Posts Tagged ‘ pettiplays ’

Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom FREE June 6, 7 & 8



My ebook, “Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” will be FREE on Amazon on Friday, June 6th, Saturday, June 7th and Sunday, June 8th!

“Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” is a collection of blog posts from this very blog!  From the depiction of the author’s upbringing as a fat, shy Catholic school boy to the vagaries of family life to trying to live hand-to-mouth while on disability, “Sister Mercedes” is a sometimes hysterically funny, sometimes tragic and always human glimpse behind the veil of parenthood, marriage, pop culture and the world in general.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, please spread the word to anyone you think would be interested.  It’s FREE!





Patty Duke Sipped Here


I have a story to tell my friends.

It’s a show-biz story. A story of perseverance, fortitude and a never-say-die attitude. A story of pluck, determination, ambition! It’s about going out there a simple chorus girl and coming back a star!

Except the star is an end table.

Allow me to explain. Those of you who know me may have received one of the 10,000 or so emails and Facebook posts regarding my play “Echoes of Ireland.” We’ve been on a bit of a Spring tour, performing the show in Newburgh this March, Catskill in May, and coming up in June—Goshen! Get your tickets! While supplies last! Act now! JUST THROW MONEY AT THE PRETTY COLORS!!!

Sorry, I got a little carried away. Anyway, the reason why we’ve been able to pack up the show so easily and visit these fine villages is that we have practically NO set. It’s literally four chairs, or stools, or boxes, or whatever the theater has handy for us to put our butts on. We have costumes—I mean, we’re not completely without theatrical sensibility. And props! We have…well, we have a couple. More than one. The lights get dim and then bright again. OK, it’s a good show, don’t judge a book by its lack of incidental music. Oh, and there’s one table. Little dark cherry deal, ’bout yea tall.

The table belongs to Dana, one of our cast members. She brought it in two days before we opened in Newburgh, and we were very grateful to have it. Not too big that it blocked the audience, nor to small to rest a cup of tea upon (or some grammatically correct version of that notion.) Through the course of the show laundry is folded on it, and a fake cigarette and ashtray rest atop it. Good, hard-working table that keeps its nose clean, does its job and doesn’t kill you to the rest of the cast as soon as your back is turned. A mensch.

We liked it so much that we brought it with us when we went up to Catskill. We could have used other tables, but this one had proven its worth and deserved more consideration than the rest. Again it took its place among the stools and turned in yet another useful, utilitarian, hard-working performance. The show in Catskill was glorious. A wonderful, receptive crowd in a beautiful, brand new theater space. We received–along with our table—a standing ovation. I mention that fact only to adequately set the scene, not because of any prideful vanity about the show and my cast…(it was one of the best days of my LIFE!) There was a pleasant post-show buzz, as the theater owners supplied free shots of Bushmills and some very nice Irish music. We all packed our costumes up and returned home with the pleasurable warmth of a job well done. And some Bushmills.

And without our table.

The theater owners informed us of the missing cast member and we arranged to pick it up the next week when my wife had a doctor appointment in Albany.  However, that was when fate intervened and decided it was the long suffering table’s turn to enjoy the spotlight.  At the last moment, the owners (a charming couple named Steven and John) made arrangements to bring PATTY DUKE to the tiny, insignificant village of Catskill for a “one night only” performance.  Her only demand?  A small table! Where to find one…hey, what about the one left here by those idiot “Echoes” people?

Thus, the table will soon have an IMDb credit.  With Patty Duke. What a world.

I agreed to this on Dana’s behalf, which you may consider forward of me. But I took for granted that she wouldn’t want to deny her table this once-in-a-lifetime experience to star alongside the original Hellen Keller. However, I took pains to insist I was not responsible for any water rings left by Ms. Duke.

The fact of the matter is that the table will soon have a more impressive resume than I do. My closest brush with stardom was when I almost sold furniture to Dianne Wiest. She didn’t buy. Dana’s fear is that when the table finally returns to her it will be so inflated with its own ego that it will refuse to hold her jar of Q-tips anymore. And this, apparently, would be my fault.

I told her every time the table starts talking about “that time I performed opposite Patty Duke,” just start flipping through an IKEA catalog.  Actors need to know just how replaceable they are.


