William Cameron is best known as the author of Violet Sharp, winner of the 2007 Julie Harris Playwriting Prize. This drama of the Lindbergh Kidnapping Case received its world premiere at Theatre 40 in Los Angeles in 2009 and was published by Samuel French in 2012. Bill’s plays have been performed around the country, including off-off Broadway at the Harold Clurman Theatre, the Source Theatre in Washington, DC, the Pittsburgh New Works Festival and numerous community and academic theatres. Professor emeritus of Theatre and Communication Arts at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, Bill has written several plays tailored specifically to his students. These include Intersect, a drama about racial tensions at a small college, and Cease to Exist, a chronicle of the Manson murders. As an actor, he has performed with the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and the Philadelphia Drama Guild and has appeared on screen in such films as Lorenzo’s Oil, Hoffa, The Dark Half, and the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead.
Based on the true story of the 1932 Lindbergh Kidnapping Case, Violet Sharp is named for the young British maid working at the home of Anne Lindbergh’s mother. In the wake of the historic kidnapping of beloved aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son, Violet raises the suspicion of the police with a contradictory testimony about her whereabouts to police investigator Officer Walsh. Under pressure from her own personal demons as well as the police, Violet’s efforts to clear her name cannot seem to overpower a growing reputation of guilt.
PUBLISHED BY SAMUEL FRENCH
VIOLET SHARP may use double casting. The playwright suggests the following but other combinations are certainly possible and are left to the discretion of the director:
Actress 1: Violet Sharp
Actress 2: Betty Gow
Actress 3: Adela
Actress 4: Anne Lindbergh, Edna Sharp, Laura Hughes, Nurse
Actor 1: Harry Walsh
Actor 2: Charles Lindbergh
Actor 3: Norman Schwarzkopf, Septimus Banks
Actor 4: John McGrath, Miller
Kathleen Abedon’s teenage son Julian carries an automatic weapon into his workplace and opens fire. When the smoke clears, fourteen people are dead, Julian among them. One year later, when true-crime writer Jo Hunter comes to town to interview Kathleen for a book on the shooting, the grief-stricken mother seeks to convince the skeptical journalist that Julian has been framed for the shooting. At a time in our history when the truth is under attack on a daily basis, Truth Be Told explores the nature of objective truth and the ways in which we manipulate and distort it to serve our own ends.
Truth Be Told is a work in progress that received its first public reading in April 2019 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.
THESPIANS covers a year in the life of the Pinecrest Playmakers, a community theatre troupe. In act one, a coup is underway at The Odd Couple’s opening night party. Wally is seeking to have neophyte Eddie kicked out of the show. Act two starts with Digger in jail for attacking the local drama for his vitriolic review of Digger’s Hamlet. With only 25 minutes until curtain, what deals will have to be struck to get Digger out of the slammer and into his codpiece? In the final scene, the women’s dressing room on opening night of A Streetcar Named Desire is ablaze with conflict as egos rise and fall, new rivalries simmer, old ones burn out, until all must unite in the face of one last crisis.
Patricia Krenwinkel, convicted for her role in the 1969 Tate and LaBianca murders, has now served 38 years of a life sentence and is up for parole. As she attempts to convince the parole board of her suitability for release, Krenwinkel is inevitably drawn back into the events of her troubled past—her childhood, her first meeting with Charles Manson, her life with the 'Family'" and, ultimately, her participation in the infamous murders. Cease to Exist takes us inside the tormented mind of Patricia Krenwinkel as she recounts her crimes and, ultimately, comes face to face with the sister of her most famous victim.
Inspired by the notion that bad exposition can make for good comedy, A Disturbing Encounter at the Calhoun Residence Involving Sex, Marriage and the American Musical Theatre takes us to the home of Roger and Charlotte Calhoun. Having received a mysterious phone call suggesting that Roger may be the illegitimate father of a local teenage girl, the Calhouns are thrown into a tizzy when their teenage son Billy shows up with Suzie, his new girlfriend. Could this be Roger's daughter? Gasp!
In the midst of the final dress rehearsal for her new play, director/playwright Dana is devastated when her fiancée Cliff, incensed and embarrassed that the character based on him comes off as a hapless buffoon, storms out. Distraught, Dana turns to Alice and Beck, her two actors, for comfort but they have issues of their own. Trapped in a loveless marriage with an older man, Alice has stumbled into a secret affair with Beck, her leading man. After some soul searching by all involved, Cliff stumbles back in with yet another crisis that brings everything to a head.
My one-act, Speak the Speech, I Pray You..., which won the Nantucket Short Play Competition way back in 1996, has been published in Volume 1 of the Nantucket Short Play Anthologies. This short comedy ultimately became the basis for my full-length comedy, Thespians.