by Jillian Blevins

Featured image for “Pilloried”



Wilkin and Doxy are locked in the pillory awaiting sunrise and the punishing humiliation that will follow. While Wilkin prays for a reprieve from the public shaming, Doxy takes a more philosophical view.




Jillian Blevins is a playwright and theatre artist whose short plays have been performed in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, New Haven CT, Providence RI, Portland ME and New York City. In 2020/21, she conceived and produced Digital Dionysia, a six-week online new works festival which featured her plays Izzy at Zoom Therapy and Be The Bacchae, along with 24 other new plays from around the globe. Her 10-minute Jewish sci-fi comedy Space Laser, in Space! was a finalist at the 48th Samuel French Off Off Broadway New Play Festival, and her historical drama Mere Waters was an O’Neill Playwrights Conference semi-finalist. Summer 2024 world premieres: The Female Gaze at Duluth Playhouse, Romeo & Her Sister at the New Hampshire Theatre Project, Mere Waters at the SheNYC Festival, The Prince’s Shadow at Theatre@First. Proud member of the Dramatists Guild.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

I’ve always had a strong interest in new play development, having interned at multiple new play theatres (including Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre Company and PlayPenn Festival), served as a dramaturg and written the odd play of my own over the last 20 years. In 2020, I produced Digital Dionysia, an 8-week online play festival, for which I wrote two plays of my own, Izzy At Zoom Therapy and Be The Bacchae. The excitement of reading and creating a huge amount of brand new work by living artists, and of seeing my own work come to life reignited my passion for writing. I made an intentional pivot from acting/directing to playwriting.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

I’ve spent a few years thinking about how the fear of shame is a powerful force in our lives. Public shaming is as terrifying today as it was when it was a legally sanctioned form of punishment (perhaps even more so, since our humiliation can be preserved forever online). With some inspiration drawn from Mel Brooks and Peter Barnes, Pilloried explores our relationship to shame, and how on the other side of it, there’s a hard-won kind of freedom, an internal sense of self impervious to outside scrutiny.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Curious, empathy-driven, humanist, classically-inspired and connection-seeking.


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

I’m inspired by the past—mythology, classical theatre, weird stories and forgotten figures from history—and how it intersects and resonates with the present.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I have over a hundred houseplants. (No comment on how many I’ve killed.)


What are some of your favorite plays?

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, Fucking A by Suzan-Lori Parks, A Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner, Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka.


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

My historical drama Mere Waters, about Holocaust survivor Dr. Gisella Perl and the life-saving abortions she performed while interred at Auschwitz, was an O’Neill semi-finalist and premieres this summer at the SheNYC festival.

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