Thelma and Louise meets Grey Gardens in JEANIE AND MAY: A ROAD TRIP PLAY, written by emerging playwright E.M. Morton and directed by Jennifer Sandella, a former resident artist at the Drama League. This moving and funny play upends the American literary tradition of the road trip, re-casting a traditionally young male narrative with two older female leads, Jeanie, a self-deprecating artist in her 50s battling doubt and depression, and her Aunt May, a feisty woman in her 70s who is full of life but afraid to step outside her own front door. These women share a house and a secret – a struggle with compulsive hoarding disorder. Neither women can throw out reminders of their painful past, such as Jeanie’s unfinished paintings and Aunt May’s souvenirs of a lost love. After years of collecting, piles of possessions swamp their home. When their landlord and a social worker come to call one September morning, Jeanie and Aunt May fear eviction, and escape to the freedom of the open road. They decide to drive to Canada – a place where they spent happy summers long ago. Along the way Jeanie is helped by her unlikely “spirit guide,” a vision of Jack Kerouac, the very cool, very deceased author of the 1950’s classic On the Road, who pops up in the most unexpected places. The women gradually revel in their newfound freedom, learning that in order to move forward to the future they must let go of the past.
Jeanie and May: A Road Trip Play is E.M. Morton’s first full-length play to be produced in New York. Jennifer Sandella is artistic director of Random Access Theatre, where she directed Pinwheel!, a 2015 nominee for Outstanding New Musical at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards.