Solving Sunflowers

Solving Sunflowers, a comedy in two acts. 3 f, 2 m.

Solving Sunflowers logo

Prizewinner, 2009 Eudora Welty New Play Competition (Mississippi). Finalist, Dayton Playhouse FutureFest (Ohio).  Developed at the Valdez Last Frontier Theatre Conference 2010 and at Masquers Playhouse, Pt. Richmond, CA in 2011. Won the EMTC Playwriting Competition, 2012 (Sandia, NM).

This fanciful comedy follows Nessa, a recent widow, on a journey from grief to recovery. Nessa has recently moved from Los Angeles to a town near Roswell, New Mexico, after the death of her husband. Her obsession with saving New Mexico’s puzzle sunflower from extinction becomes her anchor after she is fired from her job and faces eviction. To defeat an unscrupulous developer with plans to erect an alien-themed amusement park on the shores of Bottomless Lake, she allies herself with her eccentric mother, Dottie Nuez, and two sisters from Moldovia who have immigrated to New Mexico for marriage.

The play explores the theme of living life in a random universe and how an outsider can redeem a community. Nessa struggles against alienation and her own grief, and ultimately triumphs in her quest to preserve the habitat of the puzzle sunflower. Her success in saving something precious from death both restores her sense of joy and allows her to rediscover her connection to the world.

Sunflowers puzzle graphic by Bruce Kluger

Audience comments from the Eudora Welty New Play Festival:

“Charming, funny and engaging…”

“Terrific dialogue, a delightful contemplation of the
freedom of quirky thought and action in America.
A kaleidoscope of contemporary language, humor,
concerns, and contradictions.”

“Witty but also heartfelt, characters well-delineated
and consistent…”

“Characters are fresh and delightful. I’d like to see
this play on the mainstage – and soon!”