Half Moons Rising

(a two act drama)

(writing sample)  (return to plays)

Production History: 

Finalist 2000 National New Play Contest: Southwest Theatre Association, Inc. 


          Ron W. Ripley, a ruthless lawyer for logging companies, has been reported missing in his private plane.  Eloise, his Native American wife known as Walking Woman, is a passenger in the plane.   Because of a deal he has just made to cut the last of the virgin forest on Native lands, she has turned into a silent figure on the edge of death.  She prepares herself in her silence for a vision quest.  She brings back their younger selves that entwine into Ripley's daydreams and slowly becomes key players in their stark reality as the plane crashes in a dense forest in Northern Maine.  

          The story is structured around the rituals attached to a Native American Sacred Circle, a Medicine Circle.  The play shows the present and past turning points in the character's lives.  Through their shared experiences in the forest of Maine, they discover where they had lost their way along their life paths and now need one another to create a balance to continue to live.  They are half moons that need to embrace the dark and light side in order to be whole. 

FOOTNOTE:  Due to the sensitive nature of the way this story unfolds, I must state that it is this writer's vision and not an exploitive use of Native American ritual.  

Character Breakdown:

Eloise:  Early twenties.  

Wilton:  Early twenties.

Walking Woman:  Late-forties.

Ron W. Ripley:  Late forties.  

Recorded or live.  TV Announcer/Hospital Nurse/Hospital, Doctor-Surgeon.                   

Set and Sounds:

            The set consists of 12 freestanding poles/stylized trees in a staggered circle.  The placement of the poles should imply a powwow (medicine) circle. 

           There are 12 blankets, each of a pattern that represents different tribal nations.   Some are hanging on the trees to imply leaves, some scattered about the stage on top of rocklike structures that will be used as a couch, the seats in an airplane cockpit, etc. 

           There are tree branches and dried wood scattered on the floor of the stage.  Books of varying sizes are scattered among the branches.  All props and costume regalia pieces are hung from the pole/trees. 

            Optional is a back scrim for projections, gobos, and the shadow dancing of  the characters.


            Either recorded or live percussion, but at times the characters themselves will add to the percussion using tribal instruments and the jingle dress. 

            If there is a live percussion section, all the sounds and “recorded” voices should be created from that arbor.

            Suggested recorded music is by MICKEY HART, BEETHOVEN, and ERIC CLAPTON. 

Act Breakdown:

Act One:

Late afternoon to evening into sunset.

Act Two:

Late that same night till dawn.

Act Three:

 Dawn to Sunset the following day.