With Planting the Seed as our theme, it was a no-brainer we were going to receive a number of plays about pregnancy. And boy, did we! They were poignant, funny, wistful, sad, and some were awesomely strange – and had we wanted to produce a whole evening of plays about this story-rich subject matter, we would have had no shortage of material to choose from. In the interest of creating a more diverse line-up, however, we worked towards selecting just one.
Jessica’s play, Happy Returns, really struck a chord with the rest of the ONSTAGE Playwrights. It consistently scored high during our Peer Review process, and when I read the play, I completely understood why. The women in Jessica’s play are best friends in their 40’s, negotiating one’s unexpected pregnancy and what that means for their unspoken “Single Friends Forever” pact. I think the “I’m happy for you, but I’m also totally freaked out about what this means for little ‘ol, single ‘ol me!” sentiment is one that many of us have experienced at some point. And Jessica’s dialogue and characters just feel so interesting and real that you want to see this play!
Now, don’t you want to learn more about this awesome playwright?
LBDI: Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
Jessica: I loved the idea of the peer review process, and I love that it’s very women-centric…
LBDI: Describe your writing space…
Jessica: I write on my couch, with one leg up and the other on the floor. Sometimes I go to the lounge at the Writers Guild because I love to soak up all that writer-energy, but I have to be really motivated to leave my cocoon.
LBDI: If you could be any cartoon character for just 24 hours, who would you be?
Jessica: Road Runner, of course.
LBDI: What was your first play titled/about?
Jessica: It didn’t have a title. It was about the signing of the Declaration of Independence and I wrote it when I was in 4th grade. The teacher read it in front of the class and I was so embarrassed I kept my head down on my desk the whole time.
LBDI: Which playwrights do you admire and what about them inspires you?
Jessica: As I get older, I find myself loving the passion and commitment of a playwright as much as their actual work. I know how hard it is to stay focused and believe in yourself and the stories you’re trying to tell. For that, I love Theresa Rebeck and how prolific she is. I love John Patrick Shanley. Wendy Wasserstein. Tennessee Williams never gets old.
LBDI: Why do you write for theatre? (as opposed to other written media…)
Jessica: I write for the theatre because I find that the stories I want to tell just seem to find their way there. I also write for film and TV but most of the stories that beg to be told are stories that beg for that live, shared experience. I can’t describe it any better than that; I wish I knew myself.
LBDI: What is your spirit animal?
Jessica: Dolphin or dog.
LBDI: Paper or Plastic?
Jessica: Paper, of course.
Jessica Abrams is a playwright, television writer, storyteller and actress. Her plays have had productions and readings all over Los Angeles, with “The Laughing Cow” receiving Pick of The Week by LA Weekly. It is now published by Off The Wall Plays. In addition to performing storytelling events, she writes dance reviews and blogs for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. Her most recent project is KNOCKING ON DOORS, a web series she wrote, directed and starred in. Watch it HERE.
The Planting the Seed Festival runs this week for 3 performances only
at the First Congregational Church Theater in Prescott.
Showtimes – Jan 2nd @ 7:30, and Jan 3rd @ 2:30 & 7:30.
Tickets just $14 online or at the door!