Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency, Inc.
1501 Broadway, Suite 2310
New York, New York 10036
Alan Goodson is a playwright, translator of plays, lyricist, actor, and director based in Los Angeles, and has been a Dramatists Guild member since 1996. His first play, Morgenstern in Vienna, was enthusiastically received in readings at Ensemble Studio Theatre/L.A., then selected for presentation in staged readings at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre’s New Play Festival in 2015, and is now a finalist for the 2016 Stanley Drama Award. His second play, an “existentialist farce” entitled The Missing Three, was a 2014 finalist in Playhouse on the Square’s annual Playwriting Competition in Memphis, where it was presented in a staged reading. His latest play, On A Raw Moose Day, is an absurdist comedy, a play within a play within a play that questions our perceptions of reality.
He translates plays and lyrics from German, Swedish, and Hungarian into English, and is the official English translator of Finnish playwright, Bengt Ahlfors. Goodson’s translation of Ahlfors’ ironic take on Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days has been performed at a number of regional theatres in the U.S., following the original work’s international success.
As an actor he has performed in many theatres throughout California, as well as in leading roles in European venues such as The Old Opera House, Frankfurt and Vienna’s English Theatre. He has also been seen in over a dozen American and European films and TV episodes. Mr. Goodson holds a B.F.A in Acting from U.S. International University in San Diego, and completed graduate work at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. His activities as a director have been centered in Vienna, where he had his own contemporary theatre group and where he has directed in diverse genres, from clown theatre to chamber opera.
Morgenstern in Vienna
Samuel Morgenstern, an American Jew who left Vienna as a child in 1938, has seemingly made peace with his hometown, where he has been living for some years now, when he is suddenly beset by a number of unexpected visitors: his estranged daughter, Raizele—a psychologist in need of help, fleeing from her family’s past and a bad divorce; Joshua—a naïve, young American searching for some kind of identity; and Bubbe—Morgenstern’s grandmother murdered by the Nazis, who emerges from a glacier with which he shares his apartment, and who proceeds to cook a fresh pot of matzo ball soup every day. Can Bubbe’s soup bring these characters together and help them discover a sense of belonging as Samuel and Raizele reopen old wounds, Raizele and Joshua fall into a passionate affair neither understands, the streets below explode in xenophobic rioting, and the glacier expands further and further into the apartment? (full-length; single set; 2 men, 2 women)
The play addresses issues of cultural belonging that have always preoccupied American Jews (and in their own variations on a theme, all immigrant communities): To what degree can one assimilate into modern American culture and still maintain a sense of belonging to one’s original culture and history? Is that even possible? What are the consequences to the psyche of advanced secularization and assimilation, especially on the second and third generations? What role does the shadow of the Holocaust play in this dynamic? And what happens to the concept of “home”? These are the issues Morgenstern in Vienna grapples with in sometimes comedic, sometimes dramatic fashion.
The Missing Three
In this farce with existentialist undertones, Aaron Gitsovich, an unemployed musicologist in mid-life crisis struggling to do a good deed by looking after his druggie niece, has bought a broken-down antique chest in which he finds the manuscript of Mozart’s three missing bassoon concertos. Before he can sell the manuscript to solve his financial woes, others come looking for them, too: a bureaucrat from the Austrian Ministry of Culture who is not who he appears to be; and a Bavarian nobleman for whom the concertos were written, who arrives out of the chest from the Royal Court in Munich. When the nobleman seduces the niece, who he believes is an exotic “Jewish savage” from the New World, and takes her back to the 18th century, Gitsovich’s temperamental sister comes looking for her. Meanwhile, a certain Dr. Finkelstein, who turns out to be an actor looking for work, is engaged to supply penicillin to those returning from the syphilis-ridden 1770’s, but mistakes them, due to their period clothing, for a troupe of actors rehearsing a play by Molière, and Gitsovich winds up being sought by the police for a bank break-in committed by one of his house guests—but which one? All eventually end up traveling to the past and back as they get caught up in the search for The Missing Three, and for what’s missing in their lives . . . (full-length; single set; 4 men, 2 women)