Read 30 short plays inspired and ripped from today’s headlines in our online script library.

HISTORY – Our Ripped: The Living Newspaper Project began in 2009 with a series of staged readings of short plays based on the 1930s WPA era program “The Living Newspaper” that brought Orson Welles, Arthur Miller, and Clifford Odets into public attention. Since our inaugural 2009 launch, we’ve presented 20 events and utilized 580+ artists.

In 2013, we expanded our staged readings into the sold-out, one-night-only, annual event – The Ripped Festival. All proceeds of these annual events benefit our free arts education program “The Lincoln Project” in Chicago Public Schools. In addition, we showcase short plays from CPS students who’ve completed our course.

Due to the pandemic, we’ve moved our annual benefit performance to next year and provide an online script library now. We invite you to join American Blues Theater and our writers in supporting NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Chicago Community Bond Fund, No Kid Hungry, or another charity of your choosing.

We’re thrilled to celebrate short plays during the month of June. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to read the students’ work (June 1-7). Professional writers and artists are featured June 8-30 below.

We express our gratitude to all the artists who generously donated their time and talent to this collection.

Theater can not exist without story.


June 8, 2020

Quote: “I’ve been sick for 27 days and counting.”

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Tania Richard most recently seen in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play at the Goodman Theatre (previously onstage in A Christmas Carol). Chicago credits: Windy City Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre, Court Theatre, The Second City, Fleetwood Jourdain, Chicago Dramatists, and American Theater Company. Broadway: Portland Center Stage, The Kennedy Center. For more information, visit taniarichard.com, her podcast Tania’s Take, and her blog Writing My Mind.


June 9, 2020

Special permission from playwright to share again; first presented at The Ripped Festival, May 2016.

Quote: “I had a son. His name was Tamir.”

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Larissa FastHorse is an award-winning playwright, director, choreographer and performer based in Santa Monica.  Larissa was awarded the PEN/USA Literary Award for Drama, NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, Joe Dowling Annamaghkerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, and numerous Ford and NEA Grants.  For more information, visit hoganhorsestudio.com.


June 10, 2020

Quote: “Your beguiling words will not work on us, Greta Thunberg.”

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Bret Angelos has been an attorney for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for over 20 years. He’s also a writer. In Chicago his work has been performed at the City Lit Theater Art of Adaptation Festival and numerous editions of the American Blues Theater’s Ripped: The Living Newspaper Festival. Bret’s play American Whoknew was a semi-finalist in the American Blues Theater’s 2020 “Blue Ink Playwriting Award” competition.  Please check out American Whoknew on the New Play Exchange.


June 11, 2020

Quote: “They can’t do that. This is a prison. In the US. That’s illegal.”

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Minita Gandhi is a writer/actor/activist/healer most known for her critically acclaimed solo-show MUTHALAND (nominated for Best New Work and Best Solo Performance in 2018 by the Joseph Jefferson Awards). Representation: Samara Harris, Robert Freedman Agency. For more information, visit minitagandhi.com. Instagram/Twitter: @minitagandhi


June 12, 2020

Quote: “Why do we force people to evacuate before a wildfire?”

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Samuel Kuhns has a strong passion for creating theater. Though his focus is acting, he is always excited to learn about and try his hand in other areas of theater. He loves the Great Outdoors.


June 13, 2020

Special permission from playwright to share again; first presented at The Ripped Festival, May 2015.

Quote: “I lost my freedom the moment you asked me to lose my accent.”

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Wandachristine has starred in “Fences”, “The Vagina Monologues”, “Gees Bend”, “Old Settler”, and “A Wonder In My Soul” just to name a few.  In the acclaimed American Blues Theater production, “Beauty’s Daughter”, she received the Ruby Dee/Black Theater Alliance Award for her solo performance.  She recently toured in Dani Gurira of Black Panther and Walking Dead’s production of “Familiar”. Her novel “I LOVE YOU MORE…THAN SHOES!”  can be purchased on Amazon here. To all her friends, she’s known as…“The Woman Who Can Do It All”!


June 14, 2020

Quote: “Although I didn’t know it at the time, that was my last outing for 2 months.”

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Heather Meyers: A proud ensemble member of American Blues Theater since 1996, where she has directed for every RIPPED and Blue Ink Festival. Other directing credits include: In Their Own Words (Vet Art Project), Something Wicked This Way Comes (Bradbury Carnegie Center) and several readings at Chicago Dramatists (highlights: Hungry Ghosts, Itch Loves Louie, Invisible Therapy, Double Helix).


June 15, 2020

Special permission from playwright to share again; first presented in The Ripped Festival, May 2014.

Quote: “You didn’t get where you are by being nice.”

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Kristoffer Diaz is a playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and educator. His play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity premiered at Victory Gardens and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. He teaches playwriting at New York University.


