Plays and Bio

THIS FIRST PART OF THIS PARTICULAR PAGE IS ABOUT THE PLAYS OF CHRISTOPHER COLLINS.
THE LAST PART OF THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE BIOGRAPHY AND VITA OF COLLINS.

Christopher Collins has written twenty-six plays; thirteen of them are currently available for performance.  If you’re interested in having your group perform one (or more) of them, please send an email to the address below.  

Collins: “The plays were written at various times in my life. They illustrate my different levels of maturity during different times.  Some are psychological dramas, some are pure comedies, some are controversial, some are disturbing, one is a musical, and all of them are a bit quirky.  Each show below has a cast breakdown, the type of play it is, and a short synopsis.”  

  • THE SCRIPTS OF THE FOLLOWING PLAYS WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE VIA PONDERLAKE PUBLISHING.
  • THE HARDCOPY SCRIPTS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ON AMAZON.COM. 
  • THE PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ARE PROMOTED BY _____ AND CAN BE OBTAINED BY CONTACTING COLLINS AT THE MAIL BELOW.

EMAIL: mrchriscollins@hotmail.com

THE PLAYS:
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Pariah

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama/Quirky/Surreal
9 Males/5 Females

In the small resort town of Lake Shiloh, it’s not the town oddballs that are the pariahs; it’s the few relatively normal people who are socially ostracized from the majority of freaks and misfits. A problem arises, though, when the likable Manny starts getting too much attention for his visions of the future and Hannah gets a bit “too bold” just by being herself. The locals come out of the woodwork and eventually force a crisis for both Manny and Hannah. Life cannot continue in the new status quo, so in Lake Shiloh, something has to give.

Approximately 110 minutes.
Winner of the 2006 Texas Educational Theatre Association Playwriting Contest: Texas Resident

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Calling the Shots

by L. Christopher Collins

Dark Comedy/Sarcastic/Crime Comedy

7 Males/5 Females/3 Either

Charlie Bagley, the mayor of a large city, is well-loved, but has a hard time keeping his sarcasm to himself. But he is far from unmatched; his wife, Dana, keeps up every step, and their ex-con butler isn’t far behind. When the mayor’s daughter, known for her lax morals and lack of discretion, brings home yet another boyfriend, the audience gets the sense something isn’t right, especially when all the cinema posters in the city are being filled with bullets. Add a next-door neighbor with multiple personalities, an egocentric movie star couple, a visit from the eccentric mayor of Dusseldorf, Germany with her energetic, narcoleptic, son, and the appearance of a popular handgun, and nobody knows how it will end, except for the playwright, of course.

Approximately 70 minutes

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Damascus

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama/Controversial

51 Male Characters/28 Female Characters—Can be Played by as FEW as 9 Males/6 Females (With Actors Playing Multiple Roles)

In this drama that’s a bit too close to current events, Caleb Martinez, grandson of the infamous leader of the Elect Street Church, known for its anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-American, and anti-military rants (as well as protesting the funerals of American soldiers) struggles with becoming his own man, in his role as both lawyer and New York actor, trying to break free of the bonds of his past. However, the task is harder than he realizes. As he fights to establish his own identity in his modern, urban life, the audience is given insight into the history of the church and of Caleb’s much-hated, powerful grandfather, the Reverend Jeremiah Coffee–including all the steps that have led him to his controversial stances. Jeremiah pushes to exert control over his grandson and his “kingdom,” but Caleb learns that dignity, integrity, and even faith itself doesn’t have to come from the package presented by his grandfather or even the philosophies dictated to him by those in his professional circles. He stands up, but is it too late—for everyone?

Warning: This play deals overtly, yet delicately, with very controversial themes. Some are offended at the discussion of topics concerning modern life such as anti-American sentiments, sexuality, religion, politics, and deceit; others are offended at the discussion of forgiveness and grace.

Full Length: 165 minutes—Can be cut for time (with playwright’s permission)
One-Act Cutting: 35-50 minutes. (Open for discussion)
Has been performed as a 40-minute cutting for Texas UIL One-Act Play Contest.

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Mrs. Birdsong’s Second Death

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama/Suspense

7 Males / 8 Females/2 Either /1 Off-stage Female Voice

The audience witnesses important moments in the life of Evelyn Hall Webber, a well-to-do real estate agent who collects plants from people’s funerals, names them after the deceased, and cares for them in a living shrine. As we travel back and forth to observe important days in her life, we meet Mrs. Louise Birdsong, Evelyn’s former art teacher whom Evelyn secretly blames for ruining her life. Mrs. Birdsong was supposed to have died years earlier in a horrific accident, but as her plant namesake is still alive, we find that Birdsong is, too—that is until Evelyn discovers the cover up. How much longer will it be until Mrs. Birdsong’s second death?

Approximately 80 minutes

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Fish Tank

by L. Christopher Collins

Comedy/Farce/One-Act

4 Males/5 Females

When Margaret tells Allison, her carefree cousin/housemate, about her unexpectedly rough day, she has no idea that it has all followed her home to make for an unusual evening. Starting with a visit from their eccentric aunt who brings a tag-along blind hitchhiker, the evening evolves into a revolving door of Margaret’s ex and his new wife, a stalker who happens to be a clumsy nerd, Margaret’s new boss, and her bipolar secretary. As the events untangle themselves one by one, both Margaret and Allison find the end of their evening more pleasant than they started it—and maybe enriched with a few surprises.

Approximately 45 minutes

Has been performed as a 40-minute cutting for Texas UIL One-Act Play Contest.

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Others Pretend

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama

4 Males/4 Females, Most in Dual Roles

Patronizing a meat market in 1978, Helen Butler, a retired school teacher, pulls everyone present back to the café of the early 1930’s where her prominent family, thriving during the East Texas Oil Boom, were better off than most other families during the Great Depression. Helen relives the betrayal at the hands of her family and her calculated revenge that protected her dignity. As she brings us back to the 1970’s, we witness a surprising glimpse of reconciliation and a chance at peace.

Approximately 100 minutes.
Has been performed as a 40-minute cutting for Texas UIL One-Act Play Contest.

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Granite

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama/Christian/ Religion/Existence/Friendship

2 Males

Tommy and Logan make a midnight trip to the gravesite of their best friend on the fifth anniversary of his death. While there, they discuss the life of their friend, the nature of existence, and the possibility of an afterlife. At the end, they realize they have to face the truth that there is sometime more to this earthly life and that the answers may very well lie within something they’ve been purposefully ignoring for years.

Note: This play addresses meaning in life and illustrates that meaning can be found ultimately in God.

Approximately 25-30 minutes

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Thorn in the Flesh

by L. Christopher Collins

Suspense/Crime/Psychological Drama

14 Males/5 Females

A play with the mood of a Hitchcock film or a Poe short story, Thorn in the Flesh is the story of one fateful night when an addiction group under the leadership of a counselor named Sam meets for therapy. Among the group are people dealing with violence issues, self-image issues, food and chemical addictions, mental issues, and various phobias. However, on this one night, new people have been assigned to the group by a local judge and, in an unusual turn of events, and much to the chagrin of the group members, the judge also invites an award-winning reporter to the session. Before all can be sorted out, the judge himself arrives, and in an unusual turn of events, the people present find their ailments transforming as they learn what they all have in common and where all their pasts had crossed once before.

Approximately 100 minutes

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The Moon Lies Fair

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama

5 Males/6 Females/ 1 Offstage Female Voice

Reno has a lot going for him. He’s popular, he’s charming, he has great friends, he’s a successful artist, and he owns a nice home. However, when he learns he has terminal testicular cancer, his whole world comes crashing down on him. On top of that, he is visited by his cold, selfish family who squanders their last chance to make amends. Filled with colorful characters and loving hearts, The Moon Lies Fair, whose title is an allusion to Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach,” explores what it means to face one’s own mortality and what it means to come face-to-face with the mortality of those we love. A testament to true friendship, this play shows that family shouldn’t always be defined by blood.

