Usually, with such projects, it’s customary to acknowledge, once the script is done, those who lend their talents, insights, and wisdom. I feel compelled to lead with gratitude. As the work develops, this list will surely grow:
For artistic and technical assistance, brilliant playwright – master of what I would call magical realism, though he doesn’t call it that – and generous resource, William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.
For research assistance, David Cornsilk and, via her website, Otis Amanda Dick – Mandy the Storyteller (whose celebrated, one-woman Elizabeth English Pennington living history performance is one of her myriad historical characters).
For telling me about Elizabeth “Grandma Betsy” English Pennington and suggesting she might be someone I’d want to write about, Sandra Sieg (who is a descendant of Grandma Betsy, as is Otis Amanda Dick).
For his generous insights, and feedback, Gary Wright.
For their artistic GENIUS reflections, John Perovich, Jeremy Cole and Marcus Paul Wolland.
And finally, the marvelous cast of the transcendent reading that opened up the possibilities – Larissa Brewington, Laurelann Porter, Debra Lyman and RC Contreras. I feel profoundly honored that you’re taking this journey with me.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Pineapple and Other Options brings forward the character of Elizabeth English Pennington (1783-1857). In the play, the main character, Helen, is on leave from work while recovering from breast cancer. She sits alone in her kitchen contemplating suicide in the face of a mountain of medical bills and increasing feelings of alienation. We meet AJ, who sits alone on the telephone as a suicide hotline volunteer, desperately trying to keep Helen on the phone. As Helen and AJl struggle in liminal space, Pennington steps out of the ethers and challenges Helen to – at least temporarily – suspend her plans. What follows is a dynamic weaving of primitive American history and the complexities of 21st century socio-political life.Pineapple and Other Options dances between devastating drama and dark comedy. Produced by Arizona Theatre Matters, the development of this project is supported, in part, by the Living History Centre Fund, Sacramento California.