Jacqueline E. Lawton

Jacqueline E. Lawton

JACQUELINE E. LAWTON is a playwright, dramaturg, producer, and advocate for Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the American Theatre. Her plays include: Among These Wild Things, Anna K; Behold, A Negress; Blackbirds, Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; Edges of Time; The Hampton Years; The Inferior Sex; Intelligence; Love Brothers Serenade; Mad Breed; and Noms de...
JACQUELINE E. LAWTON is a playwright, dramaturg, producer, and advocate for Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the American Theatre. Her plays include: Among These Wild Things, Anna K; Behold, A Negress; Blackbirds, Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; Edges of Time; The Hampton Years; The Inferior Sex; Intelligence; Love Brothers Serenade; Mad Breed; and Noms de Guerre. Lawton has worked extensively as a dramaturg and research consultant. Currently, she is a Dramaturg at PlayMakers Repertory. Ms. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She is a 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color award recipient and an alum of National New Play Network (NNPN) Playwright Alum, Arena Stage's Playwrights' Arena, and Center Stage’s Playwrights Collective. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America and is the Regional Representative for North Carolina.

Plays

  • Among These Wild Things
    Among These Wild Things follows Jessie, a humanitarian aid worker, who risks everything to build an Education Center in the heart of an internally displaced refugee camp in Rann, Nigeria. Her determination pays off, but intimidation from Boko Haram and resistance from the Nigerian government, endanger the lives of the children and threaten to fracture the community. As Jessie considers the impact of her work,...
    Among These Wild Things follows Jessie, a humanitarian aid worker, who risks everything to build an Education Center in the heart of an internally displaced refugee camp in Rann, Nigeria. Her determination pays off, but intimidation from Boko Haram and resistance from the Nigerian government, endanger the lives of the children and threaten to fracture the community. As Jessie considers the impact of her work, she is haunted by the tragic death of a promising young woman. To complicate matters further, a handsome and disillusioned doctor forces her to reexamine her life. Among These Wild Things examines the impact of American imperialism on post-colonial Nigeria and the powerful and complex ways that love changes our lives.
  • Anna K
    Considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is Tolstoy's classic take about love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Keeping with the rich, complex, and masterful cultural setting, Anna K is set in Paris during the 1920's, at a time when African-American artists fled America to the city of lights, love and opportunity and the...
    Considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is Tolstoy's classic take about love and adultery set against the backdrop of high society Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Keeping with the rich, complex, and masterful cultural setting, Anna K is set in Paris during the 1920's, at a time when African-American artists fled America to the city of lights, love and opportunity and the DADA movement swept through Europe in response to WWI. This bold, provocative and lyrical adaptation follows Anna as she struggles to leave a loveless marriage and her young adoring son so that she might achieve a successful career an embrace the love of her life, only to face her painfully, tragic demise. It also follows Levin, an awkward, self-deprecating though highly skilled and talented African American DADA artist, who journeys to Paris in search of love, acceptance, and artistic recognition.
  • Behold, A Negress
    Set in Paris and spanning the heights of the French Revolution through the beginnings of Napoleon's reign, BEHOLD, A NEGRESS imagines an intimate relationship between real-life painter, Marie-Guillemine Benoist, and her muse, Madeleine, a formerly enslaved black woman. Inspired by the execution of eighteenth-century feminist and playwright Olympe de Gouges, Marie and Madeleine maneuver the codes and...
    Set in Paris and spanning the heights of the French Revolution through the beginnings of Napoleon's reign, BEHOLD, A NEGRESS imagines an intimate relationship between real-life painter, Marie-Guillemine Benoist, and her muse, Madeleine, a formerly enslaved black woman. Inspired by the execution of eighteenth-century feminist and playwright Olympe de Gouges, Marie and Madeleine maneuver the codes and corridors of women's power in post-revolutionary France in pursuit of their own liberty, equality, and fraternity. However, when Marie's ambition and desire for artistic recognition overshadow Madeleine's sense of justice and personal integrity, the women find themselves at odds just as revolutionary as the political world that surrounds them. BEHOLD, A NEGRESS is a passionate and daring examination of the challenges of intersectional feminism and the role of art during times of great social unrest and political upheaval.
  • Blackbirds
    In the wake of the 2016 election, three witches vow to avenge the honor women who have abused, harassed, and assaulted by wealthy, powerful men. Traveling from the heart of the Red Sea in the year of our Lord 516 A.D, they appear in their mortal forms as three hotel housekeepers: Jacinta, a law student, who is caring for her sick parents who lives out of state; Avery, whose marriage is on the brink of divorce...
    In the wake of the 2016 election, three witches vow to avenge the honor women who have abused, harassed, and assaulted by wealthy, powerful men. Traveling from the heart of the Red Sea in the year of our Lord 516 A.D, they appear in their mortal forms as three hotel housekeepers: Jacinta, a law student, who is caring for her sick parents who lives out of state; Avery, whose marriage is on the brink of divorce and is working two jobs to make ends meet and care for her children; and Esmeralda, who was recently naturalized, but is unable to locate her husband after ICE raided their home and took him into custody. After trapping their predators, the witches now face a major dilemma: Do they take the money and run? Or risk everything, including the reputation and livelihood of their boss, Mrs. Ivy Ambrosia Dubois, to rewrite the rules of the patriarchy and change the game forever. Giving voice to the voiceless, Blackbirds is a story of friendship, empowerment, and redemption in the era of #MeToo.
  • Blood-bound and Tongue-Tied
