dog ear

plays by Jacqueline Wright

Jacqueline Wright: Full-Length Plays

Have You Seen Alice?

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)

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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

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Spider Bites

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

Running Time: 80 minutes

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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

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Eat Me

Joe Foster

Bob and Frank inspect Tommy

Character Breakdown: 2M, 1F

Running Time: Full Length (75 minutes)

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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

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Bing

Joe Foster

Cherry with the Maid and I Dont Know

Character Breakdown: 4M, 5F

Running Time: Full Length (2 hours)

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Buddy Buddette

Joe Foster

Buddette at the disco

Character Breakdown: 6M, 5F

Running Time: Full Length (2 hours)

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Driving Wilde

Character Breakdown: 4M, 1F

Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


 

Love Water

Character Breakdown: 5M, 5F

Running Time: Full Length (2 hours)

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Mixquixtil

Character Breakdown: 2M, 3F

Running Time: 1hour and 20 min.

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Jacqueline Wright: Ten-Minute Plays

Milk

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Running Time: 10 minutes

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Mantis

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Running Time: 10 minutes

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Sleeping Spider

Character Breakdown: 1M, 3F

Running Time: 10 Minutes


 

Beautiful

Character Breakdown: 2F

Running Time: 10 minutes

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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

Character Breakdown: 2F

Running Time: 10 minutes

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Jacqueline Wright: Plays for Solo Performer

The Mis-Adventures of Penelope

Character Breakdown: 1F

Running Time: 1 hour

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