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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, with all the tension, humor, affection and near-demented discord that arises when family is in close proximity for more than ten minutes.

"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

"I love these women. I've worked to make Jez, Sue and Rita honest and believable, and to allow you, the audience, to listen in on their very human and sometimes quite mad conversations. Under the humor, within the confines of the bus, are emotional subjects: loss and solitude, family connections, mothers and daughters, the fearsome realities of growing older, and, always, redemption." - Joseph Reed Hayes


  • ‘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. 

    "A play by Joseph Reed Hayes is a welcome oasis of cultured smarts." — Orlando Weekly

    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."

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.

A full-time freelance writer since 1996, I've written for national and international publications about food, travel and the arts, and am currently the Dining Critic for Orlando Magazine. With 32 productions and readings of my plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001, and producer of the Jazz On Edge series since 2008, I advocate the cause of local, sustainable art.

food writer

  • Florida Magazine Association Award winning food writer and Orlando restaurant critic, currently for Orlando Magazine. 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.


  • My plays take place on buses and in bars, in hotel rooms and government offices, farmhouse kitchens and jazz stages. 32 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

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. Board member, Timucua Arts Foundation.