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. Winner 2017 Julie Harris Playwriting Award; Finalist 2017 Stanley Drama Award; Semi-finalist 2015 Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Playwrights Conference; 2015 Winner of the Arts...
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. Winner 2017 Julie Harris Playwriting Award; Finalist 2017 Stanley Drama Award; Semi-finalist 2015 Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Playwrights Conference; 2015 Winner of the Arts & Letters prize for Drama; 2012 Winner of the New Play Contest at Theatre Conspiracy. 21st Century Voices (American Stage, St. Petersburg FL, 2018); Last Frontier Theater Conference (Valdez, AK, 2015). See plays, below, for additional details. tesslight@comcast.net

Plays

  • Booty Strike
    As democracy fails, those without wealth or power will wield whatever leverage they can to influence our corrupt system. Roxanne and her colleagues, "specialty service" prostitutes in the Washington DC area, have decided enough is enough: they're striking until sanity is restored in Congress.

    Lysistrata is a comedy written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes in the year 411 BCE...
    As democracy fails, those without wealth or power will wield whatever leverage they can to influence our corrupt system. Roxanne and her colleagues, "specialty service" prostitutes in the Washington DC area, have decided enough is enough: they're striking until sanity is restored in Congress.

    Lysistrata is a comedy written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes in the year 411 BCE. Like much ancient Greek comedy, the play was racy, political, and irreverent. It was not explicitly feminist or anti-war, however; it was just meant as a good time. I hope this is also a good time, if perhaps a bit more feminist than the original, as befits modern times.
  • If Now Were Hence
    21st century newlyweds Allie and Maggie have just moved into an old house that's been in the family for generations, where Vesta, a young bride-to-be (and frustrated intellectual) of the 19th century, lives in that house with her parents. Through the quantum vagaries of time, Allie and Vesta become visible to one another, past and future co-existing in a small parlor room. While multiple souls echo...
    21st century newlyweds Allie and Maggie have just moved into an old house that's been in the family for generations, where Vesta, a young bride-to-be (and frustrated intellectual) of the 19th century, lives in that house with her parents. Through the quantum vagaries of time, Allie and Vesta become visible to one another, past and future co-existing in a small parlor room. While multiple souls echo across time, resonating with alternate versions of themselves, Allie teaches Vesta of modern female emancipation, changing the lives of both women in the process.
  • Billy Joel Holds the Key to the Afterlife
    Frances and Leo met, loved, married, hated, and divorced before their daughter Carmen was ever born, and then spent decades after locked in a battle for control — with Carmen as the battleground. So fierce is their competition that they even die almost simultaneously, leaving Carmen to weave together a family history using the only thread she’s got: their mutual love of Billy Joel. And while the Hindu deity...
    Frances and Leo met, loved, married, hated, and divorced before their daughter Carmen was ever born, and then spent decades after locked in a battle for control — with Carmen as the battleground. So fierce is their competition that they even die almost simultaneously, leaving Carmen to weave together a family history using the only thread she’s got: their mutual love of Billy Joel. And while the Hindu deity Ganesh orchestrates the paths this family must take towards acceptance, Frances and Leo are stuck -- together -- in Limbo.
  • 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?
  • 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.

  • 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...
    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.
  • Music That Goes Unanswered
    Two spinsters who have avoided any true connection with life find themselves compelled to embark upon their hero’s journey, transporting themselves through their dreams. Given this last chance, our heroines find the beauty in struggle, and the life in sorrow.
  • Shimmer
    A mayfly couple tries to fill their lives with action, meaning, pleasure, and serenity — all within their allotted 24 hours.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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?