Saturday, February 13, 2010

Woman Playwrights' Initiative

Sarah Lockhart told about a performance of the Women Playwright's Initiative that was going to happen at Stardust Video and Coffee as part of Arts Fest. I had another commitment at the time of the actual performance, but the director, Aradhana Tiwari told me I could stop in when the cast first got to Stardust and rehearsed just before the nights performance. I arrived early because I had gotten out of class at Full Sail a bit early. I ordered a Coke and sat in the room facing the tiny stage with its red metal streamers and red Christmas lights for illumination. Although not planned, this small stage with it's red atmosphere offered a womb like feeling of intimacy and enclosure. The play, or monologues, I had been told, was about women and how they faced pregnancy.
When the whole cast arrived, they went in the other room with the bar and large tables made from doors, to go over lines. The tables and chairs were then moved to make room for an audience. I started a sketch lightly in pencil of the cast going over lines at the table, but I couldn't bring myself to commit to the sketch. Aradhana only had the cast go over lines for maybe 15 minutes and then she moved everybody back to the stage. I was thankful I had held back on this first sketch. It is always hardest to know when to strike. Aradhana was constantly using the camera she got for Christmas to document this intimate show.
On the stage all 5 actresses paced nervously on a grid each of them lost in thought. A loud ticking of a clock filled the space. I only got to see small sections of the performance but I left wishing I had seem more. In the sketch Sarah Lockhard is coaching a woman, curled up in a fetal position, who has just given birth and refused to hold her new born child. Sarah said," You just have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps." Of course nothing Sarah says consoles the woman.
In another scene Lindsay Cohen and Sarah slowly walk to the front of the stage, each stopping in their own corner. Both of them are holding a pregnancy test strips and they kneel down to read them. Sarah's face lit up with joy when she saw the reading on the strip. She was quietly overjoyed and radiant. Lindsey on the other hand remained stone faced. The finding caused her hand to simply go limp and she dropped the test strip as her world turned black.
There was a mad rush to find a light to help illuminate the stage. Someone went home and grabbed a floor lamp. Then it turns out that the outlets around the stage didn't work. Finally an outlet was found and the stage was perfectly illuminated. I had to step out just as the performance was about to start. The room was packed. I am certain this was a hell of a show.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Brian Feldman said...

This makes sense to me now!

Beth Marshall said...

great sketch

Hannah said...

I love the colors/atmosphere of this one. Very special.

Thor said...

Thanks Hannah and Beth.