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Central Works Script Club September Gathering Honors A CW Hit From 2017

This script selection honors the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The Central Works Script Club - a monthly book club - for plays! In episode #4, the Script Club offers a hit from Central Works 2017 season, Strange Ladies, written by Susan Sobeloff, which was produced to mark the 100th anniversary of the imprisonment of the "Silent Sentinel" Suffragettes.

Now, in 2020, this script selection honors the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Strange Ladies will be available to read on the Central Works website (centralworks.org) starting September 1, and the interview podcast with Patricia Milton will post on September 29. The 2017 world-premiere production was developed collaboratively as a Central Works Method Musical. Strange Ladies was written by Susan Sobeloff, with production direction by Jan Zvaifler and musical direction by Milissa Carey.

Strange Ladies received a visceral response from audiences and media alike at its premiere, and experienced constant sold out performances. Described as a "daring historical recreation..." Strange Ladies is a call to "...mobilize for the complete liberation for all women in the U.S., now...making us want to stand up and join in," and "The play resonates all too well with our current political situation..." As stated in the play, "Those in power are not inclined to share."

The 2017 premiere production was told with music (lyrics included in script) of the period. 1917: a diverse group of Suffragists fight to gain the vote for women as the US enters World War I. Torn between loyalty to their political cause and loyalty to the war effort, these women each struggle to make difficult choices in a time of tremendous social upheaval. The personal pits each against the political in Strange Ladies.

2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the imprisonment of the "Silent Sentinels." These women were arrested and sent to Occoquan Workhouse Prison after picketing the White House and demanding the right to vote. Their brutal treatment and subsequent hunger strike earned them the epithet of the "Strange Ladies" and forced the issue of Woman Suffrage into the national consciousness. 2020 is the centenary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the constitution, granting women the right to vote. The Strange Ladies production ensemble featured actors Milissa Carey*, Nicol Foster*, Gwen Loeb*, Regina Morones, Radhika Rao, and Renee Rogoff.

Susan Sobeloff (playwright) is a Bay Area playwright whose plays have been produced at the Exit Theatre, Custom Made Theater Company, SF Olympians Festival, SF Theatre Festival, The Marsh and the Woman's Will Playfest. She is a two-time Fellow at the Helen R. Whiteley Center, and an alumna of the TBA Atlas Program for Playwrights. She was first invited to join the Central Works Writers Workshop in 2012, where she developed the script for Strange Ladies.

Company co-directors Jan Zvaifler and Gary Graves remain steadfast in their mission to develop and produce new works. "New plays are the lifeblood of the theater," remarks Ms. Zvaifler. "We look at current events, politics, classic literature and traditional storytelling to bring our audience face to face with the challenges of our lives everyday, juxtaposed against the reflections of history, both recent and far-reaching. Given our current harrowing times, we all need an opportunity to pause, feel, think and act."

For three decades now Central Works has filled a special niche for theater artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, producing more new plays by local playwrights than any other company in the region. "The New Play Theater" utilizes three basic strategies: some are products of the Central Works Method, some are developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop, and some come to the company fully developed. Playwrights that have worked with the Central Works Method have included Christopher Chen, Lauren Gunderson, Aaron Loeb, Patricia Milton, Geetha Reddy, Ann Galjour, and Brian Thorstenson, to name a few. For more information, visit our website: www.centralworks.org

Coming Up at Central Works: Audio Play & Podcast

Central Works is developing an audio version of the new play Bystanders by Patricia Milton, with actors Kimberly Ridgeway and Maria Marquis. The audio play will be directed by Gary Graves with engineering, editing, and audio design by Gregory Scharpen. It is scheduled to post September 15, 2020.

Central Works is now also sponsoring the weekly podcast The Yay with Norman Gee & Reg Clay. The Yay, produced for the past three years by two Central Works alumni, is a podcast about "Life in the Theatre and the Theatre of Life." Each week, Reg and Norman bring in a local theater artist to join them in a discussion of their careers, their life, the state of theater in general and around the Bay Area.

The Central Works Writers Workshop is an ongoing commissioning program established in 2012. Twice a year, in 12-week sessions, 8 local playwrights are selected to develop projects through informal readings and carefully directed discussions. Last season, Cristina García's The Lady Matador's Hotel and Patricia Milton's The Victorian Ladies' Detective Collective emerged from this program. For more information, visit our website: www.centralworks.org



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