Book Reviews

For “Hearing Voices”

Being a playwright and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, author PAUL SURACE brings a compelling look into our very human interactions.  Through his collection of fifteen One Act Plays, Hearing Voices, illuminates the complex nature of relationships through humor, compassion, and understanding.  His characters unfold with disarming vulnerability. We witness their foibles and frustrations as they struggle through the dense and often confusing matters of the heart. We recognize fears and weaknesses we might share in our own attempts to cope and change.
Surace, points the reader on a path to hope. Each of the four sections offers a therapist’s clarity to the ways people become stuck, but can choose to move forward, to grow.  His characters are raw, tender and irresistible. You will find yourself cheering them on, celebrating their courage.
Hearing Voices weaves the best of an artist’s sensibility with the astute explorations from a therapist’s experience. Paul Surace’s book is a gift for the taking.   
Hilah Steenrod

Easy read….leaves you feeling great!
A great read…..Every chapter (play) made me feel something. Some made me laugh, some made me cry, some made me feel good, some made me feel bad. All made me look back on different “chapters” of my life and think. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
Peter Realmuto

Great Collection
With a background in theatre and a career in family therapy, I wanted to see what a therapist would bring to the one-act form. Mr. Surace does well at honoring the calling of therapy and the craft of playwriting. No ponderous stereotypes of analysts probing from leather chairs in this collection. His plays explore the experiences of individuals before they visit an office and more fairly depicts the humanity shared by all. His plays are about people, not a therapist in a position of excess authority. He knows the craft of playwriting. There’s pathos in his comedies and wit to be found in the dramas. Glad to have this in my collection.
Michael Llach

I have seen many of the plays and have now read the book and I have to say both the plays and the book have captivated my attention in very special ways. I have laughed, cried, wondered and enjoyed. Paul has a unique and creative way of telling a story. I look forward to continuing to experience his creative expression!
Christina Torres

Whose voice do you hear?
Find conversions, hope, reconciliation and more as you read, or better listen to, Hearing Voices, by Paul Surace. Creative, entertaining, enlightening and sometimes challenging as you meet friends, maybe relatives like Paul and I share as first cousins, who confront life’s many choices and confrontations. I do wish he would have toned down the vulgarities because the stories would lose nothing of their impactful meaning. The stories are worthy of your time. You may enjoy any one of the stories in a quick read or settle in and binge read these many plays which were produced with great emotion and affection. When you’re done you very well may find yourself sitting back and thinking about those around you who have had similar interesting impacts on your life and how you responded. Maybe the voice that one hears in reading these plays is the one inside.
—- Christopher Bell

What Others Are Saying about HEARING VOICES . . .  

Paul Surace is an extraordinarily empathetic and insightful writer who brings humor and truth to the craft. His characters are always compelling in their painful, compassionate, messy realness. His plays will teach you something about your relationships, yourself, and about what it means to be human.
Stephanie Storey, Author of the Novel “Oil and Marble.”   

The strength of Paul Surace’s writing is in the characters he creates. They’re richly felt and deeply human, and they reveal the importance of seeing ourselves for our strengths rather than our weaknesses.
 ― Matt Healy, Psychotherapist, Screenwriter for “Clay Pigeons”

Paul Surace’s writing is consistently entertaining, thought provoking, and insightful. With each play, he taps into the human experience by penetrating the deep layers of the issues we deal with. He does it with humor, pathos, and integrity.  His audiences walk away with insight, laughter, and a rousing awareness of their own vulnerabilities.  This collection will inspire you, make you laugh and make you think.  A great formula for enjoyable theater. 
Fran Montano, Artistic Director, The Actor’s Workout Studio

For more than a decade, I’ve had the privilege of observing and learning from Paul’s work as a dedicated psychotherapist. He has given us all a gift choosing to share, in dramatic form, the insights into humanity gained from his clinical experience. This collection of plays is really a set of decisive and defining moments for characters we’ve all engaged with. These complex individuals are drawn by their author with kindness and authenticity.
Michael Llach, Psychotherapist

Paul’s plays deliver a wonderful mix of humor and heart.                  
Dagney Kerr, Writer, Actress   

Thankfully, Paul Surace has published an anthology of his theatrical works. Surace has managed the task of penning both comedy and tragedy, a daunting task to say the least.  Enjoy the ride through each one of his works; the results will be sublime!    
George Kappaz, Psychotherapist

Surace’s writing hits home on so many levels. It’s instantly personal, poignant and thought provoking. He tackles themes that examine love and relationships, the family dynamic, and the ever-evolving journey to solve the human condition . . . and manages to handle all of it with integrity, honesty and truth. His writing is accessible, and his dialogue is so natural that you feel like you’ve had the same conversations in your own life multiple times over. He creates characters that every actor would want to embody and stories that every reader would want to experience.
Frank Licari, Actor, Writer, Producer   

Paul’s work, like the author himself, is easy to love. Kind, gentle, honest and endearing, his words bring a beating heart to every moment of conflict and clarity in his characters’ lives. . .and in doing so, he helps each of us, as actors and audience, find the humor in our pain and the love in our loss.
Jylian Sy, Actor, Writer, Producer 

Paul’s plays are a heartfelt, entertaining, and fun journeys into relationships. Candid, unpretentious, and relatable. There is something here for everyone.
Chris Karmiol, Actor, Writer   

Paul Surace’s characters are extremely likeable, very human, and a real joy for actors and directors alike to develop, interpret, and see come to life onstage.          
Dolores Aguanno, Actor, Director, Producer   

A Paul Surace play is loaded with humor, humanity, and realism. Guaranteed to strike a chord with audience members. I’ve had the pleasure/honor of acting in two of his productions. And afterwards, I discovered that I learned a little bit more about myself.
Roger Gutierrez, Actor, Writer  

Paul’s writing is fun and endearing, his stories and words ooze innocence and purity, even the heavier stories. That’s not easy to do! It reminds me of how Spielberg directs, capturing the essence of goodness in darkness.
― Chris Roland, Change Agent, Author, Speaker, Filmmaker   (“Darfur,” “Stander,” and “The Forgotten Kingdom”)

Surace writes with gusto, heft, and precision. These are characters we all know…they populate our family, our work, our friendships.  They’re familiar, and in Surace’s hand, they resonate with authenticity and with humanity.
― Daniel T. Green, Ph.D., Director, Master of Entertainment Industry Management Program, Carnegie Mellon University.

Paul Surace understands the complexities of human behavior. He creates layered characters that impact each other to create powerful scenes. Paul has a way of shining light on the darkest part of family relationships, while always giving us a glimmer of hope. Every reader will see something of their family (and themselves) in these plays. But please don’t think it’s devoid of humor. Paul is a very funny writer, mining comedy from human relationships and expectations. One may think Paul suffers from mood swings, but he’s just in touch with the spectrum of human emotions. And you will be, too, once you’ve read his plays.
Tom Misuraca, novelist (“Lifestyles of the Damned”) and Award Winning Playwright. 

Paul Surace’s work as a playwright and therapist is nothing short of exquisite. He brings such insight, compassion and wit into his stories making them beautifully relatable. The lessons learned through the characters in Paul’s stories provide such valuable wisdom for all.             
Traci Maffei, Psychotherapist