New play ‘Red Jasper’ shines light on cancer patients and survivors


The inspiration for the new room “Red Jasper” has very personal roots for its director, Michael Madden.

His sister is a breast cancer survivor and her experience led him to interview dozens of other survivors.

“I ended up interviewing over 40 breast cancer survivors and asked most of them the same questions, and kept hearing similar answers that were said with great emotion. , even though these things happened maybe months or even years ago, and I realized how many times people just don’t know what to do or say around people with cancer. They’re well-meaning people, they don’t always know what to do,” Madden said.

He compiled a long list of real experiences from the cancer survivors he interviewed and incorporated them into “Red Jasper”.

The play is a love story between Isadora, a cancer survivor whose breast cancer recurs, and Tom, a man she meets while receiving her cancer treatments. The play shows the audience how to adapt to life with cancer and also how to love later in life.

“Red Jasper” also affects people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Almost everyone you know today has had some connection to Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, and you know, people don’t talk about it.”

Michael Madden

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter, spoke with playwright Michael Madden about the process of creating his play and its world premiere at Community Lamplighters Theater at The Mesa. The conversation aired Monday in the noon edition.

“Red Jasper” opens Friday, May 27 and runs every weekend through Sunday, June 19 at Lamplighters Community Theater in La Mesa. Tickets can be purchased online at Lamplighters Community Theater website.

The production is promoted by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation of San Diego. There will be a fundraising evening for the foundation on Saturday, June 11, with a portion of ticket proceeds going to the foundation.


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