Three generations of women — the eccentric, hold-out-hippie grandmother, her conventional daughter, and the Goth granddaughter who is fed up with both of them — take a Sunday ride. A story about the tension, humor, affection and near-demented discord of families; the journey of mothers and daughters; in-jokes, embarrassment and eyeball rolling; but also the concerns and terrors of living under — and living with someone within — the shadow of encroaching dementia.

To twist a sentence of Tolstoy’s, all happy families are alike, but every unhappy family bickers, snaps and snarls in its own unique way. Considering local playwright/event producer/restaurant critic Joseph Reed Hayes’ facility with language, the three women at the heart of his new play, A Slow Ride, are sure to quarrel with style." — Orlando Weekly

"Sometimes, I'll sit down and, let's say, do a crossword puzzle. You know, think I'll do a crossword, perfectly normal. Then I'll get to a word I don’t know, I try to think of it, and it’s like all the barricades in my head come down, everything I've seen and done and said and thought, it all floods into my brain, all at once, I can't stop it and I can't grab hold of anything, the dam bursts, I don't know where I am or what I was doing or who I'm supposed to be. It makes me feel like. It makes me feel like. Like I've lost myself, like there's no time left, it's all over, my life is over. Then it goes away. The day ends, another day begins, the sun comes up, I'm sure I'm going to live forever. And I can't tell you how depressing that thought is."
The fourth premiere theatrical performance on the Timucua white house stage, A Slow Ride takes itself comedically but touches the audience in a very personal way. There are a multitude of heartfelt connections for the audience, so many people seeing their mothers or daughters and the struggles and joys they go through every day. Some of it is hard to see portrayed on a stage, but affirming at the same time.

"Top 6 events this weekend" ~ Orlando Sentinel, April 2019

full play video


  • Spotlight: Playwright Joseph Reed Hayes’ “A Slow Ride” Makes Timucua Arts Foundation Debut

    Joseph Reed Hayes’ play A Slow Ride examines the often complex relationships between mothers and daughters. Three generations of women take a weekly bus ride to the matriarch’s old home. At first glance, it may seem a somewhat familiar trio – hippie grandmother Jezebel (Katrina Tharin) who claims she kick-started Robert Plant’s career, high-strung mother Susan (Danielle Bouloy) who literally and metaphorically carries the family baggage, and goth teenage daughter Rita (Gabriela Torres) who has had enough of them both. But Hayes tells 90.7’s Nicole Darden Creston that there’s more to each character than meets the eye, and new depths are revealed within all three throughout the play’s journey.Hear the interview just after the four-minute mark in the Spotlight clip.

  • ‘A Slow Ride’ is a warmly comic trip

    The three women of "A Slow Ride," a new play by Joseph Reed Hayes, are taking a family road trip like no other. Each month, sassy senior Jezebel returns to the home she once shared with her husband, accompanied by her daughter Sue and granddaughter Rita. They don't go in the house — some other family lives there now. And they don't drive. The trio makes their way to Jez's old neighborhood on a public bus. It's a long ride, incorporating a stop at a terminal to switch drivers. A long, slow ride.

    The briskness of Hayes' comedy belies the title — it's certainly not slow going for an audience. And there's both poignancy and joy in the way he has cleverly captured the essence of a family's dynamics in this one ritual they share. Hayes has been working on a project titled "13 in 13" in which he's staging a baker's dozen of arts events during the calendar year. The events range from movie screenings to jazz concerts to original theater. He's entering the theater phase of the project now. Much of the comedy of "A Slow Ride" comes from the personality clashes between Jez, a vibrant ex-hippie with memory issues; Sue, a high-strung worrier; and Rita, a sulky goth. Are they based on real women Hayes has known? "Absolutely not … and every woman I've ever known and their relationships," says the Orlando playwright with a hearty laugh.

    Hayes has opted for a nontraditional staging. "A Slow Ride" will be presented at the Downtown Credo coffeeshop. The actors will perform at one end of the building, spilling out among the audience. In a sense, the audience will be "on the bus" with the cast. Hayes is no stranger to nontraditional staging: He has previously presented theatrical works in his own living room and broadcast the show live on the Internet. He'll do the same for "A Slow Ride." The performance on Sunday, July 21, will be streamed live at housetheaterproject.com.

    Two other plays are yet to come in the "13 in 13" series. September will see a revival of his show "Solos," which played the 2004 Orlando Fringe Festival. "Solos" is about a couple bound together by their devotion to making music. "It is about love, deception and the hardships and joys of the jazz existence," Hayes says. "Solos" will be staged at the Gallery at Avalon Island in downtown Orlando from Sept. 20-23. For the final performance, jazz combo La Lucha will accompany the actors. For December, Hayes is working on an original lighthearted Christmas show that will have a Dickensian twist: Set in 1850s London, someone is stealing the city's Christmas puddings, Hayes previews.

    But right now, Hayes is focused on launching "A Slow Ride." He hopes theatergoers — or those watching on their home computers — will find echoes of their own family relationships, male and female, in the show. "It's what I write about," he says. "It's real life."

  • Live Active Cultures

    Summer is usually time to take things slow, but not for multidisciplinary artist Joseph Hayes, Orlando’s self-described “artistic irritant that creates pearls.” His 13in13 Project set the “crazy” goal of producing an original work every four weeks in 2013, and last weekend he debuted the eighth, A Slow Ride, a single-act slice of life featuring three fractured females. Jezebel (Jac LeDoux) is an overly emotive ex-hippie grandma whose obsession with numerology and Woodstock-era reminiscences about Grace Slick and Allen Ginsberg may be signs of incipient Alzheimer’s. Also along for the ride are Sue (Wendy Starkand), Jezebel’s exhausted daughter, who feels like a pre-menopausal tarnished penny; and 17-year-old gloomy goth granddaughter Rita (Kate Lockwood), given to dropping pop-culture references (Nine Inch Nails, cyberpunk) that predate her birth. Hayes’ script steers more toward long, introspective monologues than dramatic action, but his dialogue – which the cast delivered with alacrity – is crisp and quick-witted. The too-soon ending made me wish for a longer journey with these women.

  • Archikulture Digest

    Why pay to sit through a show about a psycho family slugging it out on a bus ride to nowhere? Because unlike Thanksgiving dinner, you pay for the right to leave when it’s over. Riding the bus is a monthly outing for these three women: Grandma Jezebel (Jac LeDoux) is an ex-groupie with Ethel Merman insides a screaming to get out. Her daughter Sue (Wendy Starkand) might be the byproduct of an old Foghat tour, but her DNA lacks the fun gene even if she’s had a secret desire to sing opera all her life. Lastly there’s gothic Rita (Kate Lockwood), she’ so dark she thinks Anton Chekov is funny. The trio bitch and argue, debate the merits of sex, whether grandma is a due for the padded cell and generally terrorize the rest of the invisible riders. It’s a very funny ride, much funnier than the whacko rambling you get on regular public transport, and each of the three women seems born for the role. LeDoux did her best to steal the show; she was loud and raucous and told the audience to get their feet out of her way. Starkand went right from teenager to middle age without any of the fun years; her fervent dream is the ability to get out of a chair without making “That Noise.” Clearly she’s the peacemaker, if no more successful than Henry Kissinger was. Lockwood begins by annoying all of us with here prepackaged angst, but by the last scene she had softened into a whole person with actual feeling and vulnerabilities. There’s plenty of gags and some physical comedy, and even though the action flow behind the audience for some scenes it’s a funny and heartfelt slice of life. You’ll stick around to the end, and think how much nicer your family functions could be with some stage lighting and a good director.


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; creator of House Theater Project and the year-long 13in13 series of shows. "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.