Friday, March 13, 2020
All readings begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. at 3404 Hawk Street, San Diego, CA
"Zest" by Thelma Virata de Castro
"The Ribbon" by Donna Gordon
"Extraordinary People" by Sandra de Helen
Zest: A broken dish opens a wormhole into a young woman’s painful memories, until her superhero nine-year-old self arrives to rescue her from the black hole of her past.
The Ribbon: takes place in about 1790’s in France. It is a historical play and replicates the “Reign of Terror”. This time came during the French Revolution, when the people wanted to be free from the rule of the monarchy. There were many rumors about the Queen, Marie Antoinette and her lovers, and the world-renown Palace of Versailles. King George XVI was said to be out of touch with the people. The peasants were near starvation.
Forty years ago, four sets of conjoined twins met and formed a consciousness-raising rap group. They bonded over their experiences as twins, as being conjoined, and of being discriminated against. Together they explored ways to help them evolve, and one thing they did was to ask people to stop referring to them as Siamese or conjoined. They preferred the term “extraordinary people.”
Now they gather again, this time to bury one set of twins. They learn about their experiences over the ensuing decades. Medical advances have allowed for the separation of one set, self-separation caused another.
This is a play-in-progress, and we’ll read only the first 20-25 pages on March 13th. This is a comedy.
Thelma Virata de Castro is the founder of San Diego Playwrights, a Teaching Artist and Community Programs Coordinator for Playwrights Project, and a Dramatists Guild Ambassador. Her play "The Fire in Me" was awarded a Creative Catalyst Fellowship from The San Diego Foundation in partnership with Asian Story Theater (AST), and a California Humanities grant with Access Inc. Her other work with AST includes Halo-Halo—Mixed Together Stories from San Diego’s Filipino Community and What Are You? Her next project with AST will focus on intergenerational caregiving in the Asian Pacific Islander community, in collaboration with AARP and The Filipino Press.
Donna Gordon is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in a vintage home in North Park, San Diego, with her roommate Janet. They have two cats. Her roommate Janet has three poetry and art books on Amazon. She has one son who lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children. She wrote her first play in high school.
Donna was the winner of the Point Loma Community Theater’s 24 Hour Experiment, with two other writers. She has written and co-produced a reading of her play “Longing” and a performance of her play “The Break Room” at the Tenth Avenue Theater in downtown San Diego. “Longing” is a coming-of-age story about a girl who moves from a small town to a big city university. “The Break Room” covered the topics of PTSD and bullying, and takes place just after World War II. She wrote and co- produced a murder mystery “Out of the Bookstore” which was performed at The Performance Annex in San Diego. Donna also designed and sewed some of the costumes for these productions. She acted in “Out of the Bookstore” and in two Bible plays at her church, which were modern takes on Bible stories.
Donna has written for a Northern California poetry magazine, and she was the editor of a Housing Commission Newsletter for about four years. She holds a Standard Secondary Teaching Credential and taught English as a substitute teacher for fifteen years. She was a teaching assistant for one year at UCSD, in the humanities department. She also graded high school student compositions for six years. She has completed 1 year graduate study in English at the University of California, San Diego, as a continuing student for two of the quarters. She completed two years in Education. She especially liked her graduate course in Restoration Drama. She has been influenced by Chekhov, Eugene O’Neil, Lorraine Hansberry, William Inge, and Ibsen.
Sandra de Helen's dramas and comedies have been performed all over the United States as well as Internationally. Audiences in NYC, Chicago, Ireland, London, and the Philippines have been entertained and challenged by Sandra’s provocative writing. In the past five years, her work has been staged in NYC, LA, Portland, and Canada. Her writings are archived in the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Collection at Ohio State University. Sandra studied with Maria Irene Fornes, and with Matt Zrebski. With Kate Kasten, she co-founded Actors’ Sorority in Kansas City, Missouri. Later Sandra founded the Portland Women’s Theatre Company as well as Penplay. Today, she is a member of Scripteasers of San Diego, International Centre for Women Playwrights, and the Dramatists Guild.
Moderator: Kymri Wilt
Refreshments: Hassan Omar
Greeter: Grant Gelvin