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.

 

 

 

 

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A Theater Connection Born on the Sidelines of the Soccer Field …

… brings the Minotaur to Berkeley.

To the Princess Ariadne of Crete, The Minotaur is a beloved brother whom she has promised to protect. But how will she keep her promise when Theseus comes to slay him? Can she save the monster and the hero from each other?

WHAT: The Berkeley School stages: 

The Minotaur, a play by Carol S. Lashof

directed by Norman Johnson

 WHEN: Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21 at 7 pm

WHERE: Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

The details: The Minotaur is a production of the middle school drama program at The Berkeley School.  Ticket availability for the general public is limited.  Contact the school office for more information: (510) 665-8800.   The play is ideally suited for audiences 8 and up; there is nothing in it to offend younger children but be warned that it is a tragedy.

The soccer mom connection: Director Norman Johnson and I met when our daughters were playing soccer together on a club team in Berkeley.  Through years of screaming ourselves hoarse on the sidelines (Go, Mavericks!), we also found time to chat about our mutual love for theater, literature, teaching, and writing. And I began pushing scripts to him. I am thrilled that Norman is now directing this play with his students.

Reaching further back in the annals of parenting as networking:  The Minotaur was originally written for and performed by the Young People’s Theatre of Ann Arbor, Michigan in a production directed by Kate Mendeloff.  Having worked with me in the context of adult professional theater, Kate invited me to write something that she could direct for the youth ensemble at YPT.  Collaborations followed on Persephone Underground and then The Minotaur.  But before we worked together as theater artists, we hung out with our babies together in the neighborhood—introduced by mutual friends on the grounds that we both had newborn daughters.

 Persephone Underground and The Minotaur are published and licensed by YouthPLAYS  <www.youthplays.com>

Thank you to the daughters, who are now all wonderful young adults: Erica, Midori, Elisabeth, and Nora.

[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, Disclosure or any of my other plays, please email me directly: <clashof@gmail.com>]

November. Not my favorite month. Until now.

If you have come to this page looking for information or rights to perform Medusa’s Tale, Persephone Underground, The Minotaur, Options, And tomorrow and tomorrow … or Clay–please visit  https://www.youthplays.com/

If you are looking for information or rights to 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.

Summer events: from felines to Furies

From felines to Furies, from the flatlands of Berkeley to the heights of Mount Olympus and the Adirondacks,  I’ve got a lot going on this summer theatrically speaking.  It’s all fun and affordable, so come out and enjoy!  I’ll try to be brief.  Follow the links for more information.  Thanks!
  • What I’m writing now:  two short plays for the fourth annual San Francisco Olympians Festival, collectively titled “Who’s Your Daddy?” or “When Briseis Met Chryseis.”  Twenty-nine other Bay Area playwrights are also in the process of writing their plays for this year’s festival on the theme of the Trojan War, and we are in the midst of waging a fundraising campaign to pay the rent on the theatre and a modest (well, tiny) stipend to the 100+ artists involved.  It’s a really, really good cause and we have less than two weeks to meet our goal, so please contribute what you can: $1, $5, $50 … it all helps. Thank you! Donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/san-francisco-olympians-festival-iv-trojan-requiem [The festival itself will take place in San Francisco November 6-23.  Don’t worry, I’ll remind you.]
  • The cats are back!  If you missed Women in Solodarity: Cat Ladies in April because EVERY SHOW WAS SOLD OUT, now is your (last) chance to enjoy this hilarious evening of monologues and solo performances on the theme of … yes, Cat Ladies. My contribution to the evening is a monologue called “The Metamorphosis” about a strange thing that happens to a teenage girl in the middle of her English class one Monday morning.  Two encore performances on June 10 & 11 in Central Berkeley.    Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/390190
  • I will be participating in a 36-Hour Play Festival at the Live Oak Theatre in North Berkeley on Monday, June 24 to raise money for a women’s Safe House in San Francisco.  I can’t tell you what I’ll be writing about because I don’t know yet.  Here’s how it works:  on Sunday morning, the playwrights, six of us, meet our actors and director and are assigned a topic; we have until Sunday at 9 pm to write a 10-minute play; the plays are rehearsed on Monday during the day, and then on Monday night, they are performed.  It’s kind of like reality TV–but better. Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/389206
  • My newest full-length play, Just Deserts, a comedy about getting what you deserve–or not, runs from July 11 to September 1 at Forever Wild Theatre in upstate New York.  Performances will take place Thursdays-Sundays at Lake George Battlefield Park in the Adirondack mountains. Information (and pretty pictures of the mountains) here: http://foreverwildtheatre.org/
To summarize:
 
