We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Eve Thorn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer Eve, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When MOXIE was founded in 2004 there were zero theatre companies in San Diego and very few in the country focused on producing work by women. People told us we would be “too niche” and asked us silly questions like “Are women even writing that many plays? Maybe they aren’t getting produced because there aren’t that many!” And people said things like “I don’t know if I want to see ‘women’s issue’ plays” even when we explained to them that women write about a wide variety of topics (like men) and not just “women’s issues” (whatever those are). But we ignored the doubters and haters. We opened with a full season of plays and they were WILD. Post-apocalyptic adventures, imaginative fantasy, violence, drama and dark-comedy. Our work defied every stereotype people wanted to label plays written by women with. We took a risk because we saw a need and we knew that if people had the wrong idea about women’s work, someone had to show them that. It’s 17 years and 69 productions later and we’re still taking a risk every time we open a show. Whether it’s a world premiere or controversial subject matter that challenges our audiences, we keep taking the risk because when you take a risk for something you believe in DEEPLY, it pays off. We believe women have stories to tell that ALL people want to hear. We’re here risking it all for that.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Has it been hard getting here? Yes. Yes. And Yes. And it’s still hard. I have stood on the street asking people to come in and see a show for free when there has been no audience. I have cleaned toilets. I have cried a lot of “what the hell am I doing???” tears. But we have also accepted a lot of awards on stages and received a lot of public recognition. It’s been 17 years and are some things easier? Yes. But there are also new hard things. Here is what I am working on and slowly getting better at. Love it. Love it all. When you feel sorry for yourself and overwhelmed, remember you can do something else OR you can turn to the person in the trenches next to you and be grateful because chances are you aren’t alone. Someone is there working just as hard. A grateful heart can carry you pretty far.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take my friend out to dinner in my neighborhood at Ponce’s or maybe to Fortunate Son and then I would take them to see some live theatre. We have so much great theatre in San Diego. Of course, I would want them to come to MOXIE but I would take them to one of the “smaller” theatres like Diversionary Theatre, Common Ground, TuYo, Roustabouts or New Village Arts (some of my faves).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out my husband Matt and my children, Penny and Fox. Having a wife/mom who is away many nights of the week at rehearsal or at the show is hard. They run our household together when I am in rehearsals almost every night of the week for weeks on end. Most women in my position in this industry don’t have families because it’s just too hard to do both unless you have a partner who is a full-time parent. My partner isn’t. He’s the President of his own company! But he still pulls MORE than half his weight at home when it’s time for me to open a show. I want people to know that I have that support because I am privileged to have it.
Image of Jennifer Eve Thorn- Kristina Yamamoto Show Photography- Daren Scott