Note: This play deals with sensitive topics, from which it never hides, but they are addressed in an extremely professional, delicate, and respectable manner.

Approximately 100 minutes

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And the Evening and the Morning Were the Seventh Day

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama

8 Males/8 Females

Rather than several different scenes occurring at several different places at the same time, And the Evening and the Morning Were the Seventh Day occurs at several different times, but all within the same small park. The audience witnesses events simultaneously playing out at the same location, but because of the temporal variance, the characters are unaware of no time but their own. In a series of events vaguely reminiscent of Thorton’s Grover’s Corners, we watch as important events play out at numerous times during the characters’ lives. Poignant, but direct, Seventh Day pulls at the heartstrings and reminds us of the importance of our choices and the significance of each fleeting day.

Approximately 65 minutes

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Places

by L. Christopher Collins

Musical

16 Males/20 Females—Parts can be doubled up—carefully

Evan is a high school theatre director to a great group of kids. In their state, the annual theatre competition consists of the students writing, directing, and performing their own show, and this year’s category is “the musical.” After a great deal of discussion, dealing with each other’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, they decide to write a high school musical about a group of high school kids writing and directing a high school musical. In essence, a performance of Places is a high school musical about a high school putting on a musical about a group of kids writing and putting on a high school musical. It may seem confusing, but it all works out. With a bit of romance, a smidgeon of villainy, and a lot of spirit, all ends well: it IS a musical, right?

Note: This play IS indeed a full-fledged musical, and it was performed a few years ago with a full cast. All the lyrics are in the script, but I do not have the sheet music written out yet. I do, however, have all the songs with piano recordings on MP3’s. Those interested in performing this show would be taking on a major task, but it is a fun, fun show, and I will help in any way possible.

Approximately 130 minutes.

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Aardvarks, Hillbillies, and an Angel Nearby

by L. Christopher Collins

Christmas/Christian/Quirky

5 Males / 3 Females

On Christmas Eve 1943, a big-city reporter and his girlfriend find themselves lost, on-foot somewhere in backwoods America, where they come upon an eccentric family who has forbidden their children to be exposed to the origins of Christmas and of all religious teaching. Filled with odd characters and big laughs, this Christmas comedy explores the faith behind the reason for Christmas.

Warning: this play is not a traditional Christmas drama and will likely appeal to those with a slightly different sense of humor.

Approximately 50 minutes.

 

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Always There

by L. Christopher Collins

Drama/Surrealism/Modern Morality Play

7 Males /4 Females/1 Either

Eddie Roster wakes up disoriented and discovers his current state under the direction and care of a strange individual akin to an odd game-show host. During the course of the show, he is visited by random people from his past, mostly those to whom he had done wrong or by whom he had been wronged. As the play comes to a close, Eddie realizes that he is creating his own version of “This Is Your Life” just as he confirms that he is hearing the voice of a medical professional trying to pull his mind back into reality.  

Approximately 45 minutes.

 

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L. Christopher Collins is a veteran teacher, director, actor, playwright, pianist, singer, columnist, and education specialist who lives in Northeast Texas. He is also the founder and artistic director of StageLands, a small, independent “theatre community” group in North Texas. He has written over twenty-five plays, directed over seventy-five plays, has performed at over 100 weddings, and has taught over twenty-five years. He has won several awards, including the TETA Texas playwriting award, the Young Audiences of Northeast Texas “Distinguished Service to the Profession Award,” and the Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

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PROFESSIONAL VITA

L. Christopher Collins

mrchriscollins@hotmail.com ______________________________________________________________________________

Professional Experience

Teacher/Coordinator of Academic UIL/Director of Theatre/UIL OAP/GT Specialist
June 2014-present
and
Teacher/Director of Theatre/UIL OAP/Fine Arts Chair/GT Specialist
August 2003-July 2013
Rains High School, Emory, Texas
• Taught Theatre I, II, III, IV, Theatre Production, GT/Advanced Academic Studies, and much more • Direct/produce several shows per year, provide students opportunities to be involved with or to attend many shows per year, assist students in pursuing higher education goals (especially in theatre), coordinate fine arts (especially theatre) activities with the community, promote, facilitate, monitor, and produce the fine arts program at Rains High School

