Space Laser, In Space!
Talia and David are coworkers on a laser-armed satellite orbiting Earth. Faced with an unexpected and consequential choice, their disagreement about what to do becomes a greater argument about identity, faith, and survival.
Jillian Blevins is a Massachusetts-based playwright and theatre artist. Her short plays have been performed in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, New Haven CT, Providence RI, and Portland ME. In 2020/21, she conceived and produced ‘Digital Dionysia’, a six-week online new works festival of 24 original plays by playwrights from all over the country and the world, which featured her plays ‘Izzy at Zoom Therapy’ and ‘Be The Bacchae’. Her queer historical dramedy, ‘Romeo & Her Sister’ received a developmental staged reading at Orlando’s Whiskey Theatre Factory. This summer, her one-act ‘The Bed Trick’ was workshopped as part of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. 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.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
SPACE LASER, IN SPACE! was written in one night, between three and five am, fueled by insomnia and yet another round of anti-semitic rhetoric which had flared up in the public discourse (I think this one may have been Kanye West related). It was important in the writing of this play to speak to the diversity of Jewish experience and perspective; we aren’t a monolith, and we don’t agree on how to combat antisemitism, or what’s best for us as a people. Disagreement and debate might be the most universal of Jewish values.
In May 2023, the play had a staged reading as part of Congregation Bet Ha’am’s A Staged Affair Gala, produced by Mad Horse Theatre Company and Acorn Productions.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Community-oriented, justice-driven, curious, humanist, classically-inspired.
4. 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.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a zoologist until someone told me that I would have to be good at math. That isn’t true, and I’m still mad about it.
6. 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
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m currently seeking development opportunities for ‘Mere Waters’, a five-woman drama which explores reproductive rights, faith, morality and motherhood, inspired by Holocaust survivor Dr. Gisella Perl and the life-saving abortions she performed for prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp.