The Ladder


Illustration: Jessie Herzfeld

The Ladder – A Play by Matt Herzfeld

“Hello, my name is Jill and I’m calling today from Tate University to ask for your help in supporting students like me.”


Tensions flare between the student workers over the course of one night at Tate University’s annual Phonathon, where jealousies, crushes, and financial worries all collide into a hurricane of undergraduate angst. Into this maelstrom of a “hot-mess” comes Jill, a transfer student trying to find her place in school and life. As Jill’s first phone call approaches, will she be able to put on her mandatory “Tate smile?” This dark satire on the state of higher education asks us: when do we compromise our morals – and does the all-mighty liberal arts degree hasten our (inevitable) descent?


The Ladder was my senior thesis at the New School for Drama, and received a student production as part of the 2014 New Voices Festival (March, 2014). It featured Shelly AntonyJorge ChapaElizabeth FlemingKyle LeMaireChloe LewisBrennan LoweryLise Ashley StrigelRuth Sullivan, and Courtney A Vinson. It was directed by Paul Takacs.

Full-Length Comedy (4M / 5F) (Read the play on the New Play Exchange or email me a request at


Click here for the New School’s New Voices page, where you can download a PDF excerpt of the play.

Click here for an article about New Voices.

Here are some photos from the production by Scott Wynn:



Jill (Lise Ashley Strigel)


Susan (Ruth Sullivan) & Kara (Courtney A. Vinson)


Drew (Brennan Lowery), Said (Shelly Antony), & Kara (Courtney A. Vinson)


Jill (Lise Ashley Strigel), Rob (Kyle LeMaire), & Kim (Elizabeth Fleming)


Kara (Courtney A. Vinson), Kim (Elizabeth Fleming), & Said (Shelly Antony)


Arlene (Chloe Lewis)


Jill (Lise Ashley Strigel) & Drew (Brennan Lowery)


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