Thursday, March 7, 2013

Theatre UNO Performs Prize-Winning Jumpers: A Play in One Act

Theatre UNO delves deep this month with its production of a darkly comedic meditation on life.

Jumpers: A Play in One Act centers around a man and a woman standing at a precipice in a desperate moment and arguing over who gets to jump first.

The play runs Wednesday through Sunday, March 20-24 in the Lab Theatre at the UNO Performing Arts Center. Performances run nightly at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. A Sunday matinee is also scheduled at 2:30 pm. The play is rated PG-13 for content. Admission is $5. Tickets may be purchased in advance by emailing the box office at or calling 280-SHOW.

The play by local theatre artist, playwright, children's writer and illustrator Jessica Alexander won first prize last year in the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival's One-Act Contest, judged by the University of New Orleans Film and Theatre Department. Alexander's grand prize earned her $1,500, a staged reading at the 2012 Festival, a full production at the 2013 Festival (which also runs March 20-24), VIP All-Access Festival passes for two years ($1,000 value) and publication of her winning play in Bayou.

This month's production by Theatre UNO is directed by UNO graduate student Kaitlyn Heckel, said Jenny Billot, Theatre UNO spokeswoman. UNO graduate students Peter Smith and Meghan Whittle star as protagonists Mark and Sandrine.

"A desperate moment forges a deep connection in this darkly comedic meditation on life," wrote Billot in a play synopsis. "When Mark and Sandrine show up at the local suicide spot at the same time, they begin to argue over who gets to jump first. Their heated exchange leads them to discoveries about life, love, purpose, God, and themselves, and takes them into an imagined future in which they travel around the world and back. Will they be saved by the encounter? Changed by it? Or will they give up and push each other off?"

The Theatre UNO production of Jumpers is produced by UNO students. Mark Griffin serves as stage manager; Shane Doty is assistant stage manager; Justin Bupp handled scenice design and Sam Malone is in charge of props. Joshua Courtney led lighting design, Gabrielle Crousillac led costume design and Diane Baas served as the play's tech director.

Read a Tennessee Williams Literary Festival interview with Jessica Alexander >>
Read more about the University of New Orleans Film and Theatre program >>