Wanted: New Takes on Old Tales

THOSE WOMEN WANT YOUR PLAYS!

Call for short plays from Bay Area writers. Deadline: March 8, 2015

Those Women Productions seeks one-act plays from local San Francisco Bay Area writers for “In Plain Sight: Stories you never knew you never knew,” a collection of original short plays to be given a full professional production at the Metal Shop, an 80-seat theater in the Elmwood neighborhood in Berkeley. The show will open Labor Day weekend 2015 and will run for 7-9 performances. We are looking for scripts that fit our mission to bring hidden truths of gender and power to the stage. Plays should offer new takes on old tales, reimagining a story from world mythology and/or classic literature. We are particularly interested in scripts that bring marginalized characters and storylines to the center of the action. All plays must stand on their own and have the potential to appeal to a broad audience, including those not familiar with your source material.

• Length: 10 – 30 minutes
• Cast: no more than 5.
• Deadline for submissions: March 8, 2015
• Scripts may be produced or unproduced. If previously produced, include production history in the body of your email.
• Send us no more than two scripts.

To submit:
~ Email <ThoseWomenProductions@gmail.com> with a blind copy of your script(s) attached as Word or PDF documents. Author’s name should not appear anywhere on the script but each page of the script should include the title of your play. Number your pages please!
~Include the title(s) of your play(s), the author’s name and your full contact information in the body of your email, and please affirm that you are a San Francisco Bay Area resident and would be available to attend some rehearsals and one or more performances of your play if it is selected. Rehearsals will be scheduled evenings and weekends during August and early September in Berkeley and/or Oakland.
~Questions? Email: ThoseWomenProductions@gmail.com

Performance dates (tentative): September 4-20.
Selected scripts announced in mid-April. Stipend.

Directors for In Plain Sight will include Norman P. Johnson, Christine Keating, and TWP cofounder Elizabeth Vega. In addition to 2-4 scripts selected through this open call, the production will include two short plays by TWP cofounder Carol Lashof.

Visit our website for more information about Those Women Productions: http://www.thosewomenproductions.com/

Thank you for sharing your work with us!

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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

Sneak Preview of DISCLOSURE

Maya wants to disclose the truth, confront the past, and move on

Come to a reading of DISCLOSURE, a new full-length play by Carol S. Lashof on Monday, October 8, 7:30 PM at the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco.

For more information, visit http://playwrightscentersf.org
or contact the playwright at clashof(at)gmail(dot)com

Keep scrolling down to read the opening scene …

DISCLOSURE

SCENE 1

(Early afternoon.  ANNA is sitting alone at a café table with two empty chairs.  She is folding and twisting a letter in her hands.  MAYA approaches.  ANNA looks down at her hands.)

MAYA

Hi, Mom.

ANNA

Hello, Maya.

(MAYA sits down across from her mother.)

MAYA

How are you?

ANNA

How should I be?

MAYA

Good, I hope.  You should be good.

ANNA

How can I be “good” when you drop something like this on me?

(ANNA gestures with the letter in her hand.)

You want to tell me something to keep me awake at night, you could at least have called.  Why write me a letter?  Who writes letters anymore … ?

MAYA

Let’s not talk about this now.  It’s not a good time. Or place.

ANNA

You decide to write to me out of the blue about something that happened years and years ago, and then you tell me that now is not a good time to talk about it. Is that reasonable?

MAYA

It’s Adam’s birthday.  We’re celebrating.  He’ll be here any minute.

(Looking at the menu)

I’m going to have the Salad Nicoise.  How about you?  Have you decided what you want to order?

ANNA

You should have told me a long time ago about all of this with Uncle Robert.

MAYA

“All of this”?

ANNA

Thirty-five years ago … And you only get around to telling me now?

MAYA

I didn’t want to upset you.

ANNA

You didn’t want to upset me before, but now you do?

MAYA

Of course not.

ANNA

But why now? What am I supposed to do about it now?

MAYA

Who said you were supposed to do anything?

ANNA

You must want me to do something, or why tell me?

MAYA

It’s me who needs to do something, Mom.  Not you.  I need to deal with what happened. I need to confront it.

ANNA

This is your therapist talking, isn’t it?

MAYA

No, it’s me talking.  To you.

ANNA

But this is what he said you should do, isn’t it?  And you do what he tells you to do.  The infallible Dr. Jugular, who thinks that everything wrong in your life is my fault?  Your divorce.  Your cigarette smoking.

MAYA

His name is Jugar.

ANNA

When I started smoking, we didn’t understand the dangers.  But by the time you started … Anyway, I quit.  I wish you would quit.