June 16, 2020

Quote: “Mommy has learned that her favorite part of the day was actually my commute.”

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Christina Telesca’s plays have been produced at American Blues Theater, The Public Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Luna Stage, Centralworks Theatre Company, Hangar Theatre, Prospect Theatre Company, Summer Play Festival, Stageworks/Hudson, and Samuel French Short Play Festival.  Her plays have been developed/presented at Alley Theatre, Geva Theatre, New Harmony Project, and others.


June 17, 2020

Quote: “Figured you’d be up to speed on our little community – ‘specially since you hope to represent us.”

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Gloria Bond Clunie is an award-winning playwright, director and educator.  She is the founding Artistic Director of Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago’s Regional Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater where her plays North Star, Living Green and Shoes premiered. Awards include a Chicago Jeff, Theodore Ward African-American Playwriting Prizes, Dramatist Guild, NEA and Illinois Arts Council Fellowships and the Evanston Mayor’s Award for the Arts.


June 18, 2020

Quote: “Kevin suddenly remembered his mom has an immune system.”

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Richard Conlon has written over forty plays (11 produced, 2 published, 10+ awards), including “7 Minutes to Live” (Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist), “One Time” (record-breaking run at Next Act Theatre), and “The Volitive Effect of Oral Literary Inundation on the LSTM Recurrent Neural Network” (First Prize Winner, 2017 Stonybrook University Science Playwriting Award). Email: RichardLyonsConlon@gmail.com. New Play Exchange page. facebook.com/RichardLyonsConlon


June 19, 2020

Quote: “We are here to start the Revolution!”

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Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about 20 minutes east of Vancouver. He resides there with his 3 children Danessa, Marlysse, and Jace. Joseph is the Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Center. Joseph received a Diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He has just completed his residency as the Storyteller in Residence at the Vancouver Public Library. He sits on a committee for the Canadian Museum of History and is tasked with consulting on the redesign of the new Children’s Museum. He has published 13 books of poetry and the latest are: I WANT by Leaf Press (2015) and HEAR AND FORETELL by BookLand Press (2015) The Rumour (2018) by BookLand Press in (2018) SH:LAM (the doctor) Mawenzi Press (2019) The Corrupted by Guernica Press (2020) his children’s play: Th’owixiya: the hungry Feast dish by Playwrights Press Canada (2019) his book of short stories and short plays for children: The Sasquatch, the fire, and the cedar basket will be published by Nightwood Press along with his poetry manuscript: Here we come (2020-21) He also is very busy Storytelling at many events and Schools.


June 20, 2020

Quote: “It would appear that everyone is here and/or queer.”

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Scriptly speaking, Allison Fradkin creates satirically scintillating stories that have been presented as readings and productions nationwide, and around town at New American Folk Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre, Pride Films & Plays, and Otherworld Theatre. An enthusiast of inclusivity and accessibility, Allison acts as Literary Manager of Violet Surprise Theatre, curating new works by queer women; and serves as Dramatist for Special Gifts Theatre, adapting scripts for actors of all abilities. To experience “I Love Lezzie” loud and queer, please follow along with this footage of its staged reading, directed by Iris Sowlat, at https://youtu.be/OckId1VCGLg. To know news that’s good news, please report to allisonfradkin.blogspot.com.


June 21, 2020

Quote: “I don’t want to sound morbid, but the world might soon need a new generation.”

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A member of the Dramatists Guild, J. Weintraub has had dramatic work produced throughout the world. He has published fiction, essays, translations, and poetry in all sorts of literary places and his annotated translation of Eugène Briffault’s Paris à table: 1846 was recently published by Oxford University Press. Website: https://jweintraub.weebly.com/


June 22, 2020

Quote: “…this wasn’t the first time my Blackness was an issue.”

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When not on stage or on the screen, Gregory D. Hicks is at home raising his beautiful children, Olivia and Noah. You can find more of his work on his: Youtube channel, Instagram page, and Facebook page.


June 23, 2020

Quote: “That last sentence, ‘we have decided not to make a scene,’ hit me hard.”

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Ada Cheng is a professor-turned storyteller, solo performer, and storytelling show producer. She produces four storytelling shows and creates platforms for people to tell vulnerable stories as well as for communities who may not have the opportunities otherwise.  Check out her work at: www.renegadeadacheng.com.


June 24, 2020

Quote: “–and I really do mean 78 attempts: my phone’s ‘call history’ shows how many times I called the unemployment help-line on this Sunday morning…”

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James Still‘s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa, China and Japan.  Four-time Pulitzer nominee, five-time Emmy nominee, and honored to be an Affiliated Artist with American Blues.  He is the Playwright in Residence at Indiana Repertory Theatre and lives in Los Angeles.  he/him/his


June 25, 2020

Special permission from playwright to share again; first presented in The Ripped Festival, May 2017.

