JAC Publishing & Promotions

Asparagus by Jeanne Drennan

ISBN #1-60513-006-0
JAC #2008-00

The Cast

  • EMILY: 42; a writer
  • JOE: 44; Emily’s husband, an artist
  • MOLLY: 14; Emily’s and Joe’s daughter
  • BARB: 48; a story editor and Emily’s old friend
  • ROE: 55; a producer
  • LOUISE: 27; Roe’s assistant; very pretty
  • ART: 45; a security guard
  • *LISA: 20; Art’s daughter; she has been murdered before the play begins
    *DINAH: 22; an art student
    *JENNIFER: 29; a film actress

* Should be played by the same actress.

Asparagus tells the story of Emily, a novice screenwriter struggling to satisfy her film company bosses, her teenaged daughter, her artist husband, both old and new friends, and her own conscience. Ordered to make huge changes to her script at the last minute, she begins ransacking the lives of all these people to find exactly the right details to make her screenplay work. The screenplay thrives on this rich diet, but Emily’s exploitative task ultimately wears her out and gets her fired; someone else will do the polish. The drive to create art of lasting value exacts a pretty high price, and in the end Emily finds she's stretched her credit past its limit.

The Setting
New York City, in the nineties. The action takes place in a conference room at Minerva Productions, in the living room of Emily’s apartment, in a simple artist’s studio, and in a gallery of the Whitney Museum of American Art. A unit set is needed because the play demands fluidity with virtually no breaks between scenes. The conference room table, for example, doubles as the apartment’s dining table. The various locations should be merely suggested, with some, such as the Whitney gallery, conveyed only through what the actors say and how they carry themselves.



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Author Biography
Jeanne Drennan's produced full-length plays include Wrong Side Out, Asparagus, Limoges, and Medea at Athens. Her current projects are three new plays with a political bent: the post-apoctalyptic drama 12 Dogs, a finalist for the 2006 Timothy Smith Prize sponsored by the National New Play Network, and developed to date at theatres in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Diego, and New York City; Waxworks, a play about a novelist caught at the intersection of fame and political chaos which has had a workshop with the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre; and the brand-new Atlas of Longing, the story of a woman who finds herself at the center of religious and cultural conflict when all she really wants is to become a TV chef. At the same time, Jeanne is working on a chamber musical set in 18th-Century London, called Dear Boy.  Besides working on her own plays, Jeanne has helped middle and high school writers through her work as a teaching artist and dramaturg with City Theatre's Young Playwrights program since it began in 1999. She has received a 2008 fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to support her writing, her seventh such award from the PCA. She is a member of Pittsburgh PlayWorks, a play development workshop, and the Dramatists Guild.

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