cover photo by Peter Cunningham

Plays by Karen Sunde

Karen Sunde
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This collection includes three full-length plays: HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM, TRUTH TAKES A HOLIDAY, and IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA. HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM: A fleeing refugee encounters a soldier wounded by a roadside bomb, irresistible Palestinian and Israeli characters clash, then ignite a passion that heals. TRUTH TAKES A HOLIDAY: What happens in the White House in the first 24 hours after a presidential sex scandal breaks? IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA: Based on a true story, a kidnapped “cowboy” Marine serving the U N in Lebanon’s maze of rival Muslims drags America into this new world as the mystery of his capture unwinds.

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Press Quotes


“One of the most powerful antiwar plays ever penned … this life-altering script.” —Plays International, London

“Sunde’s timely, gripping, and richly magical play … this modern-day ROMEO AND JULIET … an engrossing look at how war can prematurely turn children into adults … emotional pull of her drama … will haunt audiences well after the end of the play … forces beyond man might be at work.” —

“A masterpiece … no soft edges … goes straight to the heart of the conflict … outstanding writing, sound, direction, and acting — all the elements that make great theater.” —Melissa Kleiner, Bloomberg Radio

“Sunde does not take sides in the conflict, and the dialogue has a crisp, biting edge … gripping drama … timely romantic drama … volatile battle zone … vivid portraits of offstage characters and action … cinematic thrust of the pieces summons the inspiration for a dandy film.” —Variety

“… its events seem ripped right out of today’s headlines … pacifist tragedy … a fateful night that profoundly changes them — and us. Its incisive dialogue, riveting action, and searing audience impact … The play would likewise make a first-rate film.” —Plays International, London

“HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM creates an extraordinary modern pacifist myth in which a wounded male Israeli soldier and a female Palestinian terrorist experience each other’s passionate hunger for their homes and rights … it indelibly etches itself upon viewers’ souls.” —Contemporary Dramatists, London


“In TRUTH TAKES A HOLIDAY, a quartet of the President, the First Lady and his and hers aides engage in a game of Truth or Dare. The audience knows the outcome, yet this only enhances Karen Sunde’s insightful comedy of political manners about the first twenty-four hours in the White House after the news of a presidential sex-scandal breaks. A quick-paced exercise in political and personal recognition cleverly articulated by the best and brightest of the boomers and their proteges. How much fun to watch lawyers talking about sex!” —George Ferencz


“… a drama that grew out of the abduction and subsequent death of Marine Lieutenant Colonel William R Higgins, who worked for the U N peacekeeping force …” —Susan Brooks, Independent Press

“… Ms Sunde had traveled to the Middle East to research a play about the U N’s peacekeeping forces — a body she considers to be an evolutionary step forward for mankind. However, an attempt to stage her work IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA at the United Nations was aborted. From the high in the hierarchy came the suggestion that the play might be too ‘controversial’ …” —The New York Observer

“Its power, intensity and pace remind me of Blackhawk Down.” —Paul Mila, Dangerous Waters

About the Author


  • Karen Sunde

    Playwright/Screenwriter Karen Sunde was first an actor. Off-Broadway she performed many leading roles and became Associate Director of CSC Repertory. Her plays have been performed Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, on a USA tour, in eleven countries, in seven languages. As screenwriter (adapting her plays) Sunde's won the Gold Prize from Hollywood Screenwriting Contest for IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA; HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM is an "Official Selection" at Oaxaca Film Festival (; UNDERCOVER PATRIOT was finalist at Sundance, THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE adapted for Howard S Shulman Productions, NYC. Among her plays: Shakespeare's DARK LADY, produced Abbey Theatre, Ireland; Aalborg State Theatre, Denmark; BALLOON, produced CSC won three VILLAGER awards Off-Broadway, nominated Best Play by Outer Critics Circle; in French, aired by Radio France; TO MOSCOW premiered Ankara National Theatre, Turkey; Chain Lightning, NYC. PLAYS BY KAREN SUNDE includes TRUTH TAKES A HOLIDAY; IN A KINGDOM BY THE SEA produced Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey; HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM, produced PTNJ; Praxis Theatre Project, NYC; The Unicorn, Kansas City. HAITI: A DREAM in FACING FORWARD, produced Seven Stages, Atlanta; radio play produced WNYC, aired WHYY, NPR. ANTON, HIMSELF for Actors Theatre of Louisville, played the Moscow Art Theatre and Yalta Festival in Russia; Peoples Light and Theatre, PA. THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE produced Luna Stage, NJ; Praxis, NYC; the Edinburgh Festival. KABUKI OTHELLO, produced People's Light and Theatre; Annenberg Center, Philadelphia; Wisdom Bridge, Chicago. KABUKI LADY MACBETH produced Chicago Shakespeare Theater, cited for five JEFF Awards. ACHILLES (a Kabuki play) toured Hungary, Cyprus, Japan. Sunde cowrote musical QUASIMODO, produced Byrdcliffe Festival, Woodstock, NY; Lahti City Theatre, Finland. For Cheltenham Center, Philadelphia, Sunde wrote LA PUCELLE (Me & Joan) and DADDY'S GONE AHUNTING (Tracking Blood White); for Chain Lightning, WHEN REAL LIFE BEGINS. Scenes from TO MOSCOW; ANTON, HIMSELF; MASHA, TOO; HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM appear in SCENES & MONOLOGS FROM THE BEST NEW PLAYS. Sunde lives in New York City and is faculty at New Hampshire Institute of Art's "Writing for Stage and Screen" MFA program.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 6/1/2001
Pages 166
ISBN 9780881451924