Maiden Voyage

Maiden Voyage is a full-length play that takes place aboard a US Submarine and charts the highly publicized, first all-female mission. While a typical submarine crew is no less than 120 sailors the story is played out through seven women of different backgrounds and varied life experiences. They go by their navy nicknames: Ricky Martin, Twinkle Toes, Sledge, Ace, Scooby, Dot.Com and Esmeralda.
The form...
Maiden Voyage is a full-length play that takes place aboard a US Submarine and charts the highly publicized, first all-female mission. While a typical submarine crew is no less than 120 sailors the story is played out through seven women of different backgrounds and varied life experiences. They go by their navy nicknames: Ricky Martin, Twinkle Toes, Sledge, Ace, Scooby, Dot.Com and Esmeralda.
The form of this play is that of a puzzle: Small moments that live inside other moments and are chiseled together to create the whole of the world. The form reflects the ship itself, which houses miniature work-live spaces, machinery, technical equipment, and instrumentation of military excellence. The moments of the play have three distinct qualities: Short, percussive, rhythmic, bits of hard dialogue with military commands that depict the macro story line of the play, and overall patrol of this ships mission. In moments of downtime the play takes on a different quality: Soft, lyrical, perhaps even magical, moments between sailors where these women speak of family back home, of calls from whales in a far-off corner of the ocean, aching in the night. The third are moments of levity, groups scenes that speak to the humor and hardness associated with military culture: sailors hazing each other, poking fun, entertaining themselves in a space devoid of light and linear time.

We are spectators into these women’s lives until something on the ship starts to go awry. Sailors bring it to the Captains attention, but she casts aside their concerns claiming that they can fix the issue themselves and she’s right… for a time. Seeing the Captains ‘rightness’, assures the sailors for a time and quiets their concerns, until the problem worsens. The Captain, who has worked her whole military career to get this opportunity for women urges the crew to contemplate what the implications would be if the first all-female mission is unable to complete the patrol without assistance. However, when the danger level escalates the Captain must finally give in, only it’s too late. Maiden Voyage sinks to the belly of the sea with the whole world thinking that it was their error and thus proves the point of many naysayers: that women are not fit to run a submarine. Ostensibly we can assume that this is (the first and) the last time a patrol of this nature will ever be allowed to operate.

PLAYWRIGHT’S NOTE:
I was driven to write this play because I wanted to explore the intersection between opportunity and marginalization. This play explores how a member of a historically marginalized group might respond under pressure when given an opportunity that was previously unavailable to them. What happens when, technically you are given the opportunity, but you don’t feel validated in being a member of the mainstream and therefore over compensate in order to justify your place as equals in society? What happens when the very thing you’re resisting, in this case the patriarch, becomes the motivating factor behind your unconscious decisions? The Captain believes herself to be the one in charge but really, it’s still ‘the man’ driving the ship. A member of a marginalized group may be tricked into thinking they are the ones driving the ship, however, if they were never afforded the luxury of being a human and existing without any stigmas attached they are intrinsically pushing against societies-imposed norm. You’re a human BUT you’re a woman, BUT you’re black, BUT you’re gay, BUT you’re trans etc. These qualifiers dismantle one’s ability to operate organically from an authentic place devoid of the outside world’s limited scope of oppression. In having to work harder to carve space, to fight to exist in spite of yourself, your actions are still a response to oppression rather than just being an action. This play only explores the first example but it’s relevant in all marginalized groups and a conversation worthy of having at this time.

It should also be noted, while not fully developed in this draft, I’m exploring this concept by looking at the psychology in an obtuse way. When I started writing I had moments of thinking that perhaps they aren’t on a submarine at all. I’ve been looking at the ship as if it was a living thing, perhaps a whale, and thinking of each of the characters as representing one of the seven systems of the body, The Captain being the central nervous system, the brain, and ultimately the ego. It’s the ego that brings down the ship because it’s warring with the body’s (the ships) ability to exist in space without fear of judgment attached.


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Maiden Voyage

Recommended by

  • Playwrights Foundation:
    2 May. 2021
    Playwrights Foundation highly recommends MAIDEN VOYAGE, which excelled to the Finalist round (top 35) for the 44th annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival out of 755 plays. Our community of readers felt this play best represented the mission of our festival. This work engaged us, inspired us, moved us, and was an outstanding example of transformative storytelling. Our local Bay Area Literary Council commends MAIDEN VOYAGE as a compelling, relevant, cathartic new work which should be produced now. Congratulations! #BAPF2021
  • Nick Malakhow:
    8 Jun. 2020
    A gorgeous mosaic of a play that gives vividly-realized life to an amazing ensemble of women. I loved the irregular rhythm of this piece, especially the contrast of the first and second halves. Some scenes came and went in strobe-light fashion, while other loaded exchanges lingered. Similarly, the cross-section of joy, violence, pain, and healing provided key insights into both the characters' individual stories as well as reflected the larger themes of the piece--notably women's battles to live and thrive in male-dominated fields, and the victories, compromises, and tragedies of those narratives. Watch the Fresh Ink online reading!

Character Information

  • Ricky Martin
    50s-60s,
    Any race / ethnicity
    ,
    woman
    Role: Commanding Officer
    Character: A know it all, measures herself by her accomplishments, appears to care for others but there’s a chance that’s just because it makes her feel good. Gay.
  • Ace
    late 20s - early 30s,
    Any race / ethnicity
    ,
    woman
    ACE
    F, late 20s – early 30s
    Role: Executive Officer
    Character: Level headed, been at it awhile, reserved but sensitive.
  • Dot.Com
    late 20s – early 30s
    Role: Engineer Officer.
    Character: Positive about most things. A young mom. Comes from a military family.
  • Sledge
    late 20s - early 30s,
    woman
    Role: Navigator
    Character: An odd duck, aggressive, sexy. Possibly a predator. Interested in Scooby.
  • Twinkle Toes
    early – mid 20s
    Role: Role Supply Officer
    Character: Type A, wants to get ahead, goody two shoes, idealizes the captain. Can have a mean streak if she gets threatened or jealous. Repressed queerness.
  • Scooby
    early – mid 20s
    Role: Junior officer.
    Character: Soft, quiet, a thinker. An introvert but open. Bisexual
  • Esmeralda
    early – mid 20s,
    Any race / ethnicity
    ,
    woman
    Role: Junior officer
    Character: A bit of a goof, good-natured, young at heart and in age. A victim of domestic violence.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Fresh Ink Theatre
    ,
    2019

Awards

Finalist
,
Bay Area Festival
,
The Playwrights Foundation
,
2021
Honorable Mention
,
The Rosa Parks Award
,
The Kennedy Center
,
2020
Finalist
,
The Paula Vogel Award
,
The Kennedy Center
,
2020
Selection
,
The Kilroy List
,
2020
Runner Up
,
The Lorraine Hansberry Award
,
The Kennedy Center
,
2020