Local Playwright Marlan Warren's CHASING SANGHA Among Athena Cats New Works Festival Lineup

Local Playwright Marlan Warren's CHASING SANGHA Among Athena Cats New Works Festival Lineup

Los Angeles playwright Marlan Warren's play, Chasing Sangha, has been selected for Athena Cats' New Works Festival of 10-Minute Plays, and will be performed as a staged reading Sat., April 8, at the City Garage in Santa Monica's Bergamot Station Arts Center.

"I'm thrilled Athena Cats invited me to be part of this afternoon of 10-minute plays," said Warren. "Athena Cats--with its focus on women playwrights and directors--is like a dream come true for me."

Athena Cats is a collective of Southern California area female playwrights and directors formed to bring unrepresented works written by women to the stage.

According to the Athena Cats website: The statistics for female playwrights are grim. Twenty-three percent of plays produced during the 2011-2014 season were written by women, according to Female Playwrights Institute.

"Our goal is to redress this imbalance," said Athena Cats co-founder Laurel Wetzork.

When Warren's one-act Bits of Paradise showcased at The Marsh in San Francisco, it received a rave from Asian Week:

Based on letters written between Japanese American girls and women in the U.S. internment camps and Japanese American soldiers during World War II, Bits of Paradise places its footprint on the timeline of a much needed theatrical examination of the Asian American journey.

"I really hoped I could enter a 10-minute snippet from Bits of Paradise," Warren said. "But that was impossible, so I wrote this especially for Athena Cats."

Chasing Sangha focuses on a Night in Hell in the California winter desert where two brand new women friends try to achieve mystical enlightenment according to a Shaman Certification course one of them is taking, but Murphy's Law comes along with them. Sangha refers to the Buddhist concept of finding strength and protection by bonding with like-minded people.

So is the piece autobiographical?

"It's practically verbatim," laughs Warren. "We're still friends."

The festival's 10-minute staged readings are performed in two separate groups with women directors. "Everyone involved sounds amazing," Warren said. "I can't wait to meet them all and experience their work."

IF YOU GO:

Athena Cats Presents New Works Festival

Date: Saturday, April 8, 2017

Times: (see below for show synopses)

1pm: First Group of Plays

3pm: Second Group of Plays

Location:

City Garage, Bergamot Station Arts Center, Building T1
2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404

For more info & reservations: Athena Cats

Admission: Free

SHOW SCHEDULE & SYNOPSES:

1:00 to 2:20 pm

Visitation by Mildred Inez Lewis (Caron Tate, Director): Two foster sisters, Shavonne and Gina, struggle against obstacles to visit Shavonne's incarcerated boyfriend.

Break Time by Desiree' York (Lesley Asistio, Director): Three nurses hope to escape life and death under an invisible tree with just a pack of cigarettes.

A Grave Situation by Sandra de Helen (Desiree' York, Director): Just before Christmas 1951, a bereaved mother visits her recently deceased husband's grave with suicide on her mind. Her young daughters are asleep in the car.

The Salmon Mousse by Elisa Manzini (Katherine James, Director): After a suicide murder, a married couple has to deal with the woman in charge of the Pearly Gates.

A Place Like This by Meagan Daine (Caron Tate, Director): Two college students take refuge in a Secret Garden following a tragic event on their campus. Inspired by the playwright's experience as a college student on the night of 9/11, the play asks how we, as individuals, cope with the trauma of senseless, broad-scale violence.

Sugar and Spice by Allie Costa (Allie Costa, Director): Adult siblings seek out the secret family recipe in this heartwarming story.

3:00 pm

Eleventy-Hundred by Liz Kerin: Mary Sampson, Director In the wake of a tragic school shooting, an estranged husband and wife reunite at the funeral of their son and must confront the person he became vs. the person they expected him to be.

Muse Me by Katherine James (Katherine James, Director) Muse Me examines the question of artistic inspiration: where does it come from? In this tale, twin sisters -- one born living and one born dead -- have spent 60 years intertwined in creating art. And life. Dedicated to the playwright's sister, Laura Ellen, who lived and died one day in 1955 but whose absence, influence and "what if-ness?" is with her always.

The Pendlewood Witching by Jen Kenyon: Poppy Pendle wants to expand the family moonshine business, but younger sister Sass is wary of the danger of bootlegging during prohibition. Oldest sister June is comforted by herbs, owls and the Old Ways, but it'll take mechanical magic to inspire Sass' full participation in the enterprise.

Doctor's Appointment by Lauren Gorski (Elena Campbell-Martinez, Director): First-time parents are eager to learn the sex of their baby, but find instead their lives are about to get more complicated.

Chasing Sangha by Marlan Warren (Katherine James, Director): Sheila, after her divorce and a self-imposed exile, longs for sangha (the Buddhist concept of home). "If a mountain lion leaves her fellow lions -- her sangha -- and goes down to the village alone, she will be killed." After she meets Barb at a Buddhist ashram, Sheila impulsively offers to chaperone Barb on her quest in the wilderness.



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