Patrick Ross is a writer and theater professional based in Philadelphia.
Patrick writes plays and fiction, as well as freelance projects.
Scarlet Letters is a one-woman play with songs, a fantasia on Hawthorne's novel, on marks of sin, and the legacies they leave. It premiered in 2016 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before a run at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
Images and reviews available in the Directing section.
Why do women take such delight in shaming other women? The first time we see Hester in the book, she's surrounded by a bunch of gossips. "This woman has brought shame upon us all," I'm quoting here, "and ought to die." Another woman calls Hester a "hussy." Another one says the A isn't enough, they should have put a hot iron on her forehead. This all on page, like, five. This is what we're teaching our daughters.
And it's not just fiction. Imagine being Monica Lewinsky and going in for a haircut. Imagine making a restaurant reservation, and being so embarrassed to use your own name because you're Monica Lewinsky, so instead you use the name, I don't know, Cindy Sherman, and you get to the place and the hostess says, "Hey, I recognize you" and you know there's only one reason why she would.
He was the President. Are you really telling me you wouldn't have had sex with the President? People should have congratulated her. But that's not how we're built. We humans are built to humiliate, to insult, and so that's what we did. We all know what the first line in her obituary is going to say. Not Clinton's –– his will say President, First Gentleman, statesman, scholar, philanthropist. One or two tabloids might add "serial adulterer," but they'll be ignored. Monica's will say "woman who had sex with the President."
And that's it. When she dies that's how she'll be remembered. And that's how Hester Prynne is remembered. The very last image in the novel is a description of her tombstone, and it's that damned red A. That's it. Not her name, not "beloved mother," just the scarlet letter. Hester Prynne the character lives on, thanks to Nathaniel Hawthorne, but Hester Prynne the woman? She's lost, forgotten. Only her sin remains.
Hillary the First is a history play in progress about the 2016 presidential race, written in the style of Shakespeare. A new scene was posted online every Friday until the election. Click here to read more.
Enter TWITTER, the chorus. It speaks in 140-character verses.
Two parties, both alike in dignity–
Well, OK, dignity is kinda strong.
Two parties both alike in pedigree
Who otherwise refuse to get along.
On the right, a cast of characters,
Totaling an ample seventeen.
And on the left, barring unseen factors,
The coronation of a certain Queen.
But 2016 is so far away!
And who knows how the future will unfold?
So we will write it all down in a play,
For future generations to behold.
Enjoy the History–– or, if she’s cursed,
The Tragedy–– of Hillary the First.
Here in My Garden is a play with songs. Eight women from history and legend meet in a timeless garden, seeking peace in the midst of their wars. Come pick a flower. Don't be alone.
Images and more information are available in the Directing section.
Lyrics by Patrick Ross in collaboration with Kimaya Diggs.
Slow lights up on a garden.
The stage is bare.
It is, largely, a garden of the mind; a garden of light and sound rather than scenery.
A choir of female voices.
Aren't you lonely?
Come pick a flower
Don't be alone
Don't be alone...
The GARDENER steps forward from the choir and sings.
Over thousands of years, I have grown
A place where you won't be alone
A garden, an orchard, a home
A place of their own
And I sit here and watch as the days go by
They go by...
No one will see you
Come pick a flower
No need to worry
I did not create the garden.
I only tend its needs.
Sort the flowers from the fruits,
and with my pruning shears
grant beauty to them all.
It is a sanctuary, a retreat.
It is where we find peace in the midst of all these wars.
Daughters of God and Man, which had a staged reading directed by Jill Harrison in November 2014, is the story of the three daughters of poet John Milton: Deborah, Mary, and Anne. Scenes from Paradise Lost are adapted within the play, which is otherwise a work of historical fiction.
Daughters of God and Man is a compelling play that gives life and character to women long past and forgotten. Ross has woven a tale that transforms the story of Eve’s fall from grace into a story of discovering freedom and passion after a lifetime of being stifled. The play is at times heartbreaking and at times hilarious, but always clever and full of heart.The Daily Gazette
Bottomless perdition, or, the Lake of Fire.
Whirlwinds of flame. The smell of unconsumed sulfur.
Flames flicker ominously, but no light comes from them. Instead, they give off visible darkness.
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe
With loss of Eden; Sing, Heavenly Muse.
Darkness up on an attractive youth, thin and sharp. He is chained to the burning lake, weltering, in agony.
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
The infernal Serpent. He, against the throne
And monarchy of God, raised impious war.
Him the Almighty Father hurled headlong
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell...
SATAN: Beelzebub? Hey! Beelzebub! Where are you?
