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

We’re thrilled to celebrate these writers and short plays during the month of June. Come back each week to read the latest offerings from local, national, and student playwrights.

Scroll to bottom for history and to read students’ work (June 1-5) from “Classes from the Masses: Session 3”.


JUNE 6, 2021

“But me out here in Rockville, what do I got?”

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CARIDAD SVICH’s plays (Red Bike, The House of the Spirits, The Book of Magdalene and more) have been seen across the US and abroad at diverse venues including Denver Center, The Woman’s Project, and Cervantes Theatre London. She received an OBIE for Lifetime Achievement and is the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latino History. Her website is https://caridadsvich.com


JUNE 7, 2021

“He fucking gave me the creeps. You saw how he was staring at me.”

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MARCUS SCOTT is a playwright, musical theatre writer & journalist. Selected works: Sibling Rivalries (finalist for ATHE’s 2021 Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award and the 2021 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; semifinalist for 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award), Tumbleweed (finalist for the 2017 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; semi-finalist for the 2017/2018 New Dramatists Princess Grace Fellowship Award), Cherry Bomb (recipient of the 2017 Drama League First Stage Artist-In-Residence) and Sundown Town (Abingdon Theatre Company’s Virtual Fall Festival Of Short Plays). His articles appeared in TimeOut New York, American Theatre Magazine, Playbill, Elle, Out, Essence, among others. Follow him: New Play Exchange.


JUNE 8, 2021

“You have to remember these students have just been through a pandemic…”

Article that inspired this piece – HERE.

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WENDY MACLEOD’s play The Laugh Track will premiere at ACT in Seattle.   The House of Yes became an award-winning Miramax film.  Other plays: Women in Jeopardy!  (GEVA Theater) and Slow Food (Merrimack Rep).  Sin (Goodman, Second Stage), Schoolgirl Figure (Goodman), The Water Children and Juvenilia (Playwrights Horizons), and Things Being What They Are (Seattle Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre).


JUNE 9, 2021

“It was the first time I presented for college classes with predominantly Asian American students.”

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ADA CHENG is a proud Artistic Affiliate at American Blues Theater. She is a professor-turned storyteller, solo performer, and storytelling show producer. She uses storytelling to engage social critiques and build intimate communities. As the producer and the host of five storytelling shows, she creates platforms for marginalized communities to tell difficult and vulnerable stories. Check out her website: www.renegadeadacheng.com


JUNE 10, 2021

“Welcome to this safe space where playwrights recovering from their complicated feelings towards actors can speak freely.”

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YUSSEF EL GUINDI recent productions include “People of the Book”; at ACT in Seattle, “The Talented Ones” at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, and “Threesome” at Portland Center Stage. Bloomsbury/ Methuen Drama recently published “The Selected Works of Yussef El Guindi.”


JUNE 11, 2021

“It’s only people like that asshole who are going out to eat now anyway. In the middle of winter, inside a restaurant, during a pandemic.

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EDITHA ROSARIO-MOORE has been 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 at DePaul. Her scholarship explores the relationship between criminal law education and community empowerment. 


JUNE 12, 2021

“…so the cut off line for accepting gigs is, ‘Do I have to forage in the wild for food?…Will I die?…Probably not? Ok! Send the contract!’ “

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PHILIP EARL JOHNSON is a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater. Other Chicago theater credits include work at Goodman Theater, Paramount Theatre, Writers Theatre, Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, TimeLine Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Bailiwick Chicago and American Theater Company (Jeff Award – The Big Meal). National tour work includes Angels in America: Parts 1 & 2. Recent television credits include Proven InnocentEmpireChicago MedChicago Fire and Mind Games. One man comedy show: MooNiE: Juggler, Ropewalker, Foolish Mortal!


JUNE 13, 2021

“It used to be – that we could get into wars for centuries.”

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FRANKY D. GONZALEZ is a playwright and TV writer (“13 Reasons Why”) splitting time between Dallas and Los Angeles. His work has been seen across the country in theatres and play development centers. Most recently he was named the 4Seasons Resident Playwright and a Core Writer for the Playwrights Center. 


JUNE 14, 2021

“There’s something about a list of names that makes me uneasy.”

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ELISABETH GIFFIN SPECKMAN’s short plays have been produced nationally and internationally. Full-length plays include CATCH/RELEASE (Henley Rose Finalist) and CLYT; OR, THE BATHTUB PLAY. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Stage It! 2: Thirty 10-Minute Plays, Best Men’s Monologues 2021 (Smith & Kraus), and several literary magazines. More info at egspeckman.com


JUNE 15, 2021

“She saw some video on her Facebook feed about it so it must me true.

