Tess Light

Tess Light

Playwright Tess Light lives and works in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Light’s plays tend to incorporate any or all of the following: sarcasm, death, sarcastic death, Buddhism, foodism, poetry, song, and Shakespeare. Her plays have achieved distinctions in a number of competitions nationwide including 2015 Semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Playwrights Conference ("To...
Playwright Tess Light lives and works in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Light’s plays tend to incorporate any or all of the following: sarcasm, death, sarcastic death, Buddhism, foodism, poetry, song, and Shakespeare. Her plays have achieved distinctions in a number of competitions nationwide including 2015 Semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Playwrights Conference ("To Conceive Gods"), 2015 Winner of the Arts & Letters prize for Drama ("Expectant Pause"), and 2012 Winner of the New Play Contest at Theatre Conspiracy ("Tower of Magic"); see plays, below, for additional details. After sampling eight cities in four countries, Tess settled in Los Alamos with her husband and sons, where she works as a physicist in the Space and Remote Sensing Sciences group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. tesslight@comcast.net

Plays

  • Billy Joel Holds the Key to the Afterlife
    Carmen’s parents (Frances and Leo) met, loved, married, hated, and divorced before their daughter Carmen was ever born, and spent her entire life locked in a battle for control of one another — with Carmen as the battleground. So fierce is their competition that they even die almost simultaneously, leaving Carmen to weave together the narrative of her family using the only thread she's got: their mutual...
    Carmen’s parents (Frances and Leo) met, loved, married, hated, and divorced before their daughter Carmen was ever born, and spent her entire life locked in a battle for control of one another — with Carmen as the battleground. So fierce is their competition that they even die almost simultaneously, leaving Carmen to weave together the narrative of her family using the only thread she's got: their mutual love of Billy Joel.
  • Sleeping Through Armageddon
    Madge can't decide how best to steal the show from her dear friend at an upcoming wedding. Her sister Stella is a bit more worried about interplanetary invasion.
  • Expectant Pause
    Patrick and Lily meet for an anniversary dinner in an upscale cafe. Lily announces her gift: impending parenthood, but are they ready for this step? Bracing against the world’s and their own insanity, this is their time to mincingly edge towards the precipice and reaffirm that the ride is worth it.
  • The Supper Hour in Hell
    Five relationships navigate hairpin turns, with some approaching the end of their run, while others are embarking on new adventures. In the chaos of love, some grow stronger while others retreat. Whether they experience entrapment or liberation, whether they blurt out the truth or cling to the lies, at the end of this difficult, neurotic, hilarious meal, no one is quite the same. Like an appetizer that...
    Five relationships navigate hairpin turns, with some approaching the end of their run, while others are embarking on new adventures. In the chaos of love, some grow stronger while others retreat. Whether they experience entrapment or liberation, whether they blurt out the truth or cling to the lies, at the end of this difficult, neurotic, hilarious meal, no one is quite the same. Like an appetizer that doesn’t quite satisfy, Claire and William discover that their youthful passion can’t sustain them through the daily grind of adulthood. And much as one might regret his choice of entree, Edgar questions his choice not to be a real father to Sophie. Sophie, meanwhile, learns she doesn’t much care for dinner dates with Dad. Grace is sorely tempted by novelty, and struggles to remain faithful to both her “usual” (the linguine), and her husband (Nick). Rebecca wants to try, possibly to take, whatever Grace is having, be it her entree or her husband. Nick will take whatever basic comforts, food or women, are offered to him, while James longs for the adventure represented by Grace... and the sturgeon. This foursome is a tangled mess of indecision, insecurity and mis-aligned loyalties. Above it all ride Patrick and Lily, whose neuroses mask a surprisingly functional relationship. But are they ready for the next step -- parenthood? What are they giving up? What if their kid hates them? Despite the insanity swirling around them, this is their time to mincingly edge towards the precipice and reaffirm that whatever dish gets served up next, the meal is a good one.
  • Stalking Serendipity