A shock of pain.
SATAN: I guess we lost.
SATAN: The tyrant. Do you hear that! You're a tyrant.
The pain doubles.
SATAN: This isn't the end..
The whirlwinds of fire spin dangerously.
SATAN: Profoundest Hell, receive thy new possessor.
The fire obeys.
SATAN: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
He begins to laugh.
The flame licks his ankles, envelops him.
A crescendo of darkness and sound.
First, a female voice. A cry of passion.
Then a man's voice, deep and anguished.
MILTON: I must be milked!
Lights up low on the Milton home in Jewlin Street, London.
MILTON: I must be milked!
Enter DEBORAH, the youngest Milton girl, 14. She creeps onstage, tentative.
A grumble, and heavy breathing. The creaking of floorboards.
JOHN MILTON, the poet, hobbles onstage. He looks deathly.
MILTON: I must be milked. It's too much. No one to talk to. No one to touch. The rain dripping through the ceiling, the rats nibbling at my toenails. The sounds are horrible. The smells are worse. I must be milked.
The female cries of passion start again.
DEBORAH: It's all right. You're home now.
MILTON: Home. Yes. The study.
DEBORAH: You should go back to sleep.
MILTON: The study.
She nods, and takes his arm, leading him up the stairs.
MILTON: Which one are you?
DEBORAH: What can I do?
The moaning intensifies. MILTON listens to it.
MILTON: You can milk me.
The Princess and the Pocketwatch, which premiered in May 2014, is an original fairytale about memory, identity, and storytelling itself. Images and more information are available in the Directing section.
PETER: I want to remember.
FISHERMAN: I'll be needing payment first.
PETER: I have a key.
FISHERMAN: No key, child. I haven't anything to open. Stories are the only payment I'll accept.
PRINCESS: Go on. Give him a story, Peter.
PETER: I don't have any stories.
FISHERMAN: Everyone has stories.
PETER: Not me.
PRINCESS: I have a story. But it's not very good.
FISHERMAN: Any story is a story.
PRINCESS: Well, it was a long time ago. I went ice skating on a frozen lake. My dancing teacher took me. My mother never would have allowed it, but my teacher said it would help my balance and 'balance is an important diplomatic skill,' so she let me. It was the best. I felt like a normal little girl. No one knew I was a princess. It looked like I was just a normal girl there with my grandmother. (A silence.) Sorry. It wasn't a very good story.
FISHERMAN: That's all right. Any story is a story. Now, we fish.
(The FISHERMAN fishes for MEMORIES in the well. He pulls out several and hands them all to PETER. The MEMORIES make some sort of sound.)
PETER: What do I do with them?
FISHERMAN: The memories? You eat 'em. Or you put 'em in your pocket for later.
Every eye in Britain is staring at the same door. It’s not a particularly nice door; it’s really rather drab, with a rusty bronze handle. But everyone’s staring because out of this door, any second now, the new royal baby will say his first hello.
His mother, Princess Alexandra, has been in the public eye for nearly thirty years now. Her face is plastered everywhere: on tea towels, keychains, rubber ducks. Her wedding two years ago was broadcast to 185 countries, and the subsequent demand for tartan hair ribbons singlehandedly pulled Scotland out of an impending recession.
Mrs Isadora Sampson of Number Eight Winston Street has Alexandra’s face in more picture frames than her grandson’s. “My grandson isn’t going to be a queen some day,” she says. A pair of sparkly size twelve stilettos in his closet beg to differ.
But it’s not Alexandra that the country is waiting for: it’s the new prince, born last night at 7:53 p.m. Twitter was ablaze with misspelled “congrautulations,” and a BBC Two anchor got word of the birth during a live broadcast and interrupted a story about serial murders to share the news. The Sun released an evening edition with a cartoon infant clad in blue. Inside was a collage of all the celebrities who had predicted a baby girl, alongside quotations showing how wrong they were.
Today, they’re saying, Alexandra will leave the hospital, baby in her arms. “Only right she goes back home,” says Sheila O’Connor, an indignant Irishwoman with eight children of her own. “The girl needs a rest.” And so the eyes of the isles watch on, staring at the drab door, searching for some sign of the princess.
Kenny Mubawe is standing outside the London hospital juggling an umbrella, a camera and a three-year-old. He thinks he sees her shadow through the window, but it’s just a passing nurse.
In Birmingham, Valerie Ng rings up her beau and cancels their plans for the night. “I can’t, babe, something’s come up,” she says, and turns up the volume on the telly.
