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Joe Barnes’ first play, Happy Hour, premiered in April of 2006 as part of the Edward Albee New Playwrights Series. He has studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson and Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow at the University of Houston. Barnes has had a number of plays produced in Houston, including The Black Dog, Second Chances, The Tragedy of the Tragedy of King Lear, The Shifflet Project, and The Workshop. The Good Son, a full-length play, has been read as part of Wordsymth’s Theatre’s new play series. Three of Barnes’ plays – Summer Friends, Acts of Faith, and Remembering Rory – have been read at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska. Barnes is also a poet, with work appearing in two anthologies of Texas poets – Weight of Addition and TimeSlice – as well as a number of literary magazines.

Monsters is a pitch-black comedy.  Part send-up of horror conventions, part meditation on what it means to be human, Monsters centers on the wealthy Somerville family.  Daughter Jennifer has brought her fiance’, Paul, to meet her mother, who suffers from a rare debilitating disease.  Mrs.  Somerville is attended by her melancholic German nurse, Klaus.  Nothing is quite as it seems in the Somerville’s country house.  Jennifer’s motive in bringing Paul becomes unclear.  Paul’s love for Jennifer is suspect.  Klaus may be more than the eccentric drunk he seems to be.  Presiding over them all is the mysterious figure of Mrs.  Somerville herself.  When Paul – and we – finally meet her, all  becomes terrifyingly clear.