NOW until June 7: You can do it from anywhere: Support the San Francisco Olympians Festival IV: Trojan Requiem indiegogo campaign:
June 10-11, Berkeley: Women in Solodarity: Cat Ladies:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/390190

June 24, Berkeley: UWAC’s “Empowering Women,” a 36-Hour Play Festival (benefit for San Francisco Safe House)
July 11-September 1, Lake George, New York, Just Deserts at Forever Wild Theatre Collective

 

When a young man walks into hell seeking help to kill his mother, the order of the universe hangs in the balance.

Symmetry Theatre Company in Berkeley presents a stage reading of Just Deserts by Carol S. Lashof directed by Chloe Bronzan on Sunday, April 21 at 7 pm in the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant St. Berkeley CA. http://www.symmetrytheatre.com/

featuring: Louise Chegwidden,* Louel Senores, Megan Kilian Uttam,* and Valerie Weak*

 * Member AEA.  Equity approved project.

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–he has killed his mother to avenge his father’s death–and 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 of the mother.  I continue to be disturbed by our culture’s denial of mothers as moral agents even while we elevate 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.  As I imagine it, the turning point comes when Orestes seeks the help of The Furies to kill his mother …

A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG CAREERIST

Lately, I’ve been preoccupied with questions of work/life balance and particularly with the shape of women’s careers. For serious reflections on this topic, see my previous post: https://carolslashof.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/confessions-of-an-intermittently-emerging-playwright/
For a comic treatment of the challenges facing an emerging artist, read the ten-minute play posted below. GAIL & PETER puts a contemporary, gender-bending spin on the Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion who falls in love with his statue, Galatea. (This myth was the inspiration for Shaw’s play Pygmalion, which, in turn, was the source of My Fair Lady.)
GAIL & PETER premiered at TAPAS 2012 at Pegasus Theater in Rio Nido, California.

GAIL & PETER

GAIL’s studio. A winter afternoon. Grey light. GAIL is putting the finishing touches on her sculpture of a handsome tennis player. He stands on a pedestal in the middle of a drop cloth, positioned as if to make a serve. Next to the sculpture is a stepladder. GAIL kneels at the statue’s feet, gently sanding his ankles and legs while talking on a cell phone. Gradually, she works her way up his body, polishing, gently brushing away stone dust, climbing up on the step ladder when it becomes necessary. She is wearing an artist’s smock over sweater and jeans.

GAIL

Ohmygawd, he’s so beautiful. And he’s mine! Okay, not mine exactly. Strictly speaking, he belongs to the Beaumont Pool and Tennis Club. … Yeah, today—the movers are coming at four. … Do you know how many months I’ve been living on ramen, trying to finish this commission on time? And I haven’t even been on a date in—I don’t know—so long I can’t remember how long… But it’s all gonna be worth it—the offers are gonna start rolling in now, as soon as they see this guy… Hey, whaddaya think I should call him? …

(Sarcastic)

Yeah, right, Rumpelstiltskin is sooo romantic. … No, nix on Pinocchio too. I’m serious. He needs a name, a for real name. Something befitting his incomparable beauty and all the fame and glory he is going to bring me.

(By now, GAIL is standing on the step ladder, working on the statue’s left shoulder and arm.)

How about Peter? What do you think of “Peter”? You know, like Pierre, stone. … Well, to me it’s beautiful. Stone is beautiful. Especially when I’m carving it.

(She gazes at him lovingly.)

Hey, Peter. I love you, Peter.

(GAIL touches the fingers of PETER’s left hand very gently with the fingers of her right. The gesture suggests God touching the hand of Adam. PETER shudders; GAIL draws back, nearly falling off the ladder.)

Uh. I’ll call you back.

(GAIL steps down from the ladder. PETER steps down from the pedestal. Tentatively, GAIL reaches out to take PETER’s hands. He grasps her hands firmly in his and pulls her to him. He kisses her hard and long. After an extended embrace, they separate. GAIL takes a couple of steps backwards.)

GAIL (CONT’D)

Uh. Wow.

PETER

(More a statement of self-realization than an introduction.)

