Colony Collapse

Available in Library

Narrated by the ghost of a missing 15 year-old girl, and woven together by a chorus of parents of lost and missing children, Colony Collapse explores the cost one family is willing to pay for a second chance at living.

Set against the contemporary plagues of meth addiction, missing children and a failing ecology, Colony Collapse is part Greek tragedy and part modern American Drama, playing particular homage to the dark, earthy dramas of Eugene O'Neill, such as Desire Under the Elms, Beyond The Horizon, and Long Day's Journey Into Night - whose charged familial relationships are gripped by longing and missed connections.

In a last ditch effort to get their lives on track, ex-junkies Mark and Julia have taken over the day-to-day operations of an apple and nut orchard in rural Oregon. With almost no farming experience, the couple quickly realize they are in over their heads, but forge ahead believing that if they can produce a viable crop, a new beginning is possible.

The couple's efforts are thwarted when the search for a missing 15 year-old girl leads police to their property at the same time that Mark's estranged son, Jason, mysteriously shows up in the middle of the night. Mark and Julia and Jason struggle to mend old rifts, but suspicions get the better of them as police and neighbors begin asking questions. Jason takes reconciling with his stepmother one step too far, Mark makes a foolish financial gamble trying to save their investment and Julia's one white lie brings down their dreams for a new and better life.

The play's title takes its name from the mysterious disease that has now caused the disappearance, death and devastation of over ten million North American bee hives since 2006.

Paula Christiansen & Riley Neldam Photo: Ed Krieger
Full Company, Theatre @ Boston Court, photo: Ed Krieger
Riley Neldam as Jason   Photo: Ed Krieger
Colony Collapse, Theatre@ Boston Court, photo: Ed Krieger
Emily Ruth James as THE GIRL,  photo: Ed Krieger
Cast Requirements

6W, 4M

Set Description

Flexible set with an indoor and outdoor setting.


LA TIMES Critics Choice, Ovation recommended.

The Kilroys List of Outstanding new plays by women, 2015

Shakespeare's Sister Fellowship, Finalist, 2014

Commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival, through Full Stage USA, a commissioning and partnership program through New Dramatists, funded by The Melon Foundation.


The widespread devastation of honeybees, as dutiful workers abandon their hives and leave their dependents to implode, is a key metaphor in the new play “Colony Collapse.”

"That sort of symbolism can quickly turn heavy, but playwright Stefanie Zadravec keeps it buoyant as she tells a tale of lost souls."
"Highly imaginative...complex storytelling."
"In what would typically be a bucolic place, mystery deepens, foreboding builds. Yet the story is luminescent as well. This cautionary tale about a wounded America never quite gives up hope." Daryl Miller, LA TIMES

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"The complex and brutal dynamics of this highly dysfunctional yet entirely relatable family unfold beautifully. The realism of the main characters’ strife finds a lovely counterpoint in the theatricality of a Greek chorus of sorts — a collection of mourning parents who support the main story, along with the poetic insight delivered by an omniscient missing young lady, referred to only as “the girl”.
On an academic level, the show is elegant and satisfying. Zadravec has thoughtfully woven together Greek tragedy, modern family drama, and a meditation on family and the importance of the individual. The play feels almost like a mash-up of Oedipus, Netflix’s Making A Murderer, and a Sam Shepard play.”

Stunning COLONY COLLAPSE Makes for a Completely Engrossing Honey of a Production: The world premiere of playwright Stefanie Zadravec’s entrancing COLONY COLLAPSE receives an engenius audience- immersive staging as the 50th mainstage production of The Theatre @ Boston Court. Jessica Kubzansky firm-handedly directs her cast of ten stellar acting talents in the hold-your-breath interlinking stories of the surviving parents of children gone missing…. Colony Collapse - Just Wow

"Engrossing though it is, “Colony Collapse” is not easy watching on any level. The sense of loss which permeates the play is quite palpable, and very intense. Yet, though it concentrates on a family which cannot help but destruct, the periphery balances this with a strong sense of, if not redemption, at least the possibility of moving forward. In a world where these kinds of intimate losses happen virtually every day, perhaps that is what one must cling to, if only to avoid the collapse of one’s own colony."

Production and Development History

World Premiere Production, The Theatre @ Boston Court, directed by Jessica Kubzansky with support from The Edgerton Foundation and The Mellon Foundation, February 2016

Development workshops at New Dramatists, 2013-2014
directed by Ed Iskander, Davis McCallum, Lindsay Firman,
and May Adrales

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Black Swan Lab - Lue Douthit August 2013.