2015-16 Season
December 3 – 20, 2015 • WEST COAST PREMIERE

Women in Jeopardy!

By Wendy MacLeod

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo

Background Information

Thelma and Louise meets The First Wives Club in this fun and flirtatious new comedy! Divorcees Mary and Jo are suspicious of their friend Liz’s new dentist boyfriend. He’s not just a weirdo; he may be a serial killer! After all, his hygienist just disappeared. Trading their wine glasses for spyglasses, imaginations run wild as the ladies try to discover the truth and save their friend in a hilarious off-road adventure.

 Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) at the New Vic is excited to present the West Coast premiere of a side-splitting new comedy, Women in Jeopardy!, by Wendy MacLeodThelma and Louise meets The First Wives Club in this fun and flirtatious laugh-out-loud comedy, under the direction of Bart DeLorenzo and featuring comedic actress, author and columnist Annabelle Gurwitch. Filled with side-splitting laughs and a perfect recipe for holiday fun.

Divorcees Mary and Jo are suspicious of their friend Liz’s new dentist boyfriend. He’s not just a weirdo; he may be a serial killer! After all, his hygienist just disappeared. Trading their wine glasses for spyglasses, imaginations run wild as the ladies try to discover the truth and save their friend in a hilarious off-road adventure. “Modern, lively, and loads of fun,” says The Boston Globe.

Playwright Wendy MacLeod on Women and Comedy

Anna Jensen: Why do we need more women writing for the stage?

Wendy MacLeod (playwright): I remember I was having coffee with a literary manager and he was talking about how there were no comedies written by women, and I’m sitting across the table from him and I’m thinking, “I have comedies. If you’re looking for–” I mean it was kind of a surreal moment. “How can you say that to me, a woman who writes comedies?”  So, this idea that people can’t find plays written by women or they can’t find comedies written by women, I think it just  means they’re not looking hard enough because I know in my teaching, I have some tremendously gifted young women writers. And I think there’s a little bit of a particular bias about women in comedy, that people think women are less funny than men but it’s possible that women find different things funny for men. I think it’s important that we do plays by women because most theater subscribers are women, for one thing, and they want to see their stories told.

AJ:  There also seems to be something that dogs women, in the sense that plays by men “universally address the audience,” whereas plays by women “only speak to the women in the audience”—that somehow there’s something more particular or specific about women writing comedy or even tragedy. So, how do you see this play in that polarity?

WM:  Well, I remember reading an astonishing statistic that it was something like 85% of the women on the screen are between the ages of 18 and 34. And if you see a woman older than that, she is somebody’s mother, possibly somebody’s wife. And so, what I’m interested in is having the women characters be the agents of the action, that they’re not appendages to a story, they are the story. And even if you look at the cast distribution, the play is four women and two men, that’s the inversion of most cast sizes. So, I’m not saying it’s a politically important play but I just think the act of putting women at the center of a story and seeing them trying to solve a problem [is important]. In some ways romances are the obstacles as opposed to the goal in this play, and as it ends, although it appears to be about somebody’s bad love relationship, it’s really about the long-term friendship among these three women and how they negotiate that when somebody suddenly has fallen in love and makes that their priority.

AJ:  And we see that happening all the time to our friends, especially where you think, “Wow, this is a really bad choice you’re making?”  And you’ve taken that paradigm to a funny, farcical extreme. “You might be dating a serial killer and you’re sending your teenage daughter off to go camping with him.”

WM:  It’s a really bad choice.

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