Cover art by Kinya Elenbarger

Checks & Balances

Oren Safdie
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CHECKS & BALANCES tells the story of a young music student who comes to New York to attend a prestigious music conservatory and gets a part-time bookkeeping job with the founder, a woman well into her 80s who appears to be losing her memory. Upon inspection of her finances, he uncovers numerous checks written to the maid, which lead him on a journey of unexpected twists and turns that in the end challenge his own values and ethics. The play explores issues regarding immigration (both legal and illegal), class, privilege, the definition of family, as well as how society chooses to deal with its aged.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (3 female, 2 male)
Full Length Comedy (about 100 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“Any great comedy should make you think. And make no mistake, Oren Safdie’s CHECKS & BALANCES, is a great comedy. It’s the kind that makes you laugh honestly but guiltily at all the ways life is unfair; how the best intentions can end in ruin; and how sometimes the truth does anything but set you free.” —The Source, Northwest Arkansas

“The story itself is thought provoking, with subtle undertones that challenge societal ideas of family, the elderly and entitlement. These undertones, in combination with Safdie’s sophisticated yet clever dialogue, make the show simply spectacular… The characters evolve beautifully on stage.” —City Wire, NWA

About the Author


  • Oren Safdie

    Oren Safdie attended the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University before turning his attention to playwriting. After receiving his MFA — also from Columbia — he was awarded a Woolrich Fellowship, which he used to launch The West End Gate Theatre on New York’s Upper West Side. He was a playwright-in-residence at La MaMa E.T.C., and helmed the Malibu Stage Co. where his Off-Broadway/London hit PRIVATE JOKES, PUBLIC PLACES first debuted. His next play, THE LAST WORD, also moved Off-Broadway, starring two-time Emmy Award-winner Daniel J. Travanti. Other productions include GRATITUDE, MR. GOLDBERG GOES TO TEL AVIV, FALSE SOLUTION, CHECKS & BALANCES, THE BILBAO EFFECT, musicals WEST BANK, UK, JEWS & JESUS and FIDDLER SUB-TERRAIN with Ronnie Cohen, and LA COMPAGNIE, which he developed into a half-hour pilot for Castle Rock/CBS. As a screenwriter, Oren scripted the film You Can Thank Me Later starring Ellen Burstyn, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Newport Film Festival; and the Israeli film Bittersweet, which played the Jerusalem and Montreal World Film Festivals. Oren has written for and contributed to Metropolis, Dwell, Beyond, The Forward, Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, The Algemeiner, The New Republic and The National Post. He is also the recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, The John Golden Foundation, and The Graham Foundation. Oren has taught playwriting and screenwriting at the University of Miami and Douglas College in Vancouver.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/14/2017
Pages 92
ISBN 9780881457421

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

CHECKS & BALANCES was first produced by Arkansas Public Theatre
in Rogers, Arkansas, in November 2012

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Checks & Balances is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC