THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCES ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP AND THEME FOR NEW SEASON
Those Women Productions is pleased to announce that Lily Tung Crystal joins our leadership team this season as an Associate Artist. She will partner with Artistic Director Elizabeth Vega, Managing Director Carol Lashof, and returning Associate Artist Norman Patrick Johnson. Our main events for 2018 will be a staged reading of The Melting Pot by Carol Lashof; Shifting Spaces, a trio of one-act plays which shift the way we think about gender roles and identity; and the West Coast Premiere of Woman On Fire by Marisela Treviño Orta.
Those Women Productions was founded in 2014 by Carol Lashof and Elizabeth Vega with a mission to stage hidden truths of gender and power. In 2015, it was named “Best Year-Old Theater Company” by the East Bay Express. From the beginning, Those Women Productions has practiced “Radical Hospitality”: All shows are choose-your-own price; everyone is welcome regardless of ability to pay.
“Crossing Borders” is the theme for our season of new plays planned for 2018. The borders in question are literal and metaphorical, metaphysical and actual; they are of gender, race, nationality, and space-time.
The season begins with a staged reading of The Melting Pot, by Carol S. Lashof. The Melting Pot remixes early 20th century sources, including Israel Zangwill’s wildly popular melodrama of the same name, to tell a quintessentially American love story – Boy meets Girl, and Nation meets Metaphor. The reading will be directed by Elizabeth Vega and will feature performances by Lily Tung Crystal and Norman Patrick Johnson. It will also feature original music by Berkeley jazz musician and composer Erika Oba. Performances are Saturday, January 20, 4 pm and 8 pm at the Temescal Art Center, 511 48th St, Oakland.
Those Women Productions received a generous grant from the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission this year, which will help support our spring production at the Live Oak Theater in Berkeley: Shifting Spaces is a trio of bold one-act plays featuring characters who fight to claim their full human identities within restrictive social structures.
The plays of Shifting Spaces are:
It’s Germany—1944. Are you a bitch or a whore? Is she your lover, friend, sister, acquaintance, colleague, or occasion for sin?
Commissioned for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, this poetic drama reveals the little-known stories of lesbians in Nazi Germany, written by Kim Yaged, directed by Elizabeth Vega.
On the eve of surgery, Sam comes home to pack and to confront his mother about being trans.
A high-stakes, lyrical encounter between an African-American mother and her transgender son, by Bay Area playwright Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko, directed by Norman Patrick Johnson.
It’s judgment day, and John, a young man, finds himself buried beside Mary, an old woman, who claims to recognize him. But she’s nothing like any woman he’s ever known.
A darkly comic tour through changing gender roles and social expectations, by Canadian playwright Shirley Barrie, directed by Lily Tung Crystal.
Shifting Spaces opens Friday, March 23, 2018 (press opening), and plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through April 8 (no performance on Easter Sunday, April 1) at the Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley.
Those Women Productions finishes our season with the West Coast Premiere of Woman on Fire, an explosive and relevant play by Bay Area favorite Marisela Treviño Orta, directed by Elizabeth Vega.
Set in 2002 under the specter of the 9/11 terror attacks, Woman on Fire is a re-imagining of Sophocles’ Antigone set along the Arizona/Mexico border. The ghost of a woman who died while crossing the border haunts the unwilling heroine Juanita, the wife of a U.S. border patrolman. Juanita finds herself torn between the law of man and a higher law when she must decide whether to put her husband’s career and their marriage at risk in order to give the restless spirit the proper burial she demands.
Woman on Fire opens in August, 2018, at the Live Oak Theater, 1301 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley.
Those Women Productions practices Radical Hospitality: we welcome everybody to our shows regardless of their ability to pay. We also like to pay our artists, in recognition of their valuable work and because we love them and want them to have food. How do we manage this? With help from our extraordinarily generous community, including many of you who are reading this newsletter right now. In fact, (spoiler alert) we’re about to launch our annual fundraising campaign to make our 2018 season a success. Please consider an early donation. We will sing your praises in the programs of our shows all year long!
Carol Lashof and Libby Vega aren’t ashamed to reveal their infatuations with the “dead white guys” who populate the Western Canon.
