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plays by Jacqueline Wright

Jacqueline Wright: Full-Length Plays

Have You Seen Alice?

HAVE YOU SEEN ALICE? is a whimsical thriller. Alice struggles against her own ennui -- stuck in a complacent marriage quickly losing all sense of love and connection -- she becomes drawn into a worldwide gender war. Her sanity hangs in the balance as she is forced to choose between the strained banality of her domestic life and the high wire-drama of a secret conspiracy urging her to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Leaving us to wonder why is Alice, a seemingly inconsequential and utterly average woman, so important? Dripping with surreal and poignant images the drama is a moving allegory for the universal struggle we all feel, caught between the daily battles to get up and go to work, pay bills, plan for the future, and the larger global issues that seem so distant and impossible to resolve.

Character Breakdown: 5M, 5F

Set/Technical: Directed by Adrian A. Cruz Assistant Director: Kate Motzenbacker Cast: Tristan James Butler, Bridgette Campbell, Alana Dietze, Lucy Griffin, Michelle D. Hilyard, Darrett Sanders, Robert Stoccardo, Eleanor Van Hest, Suzanne Voss*, Phil Ward Choreographer: Nancy Dobbs Owen Stage Managers: Christian Aaron Saldana and Kelly Egan Set Design: Dan Mailley Lighting Design: Brandon Baruch Sound Design: Martin Carrillo Costume Design: Ann Closs-Farley Publicity: Demand PR Graphic Design: Adrian A. Cruz Produced for NOTE by: David Bickford and Bridgette Campbell Fundraising Producers: Lisa Clifton and Julia Prud’homme
Running Time: Full Length (1.5 hours)

Awards:

LA WEEKLY: PICK OF THE WEEK

BACK STAGE WEST: CRITIC'S PICK

Production History:

Theatre of NOTE - 2012 directed by Adrian Alex Cruz

Reviews:

PICK OF THE WEEK: Watching a Jacqueline Wright play is like biting into a cookie full of arsenic. Her subject is the paradoxical, near-poisonous nature of love. And yet the pain roiling her astringent poetry's emotional truths comes sweetened with such mordant wit and vivid, indelible stage imagery as to turn the unpalatable into a delectable feast. Happily, Wright's latest play -- perhaps her most intensely personal yet -- is no exception. Its title is strictly ironic. The fact is that nobody has seen this Alice (Michelle Hilyard, in a mesmerizing, knife-edged performance), for the simple reason that Wright's haunting portrait of a woman in the throes of a nervous breakdown is a view from inside her heroine's head. Certainly her husband (the fine Tristan James Butler) is clueless as to the reason for her increasingly bizarre behavior and strange disappearances. As Alice retreats from a loveless marriage and a meaningless job into a surreal, albeit harrowing fantasy world, her insecurities and paranoia take on the epic heroism denied her by real life. Director Adrian A. Cruz imparts a fierce energy to Wright's language in a tight and endlessly inventive staging (enabled by Martin Carrillo's intricate sound, Dan Mailley's elegant set and Brandon Baruch's sculpted lights), while Darrett Sanders' swaggering Leatherman nearly walks off with the show. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m., thru Dec. 17 (323) 856-8611, theatreofnote.com (Bill Raden)

LA WEEKLY, Bill Raden
>Full Review

CRITIC'S PICK: When this particular Alice tumbles down the wrong rabbit hole, she lands with a thud in the middle of the uniquely muddled, ever-unpredictable mind of Jacqueline Wright. Alice's surreal journey through a crisis point in her life is akin to awakening from a disturbing dream; the only difference is, the details cannot be forgotten by the time one sips that first cup of morning coffee. Wright's visions stay floating on the surface of the brew, giving one pause that the world may not be as easily maneuvered as we as a species would cavalierly like to believe. Without even the most diaphanous filter, Wright takes aim at the banality of everyday life as the world implodes, scoring a direct hit at our collective comfort zone. Alice (Michelle Hilyard) struggles with her humdrum domestic life, coming to grips with the fact that "she's in a love story, but there's no love in it." She becomes a target for a mad mercenary (a spectacularly bizarre Darrett Sanders), who murders her customer service co-workers at a kitchen-sponge manufacturer before setting off charges to annihilate the place. Later, she inexplicably finds herself home again, raped, ravaged, and traumatized, at which point her painfully oblivious hubby (Tristan James Butler) cheerfully asks, "So, how was your day?" With the imagination of director Adrian Alex Cruz leading an outstanding, bravely committed cast, and a production blessed by an inventive design team able to create with bare-bones simplicity, Wright's fantastical situations careen into life. Alice's current tumble is a haunting exploration of yet another woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown—except this time from inside the victim's nightmarishly delusional life.      The wonder of Jacqueline Wright is that no matter how dark, no matter how disturbing and bleak is her vision, no one since Tennessee Williams has been able to communicate his or her angst as poetically—and humorously—as she. This may not be Wright's most memorable effort in an impressively fertile body of work, but it's still a work by Wright, which makes it worth studying. Missing even one blinding facet in the rapidly spinning mirror ball of her mind isn't an option for anyone who appreciates artistic expression at its most courageous and personally revealing.