Quote: “what we got in this world if not each other?”

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Caridad Svich received the 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement 2018-2019 NNPN Rolling World Premiere for RED BIKE. Her play USHUAIA BLUE will receive world premiere at Contemporary American Theatre Festival in 2021. Visit her https://caridadsvich.com


June 26, 2020

Quote: “You turned a beautiful thing into a, into a fuckin’ pile of shit.”

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Katarzyna (Kathy) Müller was born in Poland and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. She writes and workshops plays in Chicago and New York. She also consults on other people’s scripts across various media. She is a proud member of Chicago Dramatists.


June 27, 2020

Quote: “What you ain’t gonna do is police my language.”

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Manny Buckley is a proud ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is the recipient of both a Black Theatre Alliance and Black Excellence Award as an actor. He’s an award-winning teaching artist, playwright and acting coach. Mr. Buckley recently starred in The Brothers Size at Steppenwolf.


June 28, 2020

Quote: “What do you think I think?”

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Editha Rosario is a proud ensemble member of American Blues Theater since 2001, and currently serves on the board. She works as an appellate public defender and clinical law professor. Her legal scholarship focuses on the intersection of criminal justice and secondary education.


June 29, 2020

Quote: “We are not having my grandfather’s funeral in Animal Crossing.”

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Amy Crider got her BA in theater from Goddard College.  After getting a comedy writing certificate from Second City, she began studying at Chicago Dramatists in 2010.  Her website is www.amycrider.com.  Her podcast is Continuous Dream, at www.continuousdream.com, and it’s also on Apple Podcasts.


June 30, 2020

Quote: “I’ma work a root on this boy.”

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Darren Canady is a proud Ensemble member at American Blues Theater. His work has been seen at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre, the Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Freemont Centre Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, the BE Company, American Blues Theater, KC Rep, and London’s Old Vic Theatre. Darren is an alum of Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, and the Juilliard School. He is a former member of Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New Writers Group, the T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange, and the America-In-Play theatre collective. He currently teaches playwriting at the University of Kansas.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 1, 2020

Enrolled in “Classes for the Masses: 10-Minute Plays for Teens & Kids”.

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OLIVIA RUIZ is a senior in high school and has performed in over 35 theatrical productions. She has worked with Gulfport Little Theater, Center Stage Theater, and WINGS Theater. She is excited to be able share her first play, and thankful for the opportunity to shine the light on such an important topic.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 2, 2020

Enrolled in “Classes for the Masses: 10-Minute Plays for Teens & Kids”.

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MAHOGANNY is 10 years old. “I’m in 4th grade and I have 4 pets and 4 brothers. My favorite color is yellow. My favorite food is Melona Bars. I like acting and writing plays. My favorite musical is Hamilton.”


 STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 3, 2020

Enrolled in “Classes for the Masses: 10-Minute Plays for Teens & Kids”.

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RIVER LUNA VIETS-STREL is 8 years old and lives with her Mom, Dad, two brothers, 3 cats, 1 dog and some fish. She is grateful for the opportunity to work on a play and is inspired to do more writing. She wishes she had a treehouse. And a pool.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 4, 2020

WINNER OF 2019-2020 “THE LINCOLN PROJECT” AWARD FOR BEST CPS STUDENT PLAY

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Students’ Names: Camila Bautista, Alfredo Galicia, Metzli Hernandez Villalba, Ana Lopez Alcantar, Chriz Perez, & Noah Salinas
School: McPherson Elementary School
Neighborhood: Ravenswood
Grade: 8th grade
Teacher: Mrs. McCarthy
Note from Teacher: “These students, while disappointed that their graduation activities look very different than they expected, are still busy addressing issues facing young people and really all of us. During remote learning they have created messages to support community  understanding and participation of the Census as well as keeping their community safe during this pandemic.”


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 5, 2020

WINNER OF 2019-2020 “THE LINCOLN PROJECT” AWARD FOR BEST CPS STUDENT PLAY.

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Students’ Names: Hali Rentas, Brianna Cordoba, & Casandra Munoz
School: George Washington Elementary School
Neighborhood: East Side
Grade: 7th grade
Teacher: Cheryl Strus
Note from Teacher: “[Their work on this script] is amazing to me.”


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 6, 2020

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Student’s Name: Eduardo Garcia-Hernandez
School: Hampton Elementary School
Neighborhood: Ashburn
Grade: 7th grade
Teacher: Ms. Gates


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 7, 2020

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Students’ Names: Gael Munoz, Lizbeth Nunez, Natalie Rioja, & Xavier Robles
School: Linne Elementary School
Neighborhood: Avondale
Grade: 8th grade
Teacher: John Benetti
Note from Teacher: “This was a true passion project. Their writing process included lots or arguing, but they think the result was worth it!”


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