Don’t miss “3”–three short plays in one evening–produced by Dramatic Women and written by three writers with deep Santa Barbara roots.
Rod Lathim (featured in Santa Barbara Seasons’ Spring Issue), is a 5th generation Santa Barbaran and will straddle the line of the “here” and the “hereafter” in Unfinished Business, as he explores the transition from one world to the next. Catherine Cole, a veteran of UCSB’s Theater & Dance department, will recount a story of unforeseen loss and separation in Always. Together while local playwright Ellen Anderson delves into a telling account of recent widowhood in Wabi Sabi Underground.
These short plays were inspired by much of the writers’ own experiences. Lathim, no stranger to the theatre or playwriting, directed The Boys Next Door, which was the debut production at Center Stage Theater in 1980. His new short play, Unfinished Business, is based on the journal he kept before his mother died. The entries, as well as the play, focuses on the spirit entities that appeared to help his mother in her transition through the messages they shared. “It is often not comfortable in our culture to talk about some of the things that happen on a spiritual level around the time of death…Unfinished Business deals with death in a very hopeful and uplifting manner,” says Lathim.
Cole, who teaches at UC Berkeley, also writes books about Africa, human rights, and performance. Her works are often about life’s journeys, as seen in her play Out On a Limb, also produced by Dramatic Women, and a touring dance theater piece Five Foot Feat. She says of Always.Together, “it is my most compact piece yet: a solo performance. With poetic language and lean staging, it is a short tale about a big story, a creative answer to the well-worn question, ‘What happened to you?’”
Anderson, a recent widow of Dramatic Women’s founder and playwright Bob Potter (1934-2010), reflects on Wabi Sabi Underground, “I’ve never been much on writing plays based on my own life, but widowhood altered the way I look at the world, and although this play is not directly autobiographical, it is wildly different from my 17 previous plays. It’s dark, reclusive, and introspective. The challenges of widowhood changed who I am as a writer.”
Performances are scheduled at Center Stage Theater for May 24-26 at 8:00 p.m. and May 27 at 2:00 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.centerstagetheater.org