    Blood-bound and Tongue-tied is an intriguing and poetic adaptation of the Oedipus Rex myth. Set in Texas during the depression, the play follows the astonishing journey of Jocasta, an African-American woman who passes for white and shuns her entire past when she falls in love with, Laius, a successful White politician. With the birth of their son, Oedipus, Jocasta's lies instigate a wave of bloodshed and...
    Blood-bound and Tongue-tied is an intriguing and poetic adaptation of the Oedipus Rex myth. Set in Texas during the depression, the play follows the astonishing journey of Jocasta, an African-American woman who passes for white and shuns her entire past when she falls in love with, Laius, a successful White politician. With the birth of their son, Oedipus, Jocasta's lies instigate a wave of bloodshed and carnage on the African American community. Blood-bound and Tongue-tied is a provocative and riveting new play, which demonstrates the detrimental and lasting effects that racism and self-hatred can have on the social mobility, psychological conditioning, and personal identification of African Americans in the United States.
  • The Devil's Sweet Water
    A deal with the Devil! Bullfighting! Belly dancing! Early '90s love ballads! Sex during an Air Raid! The Devil's Sweet Water is an innovative take on the story of Dr. Faustus. It is a provocative and poetic story about love, friendship, and patriotism in the U.S. and Lebanon post-9/11. The play follows Kamara in her search for love during the summer of 2006. This play highlights the controversial use...
    A deal with the Devil! Bullfighting! Belly dancing! Early '90s love ballads! Sex during an Air Raid! The Devil's Sweet Water is an innovative take on the story of Dr. Faustus. It is a provocative and poetic story about love, friendship, and patriotism in the U.S. and Lebanon post-9/11. The play follows Kamara in her search for love during the summer of 2006. This play highlights the controversial use of torture as a U.S. military and government interrogation method. It also examines the terrifying and detrimental, though human, tendency to lump people with a shared ethnicity, language and religion into one category, despite their many different beliefs.
  • The Hampton Years
    The Hampton Years explores the relationship between art professor Viktor Lowenfeld and his students, John Biggers and Samella Lewis. Lowenfeld joined the Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1939 as assistant professor of Industrial Arts and studio art teacher. Burgeoning artist John Biggers, who went on to become an internationally acclaimed painter, sculptor, teacher and philosopher, was his student. As was...
    The Hampton Years explores the relationship between art professor Viktor Lowenfeld and his students, John Biggers and Samella Lewis. Lowenfeld joined the Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1939 as assistant professor of Industrial Arts and studio art teacher. Burgeoning artist John Biggers, who went on to become an internationally acclaimed painter, sculptor, teacher and philosopher, was his student. As was Samella Lewis, artist, printmaker and educator, with whom Lowenfeld had a contentious, but respectful relationship. The Hampton Years examines the impact of World War II on Jewish refugees living in the United States and their role in shaping the lives and careers of African American students in the segregated south.
  • The Inferior Sex
    It's the summer of 1972. As the war in Vietnam intensifies, the battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment ramps up across the nation, and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm remains undeterred in her campaign for president. In midtown Manhattan, a small woman's magazine is on the verge of collapsing and threatens to dash the hopes and dreams of a group of women tired of being treated as second class. The...
    It's the summer of 1972. As the war in Vietnam intensifies, the battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment ramps up across the nation, and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm remains undeterred in her campaign for president. In midtown Manhattan, a small woman's magazine is on the verge of collapsing and threatens to dash the hopes and dreams of a group of women tired of being treated as second class. The Inferior Sex is a poignant and hilarious behind-the-scenes look at a woman's magazine that gets political, faces hard truths, and breaks new ground in an ever-changing world.
  • Intelligence
    Intelligence tells the fictionalized story of a highly-trained CIA operative who, tasked with protecting the national security of the U.S. post-9/11, is racing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. With her country at war, her cover is blown and the lives of her assets are at risk. In the midst of a media frenzy, she must negotiate her husband’s dogged pursuit of the truth, her boss’s mandate to overcome...
    Intelligence tells the fictionalized story of a highly-trained CIA operative who, tasked with protecting the national security of the U.S. post-9/11, is racing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. With her country at war, her cover is blown and the lives of her assets are at risk. In the midst of a media frenzy, she must negotiate her husband’s dogged pursuit of the truth, her boss’s mandate to overcome accusations of the CIA's incompetency; secure the safety and well-being of her assets, and protect her family. Inspired by true events, Intelligence explores the cost of deception and the consequences of speaking truth to power.
  • Love Brothers Serenade
    Love Brothers Serenade, a hiphop infused drama, follows Reynaldo and Ricardo as they struggle for survival and fight to forge their own identities in DC's inner city ghettos. As these young men come of age, they find comfort, security, and family in the street gangs, drug deals, and violence that surrounds them. Adapted from Giuseppe Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, this play investigates the honor code...
    Love Brothers Serenade, a hiphop infused drama, follows Reynaldo and Ricardo as they struggle for survival and fight to forge their own identities in DC's inner city ghettos. As these young men come of age, they find comfort, security, and family in the street gangs, drug deals, and violence that surrounds them. Adapted from Giuseppe Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, this play investigates the honor code, loyalty, and rites of passage at the heart of this volatile community. Love Brothers Serenade reveals that the bond of brotherhood has just as much strength to destroy as it does to unite.