    What happens when an every-man (or woman) attempts to trick fate, and stack the cosmic deck in her favor? Upon narrowly missing a traffic accident, Anna, a comfortable, perhaps complacent, suburbanite, faces the realization that we are one fluke away from tragedy, every moment of our lives. Therefore, she reasons, we must likewise be one fluke from bliss. With that in mind, she launches a campaign to entice...
    What happens when an every-man (or woman) attempts to trick fate, and stack the cosmic deck in her favor? Upon narrowly missing a traffic accident, Anna, a comfortable, perhaps complacent, suburbanite, faces the realization that we are one fluke away from tragedy, every moment of our lives. Therefore, she reasons, we must likewise be one fluke from bliss. With that in mind, she launches a campaign to entice chance to be on her side, to create “positive random events.” Anna narrowly keeps ahead of the law while her husband tries to cope with her assault on karma, and her friends try to stop it. The universe, however, refuses to cooperate, with each of Anna’s effort ending more disastrously than the last: as ever, chance remains indifferent to her preferences.
  • Escaping the Funhouse
    At an otherworldly carnival, a crossroad, a variety of momentary pleasures beckon a woman, to lure her away from an existence of meaning. Her choices are all that decide her fate, so what does she really want?
  • To Conceive Gods
    Helen Pario slaves in her laboratory, shutting out family and friends, in an attempt to discipline her mind and avoid her grief. She has no idea why her lover and colleague, Sam, killed himself, and the only solace she now seeks is that of finishing his life’s work. Sam was intent on creating the first artificial cell, a primitive lifeform, and thereby becoming godlike himself. In her fixation, Helen also...
    Helen Pario slaves in her laboratory, shutting out family and friends, in an attempt to discipline her mind and avoid her grief. She has no idea why her lover and colleague, Sam, killed himself, and the only solace she now seeks is that of finishing his life’s work. Sam was intent on creating the first artificial cell, a primitive lifeform, and thereby becoming godlike himself. In her fixation, Helen also tries ignores the fact that Sam had created a more ordinary life: she’s pregnant with his child. While Helen’s sister, Sarah, tries to get Helen to engage more with life-as-we-know-it, Sam’s graduate student, Chuck, helps Helen pursue her obsession with life-in-a-dish. As scientific success dawns, Helen increasingly detaches herself from all the lives and deaths around her, and is ultimately forced to ask whether a hypothetical life form in a petrie dish has greater value than the "mundane" lives of Sam and her child.  And if it does, then how valuable is any living human?
  • The Last Days of Wonder
    Mother is dyin’, and there ain’t a single thing anyone can do. So she has asked her daughters to discuss her plan to end her life by refusing further treatment for progressive pulmonary fibrosis. Sue, her steady, sensible daughter refuses to hear this plan, while Imogen, her more dramatic child, wants to honor their mother’s wishes. The piece seeks to approach a difficult subject with some humor, treating...
    Mother is dyin’, and there ain’t a single thing anyone can do. So she has asked her daughters to discuss her plan to end her life by refusing further treatment for progressive pulmonary fibrosis. Sue, her steady, sensible daughter refuses to hear this plan, while Imogen, her more dramatic child, wants to honor their mother’s wishes. The piece seeks to approach a difficult subject with some humor, treating with equal respect the fears and vanities of a dying woman, and the various forms denial can take in her loved ones.
  • Shimmer
    A mayfly couple tries to fill their lives with action, meaning, pleasure, and serenity — all within their allotted 24 hours.
  • Tower of Magic
    Sue McFate is finding it difficult to announce her engagement. For one thing, her family has never once heard she has a boyfriend. For another, her intended husband doesn’t even know her real name. Sue has come home to make the problematic announcement, but finds herself stymied when she realizes that her fiancé, Felix, will be a huge disappointment to her family, who include an obsessive ornithologist, a...
    Sue McFate is finding it difficult to announce her engagement. For one thing, her family has never once heard she has a boyfriend. For another, her intended husband doesn’t even know her real name. Sue has come home to make the problematic announcement, but finds herself stymied when she realizes that her fiancé, Felix, will be a huge disappointment to her family, who include an obsessive ornithologist, a compulsive mezzo soprano, a murderous chef, an occasionally-mute savant and a split-personality linguist. This crowd won’t be terribly impressed by Sue’s choice: Felix is (yawn) a civil engineer.