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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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.

Ready to start a revolution?

Reservations now available: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/736340

Escape our shallow, unjust reality and sink your teeth into …

JUST DESERTS 

by Carol S Lashof

directed by Elizabeth Vega

a project of THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS

Watch this space for an announcement of our cast, coming very soon.*

*An Equity Approved Project

Reservations now available for JUST DESERTS playing August 29-September 7 at the Metal Shop Theater in Berkeley, 2425 Stuart Street (at Willard Middle School, enter on Regent St).

Only six performances in Berkeley, so click on over to Brown Paper Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/736340 to reserve your seats.  The first ten people to reserve  for each performance will be guaranteed VIP seating.

Over the last week or so, director Elizabeth Vega and I have been immersed in auditions, callbacks, and very challenging casting decisions–challenging because there are so many remarkable actors in our community, many more than we can work with on our current project.  We were sincerely humbled by the talent in the room.

I hope to see you at the theater.  In the meantime, join the conversation about justice, empathy, revenge, and blood in the bathwater at:

https://www.facebook.com/JustDesertsByThoseWomen

 

THOSE WOMEN produce JUST DESERTS

THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS  of Berkeley, California presents Just Deserts by Carol S. Lashof, directed by Elizabeth L. Vega, opening on Friday, August 29  2014 (preview) and running through  Sunday, September 7 2014 at The Metal Shop Theater at 2425 Stuart Street in Berkeley (entrance on Regent).  Performances at 8 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 PM on Sundays.  Additional performances at St. Mary’s College of California on September 8 & 9 at 5 & 8 PM. 

This production is an Equity-approved project.

PLAYWRIGHT’S NOTES:  Why this story?  Why now?

In Just Deserts, I am seeking to remake the foundation myth of the western justice system. My play retells the ancient story of cultural transformation from the point of view of The Furies—immortal beings dedicated to the age-old principle of a slit throat for a slit throat.  In the climax to the traditional myth, the young Orestes, son of King Agamemnon and his wife Clytemnestra, stands accused of blood murder. His action is only the latest in a series of revenge killings–Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon to avenge his killing of their daughter Iphigenia, and now Orestes has killed his mother to avenge his father’s death.   Athena decides that the cycle of vengeance should end.  So she stages the first-ever trial-by-jury to determine Orestes’ guilt or innocence.  The god Apollo defends Orestes on the grounds that the father is a child’s only true parent, the mother merely a vessel. The jury of twelve is split, but Athena, the goddess of justice, casts the tie-breaking ballot in favor of innocence, explaining that because she was born fully armed from Zeus’ brow, she owes no allegiance to mothers.  Although the Furies resist the verdict at first, Athena bribes and bullies them into compliance, and they finally accept a new role as “The Eumenides,” benevolent guardians of hearth and home.

Since I first encountered the Oresteia (when teaching a required course on the “Great Books” to freshmen at Saint Mary’s College of California), I have been disturbed by how this myth denies the agency and relevance of the mother.  I continue to be disturbed by our culture’s denial of mothers as moral agents–even as full persons–while elevating maternity in the abstract to a mythological status. I am writing Just Deserts to discover an alternative vision of how a culture could transform from a retributive to a compassionate justice system. What might a system look like based on radical empathy?

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

 

 

Auditions for JUST DESERTS, June 29-30

A call from THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS to Bay Area actors:

 

Auditions upcoming June 29-30 for the premiere of

JUST DESERTS

a new play by Carol S. Lashof

directed by Elizabeth L. Vega

The Furies are dedicated to the principle of a slit throat for a slit throat … until empathy gets in the way.

 

The details:

Roles available: 1M (18-30); 2F. All races & ethnicities encouraged. AEA & non AEA. Prep sides.

Performance dates: 8/29 (Preview), 8/30, 8/31, 9/5, 9/6, 9/7, 9/8, 9/9

Performance location  The Metal Shop Theater, Berkeley (8/29-9/7) and LeFevre Theater, Moraga (9/8-9/9)

Rehearsal dates  8/3-8/28 (All rehearsals in Central Berkeley, near BART)

Audition dates and times: June 29, 1-5 pm and June 30, 7-9 pm

Audition location:  The Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oakland

Pay: $1225 (AEA) $875 (non-AEA) full run.

For further information or to request an audition appointment (send headshot and resume), email Elizabeth Vega ElizabethLVega@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

November. Not my favorite month. Until now.

If you have come to this page looking for information or rights to perform Persephone Underground, The Minotaur, Options, or Clay–please visit  http://youthplays.com/

If you are looking for information or rights to Medusa’s Tale, Gap, Just Deserts, or any of my other plays, please email me directly: <clashof@gmail.com>

When I was growing up in Chicago, the lengthening darkness at this time of year brought to mind Emily Dickinson’s:

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

I was warned to be home by dark.  I can’t recall when the danger of sexual assault was specifically named, but the fear of rape hemmed me in throughout my adolescence, and my fear heightened as the days shortened.  So I did not like November.  But this November promises to be my favorite month of the year, because productions of my work are busting out all over:

  • In San Francisco, as part of the SF Olympians Festival Nov. 13, 8 pm at the Exit Theater:The Girl with Sparkling Eyes and A Goddess in her Grief (short plays about love in a time of human trafficking)  https://www.facebook.com/events/688412094520116/
  • In Washington, DC, presented by Tasty Monster Productions November 19, 7 pm at The Corner Store Arts Center: Just Deserts (full-length comedy about getting what you deserve, or not)  https://www.facebook.com/events/298054237003964/
  • At the University of Arizona and the University of Guam, student productions of Medusa’s Tale (one-act play about the rape and transformation of Medusa)
  • In Bisbee, Arizona as part of the Bisbee Community Chorus’ production “A Miner’s Life”: We Live in Mud, a song with words by Carol Lashof & music by James McCarthy, from 17 Days by James McCarthy http://www.jamesmccarthy.co.uk/17-days.html

Perhaps it is no coincidence that fear of darkness and monsters feature prominently in these pieces.  One is set in hell, another in a collapsed mine … Happy Halloween.

Sonnet inspired by the Copiapó mine accident, August 5, 2010
by Carol S. Lashof, December 2010

We live in mud, we breathe hot dirt, we cry
like babies when we think no one can hear
us crying.  We say we’re not afraid to die.
Aloud I say that help will come, but fear,
like dust, comes in with every breath, and I—
I am so afraid of losing you, my dear.
I never should have left the calm and bright
soft warmth of you.  What am I doing here,
so far from you and living without light,
two thousand feet below the earth, so near
to hell, so far from you.  Will you be all right?
We live in mud, we breathe hot dirt, we fear
to starve in the dark, far from the ones we love,
trapped here below while life goes on above.