Charissa Menefee

Charissa Menefee

Charissa Menefee is a playwright, poet, director, performer, and educator. She is a 2020/2021 recipient of an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project Commission. She has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Playwriting at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award, and a writer-in-residence with the Utah Shakespeare Festival...
Charissa Menefee is a playwright, poet, director, performer, and educator. She is a 2020/2021 recipient of an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project Commission. She has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Playwriting at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award, and a writer-in-residence with the Utah Shakespeare Festival's New American Playwrights Project and Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts. Her scripts have been honored by the Pandora Festival of New Plays, American College Theatre Festival, Arizona Theatre Conference, Scriptapalooza, Christian H. Moe Awards, and City of Charleston Literary Arts Awards, among others. Menefee and playwright Micki Shelton co-founded Tomorrow's Theatre Tonight, a play development and reading series in Arizona.

Recent productions: SARAH'S POEM was featured in the Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival and at Rover Dramawerks (Texas); LYDIA’S PLAN was named Best Play in Theatre Lawrence's Short Play Festival (Kansas); OUR ANTIGONE, based on the Sophocles classic, premiered at Story Theatre Company (Iowa); FAMILY, part of Code Red: Faith, has been staged by Phoenix Theatre (Minnesota), Lakewood Playhouse (Washington), Factory Theatre (Illinois), and Focal Theatre Lab & The Eco-Theatre Lab (Iowa); YOUR SOUP, SIR was part of Paula Vogel's UBU ROI Bake-Off at The Playwrights Center (Minnesota); CHECK YOUR TICKET was featured in the What She Said Festival at The Underground Theatre (Minnesota); Prescott College Theatre premiered MEET ME HALFWAY (Arizona). HOW LONG IS FIFTEEN MINUTES? was featured in Tennessee Women's Theatre Project's Women's Work Festival; the anchoring monologue is in production as a short film, directed by the author. PRETTY LUCKY is included in 105 FIVE-MINUTE PLAYS FOR STUDY AND PERFORMANCE (Smith & Kraus).

WHEN I STOPPED COUNTING: POEMS is available from Finishing Line Press, and Menefee's poetry can also be found in ADANNA, POETRY SOUTH, TERRENE, POETS READING THE NEWS, THE PADDOCK REVIEW, THE WILD WORD, TWYCKENHAM NOTES, AMYGDALA, THE INDIAN RIVER REVIEW, DRAGON POET REVIEW, Telepoem Booths, and anthologies such as THE HIPPOCRATES PRIZE FOR POETRY & MEDICINE ANTHOLOGY, SURPRISED BY JOY, and TELEPOEM BOOTH: MISSED CALLS AND OTHER POETRY.

Menefee is a member of Code Red Playwrights, StateraArts, PEN America, and The Dramatists Guild. She is on the faculties of the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment and ISU Theatre at Iowa State University.

Plays

  • SARAH'S POEM
    In mid-nineteenth century Philadelphia, three African American sisters fight for abolition and run an Underground Railroad station.
  • OUR ANTIGONE
    The play begins as a performance of Sophocles' ANTIGONE, but is soon revealed to be the rehearsal of high-schoolers who no longer have a director. Committed to the show, the group strives to create an ensemble, understand Greek tragedy and its relevance, and learn about their own potential and responsibilities, not only in performance, but as informed and ethical citizens.
  • FAMILY
    Part of CODE RED: FAITH, this short play honors the resilience of a small church community.
  • LYDIA'S PLAN
    Lydia surprises her father by announcing that she plans to run away--and soon.
  • HOW LONG IS FIFTEEN MINUTES?
    Fame can be fleeting--or last much longer than you'd like. The boundaries between public and private life are disintegrating. For women, the loss of these boundaries can undermine both professional and personal choices. How does a woman cope with sudden notoriety, especially if what she did or became known for was not something she would have wanted to become public? What happens when only part of a...
    Fame can be fleeting--or last much longer than you'd like. The boundaries between public and private life are disintegrating. For women, the loss of these boundaries can undermine both professional and personal choices. How does a woman cope with sudden notoriety, especially if what she did or became known for was not something she would have wanted to become public? What happens when only part of a story goes viral? When news comes as truncated sound bites, social media postings, tweets, and texts, how can we begin to understand the depth of another person’s story, decision, or action? How do we expect her to go on with her life, when the news cameras are gone and the attention fades—or doesn't fade quickly enough? HOW LONG IS FIFTEEN MINUTES? explores the lives of women who have been affected by instant—and often unwelcome—fame, as well as the conflicts that arise when our personal lives intersect with our culture’s insatiable need for fresh stories, new scandals, and sensational headlines.
  • CHECK YOUR TICKET
    A lottery ticket changes a working class woman's life.
  • THE FIGUREHEAD
    An ailing James I of England struggles to maintain control of his throne, family, and legacy during a
    night in which his present and past collide.
  • OVERBURY AND THE KING'S FAVORITE
    When the imprisoned Sir Thomas Overbury is poisoned and dies, the scandal rocks the court of King James I of England.
  • YOUR SOUP, SIR
    Part of Paula Vogel's UBU ROI Bake-Off at The Playwrights' Center. Meet the king, whose reign is in its infancy; his wife, who stroked his ego until it became something else; the fool, the only remaining counselor once background checks were completed; the herald, faithful mouthpiece; and Nanny, a real weird sister.