Suppose you are a Fury …

Suppose you are a Fury: You’ve dedicated your immortal life to the ancient, honorable principle of a slit throat for a slit throat. Now the gods want you to take pity on a mother-killer …  Come to the World Premiere of of my full-length comedy Just Deserts and decide what you would do under the circumstances.

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

Just Deserts retells the Greek myth of the first-ever trial by jury from the point of view of the avenging Furies.  As editor Lily Janiak says in the July/August issue of Theatre Bay Area Magazine: “Lashof ingeniously channels what many treasure about Greek tragedy–its pitting of evenly matched foes in debates that dig deeper and deeper as combatants seem to be going in circles–while also skewering its misogyny.”

Here are the basics:

Where, When & Who
Those Women Productions
presents
JUST DESERTS
by Carol S Lashof
directed by Elizabeth Vega

Performances at the Metal Shop Theater, 2425 Stuart St. Berkeley, CA 94705 (entrance on Regent St., one block east of Telegraph Avenue)

Friday, Aug. 29, 8pm (Preview)
Saturday, Aug. 30, 8pm (Opening)
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2pm;  Friday, Sept. 5, 8pm; Saturday, Sept. 6, 8pm; Sunday, Sept. 7, 2pm

Suggested donation: $30 (Preview-$20). Reservations at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/736340

Featuring: Sofia Ahmad* (ALECTO); Rebecca Castelli* (MEGAERA); Louise Chegwidden* (TISIPHONE); and Davern Wright (ORESTES).
Wing Mistress: Juliette Capra; Fight Choreographer: Megan Messinger; Stage Manager: Bert van Aalsburg*

*Member Actors’ Equity Association-an Equity approved project

Those Women practice Radical Hospitality: Everyone is welcome, regardless of ability to pay.

FAQ’s:

  • Is that a misspelling in the title of your play? No. It’s “deserts” as in what is deserved, not “desserts” as in what you should eat first because life is short. (However, this kind of “desert” is pronounced the same way as the kind you should eat first.)
  • I don’t know much about mythology … Will I need to look up a bunch of stuff on wikipedia to understand your play? No!  No previous knowledge of Greek mythology or classical literature is needed to be thoroughly entertained by this funny and thought-provoking story.
  • What’s a “Wing Mistress”? She’s the person who is designing the bat-style wings for our awesomely fearsome Furies. Because they are scary women.
  • I’m a struggling artist: when you say “suggested” donation, do you mean it? We do!
  • I’m a starving student: do you really mean it? Yes, we really do!
  • How can you afford to let people come to your show without paying? We can afford to practice radical hospitality because of the generosity of our donors-past, present, and future. If you are already one of them, THANK YOU!
  • I’d like to help you keep making great theatre. How can I become a donor too? Thanks for asking! When you reserve your seats for the show at , you may designate any amount as the “price” of the ticket–the entire donation comes directly to Those Women Productions to sustain our work. If you are interested in becoming a member of our Producer’s Circle, email us at ThoseWomenProductions[at]gmail.com and we’ll tell you more. You may also contribute via cash or check (payable to “Those Women Productions”) at the door.
  • What’s The Metal Shop Theater? It is a 90-seat theater in the Elmwood neighborhood of Berkeley and the home of The Willard Middle School Metal Shop Players. Those Women have access to this comfortable, professionally-equipped theater thanks to the extraordinary kindness of Willard Drama teacher George Rose and the Willard community.
  • Who are Those Women? We are Berkeley-based playwright Carol S Lashof and Oakland-based director Elizabeth Vega. On International Women’s Day 2014, we created Those Women Productions to give the stage to hidden truths of gender and power and to the unheard voices of women. Just Deserts is our inaugural production.

Thanks! See you at The Metal Shop.

And in the meantime, join the conversation about justice, revenge, and blood in the bath water at: https://www.facebook.com/JustDesertsByThoseWomen

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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?

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 …