How fitting that on the very day Deborah Lubar's luminous "Naming The Days" opened the 5th annual BOSTON WOMEN ON TOP Festival, the World Court decided to classify crimes against women as "war crimes" in light of the atrocities in Bosnia. Some of these horrors stand at the heart of Lubar's performance, but the piece is far more than a litany of suffering.
A Minority Report by Larry Stark
"Grandmothers!" shouts the Bosnian woman, "You promised when we were children that even if you died you would never go away! Now the God-Forbid time has come, and you must tell us how to put our lives back together again! Where Are you!" The God-Forbid time isn't the war, the remembered unspeakable horrors committed by neighbors against neighbors, but the awful awareness that though the war is over, there is still no peace. Deborah Lubar, on a stage littered with shards and remnants and inadequate substitutes, splits herself into two women --- one a motley-clad self-admitted pile of garbage, the other a haughty lady still trying to hold her old dignity together, though learning all the time how much there still is to learn about other people.
Reviewed by Larry Stark
In Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro's excellent play for one woman, the incomparable Bobbie Steinbach plays a seventy-year-old actress "Sailing Down The Amazon". Bits of her life drift by her mind as she sits chatting with an invisible younger woman in a second deck-chair, checking with a mischievous finger under his nose whether the husband next to her is sleeping, or dead. She is sardonically witty, dealing unwillingly with some medical bad news, and since it is Millennium Eve it is her past or disturbing present, not any future, that concerns her most.
Reviewed by Larry Stark
Kathleen Rogers' "Arkansas Tornado" is a play with music, not a musical. It concerns the family of an ageing country-western singer (Peter Brown) who feels the need to reconnect with his ex-wife (Kim Crocker), her sixteen-year-old daughter from a previous marriage (Korinne T. Hertz), while his 89-year-old mother (Susan Bigger) sits in the background in her old Kentucky home talking to a basket of snakes. Most of these people would rather talk to anyone else --- a home minicam unit, the audience, those snakes --- rather than to one another. Many of them talk to the singer's old houn'dog Nicodemus. He's played by Tom Pruneau, and doesn't talk at all. Sings along a little, though.
Reviewed by Larry Stark
This trio of shamelessly uppity women celebrate Irish American women by some of the sharpest in-your-face wit and finely machined satire. Their smiling metaphor for their attitude is a vagina with teeth. They are incisively specific about the myths a child encounters at her first menstruation. For one bit Margaret Ann Brady in pants impersonates a bar-room back-table philosopher explains at circuitous length "What Women Want" while continually interrupting himself from lighting his cigarette. And in "A March for George W" they sing of the unlikelihood that anyone would do for the Republican what Monica did for his predecessor
Reviewed by Larry Stark
The most important thing here is that the acting is excellent. Director Sheila Stasack bounces them from play to play, costume to costume, emotion to emotion to confrontation. They clear and set their own props, find their lights, and serve a wide variety of styles and ideas served up by four different playwrights in five different plays. They are quick, and interesting.
Reviewed by Larry Stark
This is the very last week-end you will be able to see two stunningly original, surprising pieces of theater --- a subtly insightful personal monologue performed by playwright Magdalena Gomez called "Chopping" (which is mis-pronounced "Shopping" by us Gringos), and a rippling two-character one-act comedy called "Traveling Naked" by Deborah Lake Fortson. Phone this number for tickets: 1(617)332-0546. Call it Now. Tell them "Larry sent me."
The Women on Top Theater Festival is back at a new location! Centastage Performance Group and Underground Railway Theater announced the line-up for the 5th Annual Women on Top Theater Festival of new plays by women. An annual tradition, the Boston Women on Top Theater Festival is a rich celebration of our local female playwrights and performers. Due to popular demand, the festival will take place on two stages at Boston Playwrights' Theater, 949 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. Opening February 22, 2001 and running through March 18, this year's Women On Top festival features 5 main stage events, a late night comedy show and 3 staged readings. Plays can be purchased individually or with a Festival Pass, and all shows are general admission.
Feature 1: Naming the Days by Deborah Lubar, directed by Marianne Lust. Making her third Women On Top appearance, Lubar's newest play grows out of her recent trips to Bosnia. Master storyteller and critically acclaimed solo performer, Lubar plays three wildly different women thrown into close quarters by the war. The play follows their jagged days returning to their own country as refugees. Left homeless, not knowing if their loved ones are alive or dead, they struggle with surprising humor to piece together the broken bits of who they are now.
