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Greetings from the US Army

December 28, 2021

Don’t worry, I haven’t enlisted. The title is the opening sentence of an email I received in August from someone named Amy Kosby, who has the rather lengthy title of Program Analyst, G9, Copyrights and Royalties, Leisure Travel, Arts and Crafts, Installation Management Command. In short, it’s her job to locate and obtain entertainment for active U.S. Army members.

The rest of her message continued:  “I am the Music/Theatre program manager for the U.S. Army and I have a theater in Kaiserslautern Germany that is interested in performing ARCHETYPES IN REHAB.” Archetypes in Rehab was performed at the 2017 Play in a Day Festival at the Playhouse on Park Theatre in West Hartford, Connecticut. It was a play I had written overnight sitting in theatre in which it would be performed the very next night. Four years later (almost to the day), I was receiving a request to have the play performed again. By the United States Army. For troops stationed in Germany. And I would be paid royalties.

I have had some surreal things happen to me, but this one was hard to beat. I immediately began to suspect that it was some sort of scam…but to what end? They were not asking for my social security number, or any other sensitive information. It was also very elaborate–if it was a scam, someone decided to make up Amy Kosby, a story about staging my play in Germany, and each communication written with the various bureaucratic flourishes of unclassified military communication. It was a long way for a scammer to go for not much payoff.

Actress Sarah Kozlowski, performing Archetypes in Rehab at the Playhouse on Park Theatre, August 2017

It also appeared that my play was discovered on the New Play Exchange, which exists as a place for producers to locate plays for possible production. In other words, Ms. Kosby found Archetypes in Rehab in a place that was designed specifically for that purpose. With suspicions largely corralled by my sense of reason, I gave permission for the performance. Ms. Kosby then requested an invoice for royalties, and she would be certain to send a check when the performance was completed.

I immediately contacted members of my playwright network, unsure of what a playwright with few credits in front of a nonpaying military audience should charge for royalties. With their advice on board, I submitted an invoice to the United States Army. There were, indeed, a lot firsts for me in this transaction.

Ms. Kosby thanked me for the invoice, and let me know that the four performances would be September 17-18 and 24-25. I would have loved to have hopped on a plane to Germany to see the performance–I imagine it wouldn’t have been too difficult to arrange a pass, and it was hardly likely the play would be performed in the most secure wings of the base. However, it just wasn’t practical or financially viable. So I was left to hope for the best.

I still have no idea how the performances went, or how the audience reacted. I do know that my very first royalty check as a playwright arrived in the mail around the first of October.

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