Voices of BTM XXIV: R. D. Murphy

Tell us a little about your play.
August 2021. Allie is a whip-smart high school senior who is mechanically inclined. Give her a screw driver and a cell phone and she can solve any problem. Give her a 3D printer and a place to stand and worlds shift. Her neighbor, Mr. Gordon, has a car that sits abandoned in his garage for 20 years. Allie wants to restore that car. For once, her calculations are off.

What made you want to tell this story?
(1) I volunteered last fall to direct parking for a 9-11 memorial at a local First Responder base. Many families were there and I was surprised to realize how many of the attendees were born after the event. In my lifetime, it was like Pearl Harbor—I know of it but I hadn’t lived through it.
(2) Riding for miles last summer with a companion who loves to restore cars. Not my cup of tea but I remembered a friend in high school who I hadn’t thought of in a long time. Before heading to Rensselaer in the fall, he replaced a broken piston ring in my first car, making major surgery look like a walk in the park. I held the work light and chased down parts.
(3) These two elements came together—with a twist—when I saw the front page of The Boston Globe on September 10, 2021. Look it up.

What interests you about the ten-minute format?
You gotta cut to the chase. Be concise, leave bread crumbs for your audience to follow, then spring the trap.

What’s next for you as a playwright (or producer, actor, student, teacher, etc.)?
(1) Just last night, I submitted a short play for an event themed Monsters, Monsters, Monsters. The Hireling was inspired by a recent newspaper article headlined “It’s almost impossible to get fired from some jobs.”
(2) A short play of mine is making the rounds, Princess School for Husbands. Or Not. It’s a Moliere farce about celebrity bloggers, venture capitalists, Disney Princesses, and Mandalorian warriors. Written in iambic pentameter. Richard Wilbur is spinning like a top.


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