Spot Has a Big Red Ball

by Don Nigro

Father and Mother, Grandfather and Grandmother, Brother and Sister and Baby Sister are a clean cut family out of an old children’s reader from 1950s America some years later, and their once innocent world has turned much darker. Brother has been to war and has brain damage. Sister has been a movie actress specializing in shower scenes whose career has ended abruptly when a lascivious movie mogul trying to take advantage of her somehow gets his testicles stapled to the curtains. Father is having a terrible time cleaning his rifle because when he puts it back together he keeps finding parts that don’t fit. Mother is reminiscing about her possibly imaginary past infidelities. Grandfather has made a hole in the wall so he can watch Mother take showers. Grandmother is obsessively making sock puppets. And Baby Sister, who has had a terrible childhood experience in the barn, is doing her best to understand what has become of their once idyllic but mostly bogus American innocence? Funny, surreal and oddly poetic, a play about what became of that mythological innocence. And also sock puppets.

  • Cast Size: 4M 3W
  • Running Time: 60+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

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About the Playwright

Among the most frequently published and widely produced playwrights in the world, Don Nigro has continued to build a deeply inter-related but diverse body of dramatic literature, work that is often mysterious and unclassifiable, employing a wide variety of dramatic conventions and styles of presentation. He has written monologues and epics, spare realistic dramas and surreal homicidal puppet farces, plays with music and verse plays. He continues to build the long cycle of Pendragon County plays, which traces the history of America through the lives of several east Ohio families from the eighteenth century to the present, and features many characters whose lives are followed from youth through middle age to old age in a number of plays designed to be presented in a variety of different combinations. He has also written a long cycle of plays about Russian writers and artists that includes Pushkin, Onegin And Tatyana In Odessa, Dostoyevsky, An Angler In The Lake Of Darkness, Emotion Memory and Nights At The Stray Dog Café.

Nigro’s plays have been produced in every state, including the McCarter Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Circle Rep Lab, Capital Repertory Company, the People’s Light and Theatre Company, the WPA Theatre, Manhattan Class Company, the Hudson Guild Theatre, Hypothetical Theatre, the Berkeley Stage Company, Milwaukee Rep, the Planet Connections Festival in NYC, Gravity and Glass Productions, the Strain Theatre Company, the Apothecary Theatre Company, the Secret Rose Theatre, Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre, and many others. His work is often done in New York by Nylon Fusion Theatre Company, including award winning productions of A Snowfall In Berlin, The Chaplin Plays, Marina and Mata Hari. Many of his New York productions have been written for and featured actress Tatyana Kot and producer/performer/director Ivette Dumeng. 

Internationally, his plays have been produced in London, Athens, Moscow, St Petersburg, Barcelona, Prague, Vienna, Munich, France, Ireland, Wales, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Iran, Mexico, Argentina, Ukraine, Armenia, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Finland, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Slovenia, Moldova, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing, and toured in Delhi and Calcutta, India. SpielArt, based in Munich, has toured his plays in Germany. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Polish, Greek, Russian, Slovenian, Dutch, Persian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Chinese. 

John Clancy’s production of Nigro’s Cincinnati, featuring Nancy Walsh, won Fringe First and Spirit of the Fringe awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Best of Fringe at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia, and later toured in England, Ireland and Wales. Cincinnati was also produced in London, featuring Mia Tagano, with directorial assistance from John Barton. Seascape With Sharks And Dancer has been in the repertory of Teatr Syrena in Warsaw, and Lucia Mad was produced at Teatr Julius Slowakie in Krakow. Teatro del Fantasma in Mexico City has presented a Spanish translation of The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines. Seascape With Sharks And Dancer, translated into Spanish by Tato Alexander, and featuring her and Bruno Bichir, was produced in Mexico City and toured in Mexico, and Alexander also appeared in A History Of The Devil, in her Spanish translation, which toured in Mexico, and in English in New York. Grotesque Lovesongs was translated and produced on Polish television, and the film The Manor, with Peter O’Toole, is based on his play Ravenscroft. 

In recent years Victor Weber’s Russian translations of many of Nigro’s plays have been produced all over Russia and in other eastern European countries. Among these are a notable production of Nigro’s play Mandelstam at the Roman Victyuk Theatre in Moscow, which has toured to Theatre Celestins in Lyon, France, Henry and Ellen and Don Giovanni, and Ravenscroft in Moscow, Ravenscroft in Minsk, Belarus, Gorgons in St Petersburg, Moscow and in Kiev, Ukraine, Iphigenia in Kiev, Maddalena in Chisnau, Moldova, and Animal Tales at Theatre Fontanka in St Petersburg and all over Russia, and in Helsinki, Finland, Nebuchadnezzar in Estonia, and various plays in many other Russian theatres.

Nigro has a BA in English from The Ohio State University and an MFA in Dramatic Arts from the Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa. He has taught Comparative Literature, Dramatic Literature and Playwriting at the Ohio State University, the University of Iowa, Kent State University, Indiana State University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Nigro has twice been a finalist for the National Repertory Theatre Foundation’s National Play Award, and has won a Playwriting Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Foundation. He has twice been James Thurber Writer in Residence at the Thurber House in Columbus. The Don Nigro Collection at the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute at the Ohio State University contains a growing repository for his manuscripts and other materials.

Nigro is the author of 468 plays, 194 of which have been published by Samuel French in 57 volumes. His work has also been published by Theatre Communications Group in their Plays In Process series, and by Applause Books and Smith & Kraus in many of Lawrence Harbison’s yearly Best Ten Minute Plays, Best Monologues, and other collections.  Labyrinth: The Plays Of Don Nigro and Labyrinth 2: Plays By Don Nigro 2001-2011, both by Jim McGhee, chronicle Nigro’s work over several decades.

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