Songbird

FULL-LENGTH PLAY WITH SONGS. Jess is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who doesn't want to talk about why she abandoned her career. In fact, she doesn't want to talk about it so badly that she hasn't spoken or sung about anything in months. Jess's sister, Brit, thinks a beach trip to their old family vacation spot is just the trick to get Jess to open up. What Brit doesn't expect is...
FULL-LENGTH PLAY WITH SONGS. Jess is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who doesn't want to talk about why she abandoned her career. In fact, she doesn't want to talk about it so badly that she hasn't spoken or sung about anything in months. Jess's sister, Brit, thinks a beach trip to their old family vacation spot is just the trick to get Jess to open up. What Brit doesn't expect is for her sister to stay silent, while also making friends with a young teenager who breaks into their beach house. Jess is haunted by the events that led up to her vow of silence, even as she is battered by her sister's insecurities and troubled by signs of abuse marking her new friend's face. As tensions rise, Jess knows there are words that have to be spoken; she's just hoping she has the right ones.
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Songbird

Recommended by

  • Tyler Joseph Rossi:
    24 Jun. 2020
    There is music in silence. This piece highlights that duality - the beauty and life of music and the pain of what is left unsaid. Themes of trauma and abuse are tackled with grace and real humanity. It's got a few really good, hard, dramatic punches that really land. Boy, do they land. Strayer really has a home run on her hands here.
  • Nick Malakhow:
    16 Mar. 2020
    I love the way that Strayer weaves back and forth through time. These shifts structure the play, keep the tension high, and elegantly reveal the truth behind Jess' selective mutism. All of the characters are well-defined and sympathetic. I rooted for both Brit and Jess even as they bristled against one another. An 11th hour betrayal hits hard and potently motivates Jess' response to trauma. While Strayer tackles weighty issues like abuse, assault, and trauma, there is a great deal of hope and humor in this piece to keep it human. Lastly, the songs are absolutely beautiful!
  • Claudia Haas:
    22 Feb. 2020
    So many layers of me, too, child abuse, and silence. Silence as protection, silence as a weapon. Quick moving, honest, and searing, there is a lot to be uncovered here. A song can be more honest than a confession. A song heightens a reality. A song can tell a truth. A song heightens reality. And one must choose the words of a song carefully. A poignant look at coping when your world is shattered.

Character Information

  • Jess
    20-35,
    Any
    ,
    Female
    The actor playing Jess should be able to sing well.
  • Brit
    30-45,
    Any
    ,
    Female
    The actor playing Brit should at least appear to be 5-10 years older than Jess.
  • Harry
    20-39,
    Any
    ,
    Female
    The actor playing Harry should look about the same age as the actor playing Jess.
  • Boy
    12-13,
    Any
    ,
    Male
  • Man
    30+,
    Any
    ,
    Male

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Premiere Stages at Kean University
    ,
    2020
  • Reading
    ,
    The Bechdel Group
    ,
    2019