BACK STAGE WEST, Travis Michael Holder
>Full Review

Development:

Theatre of NOTE's- NOTEWorthy Reading Series 2011

EST- LA Winterfest Reading Series 2010


 

Spider Bites

“You know this is 2016. People don’t climb up a hill in the suburbs to die.” A whimsical collection of poems, images and small plays, the grim reaper is in the driver’s seat and people do climb up hills in the suburbs to die. Femme fatales get hot and brutal and the crayon drawings of a child come to life as death, punishment and lies are explored in absurd and unexpected ways- in a world where beauty looks like death and death looks like beauty and the caller on the telephone wants to know, “What’s the dead guy doing on your floor?”

Character Breakdown: 2M, 3F, 1 Either male or female

Running Time: 80 minutes

Awards:

Finalist for Dylan Days Festival- 08

Production History:

Theatre of NOTE directed by Dan Bonnell

Reviews:

O, what a juicy treat for the senses! Seriously demented LA-based playwright-poet Jacqueline Wright—who has a “spider in a glass and an egg up her ass,” an honor here transferred to one of her colorfully offbeat characters—collected together under the fittingly ominous blanket title Spider Bites. Spider Bites pounces on its eagerly willing prey in 11 short scenes tied together as effortlessly—and creatively—as any thread of troubling dreams might be. As with her disturbingly brilliant play Eat Me, which debuted to considerable and most deserved kudos, Wright’s Bites are at once intricately nuanced and boldly horrific, her language both jarringly profane and yet delicately gossamer in its evocative poetics. Neither Williams nor Spillane could be more evocative in the vividly haunting images of everyday life, with all its inequities and its disappointments, Wright so effectively conjures.

Entertainment Today, TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER
>Full Review

Consider this assortment of 11 short selections from the Jacqueline Wright sketchbook a fine introductory primer to the playwright's signature dada-ist inversions of romantic love. The pieces play like prosodic postmortems of relationships gone horribly wrong. With Wright, characters don't fall in love so much as become ensnared in predatory webs of their own inchoate yearnings, unalloyed cruelties and unnatural appetites. The love bites here carry gruesome venom. But Wright can also transcend the bitter as with "Beautiful," a sweetly moving meditation on mortality, loss and the authenticity of even a dying love. Director Dan Bonnell matches Wright's viscerally vivid poetry note for note with graphically compelling stage imagery and a razor-sharp ensemble.

LAWEEKLY, Bill Raden
>Full Review

Honors:

Go! LAWEEKLY Critics Pick Entertainment Today Critics Choice


 

Eat Me

Joe Foster

Bob and Frank inspect Tommy

Bob and Tommy, search for an answer to their own individual mix of 'monster'. Ridden with pain, pity, and despair they embark on a twisted and darkly humorous journey to connect and perhaps forgive each other and themselves.

Character Breakdown: 2M, 1F

Running Time: Full Length (75 minutes)

Production History:

McCadden Place Theatre, Los Angeles, CA Theatre of NOTE, Los Angeles, CA

Reviews:

CRITIC'S PICK!

Entertainment Today, Travis Michael Holder

Emotionally raw, yet often darkly funny pas de deux of lost souls. Rather than crafting righteous feminist harangue, Wright - whose 2003 Buddy Buddette also dealt with rapists getting their comeuppance, albeit in a more fantastic fashion - takes a broadly human approach, ruminating on the myriad horrible - yet - mundane ways in which people become damaged, how such destruction is perpetrated both inwardly and outwardly, and how forgiving our own and others' monstrosities can restore a measure of peace.

