What choices would you make to take back your power?

Those Women Productions presents

IN PLAIN SIGHTStories you never knew you never knew

What choices would you make to take back your power?

The legendary characters of In Plain Sight will risk almost anything.

Inspired by classic tales such as Medea, Cinderella, and the Iliad, five Bay Area playwrights explore beyond the margins of our favorite stories, revealing hidden truths of gender and power. By turns harrowing and hilarious, this anthology of short plays ranges in tone from whimsical comedy to Southern Gothic.

IN PLAIN SIGHT plays weekends through September 20

The Metal Shop Theater

2425 Stuart St, Berkeley (1 block east of Telegraph)

Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm.

Tickets available online via Brown Paper Tickets http://thosewomen.brownpapertickets.com/

& at the door beginning a half hour before show time.

Suggested donation: $0-$30

 

Those Women Productions practices Radical Hospitality.

We invite everyone to join our audience regardless of ability to pay.

The Plays

Mississippi Medea by Lee Brady

Pankhadi and the Prince by Patricia Reynoso

Palace Watch by Kat Meads

After the Prologue by Carol S. Lashof

When Briseis Met Chryseis by Carol S. Lashof

My Name Is Mother by Mimu Tsujimura

Directed by: Norman Johnson, Christine Keating, and Libby Vega

Ensemble cast includes: Alicia Bales, Ed Berkeley, Sharon Huff*, Alexandra Lee, Ria Meer, Louel Senores, and Suzanne Vito.
*Member, Actors Equity Association; IN PLAIN SIGHT is an Equity-approved project.

Please note that plays contain dark themes and disturbing imagery – not suited for children under 12.

IPS, postcard front

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Invite to a fight … PianoFight!

 A statue comes to life! It’s a miracle, for sure. But it’s also a major problem for Gail, an emerging artist on the verge of a breakthrough. She’s been commissioned to create a statue of a handsome young tennis player, not the real thing. If she fails to deliver, what will become of her career?
I’m thrilled to report: my short play Gail and Peter is part of PianoFight’s ShortLived comedy festival. The festival runs March 5th to April 18th at San Francisco’s “newest landmark entertainment venue” at 144 Taylor Street. Gail and Peter will mount the stage in Round 3, March 19-21, along with five other short comedies by fellow Bay Area theater artists. The complete line-up for Round Three is:
“Out of Tune” by Wylie Herman
“Tipsy Turtle Fourth Dimension” by Spencer Bainbridge
“The Chasm” by Earl T. Roske
“Gail and Peter” by Carol Lashof
“Baby Baby, Jesus” by Taste Better Wit
“J & J” by Handsome Daughter
Tickets for Round Three of ShortLived can be purchased here:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/shortlived-round-3-tickets-15752261438
 
 What’s ShortLived? Here’s a message from PianoFight about the event:

TO ALL AUDIENCE MEMBERS EVERYWHERE
Have you lost faith in theater? Are you tired of large donors deciding what’s good, what’s bad, and what gets made? Then welcome to ShortLived, the largest audience-judged theater competition in the nation. 30 playwrights will battle for your love, affection, attention and votes. Who stays? Who goes? Who gets $5,000 and a month long run produced free of charge at SF’s newest landmark entertainment venue? Only you can decide.

And what’s PianoFight? Below is their self-description. I went Thursday night for the first time to check it out, and I can vouch that it’s true:

PianoFight is a full service restaurant and bar with a cabaret stage and two intimate theaters. We present New Work by New Artists, most of which is local. Shows run the gamut from world premiere plays to inventive sketch comedy, choose-your-own-adventure plays to audience-judged theater competitions, improv to variety shows, dance, live podcasts, film screenings and more. Plus we usually have a live band playing on our cabaret stage before and after shows. The beer is cold, the food is delicious and it’s all affordable. PianoFight – no drink minimums, no ticket fees, no bullshit.

http://www.pianofight.com/

Tickets for ShortLived can be purchased here:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/shortlived-round-3-tickets-15752261438
Shows in Round 3 are March 19 and 20 at 8 pm, March 21 at 5 pm and 8 pm.  General admission is $20. Groups of 6 or more are only $12, so gather your friends and make it a party.  Hang out in the cabaret before the show, enjoy some great music and bar snacks, bring your drinks into the theater and have an amazing time.
Coming from the East Bay? I recommend taking BART. The theater is only two blocks from Powell Street Station.