    2013 Semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference
  • Noms de Guerre
    Noms de Guerre is a haunting, lyrical and passionate story of friendship, love and politics. Mira is a rising star in the Republican Party, but her campaign against women’s reproductive rights puts her at odds with her best friend, Jude, an award-winning journalist. At home, Mira struggles to run a campaign for Governor and help her war hero husband, Douglas, adjust to civilian life. When Jude discovers that...
    Noms de Guerre is a haunting, lyrical and passionate story of friendship, love and politics. Mira is a rising star in the Republican Party, but her campaign against women’s reproductive rights puts her at odds with her best friend, Jude, an award-winning journalist. At home, Mira struggles to run a campaign for Governor and help her war hero husband, Douglas, adjust to civilian life. When Jude discovers that Douglas is linked to a massacre of Afghan civilians, Mira is thrown into a whirlwind of political intrigue and must decide whether to hold on to her career or save her husband. Noms de Guerre is a socio-political drama that addresses the damaging impact of PTSD on veterans and their family.

    Nominated for a Kilroy (http://www.thekilroys.org/complete-list-of-nominees/).
  • The Wizard of Oz
    A modern take on the beloved classic! Life in Kansas has been a bit boring for Dorothy and her little dog Toto. Until one day, a cyclone swoops in and takes them “over the rainbow” to the wonderful and magical land of Oz. With the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy sets off on the adventure of a lifetime down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. These new friends brave witches, flying...
    A modern take on the beloved classic! Life in Kansas has been a bit boring for Dorothy and her little dog Toto. Until one day, a cyclone swoops in and takes them “over the rainbow” to the wonderful and magical land of Oz. With the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy sets off on the adventure of a lifetime down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. These new friends brave witches, flying monkeys, and a Haunted Forest all to meet the Wizard of Oz, who promises to make their dreams come true.