes, developing characters and situations with loving care. Ultimately, it is this genuine affection for his people that makes the play work, resulting in a steady flow of natural, unforced laughter. …In both writing and performance, there are many inspired comic scenes…” – Houston Chronicle
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Three women/three men · one interior set · modern dress · a farce in two or three acts · running time: 95 minutes, plus intermission or intermissions.
The Last Resort is a bit different from my other scripts listed here. The first play of mine that was ever produced, it is a fast-paced, grab-the-laughs, “sexy” farce. There is nothing serious or substantial in this script. The audience gets about 20 seconds to settle in when the curtain comes up and then the show is off at a breakneck speed to the final curtain. Originally written for the dinner theatre market, The Last Resort can be performed in either three short (35-30-30) acts or two longer (50-45) acts, depending on the desires of your theatre. The play would probably get a pg13 rating for mild language and suggestive situations; but, by modern standards it is very tame.
“…Being given an energetic and enjoyable premiere at the Dean Goss Dinner Theatre, it (The Last Resort) is a typically fast-paced, slapsticky, undemanding comedy of errors, mistaken identities and attempted infidelities. …It’s all much frantic ado about very little, of course. But it’s also all in fun, and McGregor’s script is more tightly knit than many dinner theater farces. He doesn’t specialize in one-liners a la Neil Simon, he tried to get laughs from chains of relating gags that work like falling dominoes.” – Houston Post