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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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.

 

 

 

 

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

 

Something strange happens to Georgia in the middle of Monday morning: “The Metamorphosis,” a monologue

THE METAMORPHOSIS

a monologue

by Carol S. Lashof

(GEORGIA appears to be an ordinary fourteen or fifteen-year-old girl.  She is sitting on a chair, talking to someone standing in front of her.  She often looks away from her listener, down at her hands and her body. She is wearing jeans and a loose-fitting jacket with long sleeves that she pulls down over her hands.)

GEORGIA

            Hi, how are you?

Me?  I’m not sure.  I feel okay now—but something weird happened to me in school today. Like nothing that’s ever happened to me before …

I don’t know if you can help me.  Um.

(Pause. Fidgets. Then in a rush.)

But maybe I should explain first about the book we’ve been reading in English—it’s this weird story about a guy who turns into some kind of a gross bug thing.  Like a cockroach?  Or, or, a dung beetle.  Which is a bug that eats shi—I mean, crap. But you probably knew that already, huh?  I mean, even if you don’t learn about insects in vet school—or do you?

But, still, you’re probably, like, an expert on all kinds of animals, right?  Not only regular dogs and cats, but other weird creatures.

Oh.  Oh, no.  I’m not here about a pet tarantula or whatever.  And I know I didn’t have an appointment, and I haven’t seen you since last summer—when my cat got cancer and you had to put him to sleep.  And you were so nice.  And probably this is your lunch hour or something, so … what I mean is, thank you.  For making time for me.

Anyway.  I was saying.  We’ve been reading this story about this guy Gregor who turns into a bug.  And the bug he turns into is huge and ugly and definitely not something you’d want crawling around your bedroom.

Well, I wouldn’t, anyway.

Then.  This morning. The teacher pairs everybody up with a partner to make lists of questions to talk about in class discussion.  And I’m hella pumped because I’m paired with this guy Robert who I’ve liked forever.

Now, Robert is something you would want crawling around your bedroom.

Well, if you were a teenage girl, you would.

So I’m trying to sound smart to impress Robert but not like stuck up or anything?  You know what I mean?  And I say, “In the story, when Gregor’s father throws an apple at him—do you think it’s significant that it’s an apple?”  I’m thinking, you know, about the garden of Eden and everything.  And Robert, he for sure sees what I’m getting at because he says, “If you offered me an apple, I would totally bite it.”

And I’m thinking, yeah!  He likes me!  And I’m also thinking, I bet he thinks that’s a pretty smart question.  Because he’s a good student too, like me.  And then he says, “You know what I think?” And I say “What?”

And he says, “I think tight sweaters were invented for girls like you.”

(Pause.)

And that kinda stops my train of thought about the insect-guy right there.  Like, dead in its tracks.  I mean, I want to be thinking about good discussion questions—because that’s the kind of student I am. Usually. The kind teachers count on to do the work, even when everybody else is goofing off.  Do you know what I mean?

But what I’m actually thinking is about how good I look in that sweater, and how it’s soft like cats’ fur, so it kinda makes people wanna touch me when I’m wearing it—Hey, is it true that cats are so silky because they eat raw meat? I read that somewhere.

Really?  It is. That’s so gross.  I’m not sure I wanted to know that.

And I was totally not sure I wanted Robert to know I knew how hot I looked in the sweater I was wearing. And I definitely didn’t want him to think I was wearing it because of him, even though, yeah, I guess I was.

And so I’m chasing these thoughts around and around in my head like a cat chasing a mouse, and—

Meowwrr!

(GEORGIA covers her mouth.)

I’m sorry!

(GEORGIA’S voice is taking on a feline quality in spite of her efforts to speak like a person.)

Ummmm.  Errrr.  Anyhowwlll— Anyhow.  I’m trrrying to think of what’s the rrright thing to say to Rrrroberrt.  Robert.  When ssssuddenly he ssstarrrts sstaring at me really hard.  Sstrraight at the middle of my face.  I think CRAP!  I must have some humongous zit on my nose or something.  The way he’s looking at me.  Horrified.         Meowr!

(GEORGIA makes a terrific effort to control her voice.)

So I reach up automatically to cover my face, to hide what I think must be the grossest, ugliest, hugest zit ever, and I feel … whiskers.  Long stiff cat whiskers.  And I’m thinking—what if this isn’t going to stop with whiskers?  What if I’m turrrning into a for rrrreeall cat, with furrr and claws and a tail and everrrrrything, rright in the middle of the classrrrroom—meow—in the middle of Monday—meow—morning?

(Regaining control)

And I couldn’t stay in the classroom turning into a cat, could I? So I grabbed my jacket off the back of my chair and pulled it on and ran out of the room.

And then I stood in the hallway, just breathing for a minute, and pretty soon, I started to feel a little bit better, a little bit more like myself, you know?  But still pretty weird.  So I thought about going to see the school nurse, but I didn’t think she’d know how to deal, you know?  And then I thought of you.

So can you help me?

Help me … be me, I guess.

END OF MONOLOGUE