MAYA

My cigarette smoking is not the point, Mom.

ANNA

I realize that.  But it worries me … lung cancer, I mean.

(Pause.)

MAYA

Suppose I had told you before?  About Uncle Robert.

ANNA

If you had told me when you were a child that my brother was hurting you?  I would have done anything necessary to protect you.  How can you doubt that for even a moment?

(Pause.)

MAYA

I did try to tell you.  Once.

ANNA

You did?  When?

MAYA

The summer when I was ten, when we were staying in that cabin in the foothills … do you remember?

ANNA

(Mystified)

I remember the cabin.

MAYA

I told you about Doctor Dolittle …

ANNA

Doctor Dolittle?

MAYA

About going to see the movie with Uncle Robert.  How scary it was.

ANNA

You were scared of Doctor Dolittle?

MAYA

Yes, I had nightmares.  Don’t you remember?

(ANNA shakes her head.)

Of course, you thought it was silly.  Who could possibly be frightened of Rex Harrison?

ANNA

Oh.  I remember one time you threw a temper tantrum when My Fair Lady was on TV.  But … but you never said …

MAYA

I didn’t know what words to use.

ANNA

So then how was I supposed to know …?

(MAYA looks at her watch.)

MAYA

That boy is always late.

ANNA

Did Dr. Jugar say how I was supposed to know?

MAYA

That’s not the point.

ANNA

Then what is the point?

(Pause.)

MAYA

I’m not going to Ilene’s wedding.

ANNA

What?

MAYA

Cousin Ilene’s wedding in December.  I’m not going.  Not if Uncle Robert is going to be there.

ANNA

It’s his granddaughter’s wedding.  I assume he’ll be there.  But lots of other people will be there too. You wouldn’t have to talk to him.

MAYA

I refuse to be in the same room with him.

ANNA

I already sent the RSVP to Bobby and Sharon. I said we’d be there, you and me and Adam …

MAYA

An RSVP is not an irrevocable contract.

ANNA

But what will we tell them about why you’re not coming?

MAYA

Why we are not coming.

ANNA

You mean you don’t want me to go either?

MAYA

Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.

ANNA

Ilene is my niece.

MAYA

Grand-niece.

ANNA

It’s a family gathering.  Everybody will be there.

MAYA

Mom, listen to me. I am asking you not to go.

ANNA

But, Maya …

MAYA

Please.

ANNA

Of course, if you feel that strongly about it …

MAYA

I do.

ANNA

All right.

MAYA

Thank you.

(Pause.)

ANNA

You know, Robert hasn’t had a drink in almost fifteen years.  He’s a different person now than he used to be.

MAYA

That doesn’t change what he did to me.

ANNA

I know.  And what he did was horrible. Truly horrible.  But it was a long time ago. And you must have been in same room with him dozens of times since then.

MAYA

For years I blocked it out of my mind.

ANNA

You mean, you forgot about it?

MAYA

No, not forgot.  Just tried very hard not to think about it.  And sometimes I succeeded.

ANNA

But not any more?

MAYA

Please tell me you won’t go to the wedding.

ANNA

I told you already.  I won’t go to the wedding.

(Pause)

But it doesn’t seem fair to Ilene.  It’s not her fault that her grandfather is … what he is. Was.

(Pause.)

MAYA

Would you call them?

ANNA

You want me to call Bobby and Sharon?

MAYA

Yes.

ANNA

What do you want me to tell them?

MAYA

The truth.

ANNA

You want me to tell Bobby that his father molested you when you were a child and therefore we’re not coming to his daughter’s wedding?

MAYA

I would really appreciate it if you would do that for me, yes.

(As ANNA is hesitating over her reply,  MAYA sees ADAM approaching, and her face lights up.)

MAYA

Here’s Adam!

(The following four lines are whispered.)

ANNA

Does he know?

MAYA

No.  Hush.

ANNA

Aren’t you going to tell him?

MAYA

Not today. Not on his birthday.

(MAYA stands up as ADAM reaches the table.  She hugs him warmly.  ADAM also hugs his grandmother.  Both women are obviously delighted to see him.)

ADAM

Hi, Mom.  Hi, Grandma.

ANNA

Happy birthday, Adam.

MAYA

Happy birthday, darling.

(ANNA and MAYA produce birthday cards and hand them to ADAM, who opens them eagerly.  There are checks inside.  ADAM kisses MAYA and ANNA on the cheek and puts the checks in his wallet, taking a credit card out as he does so.)

ADAM

Lunch is on me!

