Below are a few samples of Dannie Snyder’s writing, which includes stage plays, screenplays, poetry, essays, blogs, dramaturgy and more.  They are in no particular order of date or importance.  Visit the Contact Page in order to request full pieces.


A monologue from the full-length play Paradiddle.

This is not a list.  It is not.  A bucket.  List.  I’m not having some sort of mid-life crisis, because if this were some sort of mid-life crisis, then my whole life has been one long mid-life crisis.  No one knows when they’re going to die, so when exactly is the midpoint?  If I died yesterday, like I was supposed to, then my mid-life crisis would have been when I was about twenty.  This is a contract.  Between me and… the cockroaches.  I am scared of the dark.  Some people never learn how to swim.  I never learned how to sleep without a nightlight.  Not a big deal.  It’s not like I still wet the bed.  I just sleep with a nightlight on.  No big fucking deal.  Let me point out that women actually think “aw, it’s cute” and I’ve had no problem getting laid.  In fact, it’s worked out to be the best excuse for fucking with the lights on.  (pause)  This is a contract between me and the cockroaches.  When I was little…  fucking little…  We lost electricity in our house.  My folks told me it was due to a thunderstorm destroying power lines, but later in life I realized that it was due to my father destroying our bank account…  We experienced a few days of total darkness.  Day One:  Woke up to cockroaches on my face and under my blankets.  Have you ever been bitten by a cockroach?  Day Two:  Ran out of candles and Mom taught me the phrase “panic attack”.  Day Three:  I made a contract.  I didn’t want to die and I had convinced myself that the cockroaches were going to eat me alive.  I imagined their little armies drawing up little maps and organizing a plan of attack for the moment when I would drift asleep, unable to stand watch anymore…  So I begged them.  I begged them that if they just left me alone, I would never kill a cockroach.  I would never kill any kind of bug!  Unless, of course, it was an accident like eating a spider in my sleep or a bee stinging me or a butterfly hitting my windshield…  I drafted almost a hundred of these scenarios.  This is a treaty inspiring cockroaches and all other bugs around the world to peacefully share living spaces with the human race, or at least with just me…  I placed it next to a loaf of bread in the corner of my room opposite to my bed.  And it worked.  No one believed me.  No one understood why mosquitoes would chew on them but leave me totally alone, but I swear that it god damn worked.  It worked for almost forty years, until…  I finally killed a cockroach…  It was like Buddha’s been laughing at me my whole life knowing the day would finally come, “A ha!  Negative one hundred Karma points!”  Do you know how hard it is to go through your whole life without killing a single fucking bug?  I was taking a shit in an unfamiliar bathroom, which, being unfamiliar is already stressful enough…  And, when I finished, I sat up, like you do, but then noticed a cockroach on the inside of the toilet seat.  So…  I…  I… I panicked.  My cave man instincts or whatever just took over and I slammed down the toilet seat.  (pause)  I counted to ten, opened the seat back up, and…  It was like watching a kid who can’t swim trying to climb onto a floating log of wood.  I thought about trying to rescue it, like I would usually do, but I didn’t want to put my hand… in… the…  I really don’t have to defend myself here, right?  Any normal person would’ve been like, “Ah, flush, fuck you!”  (pause)  After what I considered to be enough denial, I just…  flushed.  (sigh)  Only an hour later, I had my first seizure.  Ever.  Fast-forward a few months later, I was preparing for brain surgery.  (sigh)  I decided to make a formal apology to the cockroaches with a new amendment.  (reading)  “I, Max Crocker, cannot fully right my wrong, but beg for a brighter beginning, a world not only where open-minded cockroaches and humans may live side by side, but where we can greet each other with joy and gratitude instead of fear.  Footnote: In regards to the word, “gratitude,” I am not exactly sure what cockroaches give back to the world…  My promise is not only to protect cockroaches, but to dissolve the implied segregation of my original treaty by encouraging a deeper friendship, which is only possible if we all are more compassionate beings.”  Buddha is like, “Alright, plus fifty Karma points.”  (continuing reading)  “As a result, I ask that if I live through this brain surgery, I will commit to the following compassionate deeds…  Item Number One: I will do shit when I say I’m going to do it.  I will do the shit I said I would do.  That includes learning to play drums, calling Mom every Sunday, writing thank you cards…”  I have a lot of thank you cards to write…  “Item Number Two: I will donate to a charity every Christmas.”  (pause)  I suppose I could donate on Thanksgiving too.  (pause)  Dammit, fine.  (rewriting)  I will donate on every major holiday.  “Item Number Three Part A:  I will quit drinking.”  I only hurt people when I’m drunk.  Plus, after doing the math, I spend enough money on alcohol a year to pay for a week long vacation in Europe or Asia.  Maybe even two weeks…  “Item Number Three Part B:  I will travel more.”  Yes, I realize this isn’t a compassionate deed towards anyone else, but being compassionate to yourself is just as important.  Right?  (realizing)  This list is pretty clichéd, isn’t it?  And hard…  I suppose most people’s lives are clichéd and hard, whether or not they’re going through a mid-life crisis…


Enjoy this test footage as a sample of Dannie Snyder’s feature length script, adapted to stage and screen.


An excerpt from an essay by Dannie Snyder in her Script Analysis course (2009) with the renowned actor and professor Edward Gero, towards her BA in Theatre Studies at George Mason University.


America chose the Elephant and the Donkey for its political figures because America wants to be known for being big and loud. Yet, America is also the tiny print in a contract and the soft clearing of the dry throat. America the beautiful is indeed beautiful and many playwrights have beautifully captured its landscape and ideals of freedoms, equalities, pride… But the Greats understood beauty as intricacy and thus America’s hypocrisy offers delicious opportunity for conflict. Furthermore, playwrights like Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill composed stories that not only captured America as a contradictory character and designed equally complex protagonists to potentially understand and overcome its contradictions, but extended the opportunity for transformation to us, the spectators: questionable heroes exploring beauty, that is intricacy, that is ultimately truth, thus promoting critical thinking. To sum up, America is many things, but first and foremost, America is a learning process. And its plays should always be political, always the exciting and exhausting cycle of redefining in hopes of inspiring an even stronger, a more beautiful America.

“It has always seemed to me that in peacetime the professional salesman is the real hero of American society,” writes A. Howard Fuller (1996, 240). He continues, “If the salesman can properly be called the hero of American society, it would be difficult to discover a more fitting hero for a modern tragedy.” (1996, 241) Arthur Miller, perhaps the greatest of the Greats with his Death of a Salesman, captures the qualities and levels of the mythical American Dream as well as gives us a highly flawed protagonist, Willy Loman the salesman, to potentially overcome the contradictions between, and hidden within, said elements. Professors Judah Bierman, James Hart, and Stanley Johnson propose finding meaning in the deeper layers of Willy’s tactics as he “…cannot distinguish – as we do, and as the play insists we do – between the ethics of business… and the sterner ethics of life,” (1996, 268) between prosperity and happiness. Miller’s work has been heavily analyzed by critics, particularly in regards to his tragic structure[1] or modern techniques in designing conflict, but what interests me more is how the conflict is placed further on the audience; not just how directors interpret crucial points of Willy’s journey but, more importantly, how they “insist” that we commit to learning from his mistakes, commit to personal and social change. Alex Segal’s made-for-television film adaptation[2] is effective in enlightening us to think critically about the false, even propagandaed, values of American business and lifestyle. He does so by, one, making Willy realistic and relatable as well as, two, gently manipulating his dark journey in parallel with our viewing journey while not-so-gently leaving Willy’s questions unanswered, increasing a sense of urgency to push us in seeking more solutions, wholly encouraging us to overcome our denials.


In all of his directorial choices, I most appreciated that Segal did not direct Willy, played by Lee Cobb, as crazy…


An excerpt from an essay by Dannie Snyder while studying at the University of Huddersfield in England (2006-2007) under Chancellor Sir Patrick Stewart towards her BA in Theatre Studies.  

Applying Ritual Theatre to Theatre of the Oppressed

“The Theatre of the Oppressed, in all its forms, is always seeking the transformation of society in the direction of the liberation of the oppressed.  It is both the action in itself, and a preparation for future actions.  As we all know, it is not enough to interpret reality: it is necessary to transform it!” (Augusto Boal, 2006, p.6)

Feeling that the great humanistic mission of the oppressed is to, “liberate themselves and their oppressors…The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power…” (Freire, 2002, p.44), Augusto Boal works to transform the oppressed, enlightening his audience to fight the systems of domination which they are resigned to, overcoming all walls of fear (10).

When applying the ritual process, organized in a preliminal, liminal and redressive stage, to a Theatre of the Oppressed performance, one can see how the liminal stage serves as an opportunity for transformation.  Within this stage, performance structure becomes one of the most important formal aspects of Theatre of the Oppressed, as it uses a three part process for audience liberation: One, Boal sets the stage for a scene depicting a protagonist trying to fight his oppression; the audience recognizing that oppression within themselves and realizing their desires to fight for a change against it.  Two, using either the Image Theatre structure for an internal oppression or the Forum Theatre structure for a social oppression, Boal pulls the audience into the performance, the facilitator guiding the group in testing solutions for attacking the oppression.  Three, the protagonist overcomes his oppression, leading the audience to discuss the factors of the process and take in the effects of the performance, including their relationship with the protagonist.  Overall, in witnessing the possibilities for change and its development, the audience is given the chance to liberate themselves from all fears by standing up for themselves and going against their oppressions.  In doing so, Boal is preparing them to return to reality where they can truly make a difference (3).  During that stage, the redressive stage, the audience members have the chance to enact on the overall transformation, by either altering their individual life or creating a social change within their community.

Beginning the Ritual Process

Richard Schechner, author of Essays on Performance Theory, states, “If the performance’s purpose is to effect transformations – to be effacious… the performance is a ritual” (18).  Following this statement, Boal’s progression of finding an oppression, performing a piece of Theatre of the Oppressed and offering an audience the opportunity to reevaluate it is therefore a ritualistic process…


Enjoy this trailer as a sample of Dannie Snyder’s feature length screenplay, recently nominated for BEST SCREENPLAY at IndieCapitol Awards.


A poem by Dannie Snyder, which was published in a small collection in December 2015.

Her endorphins glowed.
His endorphins were fuzzy.
They went about their business,
bouncing all over their bodies.

Sometimes they met their quotas.
Too often they didn’t,
but once they met each other,
forever they were efficient.

It started like two factories,
exploding with inspirations
that magnetized together,
into comfort and preservation.

Too much time has passed,
for them to easily part.
It feels as if they’re working now,
to charge a single heart.


An excerpt from Dannie Snyder’s popular blog posting (August 9, 2013).  

A good play is one that entertains.  A great play is one that makes you think.  An efficacious play is one that makes you change.  And a play that makes you change, is one that you will never forget.

I saw a play/musical in April called Stop Hitting Yourself at The Off Center, part of the Fusebox Festival’s Machine Shop series in Austin, Texas.  It was good, great, efficacious, and memorable on many different levels, mostly that of capitalism, individualism, America, and the planets’ resources.  However, perhaps the one level it did not intend to impact me so deeply was that of… monogamy.

I often wake up with a phrase tickling my brain and pulsating slowly as I brush my teeth, look for clean clothes, deliberate if there’s time for coffee…  Most of the time, I don’t even consciously acknowledge that this phrase has been resonating in my head until I’ve reached my car, as if I’ve been hypnotized.  Usually the phrase is the lyric of a song and usually this subconscious wave is the result of poor sleep.  Lately, I’ve found myself stuck on a particular phrase from the play Stop Hitting Yourself.

“I stopped believing in monogamy.”

In the play there were these profound moments where the cast would break out of character, step down stage as all of the house lights go up, and confess their sins, crimes, dirty habits, controversial beliefs, inappropriate behaviors, crude thoughts, etc.  They did this three times during the play.  On the 4th time, they broke out into a song, “I’ve Got Big Balls.”  I attended two performances, discovering that these moments were different for every show, but always received the biggest laughs.  They were certainly my favorite parts of the play – real people talking about real shit.  I found myself guilty of many of the same confessions, except for this one:

“A few years ago, I cheated on a man to whom I was engaged, and around that time I stopped believing in monogamy.”

She wasn’t the only actor to confess her negative viewpoints towards marriage.  One night, another actor shared:

“Whenever friends of mine tell me they’re getting married, I usually see it as them jumping off the carousal of life.”

That same actor also shared:

“I think most of the gays that are fighting for marriage will be divorced in the next two years.”

I don’t think I believe in monogamy.  It’s my biggest question, my biggest secret, and my biggest insecurity…


An excerpt from Dannie Snyder’s first  full-length stage play, Giving a Troll a Greencard.  Although Dannie Snyder has come a long way since this play, she likes to include it here in her samples as this play was featured at the Kennedy Center’s 2008 Page-to-Stage Festival, directed by Kimberly Cetron.  

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