Performances: 5 performances only!
Thursday February 22 7:30 PM Thursday March 15 7:30 PM Friday March 16 7:30 PM Saturday March 17 7:30 PM Sunday March 18 2:00 PM
Feature 2: Mexico City and Sailing Down the Amazon by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, directed by Danny Gidron. These two plays are both about travelers, uneasy on foreign soil, who make important discoveries about themselves.
Mexico City: Curiosity, playfulness, and sexual attraction between a Japanese woman and a British man give way to mutual suspicion and violence. The play punctures the assumptions the lovers make about each other's culture and reveals the human animal beneath the ethnic mask.
Sailing Down the Amazon: a witty 80-year-old actress, at once completely sympathetic and completely insufferable, reacts to the bad news she has received from her doctor by taking a trip down the Amazon.
Performances: Friday February 23 7:30 PM Sunday February 25 2:00 PM Sunday March 4 7:00 PM Monday March 5 7:30 PM Thursday March 8 7:30 PM Friday March 9 7:30 PM Saturday March 10 7:30 PM Sunday March 11 2:00 PM Sunday March 11 7:00 PM
Feature 3: Two Plays about Desire. Chopping by Magdalena Gomez and Traveling Naked by Deborah Lake Fortson, directed by Dyana Kimball.
Chopping: The outrageous Mina, a second-generation Latina-American, speaks to the audience from inside an apartment turned walk-in closet—crammed with wildly eccentric clothing that she uses to celebrate erotica, to rebel against her mother's restrictive morality, and to lovingly conjure the memory of her shunned lesbian aunt.
Traveling Naked: Bathtub-bound Ava trades wits and fantasies with her new husband. With surreal imagery and language that is simultaneously whimsical, erotic, and poetic, the couple shares a profound love that will test the boundaries of who they are, and what they will become.
Thursday February 22 7:30 PM SundayFebruary 25 7:00 PM Monday February 26 7:30 PM Thursday March 1 7:30 PM Friday March 2 7:30 PM Saturday March 3 7:30 PM Sunday March 4 2:00 PM (ASL Interpreted by Laurie Schaffer) Sunday March 4 7:00 PM
Feature 4: The Arkansas Tornado by Kathleen Rogers, directed by Joe Antoun. Love, death and barbecue sauce. Carmen, at the mid-point, and her granddaughter Howdy, 17, are both trying to re-invent themselves. The process is complicated by the arrival of Carmen's ex-husband, the charming, hard-living country singer, Franklin and his singing dog. This is a full production developed from last season's stage reading.
Friday February 23 7:30 PM Saturday February 24 7:30 PM Sunday February 25 2:00 PM Thursday March 8 7:30 PM Friday March 9 7:30 PM Saturday March 10 7:30 PM Sunday March 11 2:00 PM (Audio-described by Hanna Schneider) Sunday March 11 7:00 PM Monday March 12 7:30 PM
Feature 5: A Night of Quickies, an evening of short plays by 4 women playwrights.
Directed by Sheila Stasack.
Labor Day and Relative Strangers by Sheri Wilner.
In the absurd comedy Relative Strangers, a young airline passenger decides that the woman seated beside her could be the mother she never had. Labor Day is a comic tour-de-force with an unusual form. For some, the beginning of fall means much more than giving up your summer whites...
Critique by Susanna Ralli.
As a man and a woman grieve, a statue takes on new meaning with devastating consequences.
ExtraOrdinaire by Janet Kenney.
Middle age vs. center ring. Which would you choose?
The Emancipation of Mandy and Miz Ellie by Lois Roach.
Set at the end of the civil war, the relationship between Mandy and her former slave mistress, Miz Ellie, has changed forever. Both women have the new possibility of personal emancipation, if they have the courage to take it.
Saturday February 24 7:30 PM Sunday February 25 7:00 PM Thursday March 1 7:30 PM Friday March 2 7:30 PM Saturday March 3 7:30 PM Sunday March 4 2:00 PM Thursday March 15 7:30 PM Friday March 16 7:30 PM Saturday March 17 7:30 PM Sunday March 18 2:00 PM
Late Night! :
The Mrs. Potato Head Show:
A celebration of Irish-American Woman Being developed and performed by Margaret Ann Brady, Dorthey Dwyer and Lucy Holdstead. South Park meets the Golden Girls as this tasteless, outrageous and hilarious Boston staple makes its festival debut. This late night comedy strings together skits, songs and monologues skewering everything from the bridal sale at Filenes's basement to our very own Women on Top Theater Festival.