The door opens, and together Britain takes a breath. The princess steps out without her husband at her side, and together Britain erupts in a clamor. She scrunches up her lips and shakes her head. She tries to wave at the crowd, a timid little greeting, but her hand ends up covering her quivering lips instead. Together, Britain quiets down.
The cameras zoom in. The baby’s skin is black.
Patrick directs brand-new stage stories as well as the classic ones, fusions of old and new. Click the arrows to see some of his work.
A one-woman play with songs, Scarlet Letters is a fantasia on Hawthorne's novel, on marks of sin, and the legacies they leave. It premiered in 2016 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before a run at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
A small but affecting story in an atmospheric and immersive setting.The Scotsman
An erudite piece of theatre.DC Metro Theater Arts
An smartly woven one-woman show.Phindie
Photo by Madeline Charne
A new play with songs. Eight women from history and legend meet in a timeless garden, seeking peace in the midst of their wars. Witness the lineage of the woman warrior, from the Bible to ancient China, from the Second World War to Number Ten Downing Street. Come pick a flower. Don't be alone.
The premise is, in itself, exceptional. Ross gives women a chance to resist histories written to demonize them for pushing the perceived limits of their gender. The Phoenix
In its best moments, the play perfectly combined elements like lighting, sound, and space to tell the compelling, deeply emotional stories of these women. Ross managed to tie many diverse strands together into a coherent and moving production.The Daily Gazette
|Kimaya Diggs||The Gardener|
|Sarah Branch||Noor Inayat Khan|
|Madeleine Feldman||Linda Blalock|
|Anita Castillo-Halvorssen||Julie d'Aubigny|
|Michaela Shuchman||Margaret Thatcher|
|Desta Pulley||Nzinga Mbande|
|Fae Montgomery||Empress Wu Zetian|
|Kate Wiseman||Grace O'Malley|
|Cooper Harrington-Fei||Holofernes / Richard Bingham|
|Andrew Gilchrist-Scott||Keith Blalock / Captain George Fuller|
|Playwright and Lyricist||Patrick Ross|
|Contributing Playwright and Lyricist||Kimaya Diggs|
|Stage Manager||Emma Rose Kates-Shaw|
|Costume Designer||Laila Swanson|
|Lighting Designer||Amanda Jensen|
|Sound Designer||Noah Weinthal|
|Fight Direction||Brett Cassidy|
Photos by Steve Weinik and Sophia Zaia
A contemporary environmental disaster drama, this three-hour epic was sprawlingly staged in a blackbox, with scenes overlapping and clutter building as the characters and planet spiral out of control. The three sisters' stories were pitted against abstract ensemble scenes with balloons, burlesque, and babies exploding.
The show’s split scenes and rich, often hilarious transitions give life and texture to the play’s portrayal of modern life. The Daily Gazette
There is constantly important action on stage, whether or not it involves speaking lines or main stage lights, and Ross allows the audience to take all of it in at once. The Phoenix
|Danica Harvey||Grace / Mrs Andrews / Marina / Liberty|
|Jameson Lisak||Simon / Tim / Daniel|
|Alexander Rojavin||Carter / Roy / Polar Bear|
|Stage Manager||Sarah Kaeppel|
|Costume Designer||Dyan Rizzo-Busack|
|Set Designer||Sophie Miller|
|Media Designer||Anita Castillo-Halvorssen|
|Sound Designer||Elizabeth Atkinson|
|Lighting Designer||Randy Doyle|
|Movement Director||Stefan Tuomanen|
Photo by Martin Froger-Silva
Patrick worked as Assistant Director to Alex Torra on Shakespeare in Clark Park and Team Sunshine Performance Corporation's massive production of Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine, a new cutting of Prince Hal's story featuring an epic 100-person Battle of Shrewsbury.