I’m Peter.

GAIL

Yes. Um. Hello. I’m Gail.

PETER

Hello.

GAIL

How… ?

PETER

You said my name. Peter. You touched me.

GAIL

Yeah, but…?

PETER

Before that, there was nothing. Only darkness and silence.

GAIL

And I… I brought you out of the darkness?

PETER

Yes.

GAIL

Wow.

Pause. They look at each other. He kisses her again.

GAIL (CONT’D)

No one has ever kissed me like that before—like I was the only thing in the world that mattered to them. Do you know what I mean?

(PETER shakes his head.)

With every other guy I’ve been with, it was like he had something else on his mind. Not me. Sex with me, maybe. But not simply me.

(Pause. Hastily.)

Not that I’ve been with so many guys—it’s not like I’m, well, you know… No, you don’t know, do you? You didn’t exist up until now.

PETER

Up until now, there was nothing. And then…

GAIL

And then…?

PETER

And then there was now. There was you.

(Pause.)

There is you.

GAIL

Never in the world has there ever been anyone like you, Peter.

PETER

I like it when you say my name.

GAIL

Peter. Peter. Peter.

They stand still, holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes. A sudden wind blows open the door of the studio, startling them; they separate. PETER shivers and rubs his bare arms. GAIL hastens to the door and looks out. Seeing nothing, she closes it and returns to PETER.

GAIL

Oh, dear. You must be freezing.

(GAIL feels the thin material of Peter’s t-shirt and shorts.)

GAIL (CONT’D)

You need something warmer. I didn’t think to… Well, of course, I didn’t know that you… I mean, it’s always warm at the Pool and Tennis Club…

(GAIL wraps her arms around PETER, trying to warm him up. They huddle together, briefly, then suddenly, struck by a realization, she pulls away.)

Oh, dear, the Beaumont Pool and Tennis Club… What the hell are we going to do?

Pause. GAIL looks at PETER. He shrugs.

PETER

We could kiss some more?

GAIL

No, I mean… I mean, yes we could do that, kiss, that would be nice, but I meant, about the Beaumont Pool and Tennis Club? What am I going to do?

(PETER looks at GAIL without comprehension. He shrugs, moves to kiss her. She pulls back.)

Oh, you don’t understand, do you? How could you? Um, see… How can I explain this? You don’t belong to me… I wish you belonged to me.

PETER

I belong to me? To Peter?

GAIL

No. You belong to the Pool and Tennis Club. They commissioned you. Uh, I signed a contract. I made a commitment, a promise… The art movers are coming this afternoon. Soon. To pick you up.

PETER

And you?

GAIL

No. Not me. Only you.

PETER

I don’t want to go anywhere without you.

GAIL

Oh, Peter… I don’t want you to go anywhere either. But what can I do? They paid a fee, an advance… It’s a legal contract. I have to deliver a statue to the Pool and Tennis Club. And if I don’t deliver a statue, then I don’t get paid, and if I don’t get paid, then I can’t pay my rent, my horribly, horribly overdue rent, and I can’t buy

GAIL (CONT’D)

groceries, and… oh, I’d have to pay back the advance too… I’d be worse than broke, Peter. I’d be out on the street.

(PETER stares at GAIL with utter incomprehension. She points out the window.)

Out there. In the cold.

He walks to the window and looks out. She joins him.

PETER

What’s out there?

GAIL

The city. Buildings. Streets, cars, people.

PETER

I could go out there.

GAIL

You don’t want to go out there.

PETER

It looks noisy out there. And bright.

GAIL

You like noise?

PETER

And light. Yes.

GAIL

It will be dark soon. The temperature is supposed to drop below zero tonight.

(Pause. PETER looks at GAIL.)

Fahrenheit.

(Pause. PETER continues to look at GAIL.)

That means it will be cold. Very cold.

PETER

Cold is not good.

GAIL

No. Cold is not good. Warm is good. A warm place to live, and to work. Those are good.

PETER

The Pool and Tennis Club is warm. You said.

GAIL

Absolutely! You would be nice and warm and cozy there.

PETER

You too? You could be nice and warm there too. And cozy!

GAIL

Well. No. I couldn’t. Actually. Because I don’t belong to the Pool and Tennis Club. I could visit you, I guess, but I couldn’t stay there with you.

PETER

Will you be cold?

