A Dancing Dreidel Tries to Seduce a Snowman

FleitmanThe Pipeline PlayLab final presentations are happening this summer at the Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall. We’re kicking things off on Sunday, June 15, with Jessica Fleitman’s Show of Hands. We recently took a moment to catch up with Jessica and learn a little bit more about this new play and other excited projects she’s got in the works.

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?

Jessica Fleitman: Show of Hands is about one young woman’s journey to discover why her father abandoned her family. There are also puppets and whimsy, so I promise it’s not just a bummer of a theatrical experience!

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play? Why?

JF: I can’t remember when exactly, but I started watching videos online of shadowgraphy (specifically, Raymond Crowe and his “What a Wonderful World” routine, and the work of Gruppe Pilobus). I just found it to be incredibly exciting and interesting, and I was inspired to build a play around it – not just using it as its own self-contained performance, but making it part of a larger. More traditional theatrical narrative.

I’m also fascinated by the themes of absence and longing; the memories that haunt you and never quite go away, but are irrevocably a part of you. To me, shadows are the perfect stage metaphor for those ideas.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?

JF: It’s definitely my most ambitious play to date, and there’s something both terrifying and super exciting about that. There’s shadow puppets, Jewish mysticism, a story spanning several decades – I’m just really excited to see it and experience the whole journey of the play!

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.

JF: A dancing dreidel tries to seduce a snowman.

PTC: Are you working on anything else? What?

JF: I’m a lyricist in the BMI Lehman Engel Songwriting Workshop, and I’m currently working on a musical with composer Rick Bassett. I’m also writing the libretto for a new musical with composer/lyricist team Nick Robertson and Willa Bassen.

PTC: Two truths and a lie, go:

JF: I’m a pretty decent beat-boxer, I’m obsessed with garlic, and I once had a pet snake named Precious.

PTC: What’s next for you?

JF: I’ve been offered a fellowship at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where I’ll begin pursuing my MFA in Dramatic Writing this Fall. Other than that, I’m going to keep working on Show of Hands and my musicals, and just keep on writing as much theater as possible!

Jessica’s Show of Hands will be presented on Sunday, June 15 at 3PM at the Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall (239 Thompson St., NYC). Space is limited so reserve your seat by emailing [email protected]. This reading is presented as part of the Pipeline PlayLab.