Writer | Plays


Ruth, a middle-aged woman diagnosed with breast cancer travels to New York for the proverbial second opinion. Frugal and sensible, she sublets an apartment, just in case. Her upstairs neighbor, Cassandra, a brash and larger than life actress, takes Ruth on as a cause and together they navigate the painful and unexpectedly amusing minefield ahead.Performed in multiple European countries, AMAZONS is a powerful and poignant look at how women from opposite walks of life can find common ground in combatting their worst fears, not to mention the not always helpful men blocking their paths. Four characters, two acts.

U.S. Premiere at the Generic Theatre in Norfolk, VA ~ 1994


Part of the Boston Theatre Marathon 2006, this short play imagines what would happen if a young American took his patriotism to the ultimate extreme. A new kind of Hell. And funny as it. Six characters.


The Musical ON GOLDEN POND. Book and Lyrics by Ernest Thompson. Music composed by Roy Rogosin.

Premiered at Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, NH ~ 1997
Directed by Ernest Thompson

Cherry County Playhouse ~ 1998
Starring Marni Nixon and Edmund Lyndeck
Directed by Bill Castellino

To hear representative songs from ANOTHER SUMMER, click here.


The author’s earliest plays, still eerily timeless in their echoes of the loneliness and longing that have only grown in the isolation technology has turned our society into. And still riotously funny. For his own production of TWINKLE, TWINKLE at Hollywood and Vine in Plymouth, MA, Ernest the former soap opera star took on the role of Ted Talbot the soap opera star. He and his costars Pamela Lambert and Jeff Gill had a ball, as did the audience.

In the first one, a woman stopped for speeding in LA offers the arresting officer A GOOD TIME if he’ll only let her off, never imagining that one day he’d show up at her door in New York, ready to take her up on it.

In THE CONSTITUENT a grizzled Maine woodsman writes scathing and profane letters to his Senator in Washington, who finally has had enough and comes to pay a (not so) friendly visit.

TWINKLE, TWINKLE imagines what would happen if a soap opera star with too much time on his hands drove all the way to Ohio to answer in person a restless housewife’s provocative fan letters. Fortunately it’s her husband’s bowling night.

Premiered at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, FL ~ 1982
Starring Kirstie Alley, Parker Stevenson, Ned Beatty, Charles Durning, Stockard Channing and Burt Reynolds
Directed by Dom Deluise and Charles Nelson Riley

acting editing play thumbmail Click to order: ANSWERS | A GOOD TIME | THE CONSTITUENT | TWINKLE TWINKLE


Lisa and Ryle meet at a colorectal clinic; what could be more romantic? Or hilarious, troubling or deeply moving? In this cunning and unexpected love story for the Age of Technology, two actors play not only a man and woman in dire need of reassurance, but also each other’s doctors and therapists, family members and friends, all of their conversations communicated via the computers and iPads and other devices that keep us simultaneously connected and chillingly isolated. No one wants to navigate the minefield of diagnosis and dread, fear and helplessness, but, as Lisa and Ryle grudgingly discover, the journey from anguish to acceptance, action, and hope, is made way more bearable, much funnier, and even inspiring, by having someone on your side.

World premiere at Mass Music & Arts Society in Mansfield, MA ~ January/February 2022
Starring Ernest Thompson and Pamela Lambert
Directed by Ernest Thompson


Four students meet in college in 1970 and begin a 30-year journey through the brutality of love. Candy, a young dreamer, whose embittered, alcoholic mother Claire also is along for the bumpy ride, falls hard for Book, a tormented young writer whose demons compete for his attention. Walt, Book’s college roommate, battles past his own confusions to become a U.S. Senator, the loud and proud Beulah, Candy’s college roomie, by his side all the way. Trenchant, recklessly funny and deeply moving, AX OF LOVE includes more violence than most love stories, not to mention rage, redemption, forgiveness, and even the ultimate act of love—mercy killing.