This kind of spectacle theater is rare in Philadelphia. Peter Crimmins, NewsWorks
It's also the most ambitious production by Shakespeare in Clark Park that I've seen in its 10 years of performances, and the most successful.Howard Shapiro, NewsWorks
|Adam Altman||Earl of Worcester|
|Marla Burkholder||Lady Percy / Mistress Quickly / Lady Mortimer|
|Robert Ian Cutler||Earl of Westmoreland / Owen Glendower|
|Charlie DelMarcelle||Sir John Falstaff|
|Darin J. Dunston||Earl of Northumberland / Bardolph|
|Brandon Pierce||Lord John of Lancaster / Sir Edmund Mortimer|
|Brian Ratcliffe||Harry, Prince of Wales|
|Justin Rose||Earl of Douglas / Poins|
|Damien J. Wallace||Sir Walter Blunt|
|Brian Anthony Wilson||King Henry IV|
|Associate Director||Thomas Butler|
|Assistant Director||Patrick Ross|
|Production Stage Manager||Jennifer Shaw|
|Composer and Music Director||Alex Bechtel|
|Army General/Battle Choreographer||Benjamin Camp|
|Fight Choreographer||Brett Cassidy|
|Lighting Designer||Oona Curley|
|Scenic Designer||John McDermott|
|Sound Designer||Daniel Perelstein|
|Costume Designer||Laila Swanson|
Photo by Kyle Cassidy
Patrick's debut as director-playwright, "The Princess and the Pocketwatch" is an original fairytale about memory, identity, and storytelling itself. The play uses minimal props– three chairs, fabric, and a bamboo stick– to create a fantasy world with mulberry bushes, a dragon, and a staircase to the sky.
|Jocelyn Adams||The Princess|
|Anita Castillo-Halvorssen||Peter Nitwit|
|Hannah Kosman||The Storyteller|
|Lighting Designer||James P. Murphy|
|Dramaturg||Allen J. Kuharski|
Photo by Holly Smith
Patrick's Shakespearean debut used the witches as a Greek chorus that morphed the play from psychological drama to fantasy. He kept the Scottish play Scottish, with bagpipes and tartan, but reimagined the history by casting the Macbeths and the Macduffs as lesbian couples.
Committed to making Shakespeare understandable, and to be frank, keeping viewers in their seats for three whole hours, Ross inserts moments of visual pleasure: live sword fights and battle scenes, daggers flying into actor’s stomachs, lavish banquets with wine, laughing and dancing, and even holograms of the faces of the dead. The Phoenix
The complete bewilderment of his audiences is what gives him satisfaction; for Ross, these creative directorial risks allow him to contemplate the line between good and evil, protagonist and antagonist, paranoia and manipulation, and ultimately, the imaginary and the real. The Phoenix
|Ashley Banks||Young Macduff|
|Jamie Burke||Donalbain / Siward|
|Anita Castillo-Halvorssen||Witch 3|
|Dinah DeWald||Lady Macbeth|
|Abigail Henderson||Doctor / Soldier|
|Michelle Johnson||Witch 1|
|Jackie Kay||Murderer / Messenger|
|Joshua McLucas||Duncan, King of Scotland|
|Michaela Shuchman||Lady Macduff / Fleance|
|Nina Waldman||Witch 2|
|Production Manager||Marta Roncada|
|Technical Director||Eric Verhasselt|
|Assistant Director||Sara Morell|
|Stage Manager||Rose Morris-Wright|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Alex Huber-Weiss|
|Set Designer||Madeline Charne|
|Lighting Designer||Tess Amram|
|Costume Designer||Dyan Rizzo-Busack|
|Sound Designer||Noah Weinthal|
|Media Designer||Fernando Maldonado|
Photo by Sam Gutierrez
Patrick is a stage actor, voice actor, and public speaker. Click the arrows to see him perform.
As one-half of this two-man show, Patrick played the dapper Lord Edgar, the jittery maid Jane, and the elegant Lady Irma, sometimes all at once. He also served as producer, alongside his costar Alexander Rojavin, for this inaugural production of the Plumstone Players.
Ross and Rojavin play every role, rapidly changing costumes and accents backstage. Over the course of the show, Ross plays a Scottish maid, an English Lord, and a vampire. The Daily Gazette
What really matters is that the two actors have chemistry on stage. Ross and Rojavin more than accomplish this task, having established a relationship over three years of work together. Even if romance and werewolves aren’t your cup of tea, it’s a joy just watching them play together. The Daily Gazette
Photo by Elèna Ruyter
This magical mid-autumn "Midsummer" was staged in a tent in the Crum Woods of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Patrick played Demetrius, the pugnacious lover, with tree branch swordfights and sleeping bags, alongside other lovers Michaela Shuchman (Hermia), Rosemary McInnes (Helena) and Cooper Harrington-Fei (Lysander).
Photo by Steve Weinik
Patrick played Larry, the gay roommate of dancer Anna (Anita Castillo-Halvorssen), both of whom are mourning the loss of a friend. "Burn This" deals with love and death, but Larry kept the audience laughing with lewd jokes, cultural references, and a pair of reindeer earmuffs.