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BEN F. LOCKE is a Chicago actor, director, writer, casting director and mentor. He has worked with companies throughout Chicago such as Steppenwolf, Court, Drury Lane, Random Acts Chicago, Ardent Dance Company, and more. He’s the Casting Director for both Broken Nose Theatre and The Passage Theatre. His plays can be found at The New Play Exchange.

New Play Exchange Profile- https://newplayexchange.org/users/8522/ben-f-locke

Instagram- @trickyrabbit86 Twitter- @its_locke Patreon- https://www.patreon.com/benflocke


JUNE 16, 2021

“It didn’t have to be like this.”

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KATARZYNA (KATHY) MÜLLER was born in Poland and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. English is her second language. She writes and workshops plays in Chicago and New York. She also consults on other people’s scripts across various media. Proud member of Chicago Dramatists and the Dramatists Guild.


JUNE 17, 2021

“A girl going to school should focus on one thing: her studies.”

Article that inspired this piece – HERE.

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KARISSA MURRELL MYERS (she/her/hers) is a hapa Filipino American theatre artist based in Chicago. Her playwriting credits include: autobiographical play FRAGMENTED produced by Our Perspective: Asian American Plays, and virtual play HOW DO WE NAVIGATE SPACE? filmed and produced by Strawdog Theatre Company. For more info, visit www.kmurrellmyers.com


JUNE 18, 2021

“I have no intention of continuing this charade of a life, not without you; not without you.”

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LAWRENCE DUKORE began his writing career with the Richard Pryor film, GREASED LIGHTNING, which was produced by Hanna Weinstein for Warner Bros. His television play, A MISTAKEN CHARITY was produced by Lindsay Law for PBS / American Playhouse and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for best dramatic writing. He is a member of both the HB (Herbert Berghof/Uta Hagen) Playwrights Foundation and the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Workshop. Most recently, his play, STAINED GLASS, premiered off-Broadway at the award-winning Metropolitan Playhouse. And his comedy, SUNSHINE, just had a successful 3-week run off off Broadway at Teatro LATEA.


JUNE 19, 2021

“I used to work for you… / my Mama / Grandmama / Great Grandmama too.”

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WANDACHRISTINE is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. She is an award-winning actress in film, television, theater, and voice-over artist. She wrote the novel I LOVE YOU MORE…THAN SHOES!


JUNE 20, 2021

“I am sleeping twenty hours a day.”

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STEVEN DIETZ’s recent plays include HOW A BOY FALLS, THIS RANDOM WORLD, and DRACULA: MINA’S QUEST.  He and his wife, playwright Allison Gregory, divide their time between Austin and Seattle.


JUNE 21, 2021

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I barely knew any of my neighbors.”

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ROHINA MALIK is an award-winning Chicago playwright.  Her critically acclaimed one-woman play UNVEILED has been presented at theaters across the United States.  Malik’s plays THE MECCA TALES and YASMINA’S NECKLACE were both nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play.  Malik won the 2018 Lee Reynolds Award, given annually to a woman active in any aspect of theater. rohinamalik.weebly.com


JUNE 22, 2021

“You, see, I met this gentleman online.”

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SCOTT CARTER COOPER was an invited participant in the 2020 Kennedy Center’s Playwrighting intensive and has worked closely to develop his work with Chicago Dramatists and Primary Stages.  Cooper has been featured in ten-minute festivals and readings with The Chicago Dramatists Playwrights Aloud series, Naked Angels Tuesdays @9, Cold Reads, Hot Scripts, and The Make Ready with Dandelion Theatre.  His plays have been presented internationally, domestically, and during the time of Covid, online.


JUNE 23, 2021

“Let my voice reverberate and proclaim, I will not lay down and be slain”

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WARREN LEVON is a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater. He is an actor, sound designer and sound technician.


JUNE 24, 2021

“This all started because I was really fucking unmotivated one day.”

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HEATHER MEYERS is a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater since 1996. Heather is a stage manager, director, writer and lifelong lover of reading. Thanks to family & friends for providing inspiration every day.  


JUNE 25, 2021

“I know my rights.”

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ED SHOCKLEY is an author/educator/community leader of over 70 plays. Notable works include opera Bobos, (co-authored James McBride), award-winning Bessie Smith: Empress of the Blues, stage adaption of Mildred D. Taylor’s novel Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, and Stone Mansion (director Jan Johnson-Goldberger) on Showtime and PBS.


JUNE 26, 2021

“Oh, don’t worry. I’m okay. I’m sure it will just be a restraining order…”

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RITA DRAGONETTE is a writer who, after a career telling the stories of others, has become a novelist, essayist, and salonniere. Her debut novel, The Fourteenth of September has earned multiple awards from the American Book Fest, National Indie Excellence Awards, Beverly Hills Book Awards, Readers Favorite, and the Hollywood Book Festival. www.ritadragonette.com


JUNE 27, 2021

“Y’all know Miss Rona tried to have us locked in, locked down, and masked up!”

