FERTILE GROUND

Semifinalist for the O'Neill Conference, Princess Grace Award/New Dramatists Fellowship and Panndora's Box

(Full length) Novelist Leigh wants a baby but struggles with unexplained miscarriages. Her younger sister Olivia, a parent and psychologist on the tenure track, is having trouble finishing her study of maternal filicide due to one of her subjects, whose motivations are disturbingly...
Semifinalist for the O'Neill Conference, Princess Grace Award/New Dramatists Fellowship and Panndora's Box

(Full length) Novelist Leigh wants a baby but struggles with unexplained miscarriages. Her younger sister Olivia, a parent and psychologist on the tenure track, is having trouble finishing her study of maternal filicide due to one of her subjects, whose motivations are disturbingly unclear. Leigh's husband Max wants to be done with fertility treatments so that he and Leigh can move on. As Olivia and Max begin leaning on each other for support, Leigh begins writing a new novel about filicide, and fact and fiction begin to collide and will have devastating consequences. A new play about motherhood, including its darker side.
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FERTILE GROUND

Recommended by

  • Jillian Blevins:
    20 Sep. 2023
    A taut domestic tragedy set against the backdrop of the unthinkable horror of filicide, FERTILE GROUND explores a dark (and relatable) niche of the human psyche. O’Grady’s layered characters each look at each other and see someone who has what they themselves desperately desire—a child, a loving partner, freedom—and who has taken it for granted. The tragic action unfolds when that assumption leads them to betrayal, and worse. Most intriguing is the hauntingly spare characterization of Willa, whose horrific crime throws the rest of the play into stark relief.
  • Aly Kantor:
    16 Sep. 2023
    This tight, tense, and addictively readable drama does something incredible - it manages to illustrate how impossible it is to thrive as a woman under the patriarchy. Amazingly, it accomplishes this while maintaining a strikingly close point-of-view on a handful of very flawed, incredibly broken characters. The play is simultaneously heightened and believable, and the characters could easily be people you know. It is carefully crafted and enticingly structured so that everything falls into place like in the best Greek tragedies. The threads effortlessly come together, forming a chilling but illuminating story about cycles of violence and the monstrous feminine.
  • Kim E. Ruyle:
    9 Apr. 2023
    Fertile Ground is absolutely gut-wrenching. Jennifer O’Grady masterfully sets up the dominoes, and they fall with precision as the play unfolds. The multi-dimensioned characters are flawed, but we care about each one and can’t help but be horrified by the tragedy of this tale but left with a sliver of hope, a beam of light and life in the end. Truly fantastic writing.

Character Information

  • Leigh
    Early 40s,
    a woman
    A novelist struggling with infertility
  • Olivia
    Late 30s,
    a woman
    Leigh's sister. A psychologist and parent
  • Max
    Early 40s,
    a man
    Leigh's husband. A graphic designer
  • Willa
    20s or 30s,
    a woman
    An incarcerated woman
  • Guard
    40s,
    a man
    Played by the actor who plays MAX

Awards

Semi-Finalist
,
Princess Grace Award in Playwriting/Fellowship at New Dramatists
,
2022
Semi-Finalist
,
Panndora's Box New Works Festival
,
Panndora Productions
,
2022
Finalist
,
Bechdel Group Reading Workshop
,
2022