Premiered at West End Studio Theatre in Portsmouth, NH ~ 2007
Directed by Ernest Thompson


A seriously New Age journalist coerces her college professor husband and another couple to drink an elixir made from a special ingredient her newest Healer has sold her. The fact that the psychic is certifiable and the ingredient is the urine of a mountain Ibex doesn’t faze the friends, a sleazy car salesman and his former stripper wife, both of whom are convinced that they’re experiencing the promised enlightenment. A fiercely funny and twisted look at our society’s lust for the easy panacea, THE ELIXIR offers a delicious brew of five absurdly eccentric and shamelessly egocentric characters.

Premiered at Isis Theatre Company in Idyllwild, CA ~ September 2008
Starring Christopher Pennock, Suzanne Avalon, Jeri Greene, Frank Siebke and Ernest Thompson
Directed by Ernest Thompson


A young man and woman are held prisoner by three captors speaking a language never before heard and given to abusing their power through mind control and torture. When a third victim is driven to suicide, Sam and Killy plot their escape, enlisting the oldest, and weakest, of their wardens. The question in this provocative and inspiring and bracingly witty full-length play, is who the humans are and how we treat one another, and other species. From its first LA reading 30 years ago, featuring Ray Liotta, through the college course Ernest used it in teaching, to the upcoming Boston workshop, HUMAN BEINGS continues to evolve as our society does the opposite.


In one of Ernest’s first plays, young actors gathered in a green room confess their fantasies and fears as they attempt a production of THE GLASS MENAGERIE on the main stage upstairs. In Act Two, a decade later, the college is again mounting the Williams play and nothing has changed, except everything in the actors’ lives. The one who went to Hollywood and became a TV star, the one who stayed behind to teach, the one making a so-called guest appearance, all older and wiser and sadder and still stubbornly, in spite of themselves, trying to live the dream.


In this relentless black comedy, the mother of all manipulative mothers uses every trick in her vast repertoire to keep control over her son, taking on – and down – his certifiable therapist and trying, as lovingly as she knows how, to send the son’s new fiancee over the edge as well.

Premiered at Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, NH ~ 1994
Starring Patricia Barry
Directed by Roy Rogosin and Ernest Thompson


In this, one of the most produced plays of modern times, Norman and Ethel return to their beloved cottage for their 48th summer. Intimations of mortality are in the air, as are a suggestion of senility and a growing sense of urgency for Norman to make peace with his long-estranged daughter. When she arrives with her new beau and his 13 year old son, Norman’s unfailingly mordant humor, and his spirits, take a turn for the better.

Premiered Off-Off-Broadway at the Hudson Guild Theatre ~ 1978

Broadway at The New Apollo Theatre ~ February 28, 1979
Starring Frances Sternhagen and Tom Aldredge
Directed by Craig Anderson

Broadway revival at the Cort Theatre (now the James Earl Jones Theatre) ~ April 6, 2005
Starring James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams
Directed by Leonard Foglia

ON GOLDEN POND has been produced in more than 40 countries in 30 languages and was included in BEST AMERICAN PLAYS, 1978-79.

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A provocative one-act that pits a disenfranchised and angry man against a barroom full of cynics and skeptics and elicits a fevered soliloquy on what can happen when the unkindness and cruelty that define our society can push a man too far.

First produced by New York’s Ensemble Theatre Company Marathon ~ 1987
Directed by Kurt Dempster


A male playwright went to see THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES and this is what popped up: twelve two-handers, some pee-your-pants funny, some hold-on-tight poignant and frightening. An erotic range of roles for 24 actors or a tour de force for two, with titles including THE PENIS IS YOUR FRIEND, PRIDE OF OLD LIONS, THE PENIS IS NOT YOUR FRIEND, and RAPE BAD, THE PENIS RESPONDS has reared in its charming head in productions around the world.

