Joe Calarco

Separate Rooms

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Full-length Comedy

by Joe Carlarco

In this funny, moving and wistfully haunting play, a deceased man guides us through his past and present, as his apartment fills to the brim with family, friends, friends of friends, and even total strangers. As the guests grapple, both with his loss and with each other, the action weaves from room to room, jumping through time by minutes and years. Separate Rooms is a stunning meditation on loss, friendship, and the traces of ourselves we leave behind. A Big Chill for the 21st Century.

Production Notes


This shouldn’t need to be said but diversity is greatly encouraged in the casting beyond what is already designated in the script.

HIM: 30ish. Likes to build things. “Beautiful.” Deceased.

BOB: Mid to late 30s. A first generation American. (There is flexibility in terms of where his parents are from, but be thoughtful and don’t make it Canada.) A lawyer and a good one. Deeply empathetic even when the circumstances don’t warrant it. Married to Anna. Close friend of the deceased.

ANNA: Mid 30s. Searching. She lives a very accomplished life but has a glass half empty personality and craves to be the opposite but the evidence around her doesn’t ever seem to support that plan. Sister of the deceased.

MELISSA: 30ish. A smoker. A drinker. A fierce friend. Lives a passionate, sometimes messy, life but despises cheap sentiment. Close friend of the deceased.

FRANK: Mid 30s. From Jersey. Married. He holds a well paying, nine to five, job that he hates. Knew the deceased only tangentially.

THE GUEST: Female. Early 20s. Susceptible. Lost. Co-worker of the deceased.

JOSH: 30ish. Jewish. Carries his guilt and neuroses almost proudly. Smart to a fault. Deeply sensitive. Reeling. Hasn’t slept in days. Partner of the deceased.

SIMON: Mid to late 20s. African American. Works as a doorman to support much bigger goals. A guilt free soul. Neighbor of the deceased, but they never met.

JANIE: 30ish. Ordered. She has constructed a very good, very successful life for herself. Never met the deceased.Time: Late January 2011 and thereabouts.Place: A one-bedroom apartment in midtown Manhattan and… someplace else.


Joe Calarco

Joe Calarco is a multi-award-winning director and playwright. He has served as Director of New Works at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, and as Resident Playwright at Expanded Arts, Inc. He was a Joseph Papp Artist in Residence at Second Stage, is one of New York Theatre Workshop’s “usual suspects,” is a Drama League directing fellow, is an Associate Artist at Barrington Stage Company, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild. Joe’s current works include I Am Rafiq (w/ collaborators Mohamad Alrefai and Kholoud Sawaf), The Circus in Winter (book writer w/ composer/lyricist Ben Clark), A Rhythmic Me (stage musical and screenplay, w/ collaborators Jared Grimes and Mark Meadows), and Spring Break (second in Joe’s series of plays for teens which follows the same 19 students through a year of their lives which starts with the currently published Winter Break). Published Works: Shakespeare’s R&J (Broadway Licensing/Dramatists Play Service - Lucille Lortel Award winner, produced in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Belgium, Israel, Brazil, Peru, China, South Korea), Walter Cronkite is Dead (Broadway Licensing/Dramatists Play Service, Best Stage Monologues of 2013), In the Absence of Spring (Broadway Licensing/Playscripts - inaugural production of Second Stage’s New Plays Uptown series, Best Stage Scenes of 2004), two collections of plays for teens Signature in the Schools Volumes 1 & 2 (Concord Theatricals/Samuel French - include plays My Vacation in Paris, Salat, Civil Wars, Aftershock, Shakespeare, Will, Image is Everything, Revolution, Hero Worship, Veni Vidi Vici), plays for teens Winter Break and One Acts 17 and 18 (Broadway Licensing/Dramatists Play Service), short plays Just A Little Sniffle and Parting Gifts. Produced Work: A Measure of Cruelty (Mosaic Theater - Carbonell Award “Best New Work nominee, Best Men’s Monologues of 2013), Separate Rooms (4615 Theater, Best Women’s Monologues of 2020), his adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Theater Company), The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (book writer w/ with comp. Chris Miller & lyr. Nathan Tysen - Mercury Musical Developments in London...[FULL BIO]