“Coming from a unique and empathetic place, Rice tackles (the pandemic) with insurmountable grace and dignity.”

– Zachary Rivera, director.

Climbing the Good Walls
8 (4M/4F)-20
Est. 90 min.
Flexible staging.

Portrait of a Pandemic. March, 2020. Two sparrows in a city tree notice humans are acting strangely. It’s worrisome – and becomes downright frightening when a figure who is neither human nor animal threatens them. It is Morbus, the spectre of disease. It sees all and moves in to claim victims when they are vulnerable.

We see a lonely, alcoholic man as he watches a nurse going to work in a hospital each day. We hope he will stop drinking and that she won’t get sick – that they’ll finally work through the mess that surrounds them, spend time with each other and fall in love (of course we hope that!). We watch people in quarantine coming to grips with being shut in together: A family struggles to overcome secrets that are being shaken loose; a young daughter helps her mother overcome a long-hidden fear which emerges under the stress; a self-centered woman finds a nugget of selflessness; a junk-food stress-eater finds another love; a cockroach chooses to abandon her large, cloistered family… and more.

Finally, the man does give up drinking and meets the nurse. Hope is alive. People were forced to stop the daily hustle and bustle and think about each other. They can come outside. Hope is very much alive. The sparrows’ descendants’ eggs hatch, people can take off their masks, and Morbus can at last be buried.

Premiere available.

SET REQUIREMENTS: A few basics like a table and chairs. Mostly a lot of imagination.


HONORS: Invited by Pittsburgh Playhouse to be part of their New Play Reading Series.

For inquiries, contact the playwright.