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Co-winner of the New Noises Playwrighting award and finalist in the Palm Springs International Playwrighting Festival for the Drama, a Place at Forest Lawn with Luke Yankee, James is the author of the play She's the Best. He is the writer, producer and director of the short film, Third Strike and as well as numerous television and film projects. James has directed extensively for the New York and Los Angeles stages and continues to coach professional actors, directors and writers in all disciplines. a respected teacher and director, he is on the staff of the American Musical and Dramatic academy (aMDa) in Hollywood and has taught at the Nina Foch Studio, Ltd., Hollywood Way Studios, USC School of Cinema-Television in the directing and writing programs. the acting ConsultANT on exposure directed by academy awardİ nominated director/writer Walter Salles, Jr., Mr. Bontempo coached performers for Disney's the Jungle Book and the recently released Lucky 13 as well as numerous other film and television projects. a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, he has performed on Broadway, off-Broadway and in National tours as well as on both sides of the camerA.
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Place At Forest Lawn, A
Lifelong best friends Clara and Gertrude are spending their sunset years at the Hollywood Palms Retirement Hotel. Clara arranges to have a bill for an expensive Italian marble mausoleum sent to her estranged son, Jack. Jack, a divorced man and absentee Father to his young son, has not seen his mother for years and assumes she is dead. He travels to Los Angeles to settle her accounts and is shocked to find her very much alive and living at a run-down retirement hotel. the reunion does not go well and the past problems between mother and son immediately resurface. Gertrude, however, is thrilled to see Jack after so many years. Sonny, the retirement hotel's sage driver who prefers smoking a joint and driving "old folks" around to his days at Harvard, challenges Jack to stay and try and patch things up with his mother. Torn, Jack remembers a happy childhood moment with his mother but that soon devolves into another heated argument. Feeling cornered, Clara blurts out that she and Jack's Father never loved each other but that she was in love with her best friend Gertrude's husband and that he returned the passionate feelings. enraged, Jack storms out and encounters albert, another retirement hotel resident who has a story about every starlet he made love to in the Golden age of Hollywood. the old man entices Jack to join him and Sonny as well as Father Gabriel, the eager, young priest from the retirement hotel who is always at odds with Clara, in what turns out to be a revelatory evening of drinking and poker. Meanwhile, Gertrude, needing a purpose in her life, volunteers at a local hospital and sneaks into a highly delicate baby holding program where she becomes attached to a high risk newborn. She takes Clara to see a baby she is looking after but tragedy occurs when the baby dies during the visit. Gertrude is devastated. as Clara attempts to comfort her, Gertrude reveals that she has always known about the affair between Clara and her husband but said nothing so as to remain friends with both of them. the two ladies reach a resolution and, to cement their friendship for eternity, agree to be buried together. Sonny persuades a hung-over Jack to drive his mother for her regular visit to the doctor. Hiding her pain from him, Clara does not let Jack know how sick she really is. Sonny gives Clara some marijuana to help ease the pain and Jack finds his mother stoned. He is angry with her and berates Sonny for being so irresponsible. alone with him, Sonny admits to him that Clara just learned she only has a few months left to live. all secrets out in the open, Clara and Jack patch things up and at her insistence, he returns to his life in Seattle. Sonny gives Clara some powerful pain killers warning her to be careful and not take too many. Gertrude finds out about Clara's plan but will she want to stop her friend or help her? Her decision is the ultimate act of love between two lifelong friends.
written by Luke Yankee And James Bontempo. Based on A one Act play Save Me A Place At Forest Lane by Lorees Yerby
Dramatists Play Service, Inc, New York, 2007 -
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Drama, full length
Male: 4 Female: 2 Other: -
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