When the Great Wind Comes by Jeni Gunn


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When the Great Wind Comes by Jeni Gunn

When the Great Wind Comes is a darkly funny drama that takes place in the underfunded Life Skills Program of a women’s correctional facility. When CO Benet refuses to adjust an incident report that reflects poorly on her supervisor Jones, things in her Life Skills program take a dangerous turn when Jones sends an unapproved inmate to join Benet and inmates Skip, Bunny and Janine.

When things unravel and with no help in sight, the group dynamic is put to the test as they discover just how far empathy can take them in a world that will not show compassion.

Keywords: social justice, IPV, jail, corrections, women

Genre: Drama, Dark Comedy
Acts: 1
Run time: 30 minutes
Content note: Contains occasional strong language, references to weapons, incidents of intimate partner violence/gender based violence, references to the effects of colonialism and suicide. There is one incident of stage combat.

Cast size: 5 actors
Female roles: 5
Casting notes:
CO (“Correctional Officer”) BENET- Between 40-55. Old enough to have lived a life. -Once posted to Units, her new post is a poorly funded and largely ignored prison Program that’s a hodgepodge of life-skills, art therapy and pro-social modelling. Values driven and leading with humor, she tends to take the correctional environment home with her.
CONTROL, or S.O. (“Supervising Officer”) JONES: Primarily a voice on the radio with a walk-on in Scene 2. CONTROL is the heart of the facility. Sitting in a booth far above the chaos of the units, JONES operates cameras, controls the opening and closing of doors and is responsible for dispatching support to alarms and emergencies when they arise. CONTROL is where officers wind up who can’t be on the Units due to injury or pending an investigation.
JANINE: Any age. BIPOC. Janine comes across as simple (not to be mistaken for dumb), but that could be a cover. She’s well liked but sometimes the target of manipulation from other inmates.
SKIP: 30’s-40’s. Skip is the friend you want on a night on the town when things fall apart, she’s got your back. Former armed forces, her perspective on authority reflects having been on both sides of that dynamic. She uses humor to cope.
BUNNY: 20s-30’s. Life dealt her a rough hand and she’s played the heck out of it. Guided by survival impulses, Bunny can be fixated on “fairness” as it applies to her world. A recovering addict, she’s seen it all.
MACY: Any age but childlike. She is ethereal, her movements interestingly dance-like in a semi catatonic way. She appears to be half in this world and half somewhere else. Official diagnosis would be some form of Schizophrenia.
STEP-INTO-THE-CIRCLE CROWD: 5+ walk-on roles- ALL genders representing varied genders, ages, races, social status etc. The “crowd” can also be pre-filmed, and executed with a projector. (This section was inspired by The Compassion Prison Project, specifically the documentary ‘Step Inside the Circle.’ “A short film that examines the pervasiveness of childhood trauma, one of the key factors behind incarceration.”)