Meetup #22: PLEIADES


For our 22nd Meetup, our group convened at Phoenix Theatre for No Nude Men Productions’ world premiere of Marissa Skudlarek’s PLEIADES, a modern retelling of the Greek myth of the seven Pleiades sisters.

PLEIADES is a play about sisterhood in the literal sense and the metaphorical sense. It re-imagines the Greek myth of the seven Pleiades sisters as a story about the Baby Boomers in their youth. In 1971, at the height of the second-wave feminist movement, the seven Attlee sisters are young women seeking to find their places within their family and within a changing world. Their rabble-rousing feminist cousin Diane and their charismatic Vietnam-veteran neighbor Bruce represent contrasting paths that they might choose. Over the course of an eventful Fourth of July weekend in the Hamptons, their consciousnesses are raised and they come to know the true meaning of sisterhood.

Lily Janiak chose PLEIADES as an “Editor’s Pick” in the July/August 2014 issue of Theatre Bay Area, describing the script as “the love child of Jane Austen and Wendy Wasserstein.” Previous drafts of the play have received staged readings at the San Francisco Olympians Festival (October 2011) and the Atlantic Stage New Voices Festival in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (April 2013). The script is also due to be published in HEAVENLY BODIES, an anthology of plays from the 2011 Olympians Festival, forthcoming from EXIT Press.

From SFWeekly: “In Pleiades — Marissa Skudlarek’s clever reinterpretation of the story of seven sisters who serve as companions to Artemis — Zeus is portrayed by a charismatic Vietnam vet, while the goddess is represented by a fiery cousin, aptly named for her Roman counterpart, Diane. Set in 1971, Pleiades transforms the seven nymphs into baby boomers, straddling a stodgy world of stereotypes (archetypes) and a promised world of sisterhood and freedom, which may also fall prey to rigidity.”

Women involved in this production –

CREATIVE TEAM: Marissa Skudlarek (Playwright, Producer, Costume Coordinator); Katja Rivera (Director); Jane Troja (Stage Manager); Emily C. Martin (Poster Artist); Serena Morelli (Photographer); Jennifer Varat (Scenic Designer); Liz Ryder (Original Music/Sound Designer).

CAST: Monica Ammerman (Teresa); Erika Bakse(Diane); Kailah Cayou (Meredith); Miranda Hanrahan(Kelly); Annabelle King (Alison); Susannah Lee (Moira); Emily Ludlow (Sarah); and Amy Nowak (Elaine).

If you saw the show with the WWSF group (or by yourself), share your thoughts with us!


7 responses to “Meetup #22: PLEIADES

  1. Found myself humming Judy Collins ‘Both Sides Now’ as I got home from the show. I found the family dynamic of the seven sisters very believable. This script is full of terrific monologues and two person scenes for young female actors, and any drama teacher or teaching artist should make sure they have a copy of this script when it gets published!

    • Thank you, Valerie! I should note that the script of PLEIADES (as it stood in June 2014) actually is published in HEAVENLY BODIES, an anthology of Olympians Festival plays from Exit Press. The book is available at the Exit Theater and from Amazon. If anyone would prefer to read the updated script that includes the minor revisions that we made in rehearsal this summer, please contact me (Marissa Skudlarek).

  2. I saw the last preview of the show – lovely to see dynamic women of Greek mythology brought into contemporary drama. I was struck by the realistic interactions of the sisters intertwined with stylized portrayals of classical characters & archetypes (the role of the chorus, hubris, the tragic heroine/influence of the gods). Though the play is set in the 70s, many of the discussions/conflicts are sadly at home in today’s world.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all those women on stage. The family dynamics were vivid and real and the play surprised me several times. I haven’t made it out to a meet up in a long time and this was a lovely one to bring me back. WW SF meet ups are my favorite way to go to the theatre.

    • thanks Micky! A Sept meetup for the East Bay is in the works! Hope you’ll be able to join us for that one too!

  4. So glad I attended! Loved the camaraderie, got a great lead to help with some casting. I could identify with the play as I am from a family of seven children and that is, frankly, my era. Congratulations to Marissa, Katya, and the whole team!

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