Alumni produce ‘Baby Jessica’s Well-Made Play’ Live on Phones

BY Robbie Armstrong, October 5, 2020

WalkUpArts produces Baby Jessica’s Well-Made Play, penned by alumnus Philip Santos Schaffer ’18 with dramaturgy by alumna and staff member Anna Woodruff ’18, is a phone adventure to the bottom of the well and back again. Inspired by the true events of the rescue of baby Jessica McClure from a well, this play takes place over the phone, distanced and in the privacy of one’s home. The five act play takes place over the course of two consecutive evenings, with an audio-recording, live performances, and a secret fifth act that's months in the future.


Baby Jessica made international headlines in 1987 when she fell down a well in Midland, Texas and was rescued over two days later after an elaborate and difficult tunnel digging and drilling process. Inspired by "America's Baby" herself, this interactive, intimate, and conversational phone performance for one audience member at a time uses the true story to discuss fear, hope, imagination, culture, and memory. The play stars Mary Round, with additional voices by acting alumna Alinca Hamilton ’18. 

Baby Jessica’s Well-Made Play had its original run in the summer of 2018 as a part of WalkUpArts’s Small Plays for Giants collection. The conversation based play toured to audience members’ closets, headphones, and nearby cafes. The 2020 production, adapted to be performed entirely over the phone, continues the personal nature of its original inception, continuing to present for one audience member per performance. 


Established by Woodruff and Schaffer, WalkUpArts is a theatre company that experiments with form and content, creating intimate, original works that explore the audience-artist relationship. In addition to producing Baby Jessica’s Well-Made Play, Woodruff, Schaffer, and WalkUpArts produced The End of the World Bar and Bathtub where audiences experience a show live in their own bathtub. 


Tickets to Baby Jessica’s Well-Made Play can be purchased here. The play opened on September 20 and is set to close on February 28, 2021.