A MAN OF HIS TIME by Kate Taney Billingsley (2016), Short Play
Synopsis: Two men in their early 70’s sit down for coffee off a New Jersey Turnpike 159 years after the infamous Dred Scott Decision of 1857. One is descended from Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney and the other, from Mr. Dred Scott. The Taney descendant brings with him an apology and in return, receives an education on why an apology just won’t cut it.
This play was first read in the summer of 2015 at the MoCADA by Colors of Community and directed by Michael Billingsley. It was then developed at the Actors Studio in 2016 and directed by Estelle Parsons. At the Actors Studio it starred Jim DeMarse and Count Stovall as Taney and Scott, and was written up in The New York Times and Greenwich Times. A second iteration of A Man of His Time appeared at NPR’s Greene Space with Playing On Air, starring John Douglas Thompson and Sam Waterston in 2017. The radio play version can be heard on Playing On Air.
A Man of His Time was born out of Kate Taney Billingsley’s desire to better understand her family’s ancestral part in America’s racial divide and to find a way to artistically contribute to the fight for racial justice. A Man of His Time was the catalyst for a real-life meeting and apology between the Taney and Scott families. The Taney family now works in association with the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, and Dred Scott’s Sons and Daughters of Reconciliation to speak about America’s violent and painful history and the steps Americans must take to begin to heal the divide. (Below, at the National Judicial College Symposium on Racial Biases and some members of Dred Scott’s Sons and Daughters of Reconciliation).
NPR’s Radiolab Presents, More Perfect, a podcast about the Supreme Court. This podcast featured an episode entitled Pendulum II, inspired by A Man of His Time and documenting the real-life apology between the Taneys and Scotts. The podcast episode can be heard here.
A Man of His Time was read at The Missouri History Museum for their Festival of Freedom, and was directed by Ron Himes of the Black Repertory Theater.
Kate is currently workshopping the full-length version of A Man of His Time entitled, AMERICAN ROT directed by Estelle Parsons. (Pictured below are actors in workshop for American Rot). The journey to this play has been a five year process, beginning in 2015 with A Man of His Time.
BAREFOOT by Kate Taney Billingsley and Thomas G. Waites (2019) Full-Length Play
Synopsis: Two weeks before her wedding, Sylvia is confronted in her opulent, West Village apartment by her fiancé’s sexually confident mistress, Teddy. As their respective male partners arrive, the four charged lovers (and a pizza man) clash over love, lust, and intimacy in a comical prism of betrayal and psychological warfare.
“Wildly raucous, 21st century drawing room comedy… very funny indeed.” – Theater Reviews From My Seat
“Great entertainment…You should see it, it is a great value, and we will be hearing more from this writer in the future.” — Reviews Off Broadway
“Well-acted, fast-paced… wonderful.” – Electronic Link Journey
“An excellent commentary on the relationships of the 21st century… This play very clearly articulates the limits of openness between two couples.” – Hi Drama
“Hilarious and heartbreaking” – White Rhino Report
Barefoot was written over the course of 48 hours when the play the cast was working on was pulled from production the week they were set to go into tech rehearsals. Barefoot ran for 6 weeks with a 3 week extension at The Gene Frankel Theatre.
BERNADETTE & SANDY by Kate Taney Billingsley (2016) Short Play
Synopsis: In the early morning hours of election night, 2016, a lesbian couple goes into labor as America gives birth to a homophobic and racist new President.
Bernadette & Sandy was developed at the Actors Studio in response to the 2016 Presidential election in an evening of short plays and a night of Political & Theatrical Protest.
Bernadette & Sandy was performed at Play With Your Dinner in 2017.
Bernadette & Sandy was performed by members of The Collective in 2018.
THE SHOW by Kate Taney Billingsley (2019) 10-Minute Play
Synopsis: A freshly deceased theatre critic gets to the gates of Heaven…or is it Hell?
(THE SHOW was inspired by the above James Stevenson cartoon).
GAIA DIE, GAIA DEAD by Kate Taney Billingsley (2019)
Synopsis: A one-person poem based on the death and destruction of Mother Earth.
*Currently in process.
WINDOWS by Kate Taney Billingsley (2019)
Synopsis: A romance novelist becomes obsessed with her exhibitionist neighbors, forcing her to deal with her own repressed sexuality, empty nest marriage and quickening deadline.
*Currently a work in process. In development at the Playwright Directors Workshop at The Actors Studio.
MINT JULIP by Kate Taney Billingsley (2007-) Full-Length
Synopsis: Julip, 9 year-old-girl, who is struck with a terminal cancer diagnosis, finds solace in her best friends, which happen to be two stuffed animals; Lion and Bear. When Julip dies, her parents are forced to become children themselves and discover a new majesty to life through the help of Lion and Bear.
OM AND PRANA by Kate Taney Billingsley (2018) Short Play
Synopsis: Two lovers flail between the past and present, the physical and subtle bodies, when an old memory between the two is repainted, reprogrammed and reimagined through dreams, nightmares and otherworldly visions.
LEE, OF THE MAGNOLIA TREE
by Kate Taney Billingsley (2020)
A short play written in the time of Coronavirus dealing with the theme of Death & Transmigration for the Actors Studio bicoastal short play festival held on Zoom.