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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, the Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Fremont Centre Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, the BE Company, American Blues Theater, and Kansas City’s own Barn Theater. 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’s an associate professor at the University of Kansas.


JUNE 28, 2021

“I think you’re being a weak-ass pretending to be happy when we both know there isn’t one damn thing to be happy about–“

Article that inspired this piece – HERE.

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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, Playwright in Residence at Indiana Repertory Theatre, and proud to be an Artistic Affiliate with American Blues.  He lives in Los Angeles.  he/him/his


JUNE 29, 2021

“You’re never going to believe me.”

Event that inspired this piece – HERE.

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ERIC BERG has performed at the Goodman Theatre, studied under Del Close, and founded the Purple Crayon of Yale, an improvisational troupe. His two-act drama, “Role Play,” was produced by the Organic Theatre, and his screenplays and t.v. pilots have finaled in numerous national contests. Eric resides Chicago.


JUNE 30, 2021

“How do u wear whiteness? / Heavy as a winter coat? / Light as a summer shawl? /

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TANIA RICHARD will appear in School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play at The Goodman Theatre in July. She has performed on Broadway, with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Court Theatre, The Second City, among others. She is currently the producer and host of Tania’s Take: race, culture and the culture of race. Tania is an Antiracism Educator and has led antiracism training for Fortune 500 Companies, tech start-ups, non-profit organizations, universities, theatres and Presidential Campaigns. Her video series A Minute on Racism is on Facebook. She’s a published author and an award-winning playwright. She has appeared on Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice, Chicago PD, Empire, Proven Innocent, The Chi, Work in Progress as well as multiple commercials. Tania has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Story, OUT CHICAGO, The Chicago Tribune and on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight speaking on issues of culture, race, equity and inclusion. www.taniarichard.com. For original essays, antiracism educational content, pop culture deep dives and comedy join Tania at Buy Me A Coffee.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 1, 2021

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

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McKENNZIE BOYD has loved theatre and writing since she could remember. She enjoys using her writing to aid and advocate in social justice in the Black community. She is currently a freshman at The Latin School of Chicago, soon entering her 5th year there, as a 15-year-old, she found her love for acting and playwriting after being in groups such as The Viola Project. She is very honored to have this opportunity.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 2, 2021

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

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SILVIE WYLDE loves to write short stories and really loved her first experience writing a play with American Blues Theater. Her experience spawned other works, including a short piece on how she ended the evil Coronavirus with hand sanitizer. She is finishing second grade and looks forward to a summer of writing, roller-blading, and swimming.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 3, 2021

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

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EDWARD BERBER – my name is Edward and my friends call me ewa. I’m in 8th grade and 13 about to be 14. I like bike riding and being in plays and I’ll be going to Alcott for 9th grade.

JULIE GUTIERREZ – my name is Julianne but everyone calls me Julie. I am 14 years old. I really enjoy participating in plays and writing them also. And I’m soon to graduate from 8th grade and I’ll be going to Schurz.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 4, 2021

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

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My name is EMILY MORENO, I am 10 years old. I really enjoy acting and making my own stories, acting feels like it’s my passion! I also like rollerskating and in my free time and I love playing with my dog and my cat. I love learning and trying new things.


STUDENT WEEK: JUNE 5, 2021

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

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RIVER LUNA VIETS-STREL is 9.5 years old and lives in Chicago, IL with their family and pets.  They are supposedly in 4th grade but with the pandemic, who knows anymore? When they are not losing themselves on the internet with things like Roblox, Minecraft, Tik Tok and YouTube, they love to go thrift store shopping and create new fashion looks. They also enjoy going to Marshall’s with their Mom to mock the Rae Dunn merchandise.  Their interpretation of “Live, Laugh, Love” is amazing.  River is grateful for the opportunities American Blues Theater has given them this year.


History of The Ripped Festival

Chicago’s Original – Est. 2009

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”. Since our inaugural 2009 launch, we’ve presented 21 events and utilized 610+ artists that feature short plays ripped from today’s headlines.

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, including “The Lincoln Project” in Chicago Public Schools. In addition, we showcase short plays from CPS students who’ve completed our course.

Due to the 2020-2021 pandemic and industry shutdown of live events, we presented The Ripped Festival as an online library, featuring 30 short plays throughout the month of June. Selected scripts were used during a theater course at the University of California – Berkeley.

Our annual festival cultivates new material and allows audiences to discuss topical issues together. American Blues Theater provides community service and raises awareness through creative collaborations. The following organizations have been supported by Ripped events since its inception in 2009: AgrAbility, American Indian Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Farm Bureau, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, No Kid Hungry, University of Chicago’s Urban Education Teachers Program, and more.


Buy Ripped merchandise HERE
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