Mourning Woods Merengue Poster

Mourning Woods Merengue

Download "Mourning Woods Merengue" Excerpt (pdf)
Dramedy for a cast of four and any theatre, ages 14+.


After being forced out of his job, Loren, a resident of Mourning Woods Village, is deeply depressed. Shar, his next-door neighbor, is determined to reanimate and romance Loren. She invites him to partner in a dance contest with the support of Paloma, the earthy, vivacious activities coordinator who ludicrously supports the matchmaking. Adult children jump in and complicate things with their own problems and interference. In the end, will anyone find romance? Will anyone even dance?


LOREN Male. 60s. Reserved, dispirited. Divorced. Forced into early retirement. Eternal pessimist.
SHAR Female. 60s. Bubbly, energetic. Widowed. Retired. Eternal optimist.
JOE Male. 40s. Loren’s troubled, disappointment of a son. Single. Mechanic. Sometimes stutters on initial, back-of-throat consonants, e.g., words beginning with c, g, and k. Stuttering is more pronounced when he’s stressed. Most stuttering is not explicitly identified in dialogue and is at the director’s/actor’s discretion.
HELEN Female. 40s. Shar’s interfering, uptight daughter. Divorced. Assistant district attorney.
PALOMA Female. 20s. Aspiring choreographer. Has the moves. A bundle of Latin energy.

Production History

July 2023 Staged Reading, Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
May 2023 Streamed Zoom Performance, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago, Illinois.

Commentary from Theatregoers and Readers

Ruyle does it again. He provides us with a riotously funny play about mature relationships – lovers, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, dance teachers, and pickleball partners. Wonderful!
Joe’s conversation with Loren was so heartfelt and sad. I cried.
Paloma played it to perfection. Such a fun character!
Who doesn’t want to be relevant? I rode the emotional rollercoaster in Mourning Woods Merengue but through the ups and downs, my thoughts kept coming back to relevance. And pickleball paddles in the bedroom!
A perfect blend of drama and comedy. Rich characters. Dialogue that sings. Oh, and there’s actually singing, too! And dancing to boot! Mourning Woods Merengue has it all.