Echoes of Ireland at Ritz in Newburgh, NY March 21-23


Hi Everyone,

My play Echoes of Ireland will be shown the weekend of March 21-23 at the historic Ritz theater in Newburgh, NY.  For my local readers, the show will feature Ron Morehead, Cat Barney and Dana Lockhart.  All the necessary information is below.  If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop in and say hi.



A Family Saga Resonates Through Generations

in Brian C. Petti’s

Echoes of Ireland

March 21-23 at the Lobby at the Ritz Theater107 Broadway Newburgh

Fresh from it’s production in County Cork, Ireland!

The sweep of the Irish experience from County Cork to New York City is on display in Echoes of Ireland, a drama about family ties, the immigrant life and the Irish-American experience. Written and directed by Ellenville, NY resident Brian C. Petti,Echoes will hold performances on Friday, March 21 at 7:30, Saturday, March 22 at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 23 at 2pm at the Lobby at the Ritz Theater107 Broadway Newburgh. Echoes of Ireland was recently produced in County Cork by the Skibbereen Theatre Society where it garnered rave reviews such as:

“Powerful …every emotion came to the fore during this story of pride and determination in the face of adversity.” Cllr Karen Coakley, Mayor of Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland.

Tickets are $15, and may be purchased at There is limited seating, so reservations are strongly suggested. The play is being presented by Safe Harbors of the Hudson and Hatmaker’s Attic Productions, through an agreement with Eldridge Plays & Musicals.

Echoes of Ireland is a series of inter-related monologues that follows the saga of a single Irish family from County Cork in 1860 to 2001 New York City. Beginning five years after the end of the potato famine in Ireland, Echoes follows the Cunyngham clan through their journey across the ocean to the ports of Manhattan, through the lowly existence of immigrant life in the States, to the assimilation and rebirth of their family as American citizens who never forget from whence they came. The journey is part tragedy, part comedy, part history lesson and all undeniably human. 

Show times are:

Friday, March 21 at 7:30

Saturday, March 22 at 7:30pm

Sunday, March 23 at 2pm

Echoes of Ireland features notable local actors Ron Morehead (Cairo, NY), Cat Barney (Kingston, NY) and Dana Lockhart (Middletown, NY). Additional information can be found at: and

Brian C. Petti has had his plays produced Off-Off Broadway (Masquerade, The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein, Banshee) and regionally (Next Year in Jerusalem, The Measure of a Man, On the Expectation of White Christmases,) by such companies as Ten Grand Productions, The American Theater of Actors, Inc. and The Fresh Fruit Festival. Masquerade was staged at Cherry Lane Theater in NYC and Next Year in Jerusalem was the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California, where it received a student production. Published plays include The Measure of a Man by JAC Publishing and Promotions, Banshee by Next Stage Press and Echoes of Ireland by Eldridge Plays & Musicals.

Safe Harbors of the Hudson is a nonprofit organization committed to transforming lives and building communities through housing and the arts in the city of Newburgh, New York. The Cornerstone Residence is a unique facility that offers support services and jobs training on-site provided by Independent Living, an advocacy and service organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities. The Cornerstone Residence consists of apartments and artist lofts, with a mixed tenancy of single adults, including the formerly homeless, veterans, those living with a mental health diagnosis, artists and other adults in need of affordable housing. The building offers many amenities and programs including a fitness center, library, computer lab, classes and a GED program. Many of these amenities and programs are available to the public. The Cornerstone also houses several multi-use spaces that may be rented for special events of all kinds.

Future projects include the renovation of three commercial spaces and the restoration of the historic Ritz Theater. As the only remaining historic theater in the City of Newburgh, the Ritz will provide a venue for live performances, educational programs for our youth, employment opportunities for our community, and create an active cultural and tourist destination.

Founded by brothers Edward and William Gibbons-Brown, Hatmaker’s Attic Productions is putting the “community” back in community theatre. They’re working to build a positive and safe creative environment where all are welcome.

The play will be produced in cooperation with Eldridge Plays & Musicals. Eldridge, a leading play publisher since 1906, offers hundreds of full-length plays, one-acts, melodramas, holiday and religious plays, children’s theatre plays and musicals of all kinds.

Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom FREE 9/20-22

Beginning September 20th through Sunday the 22nd, my ebook “Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” will be available as a FREE download on Amazon. If you haven’t read it yet, download it! If you know anyone who’d be interested, please share! Thanks.

Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom

Non-Fiction/Humor, 5 stars/19 reviews


“Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom” is a collection of blog posts from playwright and author Brian C. Petti. From the depiction of the author’s upbringing as a fat, shy Catholic school boy to the vagaries of family life to trying to live hand-to-mouth while on disability, “Sister Mercedes” is a sometimes hysterically funny, sometimes tragic and always human glimpse behind the veil of parenthood, marriage, pop culture and the world in general.

The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein in Newburgh, NY

My play will be re-staged in Newburgh for a one-night showing.  If you’re anywhere near Newburgh, stop by and see us this Friday.



After completing a successful and acclaimed run at The Fresh Fruit Festival in NYC, Hudson Valley playwright Brian C. Petti’s original play will come to Newburgh for one night only with an all-local cast. THE LOVE SONG OF SIDNEY J. STEIN, which concerns a former male prostitute attempting to guide a troubled young streetwalker, is a powerful and touching comedy/drama about trust, honesty, and second chances. The play will be staged at The Ritz for one night only, at 7:30PM on Friday, August 23rd.
The original piece is being revived in Newburgh as part of the historic Ritz Theater’s centennial year, in collaboration with Hatmaker’s Attic Productions, Inc., a local nonprofit theater company partnering with Safe Harbors of the Hudson on several projects throughout 2013 and beyond. This production is an exciting addition to the Ritz calendar this year, and a powerful glimpse into subjects such as street life, prostitution, and trust, and struggles of homosexuality. Reviews of the NYC production said: “…Petti has delivered these actors a complicated and multilayered script… a touching and sometimes terrifying glimpse into places loneliness abides just waiting for the dayspring of dawn of renewal and hope.” Additional information:

Safe Harbors of the Hudson, which owns and operates The Ritz Theater, The Cornerstone Residence, and the Ann Street Gallery, is a nonprofit committed to transforming lives and building communities through housing and the arts. The Ritz Theater’s mission is to create a vibrant professional performing arts venue in the city of Newburgh that revitalizes the local economy, enriches the education of youth, and enhances community pride. For more information please

Hatmaker’s Attic Productions is honored to be a part of Safe Harbors of the Hudson Ritz Theater’s ongoing efforts to restore The Ritz. Founded last year by brothers Edward and William Gibbons-Brown, Hatmaker’s Attic is committed to creating positive environments where anybody can find a home in Art. This joint production will be the sixth project for Hatmaker’s Attic, and the third of five scheduled this year at The Ritz. Please visit for more information on upcoming events.

With humor and pathos, THE LOVE SONG OF SIDNEY J. STEIN explores the struggle to truly connect with another human being. Audiences will not want to miss this very special evening at The Ritz.

The Love Song of Sidney J. Stein will play at The Ritz Theater (107 Broadway, Newburgh, NY).

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Friday, August 23rd — 7:30PM

Tickets are $15.00 ($10/students) and can be pre-ordered online

Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom–free ebook until April 6th!

Hi There!

To celebrate the publishing of my new ebook Sister Mercedes and the Temple of Doom,  I would like to send all my readers a free digital copy!   The book is based on posts here at Pettiplays blog.
Between now and April 6th, I will send you an email with a PDF copy that can be sent to your e-reader or read on your computer.  This offer is good for anyone you forward the email to as well.  If you don’t know me personally, I promise to cyber-burn your email as soon as I send the book. Please feel free to distribute it to anyone else who likes to read, likes to laugh, likes free stuff, or all three!  Send your email to me at bcpkid AT gmail DOT com.
Here’s all I ask.  Please post an honest review on Amazon, and ask the same of anyone you forward it to.  That’s it!  The book is available at
If you feel guilty about not paying (for all my Catholic readers out there), I am including a link to my friend Ron’s charity event, “Hope Swings Eternal: A Swing Night Benefit for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital”.  A Neonatal Unit helped save his little girl Tegan’s life.  It is a more than worthy cause and I would be immensely happy if you could help.  Their website is:

Echoes of Ireland Sneak Peek


Cover Photo

Happy St. Patrick’s.  This is the first of four monologues that make up Echoes of Ireland, which was recently picked up for publication by Eldridge Plays & Publishing.  For my maternal grandparents (Sullivans and Sheas) and paternal grandparents, (Pettis and Raffaniellos)

This play was produced in County Cork, Ireland by the Skibbereen Theatre Society as as a fundraise for Gorta, an Irish famine relief organization that works in sub-Saharan Africa.  No one should ever go hungry again.  Their website link is on the right side of this page if you are so inclined.

