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Tesla's Letters

Tesla's Letters

Jeffrey Stanley


The two-act, 4-character stage play set in 1997 in the Balkans is about an American who sets out to find Nikola Tesla’s doomsday device only to discover that a machine is not required. Electrical pioneer Tesla, a Croatian-born Serb, was Thomas Edison’s biggest rival. Daisy Archer, a bright-eyed Ph.D. candidate, arrives in Belgrade thinking she has permission to view a certain cache of letters at the Nikola Tesla Museum. She is not prepared to face the museum’s director Dragan, a Serb with family in Croatia, who has needs of his own and who strikes a dangerous bargain with Daisy. He will test her willingness to see the letters by having her enter war-torn Croatia to visit Tesla’s birthplace and determine whether it has been destroyed. If she returns with photographic evidence she will be given access to Tesla’s letters. Daisy learns that the bargain is much more complicated than it at first appears, and that she is a pawn in a larger agenda.

Samuel French, Inc.

Jeffrey Stanley has written a number of stage plays and screenplays. “Tesla’s Letters” premiered Off Broadway at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in 1999, directed by Curt Dempster and funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It has gone on to numerous productions and readings around the world. He also wrote the play “Medicine, man”, wrote & directed the award-winning short film “Lady in a box”, and regularly performs his solo shows “Boneyards”, “Beautiful Zion: a book of the dead” and “The Golden Horseshoe: a lecture on tragedy”.


In 2015 he was one of 24 writers chosen from over 16,000 entries for the first Amtrak Writers Residency. Stanley has been a fellow at Yaddo, a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, a playwright-in-residence at Plays & Players Theatre in Philadelphia, and a guest lecturer at The Imaginary Academy summer film and theatre workshop in Croatia sponsored by the Soros Foundation. He has appeared as a guest writer in the Washington Post, New York Times, Time Out New York, the New York Press, and the Brooklyn Rail; and was a senior editorial advisor for Boston University’s Center for Millennial Studies book on apocalypse movements “The End That Does “(Equinox Books, 2006).


Stanley currently teaches theatre and film courses at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and at Drexel University. He holds an MFA from the Dramatic Writing program and a BFA in Film & Television Production from NYU Tisch with a minor in cultural anthropology.

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