LA City Beat, Natalie Nichols

ARTICLES regarding this Play:

LA WEEKLY, Judith Lewis
>Full Review

PICK OF THE WEEK AND NOMINATED FOR 6 LA WEEKLY AWARDS! "...a story about two ruined people finding a fleeting moment of peace in each other’s company. How they get there is a radical sleight of hand, and it owes its success mostly to the psychological detail in Wright’s script, her own comically nuanced performance and the rumbling background noise of a television stuck on afternoon reruns set against eerie piano chords... [Wright] exudes a force both horrifying and enchanting from every bruise and pore."

LA Weekly, Judith Lewis
>Full Review

CRITIC'S PICK! "Jacqueline Wright's highly disturbing but gripping new play… At 75 minutes, "Eat Me" is relentless with its can't-look/have-to-look magnetism… Wright's script and Chris Fields' direction offer no-holds-barred drama... the moments of gasp-inducing horror are counterbalanced by a dark scathing humor that leaves audience members shaking their heads in disbelief that they are laughing about the grim situation... a story of substance to chew on."

Backstage West, Terri Roberts
>Full Review

Development:

Ensemble Studio Theatre- The LA Project, Winterfest Reading Series

Ensemble Studio Theatre- New York, Workshop Production

Honors:

LA Weekly- Pick of the Week! Nominated for 6 LA Weekly Awards!

Backstage West- Critics Pick!

LA City Beat- Critic's Choice!

Entertainment Today- Crictic's Pick!


 

Bing

Joe Foster

Cherry with the Maid and I Dont Know

Cherry looks at the tube leading from Waldo's head to the computer. “I'm really sorry about all that stuff I said about killing myself an' from before about your head and I can't remember the rest.”

“No harm done. I'm aware of my big head. How are you?” “I'm bored. I'm bored almost all the time. I don't like the stuff I used to like. I'M REALLY BORED!”

“Bored is good. It’s a sign to change your life, to do something you haven't done before.”

“That's just it, I don't know what that is. What do you do?”

“I'm trying to save the world.”

“From what?”

“From suicide.”

BING is a sci-fi fantasy about Cherry, an anti-hero. The ozone layer has been burnt away and suicides have left most kids orphaned. But never fear, the wheelchair-bound, swollen-brained Waldo 45 has been 'workity working' away, trying to save the universe by connecting everything into one harmonious whole. The action centers on Cherry, a rock-n-roll messiah, who joins Waldo on his quest, going on a dizzying journey from junkie-scenester, to self-exiled messiah.

Character Breakdown: 4M, 5F

Running Time: Full Length (2 hours)

Development:

Ensemble Studio Theatre- The LA Project, First Look /Full Lengths Occidental College, Los Angeles, Ca 2005 - Directed by Chris Fields


 

Buddy Buddette

Joe Foster

Buddette at the disco

High-school nerd Buddy who has a strong desire to improve our troubled planet, loses his bid for class president. His dreams come closer to fruition when he finds himself magically transformed into punk-styled female superhero Buddette, sporting a flashy outfit and illuminating breasts that also serve as ray-guns. Buddette's key power is transforming people's genders. Sometimes appearing as Buddy and other times as Buddette, he/she embarks on a journey to find the secret to world peace.

Character Breakdown: 6M, 5F

Running Time: Full Length (2 hours)

Development:

A.S.K Theatre Projects Playwrights Slam & Reading Series Ensemble Studio Theatre- The LA Project, McCadden Theatre, Los Angeles, CA


 

Driving Wilde

A post modern re-imagining of "The Picture of Dorian Gray." The play and characters are set in the present, except for the character of Oscar Wilde who resides in a prison in the year 1895. Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis ( a letter written by Oscar Wilde while in prison) underscores the psychological conflict of Wilde. The play explores shame and ultimately liberation as a homosexual today and in 1895.

Character Breakdown: 4M, 1F

Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


 

Love Water

A boy, Antonio, and a woman, Lulu, find friendship and refuge in a water pipe high above a city's polluted concrete water bed. An artist deity hovers in a full body cast dispensing admonitions that rain down like illuminations. A man steals a giant egg from the river bed that enfolds a dryad girl with an insatiable hunger for fresh caramel. The riverbed confines and brings to the surface the currents of their intertwining lives.

