LOVE TRADE is an exploration of gender and cultural assumptions in upheaval. The piece uncovers a love tangle between the Western goddess Demeter - frozen in eternal springtime - and Persephone - her restless daughter - who wanders away from the Upper World. Somewhere in ‘no-man’s land’ she meets her soul mate who she takes to be the Eastern god, Shiva - intense and mysterious - and is immediately attracted to his exotic ‘otherness.’ All three undergo clashing cultural and gender expectations; two emerge transformed.
The Male Perspective on Violence Against Women
SPOILED dives beneath the unspoken truths of fathers and sons, brothers and lovers - both in America and India - in this solo play that uncovers the tangled, messy roots of violence against women by embodying the male point of view.
Dust to Dust
A Solo Portrait in Shock
DUST TO DUST digs beneath the devastation of systematic wartime rape to uncover a transcendant inner grace.
Living Openly & Notoriously
BIRTH RITE, DESCENT, AT/ONE: A SOLO TRILOGY
Transforming autobiography into arresting myth, this work is physical and poetic; hard-hitting and lyrical. All three plays explore the worlds of inner desire and outer destiny.
A Cross-Cultural Collaboration in Kosovo
Conception and Direction: Elizabeth Hess
Collaborators: Dhurata Hoti, Fjolla Hoxha, Vlora Nikqi, Vesa Qena, Vyoisa Shala, Alketa Sulaj, Arbnore Sulaj Development: ForumZFD; Doruntina Basha, Jane Felber & Kvinna til Kvinna; Lina Andeer
Breaking Boundaries of Silence
I met Doruntina Basha, a writer from Kosovo, at the Women Playwrights International (WPI) most recent conference in Stockholm. Both of our selected plays addressed the trauma of the war-torn Balkans; hers dealt with the aftermath of the war as reflected in the relationship between a wife and step-mother; mine zeroed in on systematic rape – a subject that was/is still very taboo in her country 14 years after the war.
attn: Antje Oegel
Works in Progress
to email Elizabeth: click here
Ten performative prose poems.
Benefit reading for LPTW International Award, Theaterlab, NY 2017
Development Workshop, TheaterLab, NY 2016
1. An Old Habit
Reading with LPTW, Julia's Reading Room, 2017
No Evil: A Trilogy of Fables
SEE NO EVIL: PERFECT CURIOSITY
Development Workshop, Moss Theater, New York, 2013
PERFECT CURIOSITY traces the intertwining fates of two sisters as they navigate the slippery terrain of a cold yet incestuous household. The father disguises his neediness by cross-dressing and the absent mother shape-shifts into a witch, a godmother and a crone. A childhood puppet becomes the conduit for one sister’s release but the stranglehold for the other imprisonment. It is only on his deathbed that the patriarch sees the error of his ways.
HEAR NO EVIL: MELTDOWN
MELTDOWN plunges into the fantasy life of a bride-to-be who is jilted soon after her mother’s suicide. She retreats into a world where she ‘births’ a son made of wax that comes to life and accompanies her inner longing. However she is ultimately undermined by a reincarnation of her mother whose cries she never heard and so deadly silence reigns once again.
SPEAK NO EVIL: SALVAGED
SALVAGED investigates the lasting imprint of cold, cruel words on a woman who is starved for love and inclusion. She learns to subvert her needs by trying to save the world instead, using empty patter and platitudes to mask her own profound alienation. It is only in surrendering to her humanity that she develops compassion for her self and others and, in doing so, discovers a much-needed sense of belonging.
NOMADS tracks the lives of three New Yorkers whose paths become intertwined symbiotically and sexually. But this trio - made up of an actor, her lover and their surrogate child – finally breaks apart, leading to estrangement, death and yet also a strange resurrection of the heart.