Old Stories, New News

December 9, 2014

On ancient stories and current events:

This Friday, students at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas www.obu.edu will be performing my one-act play Medusa’s Tale. I’m thrilled of course. I’m thrilled anytime anybody anywhere performs any of my plays. And naturally I take it as a compliment to my skills as a playwright that since its 1991 publication in Plays in One Act, Medusa’s Tale has been performed all over the world. In 2014 it’s been produced at high schools in Oskaloosa, Indiana and Fountain, Colorado as well as at the San Diego Fringe Festival and the University of Tulsa. Previously, it has served as the subject for a senior thesis written by a Classics student at Monash University in Australia and has been performed by students in the English Drama Society at Peking University in Beijing (in English with Mandarin side titles). It has also been performed in London, Manhattan, San Francisco, Tokyo, Brussels, Guam, Fairbanks, Barstow, Kalamazoo … and so on. Mostly by high school and college students. It’s my most-produced play by far, and I doubt that its appeal comes entirely from the quality of my writing.

Medusa’s Tale is about rape. It’s about “justice” serving the needs of those in power. It’s about turning the victim into a scary thing so that instead of eliciting empathy, the monster can become fair game for the hero. In other words, it’s relevant to current events. But the story is a very old one. The plot comes straight from Ovid’s Metamorphosis: the god Poseidon rapes the girl Medusa in the goddess Athena’s temple. Athena gets angry. So she punishes Medusa by turning her into a monster with snakes for hair and the power to turn men to stone by looking at them. Later, with the help of Athena, a young man shows up to slay the monster, become a hero, and marry the princess. In my rendition of these events, Medusa tells her story to the hero Perseus. He is moved but kills her anyway, because he is as much doomed by circumstances to be a hero as she is to be a monster.

Evidently, young men and women from very many different cultures connect to the themes of this story. But suppose I had given the play a contemporary setting – let’s say a frat house at a large public university or the streets of a racially-segregated American city. Suppose I had written directly about date rape and slut-shaming. Or about police brutality and a racist legal system. Would that play be staged at a university whose most famous graduate is Mike Huckabee? Maybe. Probably not.

I’ve drawn on Greek mythology for the plots of several of my plays. My aim in donning classical clothing is not to sneak wolfish ideas past conservative sheep herders. Not exactly. It’s to avoid easy categorizations and judgments coming from any pre-established perspective. If you come to the theatre to see a play about a subject in the headlines, you will most likely arrive already knowing what you think. But if you come to see a play about Medusa, or the Furies, or Persephone, you may not anticipate your own reactions. You may unexpectedly find yourself in sympathy with the monster. Or maybe, to your even greater surprise, with the hero.

Introducing THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS

Director Elizabeth Vega and I have become a producing team: We are THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS, and we make theatre for people who like questions more than answers.

Our first production will be Just Deserts, a comedy about justice and revenge, opening August 29 at the Metal Shop Theatre in Berkeley.  Here’s a little more about us:

MISSION

Those Women make theatre for people who love great stories and want to explore big questions.  Our plays are rooted in the stories that have made us who we are—the myths, tales and legends of western culture.  We approach these tales from new angles, giving the stage to hidden truths of gender and power and to the unheard voices of women.  We practice radical hospitality—everybody is welcome regardless of their ability to pay.  We only ask that our audiences come to the theatre curious; we promise to leave them more curious still.

 

HISTORY

When we were as yet too young for other sorts of debauchery to hold much appeal, we fell in love with great stories.  Mostly these were stories by Dead White Guys.  Homer and Chaucer, Shakespeare and Sophocles, myths and folklore of every variety, we loved them all.  To this day, we are subject to their power—they make our heads spin and our pulses race.  But we also recognize that in these classic tales, the voices of women are often silenced and their lives relegated to the margins.  That’s a sobering fact.  And we’d rather stay giddy with the joy of tales worth telling.  So, on International Women’s Day 2014 we formed THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS to explore classic stories from new angles.

 

~ Carol S. Lashof & Elizabeth L. Vega

April 21, 2014