Over the course of a 90-minute parent/teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher have a fraught conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother's son, the teacher's student, Gidion. Gidion may have been bullied severely -- or he may have been an abuser. As his story is slowly uncovered, the women try to reconstruct a satisfying explanation for Gidion's act and come to terms with excruciating feelings of culpability.
5M, 3W, CHORUS 3-6W
In 301, A.D., Hripsime, a beautiful Christian maiden, comes to Armenia from Rome, fleeing the unwanted attentions of Emperor Diocletian. The Armenian ruler, King Tiridates, falls immediately in love with Hripsime and goes insane when she refuses to marry him and vows to stay chaste for Christ. As the king begins massacring all the maidens that Hripsime loves, she must decide if her purity is worth their sacrifice and the loss of her own life. The play is a tragedy in rhyming alexandrine verse, observing the Aristotle’s three unities (action, place and time).
LICKSPITTLES, BUTTONHOLERS AND DAMNED PERNICIOUS GO-BETWEENS
Three extraneous Danish court officials: a professional loud mouth (the buttonholer), a kiss ass for hire (the lickspittle) and a successful dastard (the go-between) are tossed out of court just as Denmark’s merchant fleet becomes of strategic importance in the Napoleonic war. The three men journey to France and meet Napoleon’s top lickspittle, buttonholer and go-between, their female counterparts. Plots abound, flying machines are destroyed and the head of Marie Antoinette is discovered during the madcap struggle to save Copenhagen from British howitzers. The main characters speak in rhyming alexandrine verse, while a host of supporting characters converse in sestinas, haiku, free verse, limericks and sonnets. In a rhyming, metered world, the offbeat rules.
THE ANGEL EATERS TRILOGY (ANGEL EATERS, RATTLERS, 8 LITTLE ANTICHRISTS)
As the culmination of its 2008 season of transformation, Flux Theatre Ensemble presented Johnna’s trilogy of plays in November. The Angel Eaters trilogy follows three generations of a family cursed with the gift of raising people from the dead. These angel eaters, like a sin eater in reverse, eat the goodness off a dead body, bringing the deceased back brimming with evil and intent on mayhem.
3W 3M 1M or W
Set in the 1930s during the Oklahoma dustbowl. A young girl who speaks to angels with the voices of birds. A mother who hires a pair of con men to resurrect her dead husband. An unlikely love affair between a desperately pregnant woman and a despicably charming carnival barker. A false resurrectionist who is chained by the neck to the house of a family cursed with a genuine power to raise the dead. A body that is transformed against its will into a dark weapon of dreadthe angel eater!
Set in the 1970s, Oklahoma. A snake wrangler kidnaps a preacher, suspending a cage of live rattlers over his head, for a woman willing to sell her soul in exchange for her sister dead sister. A mother who lives for revenge. An alcoholic oil pipe layer with flashes of unwelcome clairvoyance. An undertaker who weeps for the woman he emblams. And one innocent boy surrounded by people with hearts like rattlers.
3W 4M 2M or W
Set in 2048, Los Angeles. The final generation of angel eaters in a futuristic Los Angeles. A paranoid drifter trying to escape visions of gold horns and Armageddon. An actuary thrust into a nightmare landscape of vicious angels and unwanted inheritance. A breeder with ambitious needs reaching far beyond the vat of amniotic fluid she is suspended in. A private investigator trying to find her clone sister’s killer. Fallen angels and inmates roaming a private prison built beneath Disneyland theme park attractions. And eight little antichrists who can’t wait to destroy the world.
THE COCKFIGHTERS TRILOGY (COCKFIGHTERS, TUMBLEWINGS, GODSBREATH)
"the same texture and feel of any of Shepard's best works....Adams' script has the explosive potential of anything by Tarantino." -- OC Register
A lonely West Texas barn. The cockfights have just ended and the barn is littered with blood and chicken feathers, but the real violence is just beginning.
