Written over the last forty years, the five highly topical plays in this collection by Toni Press-Coffman have aged well and remain remarkably relevant to many of the most divisive issues that still face us as a society—in ways more encouraging than not. These plays explore the nature of idealism, especially its distinctively American forms—where it comes from, how it is tested, how we lose it or temper it, and what saving graces may come to take its place. We can still learn from the student civil rights activists, draft resisters, and soldiers who, like their president, found themselves mired in the Vietnam war and its aftermath; from what inspired those who committed violence as well as those who tried to stop it during the 1992 Los Angeles riots; from the intentional martyrdom of those on United Flight 93. Toni Press's characters, with all their flaws, don't take easy ways out or accept easy answers to the moral questions life poses. They do prove themselves capable of change, insight, compassion, and quiet, imitable heroisms well within our range. We finish these plays feeling, ah, now, we can get started.
ISBN: 978-1-7376940-9-0 302 pp
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
Trucker Rhapsody & Other Plays is a sweeping and incisive exploration of what it means to be human in an American landscape of conflict, unrest, and inequality during the past 50+ years. When she holds a mirror up to nature in these plays, we may not like what we see, but perhaps we won’t be so quick to look away. —Dr. Judith Sebasta, Austin Community College
These plays, set in recent historical moments of heightened pressures and conflicting interests, are nonetheless driven by the characters in all their flesh-and-blood humanity, their impulses both grand and trivial. . . .Her skill at weaving divergent threads and points-of-view into one complex, irresolvable but co-arising American experience is unique. —Susan Marsden, Resident Director, Eureka Theatre (Retired)
Toni Press-Coffman is a humane creator of characters struggling to navigate their interwoven lives. Times and spaces overlap as we witness their struggles to form community in a world of disunity. —James Reel, Arts Critic and Journalist
The storytelling of Press-Coffman's Trucker Rhapsody pulls no punches. Her play, utilizing language and rhythm, evokes the history it tells and challenges the audience to keep watching. Although it's an iconic story that many know, we leave it learning more about the heart of the characters and the day's imprint upon so many lives. —Katherine Murphy, Director
Perhaps Toni Press-Coffman’s greatest gift as a writer is to break open her characters (widely diverse, spanning centuries, races, genders, class and politics) to reveal their beating hearts. . . . Given voice by a theatrical language, both heightened and deceptively natural, her plays pulse with a driving rhythm and flashes of searing imagery. —Brad Erickson, Playwright and Executive Director, Theatre Bay Area
Toni Press-Coffman has written twenty-seven plays that have been produced in cities throughout the United States. She frequently writes about real people or events such as the people who died when Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field (United); the 1992 L.A. Riots (Trucker Rhapsody); Lyndon Johnson's presidency (Unconditional War); social issues impacting the lives of women and children (Stand) or the consequences of the rampant racism that continues to plague American society (Stand, Trucker Rhapsody). The recipient of several playwriting awards, she is also an actress, dramaturg, and co-founder of Winding Road Theater Ensemble in Tucson.