I write emotional feminist comedy.
I'm mostly a playwright, but also write for film and tv.
I like shows that are fast, funny, and theatrical. I like when things sit on the edge between very funny and very sad, and between wildly imaginative and incredibly true. My ideal moment would be one where the audience was laughing hysterically and then spontaneously wept.
I'm really interested in working physically and stealing freely from forms of cinema, TV, comedy, and dance. I like to go to plays where the energy feels more akin to a rock show, or a magic act, or a sporting event, and I aim to create shows and events that have that palpable excitement. Because it's so powerful, that moment when the lights go down and you think, 'Oh, maybe this time it will be good'.
I'm very much in love with theatre and I think the theatre should be consistently amazing.
I'm currently a Lila Acheson Wallace playwriting fellow at the Juilliard School, under the direction of Marsha Norman, Chris Durang, and David Lindsay-Abaire.
Photo Credit: Mike Ford
FULL LENGTH PLAYS
SHORTS AND OTHER THINGS
I've written a number of short plays, monologues and little pieces that have been presented at places like the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York, the HamilTEN! Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille's Crapshoot!, The Barhoppers Festival in Virginia, Lab Cab, and in lots of back rooms and strange places. These pieces include Caleb and Rita, Square Footage, Kinsey, P in V, Mate, and Ladies and Gentlemen, And Now the News.
Many of my short plays are available on New Play Exchange, or get in touch with me for a copy.
I've also collaborated as a writer/performer on collective pieces like Swoon! (Toronto Fringe), TEASE (Crow's Theatre East End Performance Crawl), and Cinema-Trope (Toronto Fringe Performance Shed at TIFF).
NEXT TO HIM
Comedy-drama; 80 min; 2M, 1F
Peter needs help: anyone can see that. He’s aggressive, manipulative, angry; but he’s also a talented actor, funny…special. Both Ash, his new classmate, and Eva, Ash's mother, and a psychiatrist, are drawn to help him in different ways, against their better judgment: Eva secretly becomes Peter’s therapist, while Ash plays a strange and addictive torture game with him in the school locker room. As Peter’s intimacy with both of them grows, the mother and son find themselves moving farther apart from each other. And while they wanted to help, their actions might be dangerous, might be hurtful, to everyone involved. What's help, anyway? And what does it mean to special?
Reading (excerpt) – The Juilliard School, September 2015.
Reading - Tangent Theatre, October 2014.
Workshop and reading - Queen’s University, dir. Ashlie Corcoran, January 2014.
Reading - Glasswater Theatre, September 2013.
Reading - Script Scrap Festival, June 2012.
Finalist, Playwright’s Guild of Canada Emerging Playwright Award, 2015.
Finalist, Safe Words New Canadian Play Award, 2015.
Finalist, NEWVember Festival, 2014.
Second Prize, Herman Voaden National Playwriting Contest, 2013.
Shortlisted (top 3), RBC Tarragon Emerging Playwright’s Competition, 2012.
I WILL MISS YOU WHEN YOU'RE GONE
Comedy-drama; 85 min; 4F
I Will Miss You When You’re Gone is a lonesome country song about grief and bureaucracy. Celeste tries to contact her dead mother Theresa, but instead is haunted by Evelyn. Evelyn jumped off the top of her office building, run by Robin. Robin just wants to get these files in order, until the spirit of Theresa shows up. A comedy about sad things for four women and a roomba.
Workshop and reading -Tarragon Theatre, dir. Andrea Donaldson, November 2014.
Comedy; 90 min; 4M, 2F
Matabang and Joseph secretly web-cam girls who rent a room in Joseph’s apartment, and share the footage with the Brobonic Union, their secret society of friends. Joseph’s having moral misgivings, but can’t bring himself to possibly lose the friendship of Matabang, or to mess things up with Natalie, the girl he has loved for forever. When they rent a room to Clara, who fails to live up to their beauty standards, the operation is in jeopardy: until Clara starts dating Tim and suddenly everyone wants to watch. Touching on issues of privacy, consent, identity, lookism, and the value of women, ‘Cam Baby’ is a fast-paced ensemble comedy about the selves we create and the stories we watch.
Reading, West of 10th Theatre, 2017.
Reading, Great Plains Theatre Conference, 2017, dir. Kip Fagan.
Reading, Kitchen Dog Theatre, 2017.
Workshop Production: Theatre Mischief, Toronto Fringe 2016.
Reading - The Juilliard School, February 2016.
Workshop and reading - Roundabout Underground Reading Series, dir. Margot Bordelon, February 2016.
Honorable Mention, Top 10, Herman Voaden National Playwriting Contest, 2017.
Finalist, Leah Ryan's FEWW, 2017.
Finalist, Weissberger Award, 2017.
