Alexa Derman

A queer true crime podcast host sets out to investigate an infamous 90s cult murder-suicide - but finds herself inescapably overtaken by its charismatic lesbian leader.
Project Status:seeking production
Project Description:

Mara Larkin has always been drawn to the Clea Walker case. You remember it, don’t you? Back in 1992, that lesbian cult that burned themselves alive at their leader, Clea Walker's, command. It's been immortalized in the years since: in horror flicks, in Lifetime movies, in riot grrrl anthems. I heard Ryan Murphy's considering it for the next season of American Crime Story.
But who is the real Clea Walker, and what’s the true story of this tragedy, the one burning beneath decades of distortion? That's what Mara is going to find out on her new investigative podcast, POSSESSION. Aided by her archivist friends (... and ex-girlfriend, but Becca's the best audio engineer she knows), she is going to get past the bullshit. But when a mysterious messageboard post leads the group to a never-before-heard audio casette appearing to capture the night of the suicides, Mara may find herself pulled under Clea's spell.
True crime is a genre of contradiction: underneath its veneer of objectivity is something lurid and illicit and bright blood red. Bringing together true crime and found-footage horror with a distinctly queer twist, POSSESSION asks: what does it mean to stare into the eyes of evil, and why is it oh-so delicious to do so?


Alexa Derman is a queer playwright, screenwriter, and digital artist from Jersey whose work explores genre, obsession, and the uncanny. Her plays include THE CREATURE (Susan Smith Blackburn nominee), PSYCHOPSYCHOTIC (Relentless Award Honorable Mention), GIRLISH (Fresh Ink Theatre), RESTORATION MASTER RESET (Cutting Ball in WAYS TO LEAVE A BODY), and I’LL BE IN MY HANUKKAH PALACE (Ars Nova ANT Fest). Her work has been developed with Cutting Ball Variety Pack, Orchard Project, and Fresh Ground Pepper. Alexa is currently commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club via the Sloan foundation and a 2022-2023 Core Apprentice at the Playwrights Center. BA from Yale in Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies; MFA-in-progress in Writing for Performance at Brown. alexaderman.com

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