Play born from childhood

By Clyde Davis: CNJ Columnist

Growing up in Alamogordo during the Cold War era, Janeice Scarbrough heard it repeatedly as a child. From her mother, as well as others, the words echoed — “We will be among the first to be bombed, if and when it happens.”


The connection, of course, was Alamogordo’s, and New Mexico’s, unique place in the development of nuclear weapons.  The premise was that the enemy would strike here early, whether as preemptive or symbolic action.


Thus was born the play, Trinity Site, the theme being one of the sites where the early atomic weapons were developed. No, wait — the play is not about the sites. Like nearly any effective drama, the play is about the people, the intertwined and interrelated lives which are impacted by the Trinity site events. “You take a real event, and you write about the people affected….”


Janeice will have the chance to refine, polish and revise Trinity Site, and other germinal plays, this summer during an intensive playwrights’ workshop. Twenty select drama crafters will meet for two weeks and work together to enhance one another’s creativity. It’s an honor, and an opportunity, for the ENMU Drama Dept. chair.


As part of the selection process, Ms. Scarbrough was required to submit a sample of her work for which she chose Mia, Emma and Rose, a play presented by the ENMU drama department this spring semester.


Janeice’s success, and the attendant recognition, are stages in a journey through the world of theater which began as an undergraduate at NMSU. She had not participated in high school drama, but when she stepped on a college stage, found a piece of herself which she hadn’t known existed.


NMSU was followed by graduate school at Yale, after which Janeice began acting and writing professionally.  Among other accomplishments, she has written for the soap operas . “ It pays well — that’s not the issue. It pays, in fact, far better than most people would believe.”


“Plays take a long time to percolate — written, rewritten, going through a refinement process.” That is part of the benefit that the intensive summer workshop will offer to the talented drama writers who have been invited to participate.


Perhaps you, too, have an unwritten play acting itself out in your head.