Suffolk woman to debut latest play

Published 9:21 pm Monday, October 13, 2008

Jo Anne Jones is trying something new.

After a playwriting career that has spanned two decades and brought nearly 20 plays to life, Jones is taking a creative sidestep in her latest work, “Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone.”

She’s making it a mystery.

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“It will be my first mystery,” Jones said. “The audience will see part of the play – the troop will go out and perform, and then the audience will try to decide what will happen next.”

Having written half a dozen full-length plays and an additional 12 one-act plays, Jones has stayed true to a gospel-themed formula. While she says this play will incorporate similar lessons, it will be a different type of experience for theater-goers.

“This particular play can be said to be comedic, but it deals with people who are experience a (loss),” she said. “It’s a mystery. It’s comedic and chilling, and I’m hoping the audience can read through some of it.”

Jones, who runs Jo Marc Productions, has been writing since 1990, after watching her sister write her first play.

But Jones’ road to the theater begins even further back beyond the 90s.

Growing up, she said, she always had a love of theater and of Broadway productions. This love led to her to studies in English and education and, later, to become an English and theater teacher. After a career in the classroom, Jones took a new path.

Now she is retired, and she says transitioning from teacher to writer continues to be a challenging process.

“Teaching theater really thrust me forth in that world,” she said. “I was always interested in the theater, and this presented a challenge — but one well worth it.”

“Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone” will have a one-night showing at 7 p.m. Dec. 8, at the Smithfield Center, 120 North Church Street, Smithfield. The show will be dinner-theater style, where guests will be fed and then, halfway through the show, encouraged to guess what will happen next.

Jones says the show promises to remind patrons of some of their experiences with so-called Christian relatives and could bring to mind stories they may have heard from friends or acquaintances.

Tickets will be available for $25 at the door, and will cover dinner and —she hopes — an important message.

“I think they will see that they have to be real when they deal with people, when they develop relationships,” she said. “They have to be based on the right reasons.”