Youth for Dark


Keith Whalen



David, a high school senior, applies to his school district for an after-school group, but is called on the carpet by his school’s principal, who objects to the unusual group.




Keith is a writer, director, and actor. His plays have won awards and been produced across the country. His comedy “Coming to Town” was awarded Runner-Up Winner in Theatre Odyssey’s Ten Minute Play Festival in Sarasota, FL, and was recently awarded Best Script in Stage Door Productions First Annual Holiday Show in December 2020. His play “Youth for Dark” won Best Play in the Tales from the Brookside Festival in New Milford, CT and also made the finals of Aery Theatre Company’s 20/20 Play Competition in Garrison, NY. His comedy “Prisoner of Love” won Best New Script and Audience Favorite in the Theatre Workshop of Owensboro’s Summer Shorts festival in Owensboro, KY in 2019. His satire “Wonderland” was voted Runner-Up in Carrollwood Players’ One Act Weekend in August 2020. Keith is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.



1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?


I began writing plays for fun in high school, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I began writing in earnest. It was then that I realized (or remembered) that I was actually pretty good at it, and decided to take it up again. I’m not sure there was a particular moment when I realized I wanted to write, but upon getting my first productions, the joy of providing audiences an opportunity to feel something deeply and laugh at the same time was what KEPT me writing.


2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?


I read an article about a public high school that was allowing religious groups to use its classrooms after school. This didn’t seem to align with what I thought I knew about church/state separation, but according to the article, this practice was not only totally legal but apparently fairly common. I imagined a scenario in which a student in the school might be concerned by what he viewed as an encroachment of religion into the school domain.


3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?


I’ve been told my plays tend to be “funny, with heart.”, and that’s probably how I’d generally describe myself as both a person and a writer. I’ve also been told that I’m very “consistent” as a writer.


4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?


Edward Albee, Christopher Durang, David Ives, Oscar Wilde, Annie Baker, David Mamet, Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Eric Bogosian, Lauren Gunderson, George Carlin, Steve Martin.


5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?


When people meet me after reading my plays, they tend to comment that I appear serious and reserved, when my plays generally are not. I continue to get a kick out of this, I guess because it fits the comic premise of upending expectations.


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


The Pillowman, Inherit the Wind, The Flick, A View from the Bridge, Doubt, Oleanna, The Christians, Death of a Salesman, The House of Blue Leaves, Lost in Yonkers, Hand to God, The Humans, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity


7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?


As I write this, I am awaiting the production of my short play “Breaking the News” as part of ANDTheatre Company’s virtual “Eclectic Evening of Shorts” this weekend.