THE STORY: Language and metaphor play a large part in bringing to life the darkly comic story of ETTA JENKS, a cautionary tale of a young woman’s journey to Hollywood. Etta arrives in Tinseltown like millions before her with the dream of becoming a star, but when her dream fails to materialize she takes a job working for Ben, a friendly pornographer. Ben assures her that many famous actors and actresses began their careers in skinflicks, plus you can make a lot of money. Etta needs money, but her boyfriend, Burt, warns her that doing things for money is never a good idea. Etta discounts his advice and finds that she likes the work. She’s good at it. Because of this Etta does indeed become a star in the persona of Lana, but when she decides the time is right to pursue her legitimate career she’s given a reality check by Spencer who assures her that doing porn will have ruined her chances of serious film work. Spencer, also a porn-movie producer, has been having trouble with his recruiting agent, James. James keeps losing the women, and so Spencer offers the job to Etta. Early on Etta befriends an amateur metaphysician named Sheri who works along with her as an extra.
Sheri is obsessed with the notion of being able to disappear, transforming matter into energy at will. This notion is ultimately her salvation when by all appearances she is lured to Mexico by James to work for Ben in a snuff film. Etta hears of Sheri’s disappearance and exacts her revenge on Ben, her first employer and the murderer not only of Sheri but of Etta’s dreams. Afterwards, Etta realizes that she has to get out. She is packing her office when a beautiful young psychotic, Shelly, comes to Etta for work as a dominatrix. She tells Etta that Sheri sent her and that Sheri is alive and well and teaching a class on out-of-body experience down in Mexico. The moment at the end of the play where reality and fantasy blur is pivotal for Etta, for in it we realize that following our dreams is just as valid a journey as settling for what we think is possible. More than a morality tale where salvation lurks at the edge of a dark resolution, ETTA JENKS, with a generous dose of humor and irony, provides a “how to” guide for ruining your life and in the process provides answers to life’s most important question.