The Regional Premiere of
by Anna Reynolds and Moira Buffini
Starring Sherry Jo Ward as Shirley Jones
PRESENTED IN COOPERATION WITH MENTAL HEALTH DALLAS
Directed by Robert Neblett
Out of the Loop Festival • March 2-10, 2007
The Stone Cottage • WaterTower Theatre • Addison, TX
Encore Benefit Performance: August 24-25, 2007
Baylor University Theatre • Waco, TX
Production Design by Bruce Bergner
Jordan is a harrowing one-woman play based upon the true story of Shirley Jones, a young single mother who kills her child, rather than placing him in the custody of his abusive father. The play takes place in a British court waiting room during the final hour of Jones’ trial, as she awaits a jury’s verdict. In a chilling, intimate monologue that travels back and forth in time, as well as in and out of her fragmented imagination, Shirley struggles to make sense of the events leading up to her crime.
Jordan featured the professional area debut of Waco actress Sherry Ward in the challenging role of Shirley Jones, and was directed by award-winning Dallas director Robert Neblett, whose recent productions included The Skriker (Dallas Hub Theater), the dreamer examines his pillow (Theater Fusion and the Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT)), and Polaroid Stories (University of North Texas). The production team for Jordan includes Bruce Bergner (Scenic Design) and Robert Neblett (Sound Design).
Playwright Anna Reynolds met Jones while they both were incarcerated in an English prison. The friendship inspired Reynolds to write Jordan with fellow playwright Moira Buffini. Its London premiere, which starred Buffini as Shirley, won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Fringe Play in 1992 and Buffini’s performance earned her a Time Out Award. Buffini, who advocates big, imaginative plays rather than naturalistic soap opera dramas, is a founding member of Monsterism, a theatre writers' campaign to promote new writing of large scale work in the British theatre. Her other plays include Dinner (2002), Silence (1999 – locally produced in DFW by Undermain Theatre in 2002), and Loveplay (2001).
The regional premiere of Jordan was produced in cooperation with the Mental Health Association of Greater Dallas as a unique artistic event to raise community awareness about the issues which surround women suffering from post-partum depression, domestic violence, and suicidal tendencies. The MHA of Greater Dallas is committed to promoting mental health in the community through advocacy, public education and awareness programs and services. MHA values the involvement of the community in fulfilling its mission and works to ensure the message about mental illness and mental health is spread by a broad based group that reflects the community’s diversity and includes mental health consumers and families.
In support of this partnership, the company scheduled a post-show discussion immediately following the March 4 performance at 5 pm with the production team and Dr. Ann Dunnewold, an esteemed mental health expert in the field of post-partum depression. In addition, Inevitable Theatre Company donated a portion of its festival stipend to the MHA, which in turn inspired playwright Moira Buffini to donate her royalty percentage to the MHA as well.
Greg Zarbo, Program Director for the MHA of Greater Dallas, cites these statistics: “Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. Because women are most likely to experience depression during the primary reproductive years (25 to 45), they are especially vulnerable to developing depression during pregnancy and after childbirth. Women who develop these disorders do not need to feel ashamed or alone; treatment and support are available.”
In August 2007, the production traveled to Baylor University in Waco, TX, for a benefit performance that raised funds and awareness about domestic violence with the local Family Abuse Center.