Playing the Black–Scholes Equation for laughs

Several years ago I pitched the National Film Board a documentary about the concept of risk. I was curious to learn how those credit default swaps and other “financial instruments of mass destruction” worked and how the parceling and trading of risk, the quantification of that most qualitative assessment, could have brought down capitalism as it was then known.  I learned a lot of other interesting things in the course of my research, mostly to do with how the human mind weighs, compares and so often misapprehend risks.  I thought I’d come up with a crafty way to convey some rather abstract stuff but the Film Board passed. I called it “Kild by Severral Accidents” a phrase I took from a 17th century London “Death Table”.


A couple of years later I was commissioned by Donna Butt of Rising Tide Theater to write a play for the annual festival they hold in Trinity.  I promised something fun, fast and frothy, a comedy for the summer.  Two couples find themselves in a Bed and Breakfast, in a town not unlike Trinity, with one partner of each having had a one night stand with the other years earlier.  The characters were dealing with the risk of being exposed and it came to me that they work in that very field. So now the Black-Scholes Equation

is mentioned in the course of some funny business around the Bay.

Great cast being skillfully directed by Charlie Tomlinson. It’s gonna be a grand show, I’m grateful to Donna Butt for giving me the opportunity to write it.

It opens Thursday, June 20 and is called “The Pillow Trade”,  which has nothing to do with risk but much to do with cross-dressing J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I., you have to go see it to understand why.