Friday February 23 10:15 PM Saturday February 24 10:15 PM Friday March 2 10:15 PM Saturday March 3 10:15 PM Friday March 9 10:15 PM Saturday March 10 10:15 PM Friday March 16 10:15 PM Saturday March 17 10:15 PM
WOMEN IN THEATRE: An Afternoon with Kristin Linkletter
The 5th Annual Women on Top Festival is proud to host Kristin Linklater, Chair of Theater at Columbia University and creator of the famous Linklater vocal technique for actors. She was a founding member of Shakespeare and Co., co-director of The Company of Women, and has worked as an actor and master teacher in theaters world-wide. Ms. Linklater will talk about what impassions her work, and reflect on opportunities for women in contemporary theater.
Sunday, March 4, 4:30-6PM
NEW THIS YEAR!
ACCESS ACROSS THE BOARDS: Old Problems, New Solutions
Facilitator: Betty Siegel, Access Coordinator, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.
During this FREE, interactive, afternoon of news and networking, Betty Siegel, will present the latest trends in cultural access for people with disabilities. Boston's theater community - producers, directors, production staff, marketing directors, and access coordinators - will learn how theater companies across the country are including people with disabilities back stage, on stage, and in the audience.
Co-sponsored by Wheelock Family Theatre, The Cultural Access Consortium with additional support from StageSource.
Monday, March 12, 12:30-3:00 PM (Refreshments provided)
FREE PANEL DISCUSSION: FINDING INSPIRATION
A panel discussion with Festival playwrights, moderated by Kate Snodgrass, playwright and Producing Director of Boston Playwrights' Theater and the Boston Theater Marathon. Where do theater artists find their inspiration? What passions sustain them? Where do they find their voice? How much does an artist's gender identity shape her work? Hear Festival artists share their personal creative process, and discuss these challenging questions with them.
Saturday, March 10, 1-3 PM
FREE LECTURE / DEMONSTRATION
Deborah Lubar will reveal how healing theory has influenced how she creates her work, from the interviewing process to performance. She will use as examples Blood and Stones, based on the Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian women she met Middle East during the '89 Arab uprising; You Do what You Do, about Countess Maria von Maltzan, an eccentric member of the anti-Hitler resistance whom she interviewed in Berlin just before her death; and Naming the Days.
Saturday, March 17, 1-3PM
Homeward Bound by Maria Beatriz Alvarez and Michael Bettencourt.
A play about the intersection of domestic violence and immigration. Through the journey of Juanita, a young Mexican woman, the play examines how domestic violence is not simply a problem of dangerous relationships between individuals but is also an expression of larger conflicts about power, gender, and politics.
Wednesday, February 28 @ 7:30 PM
Anam Cara: Two Women Fall Into The Ancient Tale of Gilgamesh created by Anne Gottlieb, Susan Thompson and Judi Wilson. With adapted text from Herbert Mason's verse Narrative,Gilgamesh.
A humorous and moving story of two contemporary women, whose lives are bound together in a tragic moment from childhood, uncover the meaning of friendship, loss and compassion when their past collides with the ancient myth of Gilgamesh and the search for eternal life.
Wednesday, March 7 @ 7:30 PM
Feeding Beatrice Greenidge by Kirsten Greenidge.
An African American couple move into an old house, only to find it aggressively haunted by a young white woman.
Tuesday, March 13 @7:30
5th Annual Women On Top Festival
Produced in Cooperation with Boston Playwrights' Theater
Festival Pass: $60 (a value of over $150) A festival pass get you into all 5 featured events as well as the staged readings, post-performance discussions, and the opening night party!
Individual show prices: $20.00 regular price, $16.00 Senior/Student
Late Night: $12.00
Monday Night Madness: All Monday night shows are just $12, (limited seating, reserve ahead).
Stage Readings: $5
NEW Festival Location:
Boston Playwrights' Theater, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
Info: URT 781-643-6916 or Centastage 617-536-5981 TTY: 617-348-2926
Women on Top is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural council, a state agency, the Boston Cultural Council and the New England Foundation for the Arts.