Hump, a small town sheriff confronts rustic patriarch Dwight Fowler and we learn that we are in a world where vengeance and violence come more naturally to the men than to the gamecocks they fight. Dwight's nineteen-year-old daughter Shirl is dead and someone is going to pay. His slow son Clarence is fuming about dead roosters. His mean son CD is plotting torture. And the law is telling him that justice doesn't belong to sinners. Well, we'll just see about that.
The play shows the events leading up to Shirl's murder and the tragedy of her family's revenge, as played out in the cockfighting pit and a deserted field.
Fifty years ago, an angel crash lands in an abandoned churchyard in Juarez, Mexico. In present-day Texas, three men are out hunting in the woods. Ominous angel wings are heard overhead once again. The visitation is part of a 50-year family legacy that haunts West Texas farmer Coy. Coy committed an unspeakable crime at an abandoned church outside of Juarez in his youth, and his folly may be a catalyst for Armageddon.
Fifty years ago, Coy and his brother Buck find an abused woman, Birdie, in a Laredo bar. Birdie’s mind is damaged and the men hide her near an abandoned church, where a mysterious, wounded Winged Man crash lands trying to find her. Buck’s first wife Ranetta shows up in Mexico and announces that God has sent her to claim Birdie’s baby. Buck is surprised to learn Birdie is pregnant and is not certain that he is the father.
In the present, Buck’s son Jacob and his great nephew Matt want to put Coy in a retirement home so that Matt and his pregnant girlfriend Deanna can move into his house. Matt tells Coy that an angel told him their baby would be born to lead a host of angels in a coming war. Coy attempts to explain to Matt that the events in Mexico fifty years ago might explain the angel’s interest in this baby.
When Deanna joins the men on their hunt and tells Matt that she has spoken to God, violence erupts that will haunt the family’s past and future. The angels arrive and the hunt begins.
Mixing low-rent backroads culture, magic realism, and a world of post-modern fabulism in which cellphones and mp3 players converse and the underlying rules of the universe are revealed through chicken sacrifice- GODSBREATH is a play about a boy with the power to raise the dead and wage war with God.
CD rents his nephew COY JACOB out to perform resurrections from the back of the truck they use to haul their gaming cocks. When money-obsessed, taxidermist HEP HENDY hires the young man to raise his recently dead wife, ALPHA SUEtheir daughter LOGAN begins talking to appliances. Appliances with sinister purpose.
There is also this prophesy that has been plaguing COY JACOB since his birth. Something about being fated to lead an army of angels in revolt against God.
THE SACRED GEOMETRY OF S&M PORN
4W 3M 1M or W
A troubled young man with a stack of dirty magazines + a dead woman stealing souls + a televangelist grilled by Mike Wallace + a whore seeking enlightenment + a disgruntled woman wielding a gun = an assassination plot, weird sex, the Crystal Cathedral, a whole lotta money and a new religion.
Squeak kidnaps her faith healing sister, Judith Christ, at gunpoint to perform a resurrection. Judith's son Tobey is invents a new religion out of porn magazines and converts a mentally challenged young neighbor, Scooter, and his stepdaddy Brian's whore, Audry. Violence erupts when Judith is brought back and goes out to the morgue, with a fifth of Jack Daniels, to bring her daughter Margaret back to life. Mike Wallace, a puppet, comments on the action, and all is observed by Judith's pet Demon.
In the second act, the audience travels around the theater as converts to Tobey's new religion, seeing the scenes in different orders in small groups. They are married to one another in a joyous group marriage, privileged to speak with two resurrected souls about the afterlife, brought into a plot to kill Father Tobey, shown a promotional video, encourages to build a craft project with messiah Judith Christ, and are invited into the Sixty Minutes studio for Mike Wallace's final broadcast.
An idealistic young woman - a crippled survivor of an attempted murder by South American revolutionaries- is visited 3 years later by the conservative mother of the other attack victim. Slowly, the two dance through their grief, while negotiating the truth of what brought the two young women together, why they undertook their dangerous humanitarian mission, and what happened on that final day.
