Free Download: Jesse’s Game_Full Play_pdf
(Please note, performance rights are not included with the download. To perform this play, please contact Christine.)
Genre: Comedic Drama, #HeForShe
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours
Synopsis: Jesse’s Game is a study of gender stereotypes, presented thru a collage of pop music and the experiences of Jesse X and Jesse Y, (a woman and a man with personalities incompatible with traditional gender roles). Based in the #HeForShe philosophy that Men are as shackled by prejudice as Women, it’s designed to draw attention to the blatant discrepancies in how boys and girls are raised, and to spotlight how those discrepancies are subtly, (and not-so subtly), perpetuated into adulthood. By alternately stripping away variables and juxtaposing the double standards of Male and Female experience, it forces the audience to confront their own personal prejudices.
Cast of Characters
JESSE Y – A Man. Male. Straight. 20 – 40
JESSE X – A Woman. Female. Straight. 20 to 40
YOUNG JESSE Y – A Boy. Male. Straight. 10 to 20
YOUNG JESSE X – A Girl. Female. Straight. 10 to 20
MOM X – Jesse X’s mother. Traditional. Female. 35 and up.
MOM Y – Jesse Y’s mother. Traditional. Female. 35 and up.
DAD X – Jesse X’s father. Traditional. Male. 35 and up.
DAD Y – Jesse Y’s father. Traditional. Male. 35 and up.
PUNK BOY 1 – 3 – Embodiments of media and cultural stereotypes. Male. Teen to 25
MEAN GIRL 1 – 3 – Embodiments of media and cultural stereotypes. Female. Teen to 25
My Approach: Jesse’s Game reuses dialogue at various points, (with JESSE X and JESSE Y methodically switching roles). This causes the audience to become aware of how the gender of the people speaking affects their reactions to conversations and situations. These experimental role reversals are interspersed with collages of JESSE X’s and JESSE Y’s experiences, (as children, in school, and in college), and these collages reveal the difficulties they faced growing up and why they feel so passionately about the importance of exploring gender in conversation.
Jesse’s Game frequently breaks the 4th wall, inviting the audience to wonder where the play begins and ends, and where it intersects with their lives. The MEAN GIRLS and PUNK BOYS are rife with common stereotypes, and the voices of JESSE X’s and JESSE Y’s unseen parents spout well-meaning, but harmful, sound bites that everyone has heard growing up at some point in their lives, whether from their own parents, or in the media.
Throughout the play, scene shifts, (and later on, entire dance numbers), are driven by pop music excerpts relevant to the moments being explored.
There is no fast, easy solution to the problem of gender inequality, and Jesse’s Game ultimately breaks down, culminating in JESSE Y’s inability to continue playing and JESSE X’s plea for awareness and conversation beyond the theatre.