Her dream to become an actress leads to recognition as playwright

Her dream to become an actress leads to recognition as playwright

Jessica Farr

Jessica Farr’s decision to commute from Kendall to the New World School of the Arts came about with her inner desire to become an actress. Now she has become internationally known as a playwright.

“Everything just happened to fall together when I began combining a desire for acting with play directing,” she explained recently during an interview from Los Angeles.

That is where her artistic talent as a writer suddenly caused headlines in the world of the theater, following production of a play she wrote about the internationally famous fashion icon, Isabella Blow, whose suicide created the dramatic elements for Farr’s play, set in the 24 hours leading to Blow’s seventh suicide attempt.

The fashion leader’s death infused with Farr’s dramatic touches for a Miami stage production quickly caused headlines and praise from publications that count heavily in the worlds of couture and the stage.

Isabella Blow: The Play that was staged by Miami’s Mad Cat Theater Company through Sept. 1 was headlined on an Internet edition of the British Vogue magazine with the comment: “A play based on the life of the late Isabella Blow has just opened in America entitled Blow Me… written by Jessica Farr and directed by the company’s founder, Paul Tei, the play stars Erin Joy Schmidt as Blow and focuses on the final moments of the stylist’s life and her tragic suicide in 2007.”

Then Women’s Wear Daily, “bible” of the fashion industry, followed with a piece for its international readership, written by Rebecca Kleinman, that began: “Miami seems like the last place that a play about the troubled British fashion editor Isabella Blow would come to light. Yet Jessica Farr, a 23-year-old native of the city more known for clubbing then culture, has taken on the subject in her new work, Blow Me.

“Mad Cat Theater Company, which the playwright and actor joined at the age of 16, produced the nearly sold-out show starring Erin Joy Schmidt which ends its brief run Sunday (Sept. 1) at the SandBox at Miami Theater Center” located in Miami Shores.

Farr’s playwriting about Blow also has made headlines in The Telegraph and The Daily Mail in London, Vogue UK, Fashonista NYC, Style Arabia, and other trendy publications in China and Poland, as well as Ocean Drive, the slick Miami Beach magazine that reports SoBe trends in fashion and design.

As interpreted by Farr, Blow’s life through anecdotes creating headline buzz in both theater and fashion worlds is a rare double knockout to introduce the fast-budding Kendall comedienne and actress who still has her sights set on a stage career in addition to playwriting.

“It’s all very exciting,” Farr said prior to returning to Kendall and what doubtless will be a big hug from mom, Laura Phillips, whose writing talents provide public information for Miami-Dade Parks Department and have surely helped to inspire her daughter’s writing career.

“It began when I first appeared in a high school play,” Farr said, referring to the time she commuted to the New World School at Miami-Dade College’s downtown campus where she wound up winning performance awards and as a playwright at local and state levels through Florida State Thespians. After receiving her degree at Fordham, she traveled abroad to Russia to learn at the Moscow Art Theater School (MXAT).

She credits the Mad Cat Theater group and five-time Carbonell Award-winning Miami playwright Michael McKeever with inspiring her play writing that includes The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show, Call Me Catwoman, and Carmen in Three Acts. She currently has a new one-person show “in the works.”

A distinguished member of the Mad Cat Theater group, she will be part of the Naked Stage’s 24-Hour Theater Project in Miami, scheduled to open in October. She also plans to direct still another new but as yet unannounced Miami show in December.

“Jessica is one of the most driven and focused and talented young actors I’ve ever had a chance to work with,” said James Randolph, a New World School assistant professor whose teaching career with theatrical arts covers more than 20 years.

“I saw her work on stage, write plays, organize performances and prove to be a student leader. Her success doesn’t surprise me,” he added. “I know her achievements will continue.”

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