Jeopardy Gaping


This surreal dramatic comedy shows the progression of events that occur over the course of twenty weeks in the waiting room of a physical therapy office.  Valdisa must deal with a wound marked by uncontrollable bleeding, while Jaffna seems unable to speak in front of others.  Yet, these are not the problems for which they attend physical therapy; nor does the Nurse seem to offer the compassion that would heal their ailments.  The one patient, Laura, who does seem to have a condition for which physical therapy is indicated, is first shamed and then callously pulled out of her wheelchair.  Each of these characters, as well as the other patients who attend the clinic, miss the opportunity to help each other and themselves, which becomes apparent with Valdisa’s collapse, the Nurse’s cruel obliviousness, and Jaffna’s revelation of her emptiness in the final scene.


The realization of missed opportunities comes not in the plot, however, but in the form.  The twenty weeks are presented not chronologically, but rather are grouped mathematically:  Doubles (Scenes 1, 2, 4, 8, 16); Primes (Scenes 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19); Triples (Scenes 6, 9, 12, 15, 18); and Tens (Scenes 10, 20).  The scene that is omitted in this scheme, Scene 14, is the site of those potential but lost opportunities, as though it were neglected by the characters themselves.  Its absence may only be noticed by the audience, if at all, after the play is over and a recounting is done. The names of the characters refer to past lost opportunities, as well.  Valdisa originates from the name of the grounded oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez.  Jaffna is the name of a city in Sri Lanka which continues to be a primary site of the ongoing two-decade civil war between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority, began as an uprising by the Tamil Tigers in the mid-1980s.  The possibility for responsibility, compassion, and peace continue to lie, due to individual action, in a realm of unrealized contingency.




Play Structure:

19 scenes divided into 4 mathematically-grouped acts

Cast size:

5 – 6

3 main characters, 2-3 doubled supporting roles



All female; multi-racial casting acceptable


The present.


Waiting room of a physical therapy clinic.


Before each scene, a sign, banner, or projection is displayed, showing the number of the week






Production History


Jeopardy Gaping received its premiere production in the Mae West Fest IX, on the Main Stage at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in Seattle, Washington, on May 18 – 21, 2006.  The play was directed by Dawn Stoyanoff, with Sound Design by Regan deVictoria and Props Design by Kevin Bernadt; and was performed by the following cast and team:




Teresa Widner


Mandy Delashmitt


Andrea Bonner


Kris Keppeler


Cathleen O’Neill


Amie St.Amour


ASL Interpreters


Bridget Lombardo

Dawn McKenna

Jenn Hamblin

Technical Director

Sara McChristian

Youngstown Liaison

Randy Engstrom