Teacher/Director of Theatre/UIL OAP/Academic UIL Coordinator
August 2013-June 2014
Chapel Hill High School, Tyler, Texas •
Taught Theatre I, II, III, IV, Technical Theatre I, II, III, IV, Theatre Production • Directed/produced several shows per year, provide students opportunities to be involved with or to attend many shows per year, assisted students in pursuing higher education goals (especially in theatre), coordinated all academic UIL activities at Chapel Hill High School

Private Consultant
August 2003-present
Self-Employed — Conduct various workshops for many schools or for groups of schools
Workshops include Acting, Set Design, Playwriting, Improv, Writing, Differentiation, GT basics, Advanced GT Studies, Model United Nations Security Council Prep, and more.

Curriculum Specialist/Education Consultant
June 1999-August 2003
Region VII Education Service Center, Kilgore, Texas
• Worked in a variety of capacities including writing and language arts consultant, socialstudies consultant, fine-arts contact, coach of the Advancement Via Individual Determination project, and consultant for gifted and talented education. • Responsible for developing and presenting workshops for educators, providing technical assistance for districts and/or individual teachers—especially preparatory assistance for state auditory visits, managing direct student seminars such as Model United Nations, promoting public relations through a variety of sources such as web sites, brochures, direct contact, and numerous written avenues.

Instructor of English
August 1992-July 1999
Panola College, Carthage, Texas/Center, Texas
• Worked as a part-time/adjunct instructor of English: at least one or two sections each semester. • Taught Freshman English, “Major British Writers Before 1800,” and “Major British Writers After 1800.”

Teacher
August 1997-May 1999
Gary Independent School District, Gary, Texas
• Worked as a full-time teacher of music, English, and drama. • Taught all-level music (Kindergarten through twelfth-grade music and choir). • Taught English and reading courses, co-directed One-Act Play, and sponsored several U.I. L. events. • Fulfilled many other responsibilities as required.

Teacher
August 1994-June 1997
Timpson Independent School District, Timpson, Texas
• Worked as a full-time teacher of English, Spanish, and choir. • Taught English to eleventh and twelfth graders. Taught Honors English and fulfilled many other responsibilities, including U.I.L. events.

Instructor
August 1992-December 1993
Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas
• Worked as a full-time instructor of English. • Taught four sections of Freshman English each regular semester.

Graduate Teaching Assistant/Instructor
August 1990-May 1992
Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas
• Worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. • Was personally responsible for teaching two sections of Freshman English each semester for four semesters.

Education

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Master of Arts (August 1992)
Major: English
Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas (GPA: 3.70)

Bachelor of Arts (May 1990)
Majors: English and History
Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas (Graduated cum laude)

Associate of Science
(May 1988)
Panola Junior College, Carthage, Texas (GPA: 3.95—Valedictorian/Distinguished Graduate)

Master’s Thesis: “Hypocrisy and Redemption in Selected Works of Flannery O’Connor”

I Have Received Numerous Specialized Trainings Through the Years
I Have Developed/Presented Numerous Workshops/Seminars Through the Years

Additional Activities

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• Have Hosted OAP Spring Break Clinics
o Average of twelve to fourteen schools who attend.
o Various Clinicians I’ve Hired/Hosted: Luis Munoz, Ezekiel Morgan, Travis Poe, Perry Crafton, Pam Mercer McWilliams, and Kathy Barber

• Developer, Scenario/Curriculum Writer, Annual Facilitator of Region 7 Model United Nations’ Active Security Council Sessions/Meetings
o Co-creator/Developer of the Current Two-Day Intensive World Crisis Security Council for the Annual Student Simulation o Write Layers of Scenarios Based on Current World Events o Lead Students Through Real and Fictionalized Scenarios o Guide Students Through the Process of Real-World Political, Cultural, and Fiscal Problem Solving

• Host/Teach Various Student Day-Long Clinics/Camps (for several schools)
o Improvisation, Acting, Theatre Jumpstart, etc.

• Served on Board of Governors: Lake Country Playhouse, Mineola, Texas (2007-2011)
o Helped Manage the Business of the Community Theatre (every aspect–from financial to public relations to productions)
o Directed Shows at the Playhouse

• Served as Theatre Representative on the Region 7 Fine Arts Advisory Panel (2003-2016)
o Developed and presented various workshops and seminars about theatre to teachers throughout the Region/area. o Helped plan strategies for the promotion of fine arts and the training of teachers •

Served as Representative on the Region 7 Gifted and Talented Advisory Panel (2003-2011)
o Helped the cadre promote and explain gifted education for our schools in the Region
o Developed strategies to allow “GT kids” to be successful

• Playwright o Author of approximately twenty-four plays
o Three of my plays have been accepted/produced at UIL competition
o My play “Pariah” was the 2006 TETA Playwriting Winner for Texas Resident Drama
o One of the scripts is a full musical (wrote book, lyrics, and music)

• Other Writing Experience:
o Weekly columnist for East Texas Press
o Columns, Film Reviews, Songwriter, Poet, etc.

• Pianist and Vocalist

• Recent Acting Experience
o Various Commercials
o Evan Brighton in Places! (RHS)
o Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (LCP)
o Buddy in Sondheim’s Follies (LCP)
o Cladwell in Urinetown (RHS)
o Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (RHS)

• A List of Some of the Plays I Have Directed in Recent Years:
o Much Ado About Nothing
o Damascus
o Les Miserables
o Macbeth
o The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged
o Alice in Wonderland
o The Love of the Nightingale
o You Can’t Take It With You
o Almost, Maine
o Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
o Arsenic and Old Lace
o Epic Proportions!
o Big River o Places!
o 33 Variations
o The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon
o Paganini
o The Kentucky Cycle: Fire in the Hole
o Dearly Departed
o South Pacific
o On Golden Pond
o The Actor’s Nightmare
o The Marriage of Bette and Boo
o Urinetown
o Our Town
o Oklahoma!
o Black Angel
o Moon Over Buffalo
o Hamlet
o Twelfth Night
o Little Shop of Horrors
o Rhinoceros
o Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
o Pariah
o Picasso at the Lapin Agile
o Shadow Box
o The Crucible

Honors, Awards, and Organizations

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o WINNER—Young Audiences of Northeast Texas/Distinguished Service to the Profession Award—2016
o Winner—State Farm Insurance Kindness Award—“Kindest Teacher in RISD”—2016
o WINNER—KENNEDY CENTER/Stephen Sondheim 2012 Inspirational Teacher Award
o Honoree—Rains County and City of Emory, Texas: Official Recognition of May 5, 2012 as “Christopher Collins Day” for the county and city; awarded honorary citizenship in Rains County (Via County Judge, Commissioners’ Court, Mayor, and City Council proclamation)
o Nominee—Region 7 Secondary Teacher of the Year: 2012
o Nominee—Texas Educational Theatre Association Secondary Teacher of the Year: 2012
o Nominee—Texas Educational Theatre Association Secondary Teacher of the Year: 2010
o Member—Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA)
o Nominee—Region 7 Secondary Teacher of the Year: 2009
o Outstanding Play: LCP 2008 Season—On Golden Pond (Director)
o State Winner—2006 TETA Playwriting Winner for Texas Resident Drama: “Pariah”
o Nominee—Texas Exes Award for Outstanding Teachers: 2006
o Nominee—UIL Teacher Award: 2006
o Recipient, Stephen F. Austin State University Student Government Association’s Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year 1991-92
o Member, Phi Theta Kappa (The International Honor Society for Two-Year Colleges)
o Member, Alphi Chi (The International Honor Society for Universities)
o Member, Sigma Tau Delta (The International English Honor Society)
o President of local chapter 1991-92
o Vice President of local chapter 1990-91
o Chairman, Sigma Tau Delta High School Writing Contest: Ten-County Area 1990-91, 1991-92
o Recipient, Distinguished Honor Graduate Award, Panola Junior College 1988

References: Available upon request.