Mark Medoff’s daughter opens up about final production ‘Time and Chance’

The late Mark Medoffs final production is set to open Nov 8 at the Rio Grande Theatre. (Courtesy Photo by Mike Jones)

Mike Jones

The late Mark Medoff’s final production is set to open Nov 8 at the Rio Grande Theatre. (Courtesy Photo by Mike Jones)

By Jensen Stell, New Mexico State University

The late Mark Medoff’s final play,Time and Chance,will be performedfor the first timeat the Rio Grande Theatre this weekend.

Starring Medoff’s daughter, Jessica, and Oscar-nominated actress Kathleen Quinlan, the play is being co-produced by the Medoff family and The Rio Grande Theatre.

Time and Chanceis the story of an artist, an art curator, an anthropologist and an artistic prodigy. All women and a young girl, respectively.According to theRio Grande Theatre’s website, these four characters are united through “time, chance and the universe” to “accept their destiny, redefine family and rediscover hope.”

“[Time and Chance] is a story of the healing power of love and the role artistic expression plays in making the unbearable bearable,” thewebpage read.

A Tony Award winning playwright, Medoff began writing the script forTime and Chanceover ten years ago. Before his passing in April 2019,Jessica said herself, Medoff, wife Stephanie and close family friend Mary Steidl began helpinghimcomplete the draft of the script the cast will be working with in this production.

“I asked my father a year ago, as I saw his health rapidly declining, what projects he would like to complete…Time and Chance was one of them,” Jessica said.

Jessica worked closely with her father throughout her life, even as a child. While Medoff was the department head of New Mexico State University’s theatre arts department, she wouldoften starinthe child roles ofplays.

“I have acted with [Medoff] on both the stage and screen. In 2015, [NMSU’s Creative Media Institute] made a film,The Heart Outright, adapted from my father’s play of the same name. We acted in that together and it was such a joy to be on set as a team,” she said.

Jessica metKathleen Quinlanin the 1980s on the set ofClara’s Heart.The two grew closer last year on the set ofWalkingWithHerb,which was filmed in Las Cruces and written by Medoff, who adapted the script from the book of the same name written by Joe S. Bullock.

We acted as mother and daughter inWalking with Herb. That’s when we became buddies. She is a wonderfully generous human, so incredibly down to Earth and kind,” Jessica said. “InTime and Chance,we play lovers, so to go from mother [and] daughter to wife and wife is quite fun.”

Jessica added that producing and starring in her father’s last play is an “overwhelming and wonderful responsibility.”

“Some of my most memorable artistic experiences with [my father] however, were him as director. He directed me in numerous productions, and he was as good as any director with whom I have worked [with] in the dozens of projects in which I have performed. He had a generosity of spirit and commitment to the artistic team that to my mind is unrivaled,”Jessicasaid.

This story was originally published on NMSU Round Up on November 8, 2019.