MAYA

Adam, no, you should save your money for school, or car repairs, or …

ANNA

Or to treat a pretty girl.

ADAM

Don’t worry, grandma, I promise to treat lots of pretty girls, and I’m going to start with my two favorite ladies.  Have you ordered yet?

MAYA

No, we were waiting for you.  After all, you’re the birthday boy.

ADAM

I’m sorry I’m late.  I had to finish the reading for my class this afternoon.

(ADAM glances briefly at the menu.)

Let’s order champagne.

MAYA

Didn’t you just tell us you had class this afternoon?

ADAM

It’s a class on James Joyce.  His characters are drunk all the time, so why shouldn’t I be?

MAYA

Well, I shouldn’t be drunk to meet my client.  I have a two o’clock appointment, and it’s already almost one.

ANNA

It’s a party.

MAYA

Easy for you to say.  You’re retired.

ADAM

C’mon, Mom.  It’s my twenty-first birthday. Anyway, I’m sure you can drink half a glass of champagne and still tell your clients how they should invest their money.  If anybody can.

MAYA

Okay.

(ADAM stands up and gestures to the waiter.)

END SCENE

COME LIVE WITH ME, a Mini Opera script

COME LIVE WITH ME: A Mini Opera by Carol S. Lashof

inspired by On Paper by A.L. Kennedy

(with additional inspiration provided by Christopher Marlowe)

 

The BOYFRIEND and the GIRLFRIEND sit in their separate rooms at their separate computers, or ipads, or smartphones.  In between texting or messaging or virtual chatting with each other, they perform other tasks, virtual and actual (e.g. surfing the net, playing online games, folding laundry, trimming nails). Background noises might include the whoosh and bing of electronic games as well as the whirr of household appliances.

 

BOYFRIEND:

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove

Of urban streets and avenues,

Of hipster clubs and skyline views.

 

GIRLFRIEND:

What fun! Let’s get a downtown flat

For you and me and my Siamese cat.

Suburban life is such a bore!

 

BOYFRIEND:

We’ll find a loft on the fifteenth floor—

 

GIRLFRIEND:

Pick up Chinese from the place next door.

BOYFRIEND:

A spacious loft with a sunny deck.

 

GIRLFRIEND:

Hang on, sweetheart, for just a sec.

 

The GIRLFRIEND exits briefly.

 

BOYFRIEND:

We’ll share the chores and share the joys—

But your parents, will they let you go?

 

She returns with a snack.

 

GIRLFRIEND:

I love the city.  I love the noise

Of people with get up and go.

 

BOYFRIEND:

Your parents, will they let you go?

 

GIRLFRIEND:

Oh, they’ll be glad to see me go.

 

BOYFRIEND:

I’m going mad, I miss you so.

 

GIRLFRIEND:

By now, I should be on my own.

 

BOYFRIEND:

With me, you mean, or all alone?

 

GIRLFRIEND:

With you, my love, I meant to say.

Don’t twist the words some other way.

I meant to say the time has come

For you and me to make a home.

 

BOTH:

The time is now / The time has come

To find a place

To call our own/To make a home.

We’ll find a spacious/cozy uptown/downtown flat

For you and me and your/my Siamese cat.

We’ll sip merlot and go to plays.

On weekends, we’ll have lazy days.

We’ll grill on the deck when the weather’s fine.

What’s mine is yours.  What’s yours is mine.

 

BOYFRIEND:

There’s a loft uptown with a sign “to let.”

 

GIRLFRIEND:

Will the landlord let us have a pet?

How much is the monthly rent?

 

BOYFRIEND:

I haven’t called about it yet.

 

GIRLFRIEND:

Do you have enough for first month’s rent?

 

BOYFRIEND:

I thought that we would split the bill.

 

GIRLFRIEND:

Of course, of course, of course we will.

But as for now, my cash is spent.

 

BOYFRIEND:

Maybe if your parents lent—

 

GIRLFRIEND:

My student loans are overdue.

My last paycheck went all for food.

 

BOYFRIEND:

The payment for my car is late.

My “rainy day” reserves are gone.

 

GIRLFRIEND:

My bank account is overdrawn.

 

BOTH:

I’m absolutely broke. I hate

To say that we will have to wait.

 

Some day we’ll find a cozy flat

For you and me and your/my Siamese cat.

We’ll sip merlot and go to plays.

On weekends, we’ll have lazy days.

What’s yours is mine. What’s mine is yours.

But I owe it all to my creditors.

What’s yours is mine. What’s mine is yours.

But we owe it all to our creditors.