Double Bill at Symmetry Theatre

language archive 

The WWSF team hosted our sixth Meetup event at Symmetry Theatre: a double-bill of their full production of  Julia Cho’s award-winning play The Language Archive (running April 6-28 at the Berkeley City Club) and a staged reading of Carol Lashof’s new play Just Deserts.

Is love a universal language or, like Esperanto, the stuff only dreams are made of?  Julia Cho’s The Language Archive is a lyrical exploration into how language can sometimes be our greatest obstacle in communication.

Carol Lashof’s Just Deserts retells the Oresteia’s ancient story of cultural transformation from the point of view of The Furies — immortal beings dedicated to the age-old principle of a slit throat for a slit throat.  

Now producing their 2nd season, Symmetry Theatre’s mission includes the idea of ‘balance on the boards’ – choosing plays in which the female characters equal or exceed the male characters, and giving contracts to union actors in equal numbers in regards to gender.

If you were part of the Meetup event or saw The Language Archives or Just Deserts on your own, we would love to hear your shout-outs to the women artists involved.  What did you find enjoyable, meaningful or interesting about their work?  Post your comments below and celebrate the artistry of:

The Language Archives

Performers: Danielle Levin*, Stacy Ross* and Elena Wright*

Director: Chloe Bronzan

Playwright: Julia Cho

Just Deserts

Performers: Louise Chegwidden*, Louel Senores, Megan Kilian Uttam*, and Valerie Weak*

Playwright: Carol Lashof

* members of Actors’ Equity

9 responses to “Double Bill at Symmetry Theatre

  1. One of the finest shows I’ve seen in a long time (and I see a LOT of plays). Great script: smart, funny, incredibly moving. Great directing (especially in such a difficult room for directors): it really landed the language and emotions. And stunning acting.

  2. Today’s double-header at Symmetry Theatre was absolutely delicious. The Language Archives was deeply emotional and full of nuanced performances by a terrific cast. Director Chloe Bronzan made extraordinary use of the intimate Berkeley City Club space and rocked the transitions. The play’s meditation on marriage was heartbreakingly true and left me in tears at the end of both acts. The staged reading of Carol Lashof’s Just Deserts was a tasty encore. She attacked the Oresteia with panache and clever arguments to expose the fundamental inequity of Iphigenia’s murder being considered less heinous than Agamemnon’s. Well done everyone!

  3. Berkeley City Club is a difficult space for staging, and one of the things that was incredibly well done for Language Rooms was the staging and general ‘shape’ of the piece – the multiple locations needed were well delineated and incredibly clear, and the transitions were so well devised and kept the story swirling forward in a beautifully actor-centric way.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed The Language Archive. A sparkling, inventive play of intellectual and emotional substance, beautifully directed and performed. I saw this play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival a couple of years ago and thought it was intriguing but not fully satisfying. Chloe Bronzan’s production at Symmetry, however, found the emotional core of the story and brought it to life.

    And much thanks to all of you who came back to the City Club for the reading of Just Deserts. It meant a lot to me to have you in the audience for this first public reading of the script in its current form.

  5. hat a wonderful day of women and theatre and women IN theatre! thanks so much to Christine and Valerie for organizing it. Congrats to Chloe and the cast an crew of The Language Archive for a very insightful, moving, and thought provoking production of The Language Archive — I’m still pondering many of the moments and . And congrats also to Carol Lashof for Just Deserts and to the cast (esp our Valerie) for a funny and powerful reimagining of the Furies/Orestes story. I am defincient in Greek Mythology, and so for me it was a wonderful deep dive into the possibilities of modern retellings of ancient stories.

    It was very hard to come back to “real life” after such a wonderfully immersive and fulfilling day. Thanks again to everyone.

  6. It was an honor to witness this perfectly orchestrated, beautifully spirited, touching production of The Language Archive – also, observing the audience – how deeply moved everyone was – was incredible. Thank you, every one.

  7. I want to add my voice to the chorus of people who loved Chloe Bronzan’s production of “The Language Archives.”

    For me this was a play about the challenges of using language to communicate with each other. We meet a professor who studies language but can’t talk to his wife, a wife who can only cry instead of talk, a couple who won’t speak their native language because it doesn’t have any words to express their anger, and an Esperanto teacher whose partner runs off to explore other languages.

    I loved the way that playwright Julia Cho was able to layer these various perspectives and explore abstract ideas about language in the context of a fable that was both funny and moving. It was really an extraordinary piece of writing.

    Plus the production was beautifully staged and acted. The Berkeley City Club is a tiny space, but Bronzan managed to define each location clearly whether it was a home, an office, a train, or the street. All of the actors were persuasive, and I especially loved Stacy Ross as the wonderfully wacky Esperanto professor and Howard Swain who brought such a poignant sweetness to all of his roles.

    I also enjoyed the reading of Carol Lashof’s play, “Just Deserts.” Her take on the Furies was a lot of fun and provided great comic opportunities for the three female characters.

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this wonderful afternoon and evening at the theatre.

  8. Lovely piece — funny and wise and very smart. A very well staged and acted production; less is certainly more is this wonderfully imaginative production. Thank you for a wonderful afternoon in the theatre; it made me remember why I wanted to do theatre in the first place.
    EH Benedict (writer/actor)

  9. Pingback: 6/27 – This Week in Feminist Theater | Works by Women San Francisco·

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