Survival is Insufficient

Ego Actus will present SURVIVAL IS INSUFFICIENT, a series of 10 play readings on Zoom, Tuesday evenings at 7:30 in October, November and December 2020. There will be no reading on November 3 due to the election.

The Plays
Oct 6 Saving Stan by Gary Morgenstein, directed by Joan Kane
Oct 13 Nobody’s Flood by Glenn Alterman, directed by Terry Hanson
Oct 20 Smile Like a Knife by Fengar Gael, directed by Ralph Lewis
Oct 27 All Mothers Were Summoned by Bara Swain, dir. by Kim T. Sharp
Nov 10 As in the Night by Fredrik Brattberg, directed by Bruce A! Kraemer
Nov 17 Dog and Wolf by Catherine Filloux, directed Joan Kane
Nov 24 Pretty Bird by Alina Rios, directed by Joan Kane
Dec 1 Divisions by Robert Rossi
Dec 8 Four Short Plays by Joan Lipkin, directed by Alisa Matlovsky
Dec 15 A Shot Rang Out by Michael Hagins, directed by Akia Squitieri

artistic director Joan Kane producer Bruce A! Kraemer social media marketer Laura Varela


October 6, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Joan Kane. Featuring Frances McGarry*, Carlo Fiorletta and J. Dolan Byrnes* with Stark Wilz reading the stage directions.

Saving Stan is a magical realism love story about friendship, passion and suicide. Stan Nagel, a rich 60ish lawyer, suffers a stroke and can’t talk. His best friend Jack Sanders, a 60ish failed writer, somehow hears him and believes Stan is asking for help to commit suicide in exchange for getting his estate. The third character, 40-something lonely Patrice Doner, the live-in health care aide, grows suspicious of Jack’s intentions while falling in love with Stan, with whom only she can dance. Who will Save Stan?

“Enjoyed it a lot. (Gary has) a real gift for dialogue. All the actors were well prepared and effective. They picked their cues up beautifully, something that sometimes seems to be missing in Zoom presentations.” Jan Ewing of Ewing Reviewing

Photo composition by Laura Varela

October 13, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Terry Hanson. Featuring Debra Kay Anderson*, Dave Bobb, Grant Bowen* and James Lurie* with Aaron Donahue reading stage directions.

Barry has returned home to Brooklyn be with his family one year after his younger brother’s death. His mother is anxious and slightly unbalanced. His father doesn’t know how to help his wife. They are all planning on all going to the cemetery together. As the play oscillates over several years, the Rosenstein family’s life is seen, before and after the death of their youngest son. Winner of the Reva Shiner Award (Bloomington Playwrights Project).

As a result of our reading Nobody’s Flood has been published by Heuer Publishing. You can buy it here.

Photo composition by Laura Varela

October 20, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Ralph Lewis. Music by Sheilah Rae Gross. Featuring Pooya Mohseni*, Michael Grew*, Isabella Schiller, Precious Sipin, Catherine Porter* and Conor Weiss* with Dan Williams reading stage directions.

One hundred years from now, in the city’s most prestigious shopping district stands Saxenburg’s Watches, specializing in hand crafted mechanical time pieces. In the shop window stands Mona, an alluring robotic mannequin equipped with a camera that spies on the constant stream of marchers protesting the country’s plutocracy. The shop owner, Gunther Sachs, hires Anna Glazer, a proficient clerk and struggling writer who charms him and his cousin, Lena, an electrical engineer. Lena’s outrage at the country’s corrupt leadership inspires her to equip Mona with an acoustical beam aimed at a corporate penthouse, but inadvertently afflicts innocent tenants, causing insomnia. The police pursue Lena who flees the country while Gunther is suspected of being an accomplice. Anna is left to manage the shop while writing dystopian novels.

Photo composition by Laura Varela

October 27, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Kim T. Sharp. Featuring Elly Berke, Ginger Grace* and Travis Raeburn*.

Hasselback potatoes, Evelyn Waugh, a boy crush on J. Hud, the Kent State shooting and a chilled bottle of wine are woven into the story of three rich characters with simple objectives: Katie wants to choose the perfect shade of nail polish for her date, her mother wants to prepare the perfect meal for her pescatarian daughter and boyfriend, Willie, and Willie is discovering what he truly wants in a new play that takes place on a fire escape on June 8, 2020, the first day that the lockdown is lifted in New York. The playwright was inspired by the message the “all mothers were summoned” when George Floyd called out for his mama.

Photo composition by Laura Varela

November 10, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Bruce A! Kraemer. Featuring Molly Collier*, Ian Campbell Dunn* and Deirdre Brennan* with Joan Kane reading stage directions

A young couple brings their child to grandma’s so they can see a play. They regret that they have not warned grandma they are coming. She is happy to see them, or is she? They go off to the play, but the child’s mother feels bad about leaving her child. She drops her husband at a bus stop where he goes to the theater only to find no play there. People get lost in a forest at night. Plans must be made in the right order or they can fail.


November 17, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Joan Kane. Featuring a cast to be named later,

When Jasmina, a political refugee seeking asylum in the U.S., suddenly disappears, her lawyer Joseph, a wheelchair user, must track her down. Who is the dog? Who is the wolf? A psychological and political play of intrigue, identity and pursuit.


November 24, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Joan Kane. Featuring a cast to be named later, with Aaron Donahue reading stage directions.

Anna is confident and independent. She’s dating passive, go-with-the-flow, Mark, but even after two years together, she’s not ready for commitment. She doesn’t know what she wants, except to live in Ireland, she thinks. Mark thinks she’ll never be ready to be with him. Could it actually work?

The program for Pretty Bird will go here


December 1, 2020 at 7:30pm

Featuring a cast to be named later.

Strained family ties fester as a brother lay dying in a Palm Springs Hospital Room. Estranged for more than twenty years, Lois Ruggiero and her husband arrive from Delaware to find Lois’s brother in critical condition. Complications arise as past grievances clash with present dangers.


December 8, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Alisa Matlovsky. Featuring a cast to be named later.

The program for Four Short Plays will go here


December 15, 2020 at 7:30pm

Directed by Akia Squitieri. Featuring a cast to be named later,

A white police officer is trapped in a warehouse during an increasingly violent protest with a scared Black teen and a disgruntled schoolteacher.

The program for A Shot Rang Out will go here