By Taylor Hallman and Tom Ferriter
Holding Patterns is a play about six accomplished yet unfulfilled individuals, all existing within the diminishing comfort zones of their respective lives. Wynn Collins, an investment manager convicted for insider trading, is on bail pending appeal; Margo, his wife of 22 years, has receded from her dead-end marriage into an increasing dependency on alcohol. Faye Dennison, a commercially-successful romance novelist, has betrayed her early promise of creative integrity; her husband, Kyle, a university professor, has found refuge from the challenges of the marketplace in the security of tenured academia. Marc Burns, former white-collar partner in a top-50 law firm, has compromised his lofty ambitions, taking on less than savory clientele in order to sustain his solo practice; his wife, Willow, an attorney and women's rights advocate, struggles to accept the defeat of a major empowerment initiative, placing the ideals of her organization in opposition to political realities existing within her own movement.
As Wynn and Margo prepare to celebrate Margo's birthday with their weekend neighbors, Marc and Willow, a mixed-race couple ‐‐ set for later in the evening on the lakeside deck of the couple's summer Catskills home ‐‐ their Dartmouth-graduated son, Dan, and his law school bound girlfriend, Megan, arrive in the midst of a pre-engagement disagreement over career choices. Faye and Kyle, newly arrived residents to the summer community, enter with daughter, Alicia, a rising college senior and future filmmaker, in tow. Faye, African-American author of You Sweet Bastard, a roman-a-clef and current best-seller among the summer set, and Wynn recognize each other, having had an intense summer affair twenty years prior, upon which the novel is inspired.
The story unfolds against the backdrop of an unspoiled wilderness area, a nature preserve at once peaceful and renewing in contrast to the ambivalences and internal conflicts simmering behind the protective veneer and beneath the hardened surfaces within which each individual has sought self- protection. As the characters discuss the issues in their lives ‐‐ corporate responsibility, situational ethics, race relations, absentee parenting, sexual equality, universal military service ‐‐ deep-seated biases emerge and truths are revealed creating opportunities by which each character can examine challenges to their core beliefs and discover insights through which each can achieve clarity, self-recognition, acceptance and release.
Cast of Characters
Wynn Collins, Caucasian male, 45, financier, under indictment, married to Margo, father to Dan.
Margo Collins, Caucasian female, 44, former administrative assistant, married to Wynn, mother of Dan.
Dan Collins, Caucasian male, 21, financial intern, Dartmouth graduate, son of Wynn and Margo.
Megan Nichols, Caucasian female, 22, law school bound Mount Holyoke graduate, engaged to Dan.
Faye Dennison, African-American female, 44, romance novelist, married to Kyle, mother to Alicia.
Kyle Dennison, Caucasian male, 50, British, tenured theatre professor, married to Faye, father to Alicia.
Alicia Dennison, African-American female, 22, NYU senior, film student, daughter of Faye and Kyle.
Marc Burns, African-American male, 45, white-collar attorney, married to Willow.
Willow Burns, female, 44, women’s rights lawyer, head of NGO, married to Marc.
Taylor Lee Hallman is a playwright and screenwriter. His works for the stage include Cambridge, a two-act play about racial conflict in Maryland during the early 1960s, and Thunder and Lightning, a story about the Negro Baseball League, set in 1947 on the day that Jackie Robinson stepped onto Ebbets Field breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, written with Ivan Comer and Tom Ferriter. Taylor’s motion picture screenplays include By the River Dong Nai, a buddy story, in which two Military Policemen learn of love, self sacrifice and the violently intimate nature of war; Mother-In-Law, an “African-American Graffiti,” involving the developing youth culture, drag racing, and racial conflict, written with Tom Ferriter; Brushfire, an action-adventure story, exploring the dangers posed by increasingly radical Right Wing militia groups; In Vain, a murder mystery set in a combat unit in Vietnam; The Pier Ballroom, a coming of age story involving payola in the music business; and Falling, a mystical fantasy where love, redemption and heavenly intervention lead to the reunion of a top rock band from the 1980s, written with his daughter, Danielle.
Taylor Hallman was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and grew up primarily in Ocean City, a summer resort. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and earned a Master’s in Social Work at Hunter College. When not writing plays and screenplays, he also writes science fiction short stories. In 1991, with the story A Release in Time, Taylor won the Opps Award, a “fanzine” prize given for excellence in science fiction satire.
For the stage, Tom has written Ten Million Black Republicans (with Steve Gold), a dark comedy about the Congressional nominating process, Thunder & Lightning (with Taylor Hallman), a morality tale set in the Negro Baseball Leagues on the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league sports, A Howling Wilderness, a military court-martial drama during the time of the Philippine Insurrection (with John Chodes), and co-authored the book of a new musical, BELL (with Michael Treni), based on the life of Alexander Graham Bell and the American dream. Tom is co-author of Benefit Performance, Paul Enger�s drama with songs about a pop singer who overcomes dependency problems and family issues to emerge triumphant from semi-retirement, which features the music of Michael Valenti; and is currently working with Walter Zuk, as co-author of The Winners, a play about drug dependency. Tom has co-authored with Llywelyn Jones, It�s Only Money, a family comedy dealing with inheritance and acceptance, and is presently working with Mr. Jones on Left of Center, a drama concerning teenage drinking, substance abuse, and driving under the influence. With Allen Davis III, Tom is co-author of Florinda�s Time, a WW-II era coming-of-age comedy with music and dance. And, with Steve Gold, Tom is co-author of Our Kind Of People, a drama about voter registration in Memphis at the dawning of the modern civil rights movement. Tom is adapting into a new musical for families, Santa.Com, John Kallas's play about the down-sizing of Santa's workshop due to internet shopping.
Tom has authored six original motion picture screenplays: Florida, a story of the tapestry of life on the Mississippi Delta in the twentieth century (with Narroyl Parker); Mother-in-Law (with Taylor Hallman), a saga on racing and race relations during the early days of the American Civil Rights movement; Crossfire, a drama of innocent bystanders caught up in the urban drug wars, adapted from the play by John Walsh; Love Object, a film noir thriller about love unattained (with James MacGuire); Low Tide (with Bernard Mendillo), an investigative drama about illegal aliens, the drug trade, and corruption within the HAS; and Songs Without Words, a coming-of-age story set within the music industry. Tom is currently working with Risa Campana as co-author of Acts of Contrition, a six-part movie for television involving three generations of a family and spanning over seventy-five years of European and American history during and in the aftermath of World War II.