Character Breakdown: 5M, 5F

Running Time: Full Length (2 hours)

Awards:

Jerome Fellowship Alternate

Development:

Ensemble Studio Theatre- LA, First Look Reading Series at the LA Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium

Cypress College New Works Festival

Playwrights Arena reading series “Big Weekend: Ten of Los Angeles' Hottest Playwrights‿


 

Mixquixtil

Mixquixtil is about a couple who have lost a child. The story focuses on the mother Ann who travels to where death resides to retrieve her daughter and kill God. The price of her journey into the world of the dead is losing her own identity and thus the precious memories of her daughter.

Character Breakdown: 2M, 3F

Running Time: 1hour and 20 min.

Development:

Commissioned by Echo Theater Company Reading and workshoo with Cypress College.


 

Jacqueline Wright: Ten-Minute Plays

Milk

Explores the vampiric relationship between a caretaker and a woman facing death.

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Running Time: 10 minutes

Development:

Pharmacy "Idiot Joy Showland" Directed by Dan Bonnell, Mountain Bar, Los Angeles


 

Mantis

Katherine is asked to face the haunting events leading up to her husband's death.

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Running Time: 10 minutes

Development:

Northridge State WTF theatre festival - 2016


 

Sleeping Spider

Kiley is accused by her mother of drawing on the wall with crayons. Kiley insists Smokey the family dog did it. Her crayon drawings come to life to help Kiley get to the truth of something hidden that has been haunting her adult life.

Character Breakdown: 1M, 3F

Running Time: 10 Minutes


 

Beautiful

A 14 year old girls's first loss of a great love.

Character Breakdown: 2F

Running Time: 10 minutes

Production History:

Virginia Avenue Project, 24th Street Theatre, July 2006. Directed by Kebe Dunn. Theatre of Note, 2009 part of Spider Bites Collection. Directed by Dan Bonnell


 

an it

Character Breakdown: 2M, 3F

Running Time: 15 minutes

Reviews:

CUTS Eight short plays, smartly produced and acted, provide snapshot views onto the provocative imaginations of scribes belonging to Dog Ear Playwrights collective. Some are particularly striking, all are worth seeing. Jacqueline Wright’s “An It” takes identity crisis to the extreme via an institutionalized creature (Ammar Mahmood) who one day, after being visited by beautiful Janet (Williams), remembers what it means to be human and literally gives away a piece of his heart. Wright is no romantic, however; her view of love, directed with comic book animation by Mark St. Amant, is no Valentine’s Day kiss.

LA Weekly, Steven Leigh Morris
>Full Review

Jacqueline Wright's An It, directed by Mark St. Amant, in which actor Ammar Mahmood embodies the most outrageous of titular characters: offers uncanny insights to his mental-asylum overseers.

Backstage West, Dink O' Neil
>Full Review


 

Jacqueline Wright: Plays for Young Audiences

I and Me

You know those thoughts we have that tell us things, like not to raise our hand in class, for fear of getting it wrong, looking dumb and getting laughed it. Those thoughts, that keep us from walking up to someone we would like to be friends with. Natasha’s thoughts have gotten way out of hand. Natasha must stand up to these thoughts in order to gain peace of mind so that she can begin to participate in her life with confidence and joy.

Character Breakdown: 2F

Running Time: 10 minutes

Production History:

Virginia Avenue Project, UCLA September 2006

Virginia Ave. Project, fundraiser on the beach, October 2007


 

Jacqueline Wright: Plays for Solo Performer

The Mis-Adventures of Penelope

The energetic, lost and very sweet Penelope finds herself in quite the conundrum-- she has lost her vagina. Unsure what to do, she hires a Pvt. Dick to investigate. While interrogating Penelope's Pussy Mechanic and her mother-- Penelope visits a therapist for advice and seeks help from "Women Who Walk Without" or WWWW-- a support group for women who have lost their vaginas. A hilarious one woman show that poignantly explores the loss of oneself.

Character Breakdown: 1F

Running Time: 1 hour

Production History:

HBO Workspace- Los Angeles HBO Company Arts Festival- Aspen, Colorado Powerhouse Theatre- Santa Monica, Ca.