Have a good weekend.

Echoes of Ireland

by Brian C. Petti

Copyright 2010 © by Brian C. Petti

County Cork, Ireland, 1860

Have you ever been hungry? Not that late for supper growl you get on your way to a meal, no. I mean the in-your-bones hunger, the kind that nary lets you think of ought else. The two days since and for all you know two days hence type. The hunger stirred in the pit of your belly, bourne of far too many days providing less that what a belly require, less than what a proper soul depends upon to thrive. Have you known that hunger, lads?

To understand me, to comprehend how I stand before you ten years hence breathing the air upon the wind of County Cork, and all the seeming health that sails with it…you have to know the hunger that can turn a proper soul improper. There were crimes enough. There are judgments we’ve yet to repay, dwelling on this earthly green. And there were crimes enough committed ‘gainst us, that are beyond any earthly judgment I can reckon. And at the root of it all, tangled up in its sinew and vine, forcing all that blackness up through the ground and into God’s light there is one word, one notion—hunger.

Crops had failed before. I had heard tell, having tilled a parcel with me father since I were a wee lad in service to the same landlord. I worked me land, but I didn’t truly own me land, you see. But t’were mine nonetheless. Me Da, he taught me every stone of the place, and after he died out in that parcel is where we buried him. I knew that land like you know a woman. Actually, thinking about what I know of me Caitlin, I believe I knew the land a tad better. It fed me two girls. It gave me what little I had in me pocket any given time. It provided me any right I had, at eight and twenty years of age to be calling meself a man. I asked no more than to be doing me work, to have a meal for Caitlin and the two young ones at the end of the day, and to share a spot with the boys at Jimmy’s Pub upon the odd Friday—and Lord knows no more was ever visited upon me. Simple wants and simple pleasures. I was married and familied as we all were. We went to church Sunday as we all did and prayed with the same words. I yelled too much, or drank too much on the rare occasion, did me penance and moved on fresh to pull the crop from the ground once again.

‘Twasn’t a surprise when the famine come. We’d heard it coming in gossip and whispers. But to actually see those pieces of coal staring out of the ground like the cold, black eyes of the old serpent himself… What’s a potato? Not much. A bit to feed a soul. Wasn’t there corn enough? Weren’t there cattle enough to slaughter? And there were. On ships leaving the ports of Erin each day, off to keep England in beef and the rest of the world in corn, while those who tended the land… Everything we raised we sold, see. If you wanted to keep your land and not be turned out by the landlord, you did so. Potatoes alone could be grown enough to eat and sell as well. All the tenable land raised grass to feed the cattle. Only potatoes took hold in the leftovers. Hills and plains of rolling emerald, green the like of which there’s none to match in the known world. Cow food. What we ate, and lived upon, and fed our children with…t’was brown. And now t’was black.

The small farmers fell upon the mercy of the large crop farmers. The big farmers pled their cases to the landlords. The landlords turned to the absent owners, far away in England…there were no mercy to be found there. And you can be certain no mercy trickled down to the poor of County Cork. Those who could afford to feed their own locked their hearts to us. The church locked its front gate. And poverty locked its chains upon us. But the ports, they stayed open, every day without fail for five years, sending our food to foreign soil while Ireland’s children starved. While me own children starved. When the last of what little we had was gone and the prospect of replacing it were gone as well, we fell into a routine of survival, Caitlin and meself. I took the man’s role, and went into town each day to try to find work with the Irish relief, on the off chance they’d throw me a few scraps to dig a ditch that was of no earthly value to anyone. Caitlin took the woman’s part, traveling to a neighboring town with the girls to beg in the streets. I couldn’t have her doing it in me own town, see. Not if I were a man who aimed to keep me pride. So I sent me own wife and children out to strangers to do me begging for me. So’s I could keep me pride intact, see. That was the theory.

After months of living on the scraps we could beg or steal, Caitlin began to leave the girls at home and venture out herself. When she brought back more than she had before, I didn’t ask how or why. I should have. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to know what I already knew. Because how could a man live, knowing such a thing? The depths a mother would plumb to feed her children. So I remained unawares.

