Plays by Jemma Kennedy

The Prince and the Pauper

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Jemma Kennedy’s stage adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel The Prince and the Pauper is a dynamic and fast-paced narrative of confused identities. Set in Tudor London, the poverty-stricken Tom Canty has a chance meeting with the young heir to the throne, Prince Edward; by pure coincidence, they find they look almost identical.

The Prince and the Pauper tells the story of what happens when one person is mistaken for the other and what happens to them in the long-term: Tom Canty is forced into the world of the court and power, while Edward is cast down into a world of poverty and thieves, from which he must fight his way back to the court.

This adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper was first produced in 2012 at the Unicorn Theatre, UK, a theatre for young audiences aged 2–21.

Second Person Narrative

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jemma Kennedy’s play Second Person Narrative is a play about selfhood and the decisions we make – or have imposed upon us – in constructing a life. It was commissioned by Tonic Theatre in partnership with Nick Hern Books as part of Platform, an initiative comprising a series of big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by school, college and youth-theatre groups, with the aim of addressing gender imbalance and inequality in theatre.

Second Person Narrative was published on 11 June 2015, along with two other plays inaugurating the Platform series: The Light Burns Blue by Silva Semerciyan and This Changes Everything by Joel Horwood.

The protagonist of Second Person Narrative is YOU. The play begins as YOU is thrust into the world as a baby and proceeds to show episodes through her life until, finally, YOU goes through a quick official check on what her life has involved and is then set off to do it all again being reassured that ‘It’s bound to be different this time round though some of it might seem familiar…’ Although the play tracks through an entire life, every scene is set in the present day, and YOU can be played by one actor or several. The play addresses issues including media hype, consumerism and child/parent relationships.

In an introduction to the published text, Kennedy writes: 'The playwright, who spends her days trying to craft well-behaved dramatic narratives with orderly triggers, twists, crises and moral resolutions, hears the hope and anxiety in your conflicted visions of Your Own Unique Narrative™. ... She would like to write a reassuring play in which your potential is fully realised and you live happily ever after. But her play won’t behave. The writer throws her toys out of her pram and writes a series of scenes that do not make up either an a) depressingly tragic, or b) relentlessly positive narrative. YOU are in all of them. She hopes you accept the gesture as one of solidarity.'

Jemma Kennedy is a playwright, novelist and screenwriter with extensive teaching experience at City Lit, the Arvon Foundation and various universities. She was Pearson Playwright at the National Theatre in 2010/11 and became part of the inaugural Soho 6 writing scheme with the Soho Theatre Company in 2012. She has two screenplays in development and her novel Skywalking was published by Penguin / Viking in 2002. Jemma has recently been involved as a writing mentor and judge for the National Theatre's inaugural New Views National Playwriting Competition for young writers. Her play Don't Feed The Animals has been commissioned for the National Theatre Connections 2013 and The Grand Irrationality will be produced at the Lost Theater, Los Angeles in early 2013.