ONEIDA: SERVANTS OF MOTION
The play follows the last ten years of the Oneida Community in upstate New York (roughly 1867-1877). The Oneida Community was arguably the most successful utopian experiment in United States History. The 300 member complex marriage at Oneida embraced incest, tantric sex birth control methods, free love, and initiation practices that would be considered pedophilia by today’s standards as part of their intensely Christian theology. And the industrious family still found time to establish the flatware factories that become the modern day Oneida Corporation.
We follow John Humphrey Noyes, the charismatic founder of the Oneida Community, as he attempts to launch his son, Theodore, as his successor to the position of Father of the Community. Also, we follow John Humphrey Noyes’ youngest son Pip as he is initiated into the marriage, sexually, at a young age by the elderly Harriet. John Humphrey Noyes’ niece Tirzah and her lovers Edward and James suffer under the Community’s prohibition of special love relationships (in a communal marriage, you must love all your spouses in kind and not love one spouse especially). Community members Victor and Mary struggle with their reactions to the Community’s eugenics experiments and a prohibition that is put in place against their wishes to have a child. And Community member Ann, full of cunning ambitions, sets out to win control of the Community from the Noyes family at all costs.
THE MIRACLE OF MARY MACK’S BABY
A small silver pod crash lands one night in Mary Mack’s front yard. She believes that God has returned her son, Little Lloyd Luke, missing these last six months, to her transformed into an angel! The baby’s new green reptilian body, fangs, and leathery wings convince the rest of the residents in this small Texas town that an alien invasion has begun. A tabloid reporter shows up to catch all the dirt and is that a mothership hovering up there in the Lone Star sky? A wild comedy about southern taxidermy and xenobiology.
IN THE ABSENCE OF ANGELS
Two retired Oklahoma sisters find their lives outrageously disrupted when their celebrity niece arrives followed by a horde of television and tabloid reporters, who proceed to camp out on the women’s front lawn. The world wants to know why movie star Grace Rivers tried to kill herself on the set of her last movie. The oldest sister, Josephine, is still grieving the death of Grace’s mother. Her sister Edith sees angels in the clouds. A star-struck second cousin and family friends are vying Grace’s attention. Can they convince Grace that life is better than death? How do you save someone who has everything and isn't happy with any of it? Grace needs some divine intervention. Will she meet her guardian angel in time to save her soul?
selected one acts
A southern grandma argues with her teenage granddaughter over the apparent murder of her cat. Catplosion will receive it’s world premiere as part of Rude Guerilla Theater Company’s 2008 season in the Seven Deadly Sins Evening of One Acts. 15 MIN
The Gingerbread House Demolition
A young wife goes overboard with the cost and scale of her current Christmas display. 15 MIN
Nude on the Beach. 30 MIN
Nude in the Dark. 15 MIN
Love the Body Positive. 30 MIN
The Mouth of Kwan Yin’s Dragon
When Angela shows up on the wrong night for a community center support group, she finds herself mistakenly attending a lonely poetry workshopfacilitated by Isacc. Isaac's infectious love for poetry helps to bring her out of her insecure shell. When Isaac realizes that she meant to show up for a sudden infant death support group, the two find common ground exploring the poetry of grief. 10 MIN
How to Suck a Million Toes Without Being Electrocuted Once
Barry and his wife Jennifer argue about whether or not her obsessive need to publish consumer safety articles is a helpful form of therapy over the loss of their beloved dog, Porkchop,
Johnna’s short screenplay A PRELUDE TO SUPERNATURAL SEX OR EVERYTHING WRONG WITH ROLAND won the Best Writer, Best Director, Best Cast, and Best Picture audience choice awards at the INSTANT FILM FESTIVAL #004 (2002)
A short film written by Johnna and created for the 2005 Rude Guerilla production of THE SACRED GEOMETRY OF S&M PORN, called DAILY LIFE AND GEOMETRIC SENSUALISM can be viewed here.