Ross’s character, Larry, in many ways supplies that lightness as the bearer of often desperately-need comic relief. His lines, which Ross doles out delightfully, reverberate with warmth and flippancy. The Daily Gazette
Called "wonderfully foppish" by the Broad Street Review, Patrick played the Lord Chamberlain of Burgundia, forming a royal triumvirate alongside the King (Alexander Rojavin) and Queen (Nina Serbedzija). The Chamberlain plots to kill the titular princess by dropping plumstones on the ground, and takes dark delight in Burgundia's nefarious goings-on.
Photo by David Swanson
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA. Graduated May 2015.
BA, Theater and English Literature, with Honors, Phi Beta Kappa.
Taught by Adriano Shaplin (Playwriting), Allen Kuharski (Directing), James Magruder (Dramaturgy), K. Elizabeth Stevens (Acting), Elizabeth Webster Duke (Acting), Alex Torra (Solo Performance), Matt Saunders (Design).
|Scarlet Letters||self-directed||Edinburgh Festival Fringe / Philadelphia Fringe Festival|
|Hillary the First||unproduced||published online|
|Rotten Peaches||dir. Shelley Butler||PlayPenn|
|Here in My Garden||self-directed||Swarthmore Department of Theater|
|Daughters of God and Man||dir. Jill Harrison||Swarthmore Department of Theater|
|The Princess and the Pocketwatch||self-directed||Swarthmore Department of Theater|
|The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Assistant)||William Shakespeare Purcell||Shakespeare in Clark Park|
|Dido and Aeneas||Henry Purcell||Swarthmore Department of Music|
|Young Voices Middle School Monologue Festival||Philadelphia Young Playwrights||InterAct Theatre Company|
|Lady and the Libertine||Alessandra Occhiolini||Swarthmore Drama Board|
|Earthquakes in London||Mike Bartlett||Swarthmore Department of Theater|
|Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine (Assistant)||William Shakespeare||Shakespeare in Clark Park|
|The Audience||Peter Morgan||Swarthmore Department of Theater|
|Macbeth||William Shakespeare||Swarthmore Drama Board|
|The Importance of Being Earnest||Oscar Wilde||Swarthmore Drama Board|
|Life Under Water||Richard Greenberg||Swarthmore Drama Board|
|The Session||Reader||Inis Nua Theatre Company|
|A Bright Room Called Day||Stage Manager||Swarthmore Department of Theater|
|The Mystery of Irma Vep||Producer||Plumstone Players|
|The Funeral of Enerio López||Stage Manager||Philadelphia Fringe Festival|
Writing and Research Specialist, The Wilma Theater — 2016-present
Serve as in-house wordsmith for The Wilma. Write grant narratives, marketing copy, e-blasts, and all other language as needed.
Development Associate, Lantern Theater Company — 2016
Coordinated, shot and edited video marketing and promotional material. Applied for grants for general operating support, education programming, and new writing commissions. Maintained patron database and assisted in creation of email lists for targeted marketing campaigns. Processed and documented donations and gift certificate requests. Worked alongside a small staff to design, strategize and execute companywide fundraising, marketing and artistic goals and missions.
Question Writer, MasteryPrep — 2015-present
Emulate SAT and ACT Critical Reading passages, and write sample questions for students.
Intern, PlayPenn — 2015
Set up receptions and events for national playwriting conference; managed box office and house manage; creatively assisted dramaturg, playwright, and director on development of a new play.
Freelance Writer, DemiDec Resources — 2015-present
Author study guides for high school students participating in Academic Decathlon.
Freelance Writer, Shmoop University — 2015-present
Write articles about college and academia, as needed.
Technician, Lang Performing Arts Center — 2011-present
Work with clients; call light and sound cues; sweep and mop stage; focus and hang lights; assist with theater changeover; roll and remove marley; prepare and strike stage.
House Manager and Usher, Lang Performing Arts Center — 2011-2015
Maintained front of house for concerts, performances, and lectures; greeted patrons; distributed programs and tickets; assisted with patron mobility; maintained safety of patrons and assist with crowd emergencies; cleaned and reset house.
Play Writer and Director, Swarthmore College Student Activities Office – 2012-2014
Wrote, cast, produced and directed a full-length play about Swarthmore College as part of Orientation Week for first-year students. Worked closely with Dean’s Office and President’s Office to discuss relevant issues and present up-to-date information.
Office Assistant, Lang Performing Arts Center — 2011-2015
Worked closely with managing director and production managers to facilitate performances; maintained Excel database of vendors; updated office calendar; interacted with clients; filed paperwork; tidied office; managed inventory.
Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro
Able to operate a sound or light board
Spanish language, functional knowledge in reading and speaking
Trained in public speaking
Valid driver’s license
Feel free to contact Patrick with questions or comments. He'd love to hear from you!