Premiered Off-Off-Broadway ~ 2000
Starring Richard Gilliland and Ernest Thompson
Directed by Ernest Thompson


Four provocative and insanely comedic one-acts showing four sides of the sad state of our political and moral culture and how bright lights can still shine through the smog:

POTATO HEAD FOR PRESIDENT has two dedicated, and eccentric, poll workers imagining taking the best of each candidate and creating one inspiring one, their fading enthusiasm rekindled by two new voters still young enough to dream the American dream.

OCCUPY NEW LEXINGTON features a small town kid aspiring to join the movement. Unfortunately, no one shows up for his protest, other than the local police chief, who has his own unique take on the revolution.

WELFARE THEE WELL finds a once wealthy widow forced to apply for assistance and having to negotiate past a repeat victim of the welfare system and the troll-like arbiter who holds the keys to it.

REWRITE† pits a jaded US Senator against his toughest critic, the still lovely newspaper editor whose formidable path he one long ago night unforgettably crossed. A love story for once (and still) idealistic Baby Boomers.

Opening on Primary Day in NH, the collection premiered at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia, NH ~ 2012
Starring Austine Howard, Pat Langille, Evan Clinton, Meredith Imbimbo and Ernest Thompson
Directed by Ernest Thompson

In partnership with Rock The Vote, POLITICAL SUICIDE was presented by theatres across the country during the 2012 election year.

Rock The Vote Logo

REWRITE premiered at Stageworks on the Hudson ~ 2005
Starring Laura Margolis and Ernest Thompson
Directed by Deena Pertherer


Based on a devastating true story, three bored young men go looking for trouble and find it in Jules, an acerb and dying gay man with a self-destructive streak of his own. When the most Neanderthal of the boys finishes beating Jules to within an inch of his life, it falls upon the most enlightened, Kale, to take him home to recover. They become the unlikeliest of captive companions literally bound together (by handcuffs) as they take on the forces of homophobia and other forms of fear. Bitterly funny and stubbornly optimistic.


A middle-aged couple inherits the unhappy task of emptying their daughter’s home when she and her boyfriend end their lives. A wrenching study in loss and recrimination, denial and, eventually, rebirth.

Premiered in Denver, Colorado ~ 1983
Starring Jack Lemmon, Estelle Parsons, Clifton James and Polly Holiday
Directed by Robert Greenwald


Three short plays — THE VALENTINE FAIRY (included in Best Short Plays 1992-93), ZIPLESS (Best Short Plays 1993-94), and THE TELEPHONE LOTHARIO — explore the absurdity and desperation and, ultimately, the reassurance of love on the occasion of its most important holiday. A perfect party for three male and three female actors or an intimate and outrageous pas de deux.


A Play in 3/4 Time. The story of three women — a virtuoso pianist in her 70s, a 50ish violin-playing spinster with more eagerness than talent, and a waif of 30 or so — who use music (and a lot of humor) to fend off the loneliness each could otherwise surrender to, THE WEST SIDE WALTZ has been an international success in cities as far flung as Tokyo and Paris.

Premiered in San Diego ~ 1980

Broadway ~ November 19, 1981
Starring Katharine Hepburn and Dorothy Loudon
Directed by Noel Willman

Acting Editing Book to place order


Three generations of benign bigots have their dysfunctional autonomy rattled in this preposterous black comedy when one Christmas Eve Santa Claus comes to visit and turns out to be African American. The six characters — a harried CEO and his happily medicated wife, a Goth teenager and her narcissistic brother, their foul-mouthed grandmother and the colorful St. Nick — add up to what LA Weekly called a tale told “with irreverent wit and a touch of rueful realism.”

Premiered at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood, CA ~ 2003
Starring Richard Gilliland, Linda Porter, Katie Layman, Willie C. Carpenter, April Matson and Patrick Brennan
Directed by Ernest Thompson

*Licensing available through The Office of Ernest Thompson. Click here.
**Licensing available through the Dramatists Play Service. Click here.