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All the way from New Mexico, Tess Light brings to us her One Act entitled “Expectant Pause.” This zany comedy tells the story of Patrick and Lily – a married couple with each partner being a little neurotic in their own way. The couple is celebrating their anniversary in a restaurant when Lily gives Patrick her wedding anniversary gift – the gift of parenthood.

Patrick’s excitement immediately turns to apprehensiveness as he begins to wonder whether he and Lilly are fit to be parents. What if they fail? What if their child hates them? What exactly awaits for them? Watch as Lilly and Patrick try to sort through the thought of impending parenthood and their own insanity to figure it all out!

Stage Door Stories recently caught up with Tess to learn more about her inspiration for writing “Expectant Pause” and why physics is a popular dinner time discussion at her home!

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

As much as I hope people enjoy my work, I can’t imagine what might interest them about me. So here are some random facts: I’m neither Buddhist, nor dead, yet many of my plays seem to end up including death and Buddhism. I prefer large cities but live in a small town (Los Alamos, New Mexico). My nuclear unit includes a husband, two sons, and two dogs. To earn a living, I work as a physicist, and since my husband is also a physicist, our dinner conversation is eye-wateringly dull. I don’t post to Facebook and don’t carry a cell phone, but wish I could have been a settler on Mars. And when I grow up, I’d like to be a neuroscientist.

2. What is your background in theater?

My mother was a writer and always encouraged me to write, but the prose form never worked for me. My ideas insist on being born as dialogue, so I was simply drawn to writing plays by nature. Over the past five years or so, I have started getting productions around the country and I directed one of my own plays locally this past year, which was tremendously educational. But I have no formal theater education.

3. How did you find out about Stage Door Productions’ One Act Festival?

I can’t recall specifically, but I subscribe to so many playwriting websites and newsletters that I must have seen a call somewhere online.

4. What inspired or motivated you to write this One Act?

Sometimes I write character studies as exercises, and this one was a deliberate attempt to render a certain kind of neurosis at work in a couple of dear friends. It’s not biographical about them at all, it just captures a particular worldview that they have. And I knew I’d gotten it right because when my husband read this piece, he said, “Hey, this is about X and Y!” Without having quoted them, he recognized them immediately.

Tess and her husband on the subway!

A selfie of Tess and her husband on the subway!

5. How did you feel upon the selection of your Act to be performed by Stage Door Productions?

I was thrilled of course — not only will this piece get produced (always a joy), but this marks my first production in Virginia. Writing includes a demoralizing process of repeated rejections, but my boys and I keep it fun by counting up how many states I’ve been rejected in, versus how many I’ve been produced in, and it’s always fun to move a state from “no” to “yes.”

6. What do you hope the audience takes away from your story?

First, I hope they laugh. (Please, please laugh.) But the point of the piece is to remind myself that living entails risks worth taking. And finally, I feel a lot of affection for this nutty couple, and I hope the audience likes their authenticity as much as I do.

7. What doors do you expect to be opened for you from this selection and process?

Sadly, once a play gets produced, it loses eligibility in so many “new play festivals” that it can be very hard to get a second production. On the other hand, doors open at the minority of theaters that are willing to take the “tried and true.” So, there’s really no way of knowing what’s next for this piece. But every production is a learning experience, just from hearing the audience reaction, or having discussions with the director, and it’s that learning that is so valuable.

8. What’s next for you?

I’ve got a couple options for writing residencies this summer, so, assuming I can get the time off work, I’ll be somewhere else in June or July, learning more about this writing thing I love.

Will Patrick and Lily be able to keep calm? Come see the show and find out!

Will Patrick and Lily be able to keep calm? Come see the show and find out!

Come check out this comedy on the 3rd floor of the Kitt Creative Studios at 810 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Performances will be at 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 26th, Friday, March 27th, and Saturday, March 28th.

Click on any of the dates above to get your tickets now!

Be sure to give Tess your feedback on the show or just say hello to her via email at tesslight@comcast.net.