Semi-finalist, O'Neill Playwrights Conference, 2017.
Semi-finalist, PlayPenn, 2017.
Finalist, Premiere Stages Spring Reading Festival, 2017.
Winner, Toronto Fringe New Play Contest, 2016.
Finalist, Cayle Chernin Award, 2016.
Named Best New Play, Best Ensemble by NOW Magazine.
Ashley Botting, Brandon Coffey. Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz
Beau Dixon, Brandon Coffey, Christine Horne, Ashley Botting, Andrew Cameron, Karl Ang. Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz
A GIRL LIVES ALONE
Comedy-drama; 105 min; 3M, 5F.
Marion moves to New York in the wake of a break-up and a murder takes place in her walk-up apartment building. As her life starts to feel like she's trapped in a Hitchcock movie, or maybe a TV show were young girls get killed every week, Marion can't stop listening to the old-timey suspense podcasts her ex made; and the lives of the other tenants, particularly the foley artist who lives upstairs, start to push in on her walls, making the dangers of being a girl living alone seem more and more prevalent. Does living close to others keep us safe, or put us in danger? And can you keep it down up there? An ensemble comedy and a mash-up of Hitchcock, radio horror, and Law and Order SVU about murder, fear, and how well you really know your neighbours.
Reading, SafeWord Theatre, 2017.
Student Workshop Production, The Juilliard School, dir. Jessi D. Hill, 2016.
Winner, New Play Contest, SafeWord Theatre, 2017.
WE'LL MAKE IT TOGETHER
Comedy-drama; 120 min; 2M, 2F.
A theatre artist enlists her best friend to work on a show together, but fears that her career and her relationship will be torn apart by her struggle with mental illness.
Reading, The Juilliard School, 2017.
Comedy; 60 min; 1F
How can you be lonely when you have 600 friends? A one woman show about connection, online and off.
Presentation (excerpt) - Festival of Ideas and Creation, Canadian Stage, May 2011.
Production - Next Stage Festival, January 2012.
NNNN...Love this One-hander about online and IRL dating... In Modern Love, Jessica Moss captures that particular irony of the contemporary singles scene: how can you have so many Facebook friends and yet feel so alone?...Moss’s script is funny and truthful… Moss shows enormous range playing a half-dozen others, in one show-stopping section even enacting a Twitter conversation complete with dramatic hashtags.
-Glenn Sumi, NOW Toronto
‘Moss offers wickedly funny observations about the online world… It’s a measure of Moss’ winning performance that, as we follow their e-banter, we can’t help hoping [her unseen email partner is] Mr. Right...9/10.
-Martin Morrow, The Grid
Modern Love, a glorious show written and performed by Jessica Moss…Moss or her alter ego navigates herself and us through the wilderness of online dating, or online anything, including a bait-and-switch cyber dialogue with one Charlie Brown, who seems to be a good man. She herself signs in as Funny Girl; and though both names would surely be already taken, she more than justifies her own, in technique and observation and thoroughgoing appeal.
-Robert Cushman, National Post
Photo Credit: Jacklyn Atlas
Comedy; 60 min; 1F
Polly stares at the movies and hates her life.
A voice starts to narrate for her, as if she was worthy of an audience.
A stranger with a beautiful alto and an uncanny knowledge of Polly’s soul calls:
‘I’m Polly Eschfield’, she says. I’m you. Find me’.
A cinematic adventure into an existential crisis. Presented in Theatr-O-Scope Vision.
Production - Theatre Mischief, Toronto Fringe, July 2013.
Production - Theatre Mischief, Edmonton Fringe, August 2014.
Patron's Pick, Best of Fringe, Ed Mirvish Award for Entrepreneurship.
Named Outstanding Performance, Production, New Play, Design by NOW Magazine.
Nominated for Canadian Comedy Award, Best Solo Performance, 2014.
Jessica Moss' s solo show is pure joy…. Moss displays amazing virtuosity … the show's interplay of verbal, visual and metatheatrical wit is brilliant. NNNNN.
Named one of his ten best shows of 2013.
-Christopher Hoile, NOW Toronto, Stage-door.com
Polly Polly is the funniest, most entertaining show I’ve seen this Fringe and the best one-
woman show I’ve ever seen.
-Masroora Haque, Mooney on Theatre
Moss is captivating. She is by turns irreverent, self-deprecating and laugh out loud funny. But she is also vulnerable. Heart-wrenchingly so. It is that rare combination that makes Polly Polly such a riveting and, at times, profound experience…. I can’t think of a bad word to say about Polly Polly. I’m trying. Really. But I think I kind of love it.
-Ramya Jegatheesan, The Charlebois Post
And in a Fringe chock full of stellar solo shows….the funniest and most accomplished was Jessica Moss’ Polly Polly.
-Steve Fisher, Torontoist