The founders of Berkeley theater company Those Women Productions cut their teeth on Shakespeare, Homer and Sophocles. Now, instead of shunning the classic works, the avowed feminists read between the lines of their favorite texts. They pull out the subplots that resonate with them and the characters they believe deserve more airtime. … READ MORE
Running August 25-September 11, 2016, Those Women Productions will stage the world premiere of Margaret of Anjou at Live Oak Theatre at the corner of Shattuck & Berryman in Berkeley’s “gourmet ghetto” neighborhood. For this, their fourth show, Those Women Productions joins forces with British playwright Lauren Jansen-Parkes and their favorite Dead White Guy, William Shakespeare, to tell the hidden story of Margaret of Anjou who ruled England during the Wars of the Roses and was Commander-in-Chief for the House of Lancaster (inspiration for the “Lannisters” in George R. R. Martin’s “The Game of Thrones”). Combining original material with text adapted from Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays and Richard III, Jansen-Parkes has wrought a new Shakespearean history play that brings Margaret to the center of the stage.
Margaret of Anjou is directed by Libby Vega. It features Maria Grazia Affinito* as Margaret, Bobby August Jr*, Ed Berkeley, Lily Tung Crystal*, Sharon Huff*, Melissa Locsin*, Norman Patrick Johnson, Eric Newman*, Karl Schackne, and Nic Sommerfeld.
The production team includes Bert van Aalsburg*, Monica Bowker, Arashi Cesana, Jane Davis, Eli Goodfriend, Blair Fullerton, Carol Lashof, Megan Messinger, Genevieve Perdue, Samuel Raskin, Audrey Ronningen, Sydney Schwindt, and Suzanne Vito.
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association.
Margaret of Anjou is an Equity-approved project.
Four hundred years after his death, William Shakespeare lives and joins forces with Those Women Productions to stage:
Those Women Productions practices Radical Hospitality:
Everyone is invited regardless of ability to pay
This summer THOSE WOMEN PRODUCTIONS presents MARGARET OF ANJOU written by Lauren Jansen-Parkes and William Shakespeare, and directed by Libby Vega. This world premiere drama explores the nature of power, and how it is wielded by and against women. In his four plays about the Wars of the Roses, Shakespeare kept the powerful Queen of England, Margaret, firmly in the background. Now, Those Women Productions and playwright Lauren Jansen-Parkes join forces with their favorite dead white guy to tell you her story. MARGARET OF ANJOU illuminates a world of political intrigue and armed rebellion, where a naïve princess must become a military commander as the English monarchy teeters on the brink of destruction.
MARGARET OF ANJOU features Maria Grazia Affinito* as Margaret, Bobby August Jr*, Ed Berkeley, Alexaendrai Bond, Lily Tung Crystal*, Sharon Huff*, Norman Patrick Johnson, Eric Newman*, Karl Schackne, and Nic Sommerfeld.
Production Team: Bert van Aalsburg*, Arashi Cesana, Jane Davis, Molly Fullerton, Carol Lashof, Megan Messinger, Genevieve Perdue, Samuel Raskin, and Audrey Ronningen.
*Member, Actors Equity Association.
MARGARET OF ANJOU is an Equity-approved Project
… is Linda Cleary. She invites you to explore her work here: https://dayoftheartist.com/
The press has a few things to say about Those Women:
"Shakespeare would have been proud to see his work take on new life in MARGARET OF ANJOU," says The Daily Californian.
Lily Janiak of the San Francisco Chronicle profiles Artistic Director Libby Vega: "“There can be a tendency to say, ‘If their stories were interesting, we would know them already.’” But, Vega continues, “just because the story’s not being told doesn’t mean the story’s not there.'"
About MARGARET OF ANJOU, Sam Hurwitt of The Mercury News writes: "the experiment of creating the illusion of a Shakespeare play all about Margaret is a success."
Berkeleyside features Those Women Productions: "Carol Lashof and Libby Vega aren’t ashamed to reveal their infatuations with the “dead white guys” who populate the Western Canon."
BEST OF THE EAST BAY: On the occasion of our first birthday in 2015, The East Bay Express named us "Best Year-Old Theater Company."
Theater critic Sam Hurwitt described our production of IN PLAIN SIGHT as "a provocative mix of voices and perspectives on these classic tales that may inspire the viewer to look back at the originals with new eyes."
The Dramatist Magazine lauds Those Women for joining the fight for gender parity, "turn[ing] patriarchy on its ear."
Our production of DISCLOSURE was highlighted in the San Francisco Chronicle's feature on the "hot SF scene" at PianoFight.
About our inaugural production in 2014, the Daily Californian wrote: "JUST DESERTS is offering something surprisingly new, and drawing a new audience. It is absolutely worth seeing, with or without a grasp of Greek mythology. This play works on multiple levels, and satisfies as diverse an audience as it attracts."
JUST DESERTS was also an Editor’s Pick of Theatre Bay Area Magazine, where critic Lily Janiak wrote, "Lashof ingeniously channels both what many treasure about Greek mythology–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."