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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DESIRE AND THE FEMALE PLAYWRIGHT

Or, laying claim to wanting it all.

While I was at a meeting of a playwrights’ workshop in Berkeley last week, my husband was at home watching the movie “A Late Quartet” (2012).  I came in on a scene of a daughter confronting her mother.  The daughter, an aspiring and talented musician, berates the mother, an accomplished musician, for having always been on tour when she was growing up.  Her father was also on tour with the same string quartet but—unsurprisingly in a Hollywood movie—the daughter does not blame the father for parental negligence.  When the mother protests that she and her husband did their best to balance work and family, the daughter retorts bitterly that in her mother’s situation, she would have had an abortion.  Her message to her mother seems to be: You should not have wanted to have it all.  Fine, be an artist but don’t desire to be a parent too.

On the subject of having it all, I recommend an article by family history professor Stephanie Coontz, published in the Sunday NY Times to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” (“Why Gender Equality Stalled,” February 17, 2013). Coontz cites research showing that a large majority of young women and men want to share financial and family responsibilities equally.  But “our political and economic institutions lag way behind our personal ideals.”  So, what happens when we want it all but cannot have it all? According to Coontz: “When you can’t change what’s bothering you, one typical response is to convince yourself that it doesn’t actually bother you.”  In other words, faced with the impediments to gender equality, women adjust their desires.

Which brings me to the subject of the female playwright.  If women form the habit of censoring their desires in their personal lives, will the habit spill over into their writing? Plays are driven by the wants and ambitions of their protagonists. Without desire confronting obstacle, there is no conflict.  Without conflict, no drama. In a much-forwarded blog post http://bittergertrude.com/2013/01/22/, Melissa Hillman, Artistic Director of Impact Theatre in Berkeley, complains that female (but not male) playwrights too often create insufficiently active central characters. She posits that “as women, we’re  taught to be reactive” and suggests that this is bad for our writing.  She urges women playwrights to “claim their own stories.”  I agree.  We should.  And we can’t do that without claiming our own desires and ambitions too.  So as playwrights, as theatre artists, as women, let’s celebrate the anniversary of “The Feminine Mystique” by laying claim to wanting it all. And then let’s move on to getting it all: equality in our lives and on the boards.