Paula Vogel said that “Theatre is perhaps one of the few places left where we are in dialogue right now.” Dialogue outside a play is as important as what is heard in the theater. Women must make their voices heard and right now our voices are very quiet. It is so difficult right now for a female playwright to be produced, and I am ashamed that many of my favorite theaters here in the city have not produced any plays by women this year.
My most recent inspiring moment is when the transcendent Rosemary Harris explains in A Road To Mecca how her art is her salvation, particularly in a difficult political landscape. I believe her speech is relevant to all women artists today.
My best escape is of course theater. Theater, for me, is travel. A great play will take you to places where you never believed you could go. I am a compulsive theater fanatic. Watching plays to me is as necessary as breathing. Even with a bad play, there is something to be learned.
The one thing that nobody knows about me is that I’m TERRIFIED of acting. I would faint if I had to go on stage to perform. Every actor is a hero.
My favorite male playwright is Tom Stoppard because his women are always so intelligent. Arcadia features a female adolescent genius! Lillian Hellman wrote about ferociously smart women as well.
Favorite line from a play: “Blow out your candles, Laura, and so goodbye” from The Glass Menagerie. So sad and heartfelt and tragic. A line that is like an explosion in such an exquisite work.
I love writing plays, and I made a vow this year that I would write plays with powerful women who are in charge of their destinies.Thus my first play in 2012 is about Hera, the great Greek Goddess.
Penny Jackson is a playwright and author of the novel, Becoming The Butlers. Her play, SAFE, will be part of The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in June. She is currently developing her full-length play, All Alices, with Ego Actus Productions. Penny is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild and LPTW. www.pennybrandtjackson.com