The 2018 production at the legendary Timucua White House, continuing a series of exclusive plays and opening a new chapter in Timucua programming by launching the Saturday Afternoon Community Series matinees.

  • The idea is to make the audience think about people other than themselves, to make them feel like they’re overhearing a private conversation,” Hayes says of his play that defies neat pigeonholing. “It’s a comic, tragic nonmusical musical,” he says. “It’s the way people are. It’s real life.”
    - Matt Palm, Orlando Sentinel
  • Two people in two little rooms.
    A young woman, a bed, an unseen voice, music in the night.

    When we meet Truly in her room at the end of the hall, she is on her way to recovery, having spent years in and out of hospitals combating serious illness since she was a child. She'll be going home soon, with every likelihood of a "normal" life. And that idea terrifies her - when the struggle is gone, when the life ahead can be lived apart from the identity of illness, it is a foreign country, a distant planet without the "thing" that has defined you.

    TRULY: Every doctor has their own specialty, you know? I’m not a person, I’m a questionable liver, or I’m a bad brain, or I’m an undiscovered condition that they know is the problem. Last year, they were examining my eyes, and the doctor just kind of said, “You have remarkably small pupils.”
    DOC: I’ve never heard of that.
    TRULY: Neither have I.
    DOC: You could look it up—
    TRULY: I know, I could look it up. Google is older than I am, for god’s sake. But the difference between knowing and wanting to know … I don’t want to know why my pupils are remarkably small, what am I supposed to do with that information?

    It might as well be the moon.

    Truly deals with her uncertainty by writing bad songs, reading odd old books and communing with an unseen voice in the night.

    "DOC" MILLER, an old-school late-night jazz radio announcer, a world-weary storyteller who connects with this person from his own little room.

    THE SOUNDTRACK: Played on piano from the moment the show start, a combination of structured music and improvisation. The rhythms run from very complicated and percussive to simple and pure. The characters are differentiated by the soundtrack; pushing, innocent, at times chaotic for Truly, varied forms of jazz for Doc. These lines merge as we progress.

    "THE VOICE": Sung live, a bumper for the scene changed, wordless bridges between rooms, buffering the beginning and end of the “radio” parts.

    full play video

    the 2018 production

    • "When my mother turned 40" monologue
    • DOc's Story


    • With music and drama, playwright Joseph Hayes debuts 'Destination Moon'

      In “Destination Moon,” teenage Truly gets the shock of her young life. Hospitalized for most of her 16 years with a fatal illness, she is suddenly given dramatic news: She is going to live.

      “Destination Moon” is the latest play from Orlando writer Joseph Reed Hayes. It runs Saturday and Sunday, July 14-15, at the Timucua Arts “White House” performance space. While having a death sentence overturned sounds like good news — it would be unsettling if illness is all a person has ever known and longevity has never been in the cards. “She has been told in no uncertain terms she won’t survive,” Hayes says. “She’s never prepared for a normal life.”

      As with many of Hayes’s works, music plays a strong part in the storytelling. John C. O’Leary III of Tampa band La Lucha has written an underscore for many scenes and vocalist Lauren Carder Fox adds to the atmosphere — singing without using words. “This is a movie on stage in many ways,” Hayes says. As in film, the play’s music is designed to trigger an emotional response. O’Leary and Hayes had long discussions about the principal characters before the composer developed musical themes for them. O’Leary tried to capture the complexity of young Truly, asking himself, “How can I write something that shows her emotional pain but also the hope and potential she has?” Truly’s counterpart in the show is “Doc” Miller, a late-night radio DJ for a jazz station. Although on the surface they would seem to be quite different, “there are commonalities in these two people,” Hayes says. “They spend a lot of time alone in little rooms.”

      Emilie Scheetz and Chan Sterling play the unlikely pair. Scheetz recently lit up the stage in Mad Cow as college-age Alison in Mad Cow Theatre’s “Fun Home.” Sterling does a lot of hosting and emceeing work. Both have found connections with their characters. Scheetz is headed off to New York City in a few weeks to begin college at Manhattan School of Music. Like Truly, she is figuring out how to “enter the real world independently,” she says. Sterling relates to Doc’s obsession with jazz trivia. He’s not a jazz buff himself — “I’m more a ‘60s singer-songwriter kind of guy,” he says — but has a passion for movie minutiae. “There’s a lot of junk in here” — he points to his head, laughing — “that no one cares about, but I care about.”

      Hayes says theatergoers will forge connections with these two souls over the course of the 75-minute play. “The idea is to make the audience think about people other than themselves, to make them feel like they’re overhearing a private conversation,” he says of his play that defies neat pigeonholing. “It’s a comic, dramatic, nonmusical musical,” Hayes says of “Destination Moon.” “It’s the way people are. It’s real life.”


    freelance writer

    As a writer on assignment, I've traveled to Italy, Scotland, England, New Orleans, California and New York City, with a specialty on all things Orlando. Whether it's a story about Arts & Crafts houses in Florida or new styles in computers, a Mounted Police squad or alien abduction insurance, I've written it. Environmental issues, music, movie and theater reviews and in-depth conversations with legends in jazz. Interviews and personality profiles are my specialty.


    My plays take place on buses and in bars, in hotel rooms and government offices, farmhouse kitchens and jazz stages. 58 productions and readings of my plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001.
    "Best local playwright: Joseph Hayes" - Orlando Sentinel

    food writer

    Florida Magazine Association Award winning food writer and Orlando restaurant critic. James Beard Foundation judge, knowledgable champion of world cuisine and avid advocate of undiscovered chefs. I can write about the front of the house of a restaurant as well as the kitchen with equal expertise. Founding member, goFLA/SunshinePlate Central Florida.

    jazz producer

    Producer of the Jazz On Edge series, spotlighting new and original jazz from Central Florida since 2008, showcasing the best that Central Florida has to offer in jazz to appreciative audiences, giving creative hometown and nationally-known musicians a place to perform their own music, without boundaries, in person and online. Founder Word Play series, former Chair of Alternative Programming, Timucua Arts Foundation.