Leigh (Skinner) Fortson
B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1980
Leigh Skinner Fortson writes plays (to keep her soul happy), books (to keep her wallet happy), teaches parenting classes (to keep her kids happy), and cooks (to keep her husband happy). Not necessarily in that order. She lives in Grand Junction, Colorado with her husband, their 4-year old son, and their 2-year old daughter.
In the fall of 1998, she was the Playwright in Residence at The St. Paul's School for Boys and Girls in Baltimore, Maryland. Her most acclaimed short play, "My Secretary," was a finalist for the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in 1997.
Fiction, Non-Fiction, Journalism
Leigh Fortson's plays have received productions, staged readings or honorable mentions at:
The Riant Theatre, New York
The Mojo Ensemble American Theatre, Los Angeles
The Carpet Company Theatre, Los Angeles
St. Paul's Schools, Baltimore
Los Angeles City Playhouse, Los Angeles
Hudson Theatre, Los Angeles
City Theatre, Miami
Malibu Theatre by the Sea
Robidoux Resident Theatre, St. Joseph, Missouri
Theatre Geo, Los Angeles
Shakespeare Theatre, Cedar City Utah
North Hollywood Play Festival, North Hollywood
The Complex Theatre, Los Angeles
West Coast Ensemble Theatre, Los Angeles
She's also written:
The Arthritis Cure Fitness Solution by Brenda Adderly (Affinity Communications Corporation, 1999)
The Complete Guide to Nutritional Supplements by Brenda Adderly (NewStar Press, 1998)
She wrote one or more chapters for:
Women: Everything You Need to Know How Proven and Natural Therapies Can Help You, by Jesse Hanley, Mari Florence, Burton Goldberg and Kerry Hughes, Future Medicine Publishing, 1998
The Enterprising Woman by Mari Florence, Warner Books, 1997
The Definitive Guide to Alternative Medicine, Future Medicine Publishing, revised edition, in press
The Soho Desk Reference: A Practical A to Z Guide for the Entrepreneur, HarperCollins, 1997
Her articles have appeared nationally in Elan, New Directions for Women, and Black Issues in Higher Education as well as in Los Angeles publications - The Village View and Jazz Times- and Colorado publications - Business Times, Joyful Times and Western Colorado Parent.
From "My Secretary"
(Finalist for the Kennedy Center / American College Theatre Festival 1997.)
SCENE: A psychologist's office. Seated across from each other are Dr. Evelyn Meyers, attractive, casually dressed, relaxed, attentive and taking copious notes; and Joan Krosski, bedraggled, fatigued, not attractive, wearing a business suit, high heels, half-baked make up. Both are in their early 30s.
DR. MEYERS. I should say, Joan, you're lucky one of my patients canceled. It's quite rare to get in on the same day you call. Especially for patients I've never seen before.
JOAN. Thank you, Dr. Meyers. But this is an emergency.
DR. MEYERS. Well, then. Let's get started. What can I do for you?
JOAN. [hesitates] I'm just going to have to say it.
[Dr. Meyers nods.]
My life is being taken from me. I know who is responsible. And I have to do something quickly or I'll lose everything. Including my life.
DR. MEYERS. And who do you think is responsible?
JOAN. My secretary.
DR. MEYERS. What is it that you do, Joan?
JOAN. I'm a vice president for the First National Bank. It's my secretary. I've got to stop her. Which is why I need your help. I have to get away with it because if I don't, she'll take everything.
DR. MEYERS. [shifting positions] Get away with what?
JOAN. She's already taken so much. I have so little left.
DR. MEYERS. What exactly do you think she's taking from you?
JOAN. Let's get one thing straight. I don't think she's taking from me. I know she is. You see, her life is perfect. And every time it gets more perfect, I'm robbed.
DR. MEYERS. Give me an . . .
JOAN. [excited] I'll give you an example. Yesterday, she showed me a picture of a house she and her husband, who, by the way, is very handsome, fit, you know, fit, beautifully fit. Loves his job. Loves her. Sends her flowers for no reason at all, takes her to good, really good restaurants at least three times a week, calls her twice a day just to say hi — can you imagine? Anyway, he inherited this house — which I guess means his family has money which could mean that they'll be getting some and who knows, she might quit which would make it harder to knock her - stop her - shit - well, we'll see. So, this house, it's in the Ozarks or the Appalachians, or somewhere back there.
Oh, but first I should tell you. My husband and I live in Woodland Hills and in the back yard, there are these two ...
[Joan suddenly slows down, thinking carefully as she tries to describe her feelings.]
These two exquisite old oak trees. I mean, they're 200 years old, this twin set of trees, having lived side by side all those years. Magnificent. We see them looking out our bedroom window. You've just never seen anything so beautiful. And Dr. Meyers, we love those trees. You know? We take care of them. A few weeks ago, as we do every year, we had some tree expert come out and check them, you know, to make sure they were healthy. And he said they were. Nothing wrong. No bugs, no diseases. He even thanked us for calling him to check on those trees because even to a tree man, they really are beautiful. And he said everything was fine.
Well then. Yesterday, my secretary shows me these pictures of the house they inherited. And all over the property, there's acres, through every window you look out, you see these 2 — 300 year old oak trees. Everywhere.
DR. MEYERS. So, she has more trees than you.
Well, yes, but that's not — I went home last night and well, I woke up this morning, and looked out the window and [fighting tears] and one of my trees had fallen. It just fell. Died and fell over. And that's when I realized — this has happened before. It's going to happen again. It's going to keep happening until she's gone.
DR. MEYERS. What do you mean by "gone?"
JOAN. Killed! I mean she has to be killed!
DR. MEYERS. [seriously] I'm not in the business of ...
JOAN. You've got hear me out. A terrible thing is happening. It's happened before. It won't stop, I know it won't!
DR. MEYERS. What's happened before?
JOAN. Do you know she makes only $10,000 less than me? I'm a fucking VP and she's a secretary and she makes only $10,000 less. That's because she was the marketing genius but the marketing budget got slashed. They didn't want to get rid of her. Oh no. Not her. Everyone loves her. She's so happy and pretty and smart and cooperative and funny. She makes people laugh. They laugh and laugh and laugh. So they kept her salary the same and told her to assist me. Just temporarily until things pick up. [laughs] Temporary is right.
DR. MEYERS. What about your husband. Does he ever send you flowers?
JOAN. My husband gets all the flowers. He has cancer. He's in and out of the hospital. Gets flowers all the time. Give them? No.
DR. MEYERS. What kind of cancer?
JOAN. Prostate. [laughs] Bet Glenn is the youngest man in the whole world to have lost his ability to have sex without having gone to war.
DR. MEYERS. How is your relationship holding up against all that?
JOAN. Oh, fine.
DR. MEYERS. I see. Is he working, or is he unable to?
JOAN. He works every now and then. But he's pretty weak. Listen, I didn't come here to talk about Glenn. We're fine, okay? It's my secretary. She's the problem. She's the one I need to — It became so clear to me this morning when I saw that downed tree. I have to — someone has to kill her or she'll ruin me.