GAIL

Not if I pay my rent and the heating bill. And if you go to the Pool and Tennis Club, like you’re supposed to, then I’ll be able to pay my rent. And the utilities.

Pause. PETER considers.

PETER

Okay.

PETER sits down cross-legged on the floor. He looks comfortable and content, prepared to wait for the movers to arrive.

GAIL

You’ll go with the movers when they come?

PETER

Sure.

(Pause.)

Can we kiss?

GAIL

Now?

PETER

(Nodding yes.)

And later? When you visit me.

GAIL

Later, um… later, I don’t know. See, the Pool and Tennis Club didn’t commission a person to come and stand in their atrium. They commissioned a statue. That’s what they’re expecting. It’s what they bought.

PETER

But I’m not a statue. Not any more.

GAIL

Yeah, and that’s a problem. A way huge problem.

PETER

Why?

GAIL

Because, if I don’t deliver on this commission, I am totally screwed.

(Pause. Pleading.)

There must be some way to undo—whatever I did. Some way to turn you back into a statue again.

PETER

I don’t want to be a statue again. I like being Peter.

GAIL

I like you being Peter too, but…You wouldn’t really know the difference, would you?

PETER

I don’t like it. The darkness. The silence. No kisses.

GAIL

Oh, Peter. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry. But I don’t know what else to do. It’s not just the money. I mean, I’d probably figure something out… I could move in with friends, I guess, or… my parents, if worse came to worst. But I’d be finished as an artist.

(She is silent for a moment as she contemplates the truth of this statement.)

No one would ever give me another commission. No one would ever take me seriously as an artist again. Do you know how much I’ve sacrificed to get this far?

PETER

I won’t go back!

GAIL

But, Peter… Listen… I owe a statue to the Pool and Tennis Club.

PETER

Give them another statue. Not me.

GAIL

I don’t have another statue to give them.

PETER

I’m Peter. I belong to Peter.

GAIL

And you think that’s enough? You think you can live by simply being Peter?

(Pause. PETER shrugs.)

You don’t have a social security card or a green card or an address or a phone. Or a government-issued photo id, for chrissake. You don’t have a bank account, an ATM card, a credit card … I know these things don’t mean anything to you right now, but believe me, you can’t live without them. Not here. You don’t even have a last name!

PETER

I’ll figure something out.

GAIL approaches PETER coaxingly, holding her hand out. For every step she takes towards him, he takes two steps back.

GAIL

Like what? You don’t have parents to move back in with, or friends.

(Pause.)

Only me.

(Pause.)

Peter. Listen to me, you’ve got to try to be a statue again.

(Pause. By now, PETER has backed himself up to the door. He stands leaning against it.)

Maybe if you step back up on the pedestal and think quiet thoughts, maybe that would work. We could try it… Please…

(GAIL takes PETER by the hand to lead him back to the pedestal. He pulls away from her and runs out the door, slamming it behind him.)

Peter!

(Pause.)

Hell.

(GAIL stands in the middle of the room, looking around her, at a loss. After a few desperate moments, she sees the door open again. PETER enters. He is wet and cold.)

GAIL (CONT’D)

Oh, Peter, you poor thing!

(GAIL takes off her smock as she tentatively approaches PETER. She rubs him dry with her smock, cooing over him. He is shivering too hard to speak.)

You poor dear, it’s sleeting out there. It’s the worst weather ever invented. Half-rain. Half-snow. Come on, I’ll warm you up.

(GAIL takes off her sweater—she is wearing only an undershirt or camisole underneath and shivers a little herself. She does her inadequate best to wrap the sweater around PETER. Then, with an arm around his waist, she leads him back to the pedestal.)

In the atrium of the Beaumont Pool and Tennis Club, it’s always warm.

PETER

No sleeting?

GAIL

No sleeting. No wind blowing, no rain, no hail, no snow. I promise. And it’s bright, and noisy. Lots of people coming and going all day long. And they will all stop to admire you.

(PETER allows GAIL to guide him back up onto the pedestal. She climbs up on the step ladder in order to position him as he was at the opening of the play. Her sweater falls off his shoulders. She leans down to give him a brief kiss.)

Goodbye, Peter.

PETER freezes into position as a statue just as the doorbell rings. Presumably, it is the movers. GAIL glances at her watch, climbs down from the ladder, and walks to the door.

END OF PLAY