Secrets and faith collide after a tragic loss, 
intertwining those left behind in a fight for survival.

José - Male/questioning, Early 20s, Latinx

Sister Philomena - Female, 70s, Latinx

William - Male, Early 20s, white

Yvonne - Female, 50s, white



Pegasus PlayLab, University Of Central Florida, FL - 2024
Playwrights Foundation, CA - 2023

Keegan Theatre, D.C. - 2023

Fault Line Theatre, NYC - 2023

Epiphanies New Works Festival, TX - 2023

“The community of National Committee readers for the 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival advanced DESERT OCEANS as a Semi-Finalist at Playwrights Foundation. We were compelled by this story that explores the emotional landscape of forgiveness, grief, religious belief, spirituality, love, and the sacramentality of queer relationships. We appreciated that the writer intertwines the relational connection and juxtaposing values between characters well, as each scene built constructively upon one another to reveal layers of depth and complexity. We hope this play is considered for further development and investigation, and finds dedicated collaborators in this play’s journey towards production. #BAPF46”
(Playwrights Foundation)

“DESERT OCEANS explores culture, gender, sexuality, and faith, seamlessly blending the diverse elements into a beautifully poetic play. Rich, genuine, flawed characters, separated by generations and language, connect and confess in memorable scenes of sparkling wit and surprising revelations. With a story that is simple and lovely yet complex and relevant at the same time, Mabey has written an elegant and emotional journey for his characters and his audience.”
(Ken Preuss)

“A gentle, lyrical work that looks at queer identity and grieving in four sympathetic and disparate characters. Each has urgent needs, wants, and histories that impact the present. It feels very intentional that divergent opinions on funeral traditions, faith, honoring the dead, and grieving play potent roles throughout. John captures a poignant loneliness inherent in queerness without exploiting the trauma of their tenderly drawn characters. I'm eager to see this work on stages!”
(Nick Malakhow)

“We always fail the ones we love the most. And mostly because we love them in OUR way, not in the way they need. It doesn't diminish the love, though. The fact that there is love is special enough. This is a play about love, fear and fighting for the love we have. For a lover, for a child, even for God. This is a lovely poem of a play, open to so much potential in staging and performance. It will take your breath away. Sister Philomena is a powerful character. We should all be lucky to meet her.”
(Jacquelyn Floyd-Priskorn)

University Of Central Florida, Pegasus PlayLab, FL - 2024
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