THEATRE

Pat Jones a.k.a. P.J. Edghill

Man plans:God Laughs...  In 2008, when circumstances such as getting laid off, the world economy collapsing (thus making finding jobs impossible) and a mysterious illness connected to the grey dust from 9/11 began challenging my mobiliy,  the direction of my career changed and I went back to my roots in Theatre.

 

My first job back in theatre was the production manager for a staged "reading" of a new Opera Clarence & Anita by Ben Yarmolinski which was part of The Center for Contempoary Opera's (CCO) Atelier series at The Cell in New York. In 2009 I went on to direct a staged reading and subsequent production of a new play Bonfire Night by Joan Baker. The play came out of the Blackboard Reading Series at The Cell. The short run of Bonfire Night played to packed houses each performance. Set in 1968 England, the play was the first in a trilogy about Jamaican immigrants in Britain. 

 

Bonfire Night starred Toccarra Cash, Kim Weston-Moran, Verna Hampton and featured Darnell Williams (Jesse, from soap opera All My Children). Set design was by Dara Wishengrad and lighting by Dan Gallagher.

 

Photos by: Garlia Jones-Ly

Later that year, I had the pleasure of producing The Cell's Open House weekend event which included a 10 Minute Play festival 10 Minutes Deep in which I wrote one - The Roxys & Bleu (read an excerpt on the "PLAYS" page)- and directed four pieces.

 

In 2010 I  joined the staff of The Cell as the Managing Director. In the Summer of 2011, The Cell along with The Hive Theatre Company produced the Summer of Lust, two plays in tandem dealing with lust and power. Bad Evidence was a new play by Terry Quinn and William Shakespeare's A Mid Summer Night's Dream was a sexy re-imagining with same-sex couples.

 

Artwork by Shira Gregory

Back in the D...  Since returning to Detroit in 2012, I've become a member of the Extra Mile Playwrights (in 2013) and directed Voices from the Neighborhood, eight short pieces based on oral histories of past and present residents and businesses in the Livernois corridor - an area of Detroit  anchored by the University Detroit Mercy (UDM) as well as being known for it’s beautiful homes. The area was once known as the Avenue of Fashion. Voices from the Neighborhood included the world premiere of my 10 minute comedic play The Women of Warrington. My goal is to develop The Women Of Warrington  into a short movie and possibly a sitcom. The Voices of the Neighborhood project which was funded by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council was awarded the highest marks from the Outside Evaluator: “ EXCELLENT – A model in all respects for similar council programs”.

 

Photographs by Gar Sims Jones

Clashow Barker in "I HEARD" By Ann Eskridge

Anita Joyce Barnes  as "Miss Catherine" & Patrick Brewer as "Craig" in "NEIGHBORS OF THE FOREST" by Gail Parrish

Ben Will  & Dexter Mays in "DETROIT SCENE" by Johnice Littlejohn

Welcome to Guerilla Theatre..The September 20th performance of Voices  from the Neighborhood  was part of the Detroit Design Festival's LIGHT UP LIVERNOIS. Being a part of a festival not designed for theatre meant a lot of uncertainty as to performance space and technical needs being met ( or even understood!). For example  up until 3 hours before the performance we weren't sure if we were performing on an outdoor stage in a field between two buildings or in a makeshift theatre in a vacant storefront. We ended up in the storefront with four standing microphones and blue and yellow lighting! A few weeks prior to our performance, I started telling the Actors "this is Gueriila theare be prepared for anything" and they were. Our amazing company, who saw the stage for the first time at the performance, just did it! Truly brilliant actors who took the audience out of a storefront, with obstructing microphones and alien-blue lighting and transported them to various places in this exquisit neighborhood. Bravo!  

 

The performance was grounded by an introduction by Historian, Catholic University graduate and Fulbright Scholar, Helen Marie Berg. This is a video of the entire performance (approximately 48 mins - blue lighting et al!) If you are so inclined pop some pocorn and enjoy (!) if not, read on McDuff!

Oral Histories... As Previously mentioned the scenes, monologues and plays were based on Oral Histories of the residents and businesses. The Extra Mile Playwrights created a mini-documentary (17mins) of the history, area and the people whose stories were dramatized.