So why not just leave, you may ask, and not having been there ‘tis a fair enough question. The simplest answer is that leaving took fare for passage, and hadn’t we enough just keeping body and soul together. But there were other answers too. Caitlin’s mother, who she fed the best she could until the fever finally stole the poor old woman’s breath. And our cottage, small enough to be meaningless to anyone but us, but still the place we watched our girls take their first steps—the older one careful and tentative and the younger one running headlong to beat the devil. It was ours. The only place meself and the lasses ever called home. Until the filthy landlord blaggards turned us out like shiftless beggars. And damn my soul, there was the land I thought would come back to me like a long lost love. The air, the grass, the sky I knew and loved all me life, even after it betrayed me. The land I couldn’t bring meself to hate…until I came home from digging me latest ditch to find the girls’ mouths stained green with it, wild with the hunger, trying to fill their bellies with the grass like they’d seen the English beef cattle do. That was the end, there.

By that time we were squatters, spending our cold nights in a lean-to with the one candle, hoping no one would roust us out. I spoke to Caitlin that night over the candle, spoke to her eye to eye, in a way I hadn’t in what seemed like years. I told her I was proud of her for the mother she was to me children, and that her mother would be too. She looked away. I can still see the shadows on her face from the flickering light. But I kept on. I told her the time had come to leave and stake our claim on another shore, what with our children desperate enough to chew cud with the cattle. We owed it to them to be done with this place at last. She began to cry then. And I…I thought it were due to what she’d suffered: the ignominy she endured to feed her girls, the meager life we’d been reduced to, the mother she’d lost to the fever. But t’wasn’t any of those things. She cried because she was with child.

We hadn’t had marital relations in over a year. When a body’s main concern is surviving until its next meal, all other considerations become secondary. Yet I was to be a father once again—me with the two green-stained mouths I couldn’t feed already.

There’s another word you need to understand if you’re to understand me. Shame. The shame of a working man all his days, now helpless and idle. The shame of not being able to provide for me children as God intended. The shame of sitting in the candlelight, with nothing between meself and the cold air but a piece of tarp, on a piece of soil that didn’t belong to me…across from a softly weeping woman who put herself in harm’s way for me and mine. How quickly we lost all we were. How quickly we were reduced to beggars and whores, who once were men and women of substance and pride. And in that moment, the hatred welled up inside me. I hated those who starved me family without conscience. I hated me father for teaching me to love the land. I hated the mocking green of the country I lived in. I hated me girls for being born. I hated Caitlin for the truth behind her tears. I hated God for abandoning us in our time of need. But most of all, lads, I hated meself. Most of all, I hated meself.

Caitlin couldn’t board a boat in her condition—if she survived the journey they’d have sent her back as soon as she landed. And I couldn’t leave her alone to starve and die. So I forged a letter from a distant cousin who lived in New York, who I never met, nor knew naught about. It said that he would sponsor me two girls to come across. I made up an address. We packed a sack for the lasses, told our 11-year-old girl to be the mother and care for her little sister…and we sent our babies out into this Godless world unguarded.

The letter didn’t come for eight months. For eight months we knew not a thing of our own children. Caitlin had another girl, and she was still nursing when the letter found us. It was from our oldest—I could tell by the scrawl on the envelope. She’d made it to New York, and even managed to find the relative we lied about by repeating his name often enough to anyone who’d listen. She was all right. She was alive, and being fed, thousands of miles away from this desolate place. But…our younger…didn’t survive the trip across. She died in me eldest’s arms, without a mother’s hands to soothe her or a father’s voice to calm her. The lost wages of vile desperation. And that’s all I can rightly say on that subject…

It’s now twelve years since that day. Ten years since the famine ended and the crop came back. Two hours since I had me last meal, and two hours until me next. Three weeks since I last heard from me daughter in the States. And a million years since Caitlin and meself have been able to look into each others eyes without a twinge of pain. We had two more girls, in our attempt, like the rest of Ireland, to repopulate the country after the food came back. So now we have four, plus the one we lost. And I till the land again, and we go to church as we did, and I have a few more pints than I used to on the odd Friday. But it’s all make believe. Like we’ve all already died once and we’re waiting for it to become official this time. We laugh without joy and we sing without passion. We know what’s under the rolling green, and we know what hides in the heart of the man or woman next to us. And we’ve not been able to forget what hunger feels like. And I fear we never will…