Telling stories to children – is that witchcraft?
In July 2019, Those Women Productions will stage the world premiere of Carol S. Lashof’s Witch Hunt, a drama that explores the origins of the Salem witch panic and compels us to consider the ties between that infamous era and our present moment in history. Directed by Elizabeth Vega, Witch Hunt tells the uniquely American story of Tituba, an enslaved Indigenous woman who was one of the first in the Salem community to be accused of witchcraft. As the panic in Salem grows, Tituba must figure out how to survive in a society that inherently distrusts her and refuses to believe her truth. Ultimately, she offers the first false confession, opening the floodgates to the fury that followed.
In most popular accounts of the panic, such as Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Tituba is marginalized and misrepresented. In Witch Hunt, by contrast, Lashof uncovers a compelling story of a captive Indigenous woman in a Puritan family. Kidnapped as a child, Tituba was sold into slavery in Barbados where she was bought by Samuel Parris, who later transported her to Salem Village. By 1692, she had assimilated to Puritan society and adopted Christianity as her religion, but her role in the Parris family and Salem Village was fraught with danger, especially once the Indian wars broke out anew and the English settlers grew increasingly frightened of attack.
Lashof’s new drama is timely in its representation of an American community riven by factionalism and nearly destroyed by its demonization of the people it has colonized. Once again, our society is confronted with questions about whose truth deserves to be heard, and once again more powerful figures can feel the ground shifting under their feet.
The cast includes: Sofia Angelopoulos, Nathan Bogner, Steven Flores, Renee Rogoff, Kitty Torres, and Julie Ann Valdez.
About the artistic leadership team:
Playwright Carol Lashof makes plays to change the stories we believe in because it’s the best way she knows to change the world we live in. Her work has been broadcast on BET (“Gap,” dir. Ryan Coogler) and NPR (“The Story,” dir. Martin Esslin) and staged on five continents from The Magic Theatre of San Francisco to Peking University in Beijing. Lashof is Professor Emerita at Saint Mary’s College of California, the Executive Director of Those Women Productions, and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
Director Elizabeth Vega is the Founding Artistic Director of Those Women Productions. She holds a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College and an MFA in Staging Shakespeare from Exeter University where she studied at the Globe Theater in London. Directing credits include Troilus and Cressida at the Dell Theater in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the world premiere of Lashof’s Just Deserts. She is on the faculty at Holden High School and the Berkeley Rep School of Theater.
Dramaturg Norman Patrick Johnson holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from City College of New York and completed the Meisner Technique training program at the Bay City Studios in San Francisco. An Associate Artist with Those Women Productions, he has, most recently, served as director and dramaturg for the world premiere of Nick Mwaluko’s “They/Them” for Shifting Spaces (TBA Awards Finalist 2018). He is the director of the Middle School Drama program at The Berkeley School.
Tickets are available at the door beginning one half hour before each performance and in advance through Brown Paper Tickets: https://witchhunt.brownpapertickets.com/ . The suggested price is $30.00. Everyone is welcome regardless of ability to pay. Advance reservations recommended.
Those Women Productions is grateful for the support of the City of Berkeley Civic Arts Grant program, the Theatre Bay Area CA$H Grant program, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation Community Arts program.
We are a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Those Women Productions must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.