O, Possum!

The climate is in crisis, and so is the Mammalian Exhibit at Jumping Cholla Community Park — where a Park Ranger ‘deals’ with her feelings of inadequacy by biting off more than she can chew, looking longingly at her mate-me-be-me hero Thorn, and munching peyote with her best friend — the titular Opossum. But a bake sale gone awry turns out to be the last [single-use plastic] straw for our under-appreciated Park...
The climate is in crisis, and so is the Mammalian Exhibit at Jumping Cholla Community Park — where a Park Ranger ‘deals’ with her feelings of inadequacy by biting off more than she can chew, looking longingly at her mate-me-be-me hero Thorn, and munching peyote with her best friend — the titular Opossum. But a bake sale gone awry turns out to be the last [single-use plastic] straw for our under-appreciated Park Ranger… who promptly punks out. At a park without a Park Ranger, things get wild: Opossum proposes eating our young, gluten-free = anarchy, and everyone remains cognizant always that the great hurtle toward death continues. How will the community of Jumping Cholla Community Park ever survive if they don’t work together as a community?!… seriously, how?… a balladeering Tumbleweed wants to know.) O, Possum! A (bleak) comedy about climate change, friendship, and dealing with the consequences of our inactions.
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O, Possum!

Recommended by

  • Julie Zaffarano:
    30 Jul. 2020
    Val Dunn's O, Possum! is a powerful play about climate change and activism. Set in the failing Jumping Cholla Community Park, this community tries desperately to save their piece of the world. Not only their physical world, but their community as well. And talking a talking opposum, rattlesnake, cactus, and tumbleweed. Hope to see this play in production.
  • Dave Osmundsen:
    19 May. 2020
    Immediately, I fell for the bold, funny, and theatrical voice on display in this piece. Park Ranger and Opposum have a deeply felt and genuine friendship-- you find yourself caring about them when things take a turn for the worst. The play also challenges its audience to think about their complicity in the destruction of the world around them. However, the play also acknowledges a harsh truth: That action is difficult, and sometimes humans fail. Despite this brutal honesty, the play ends on a hopeful note. Definitely check this one out!
  • Playwrights Foundation:
    24 Apr. 2020
    Playwrights Foundation congratulates O, POSSUM! as a Finalist for BAPF 2020. This play rose to the top 35 out of 735 plays submitted, and was discussed at length by our Bay Area Literary Council for consideration in our season. We loved how this play uses the language of theater to illuminate challenging perspectives and compelling intersectional questions. This play ultimately moved & inspired us and spoke to the core mission of PF. We hope that once we’re allowed to return to our theaters again, it will be considered for production to reach new audiences.

Character Information

  • Park Ranger
    a sexually frustrated park ranger who wishes she was doing more to help the environment
  • Opossum
    a marsupial who has recently migrated from West Philly to Tucson; the o is silent
  • Tumbleweed
    a plant of dry regions that breaks off near the ground in late summer and is tumbled about by the wind, thereby dispersing its seeds; lead vocalist of Tucson's premiere punk-stomp-and-holler band Ecosystem of a Down; also plays Bossman & Ensemble
  • Rattlesnake
    a perpetually misjudged serpent; keeping the beats for Ecosystem of a Down; also plays Bored President & Ensemble
  • Cactus
    a Saguaro cactus; slays electric guitar and or banjo for Ecosystem of a Down; also plays American Tourist & Ensemble

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Azuka Theatre
    ,
    2020
  • Reading
    ,
    Azuka Theatre
    ,
    2019
  • Workshop
    ,
    New Pages @ Azuka Theatre
    ,
    2019

Awards

Finalist
,
Bay Area Playwrights Festival
,
Playwrights Foundation
,
2020
Semi-Finalist
,
National Theatre Conference
,
Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center
,
2020
Semi-Finalist
,
New Comedies Festival
,
B Street Theatre
,
2020