Phylicia’s Friendship Bench

Phylicia’s Friendship Bench

Phylicia’s Friendship Bench

Mildred Inez Lewis

On a Zimbabwe vacation, Phylicia Clark discovers the Friendship Bench project. Aunties provide counseling on park benches. After being widowed, Phylicia travels the U.S. with her own Bench.
Project Status:The project is seeking production. The pilot episode was developed during the Lab. It has since had two more readings. A pitch deck and season outline are available.
Project Description:

Phylicia Clark and her husband Mitchell decide to buy a second, retirement home in Zimbabwe. As African Americans, they love the warm, welcoming culture. Phylicia, a social worker, is taken with the Friendship Bench, a real-life project in which trained “aunties” provide free counseling from park benches. She’s introduced to the Project by Dr. Sue Mpofo, a Project advisor.

When Clark unexpectedly dies on the flight home, Phylicia's completely thrown. Still vibrant and sexy, she returns to work, but nothing’s the same. Her daughters pressure her to become their day care provider. As a widow, she’s no longer welcome in her old social circles. Phylicia has no idea comes next.

After an encounter on a local park bench with a wounded soul, Phylicia decides to start her own friendship bench. She retires and with Dr. Mpofo as her mentor, gets out there. Phylicia’s found her second act. She'll work out her own issues by helping others. Along the way, she meets Americans from every walk of life with laughter, tears, and anger.

It’s In Treatment meets Sorry for Your Loss.


"MILDRED INEZ LEWIS writes and directs for theater, film, podcasts and the digital space. A Dramatists Guild member, she writes with Central Works, PlayGround-LA, and Towne Street Theatre. She is an associate artist with the Rogue Artists Ensemble.
Current commissions include JUKED, an adaptation of ELECTRA for A Different Myth (Asheville, NC), FANTASMAS CROSSINGS for the Lucille Lortel, and SMITH’S REVENGE for Ohlone College. In 2021, the Harlem9, Lucille Lortel and National Black Theatre commissioned GHOSTS OF BLACKNESS.
Fiction podcasts include $10 AND A TAMBOURINE, nominated for a 2021 Ambie Award as part of the Zip Code series. MEETS FROG, LOVES PRINCE was produced by the Feminist Fairytales series.
Current productions include LOUISIANA SHOAL for the 2023 Fade to Black Festival.
Honors include the 2022 Samuel French Off-Off Broadway festival (finalist), 2021 L.B. Williams Award from New Circle Theatre (NYC) and Humanitas’ PLAY LA (2018).
Publications include THE GIFT and /KOM’PLISIT/ with Broadway Play Publishing. WE JUMP BROOM appears in Smith & Krauss’ 2023 10-Minute play anthology. "

A Little Extra

How has your process changed over time?

My process has become simpler and more intuitive. I still research and outline, but I also allow myself to be inspired by images and music that aren’t directly tied to a project. My work is richer for it. I’ve made unexpected connections and found surprising opportunities for humor and poetry.

During the pandemic, I was alone in my condo. I began using a vision board to make up for the stimulation I used to get from in person meetings. That process drastically improved my sense of structure. These changes have allowed me to trust myself more as an arist. My process is the freest it’s ever been.

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