The Critic and the Drama Queen

HAILEY: Sometimes not all plays are worth seeing. Sometimes it’s OK to not sit down and start that conversation. But I hate people, so there’s also that.

AIDAN: Well, I like people. I think they’re hilarious.

HAILEY: Well, you’re good with them. You have this way of—‘Hi, I’m Aidan. I’m an actress. I have lots to say in conversations. I like being the center of attention.’

AIDAN: Well, it’s better than, ‘I’m Hailey. I’m a critic. I would rather talk to myself than other people. I’m judging you.’

When they met in high school drama club, actress Aidan and writer Hailey seemed the least likely people to become friends. Now, years later, they’re roommates with a well-balanced friendship. But, one disagreement sets off a feud about artistic priorities and changing dreams.

THE CRITIC AND THE DRAMA QUEEN explores the tensions between critics and artists while chronicling the rise and fall of a friendship. It profiles two young women staring at their futures — one with optimism and the other with uncertainty. It follows two divergent personalities and how they can work together and work to destroy each other. It also experiments with using real-life relationships as stimuli and when to draw the line between reality and fiction.

Performed in November 2017 at The Southern Theater, for Based On / A True Story: Two New Plays, an evening of female-driven work in partnership with Raw Sugar Theater 


The salty you need before holiday sweets … both artists have an instinct for entertainment and a knack for taking themselves seriously without getting too heavy-handed about it.” — City Pages

“As someone who writes about theater, I found the discussion of theater criticism very interesting and relatable. There was a bit of meta pre- and post-show activity that really made you feel like you were spying on these women in their friendship. In the play, their disagreements tore the friendship apart, but the real life friendship seems to be very strong and productive.” — Cherry and Spoon

“The Critic and the Drama Queen is in some ways a spiritual follow-up to The Critic and the Concubine, a play that Cowell wrote while a sophomore at the University of Minnesota.” – Twin Cities Arts Reader

“I don’t know how a 20-something writes so well about the feelings of nostalgia and regret that come with a few more years of life experience.” — Cherry and Spoon


CBS Minnesota / WCCO’s Steele Talkin’ with Jearlyn Steele: Featured Nov. 12, 2017

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Photos by Dan Norman.

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