New York Woman's Literary Salon

February, 1976 Newsletter

Text of the Newsletter:
The Woman's Salon in March will feature an important new work by feminist playwright Karen Malpede whose "A Lament for Three Women" was produced in New York in 1974. Come join us to hear:


The Cycle Play: Part One

by Karen Malpede

Read by: Tina Shepard, Ellen Maddow, Sybille Hayn

Saturday, March 13, 8 p.m.
28 Greene St., 3rd floor loft: Hayn
(between Broome & Canal, near the IRT Canal St. stop)

Karen's "Rebeccah" reexamines history from a woman's perspective; its theme is the birth of the feminist imagination. In her play, Karen details the changing consciousness of a woman, Rebeccah, who loses a son in the Russian pogrom of 1905, a daughter in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, and becomes a shopping bag lady who founds a shanty town during the Depression. As Rebeccah sees how a community can be built out of the garbage of this civilization, the play changes in tone from grief to joy. The metaphor and the emotional transformation are bound to strike deep chords in women, particularly those of us who are working to transform our lives.

Stylistically, Karen's creation of a direct, poetic language for use on stage is significant, particularly in view of her roots in the experimental theater of the '60's, a theater that disavowed words. Her commitment to meaningful language extends that theater in a way particularly important for women, as though through feminism, language becomes possible again in the theater. Critical works by Karen are People's Theater in Amerika (Drama Book, 1972), an analytical history of radical theater, and Three Works by the Open Theater (Drama Book, 1974).

The actors who will read at the Salon, and begin rehearsals the following week for a fall, 1976, production, share Karen's roots in radical theater. Tina Shepard, who worked six years with the Open Theater, most recently appearing as Electra, will act the title role of Rebeccah and direct. Sybille Kayn, a dancer as well as actor, appeared in Karen's "Lament." Ellen Maddow has been an actor and musician with the Open Theater for three years. They will be joined by members of the Spiderwoman Theater Workshop: Muriel Miguel, Gloria Mojica, Pamela Verge and Lois Weaver. The Rebeccah Company, says Martha Coigney, director of International Theatre Institute of the United States, is "a group of theatre artists whose separate backgrounds are impressive and whose collective ability and commitment are awesome." She lauds "Rebeccah," calling it an "important event in the development of Women's Theatre."

THE WOMAN'S SALON, February 1976 page 2
The "Rebeccah" reading will be introduced by Marilyn Coffey, author of the novel, Marcella, and the critical article on Dorothy Richardson read at an early Salon. Instrumental in organizing the symposium of women writers at Pratt Institute, Marilyn is currently completing her second novel, One for the Money. As usual, women only are invited to the Salon. Guests are welcome. Please contribute $1, food, or wine, plus publications or flyers for display on the Book Table, if you wish.

JANUARY SALON: More than seventy women heard Erika Duncan read "The Death of Clair" from her new novel. She was introduced by Sharon Spencer, critic and novelist. Enthusiasm ran high at the meeting, with some members staying to talk until nearly 2 a.m.

POETRY : Marge Piercy is coming down from Wellfleet, Mass., to read at the Donnell Library in New York, Tues., March 9, 7:30 p.m. She'll be reading with Yvette Mintzer; Audre Lorde will introduce them. Admission is free. Marge's new book of poetry, Living in the Open, is being published the same week.

THEATER NOTES: A new musical, "Jigsaw," with sketches and Iyrics by Jean Reavey, will open at Quaigh Theatre, Wed., March 24, 7:30 p.m., and run Wed.-Sat., March 24-April 3, at 7:30 p.m., and on Sundays, March 28, April 4, at 3 & 8 p.m. For reservations, call SU 7-0862 or 254-2113. The Quaigh, now at the Tudor Room, Hotel Commodore at 42nd St. E Lexington, opened there with Jean's play, "The Incredible Julia."

APHRA, the women's literary magazine, is publishing again--thanks to $5,000 donated by subscribers. The next issue will be a double one. Aphra needs temporary work space. If you know of any, please call Claire Scheinbart at 737-5274.

FROM LONDON: Virago, a new feminist imprint in London publishing under the guidance of feminist ad publicist Carmen Callil, has nine titles in its first line of books. Some titles are: Fathers and Daughters, an account of Russian women in revolution by Cathy Porter; The Paradise Papers, about the Goddess religion and supression of women's rites by Merlin Stone; Fenwomen, a portrait of women in an English village by Mary Chamberlain. Carmen promises some sample books for display on the Salon Book Table.

WRITER'S CONFERENCE: Hannelore Hahn sends details of plans for the second national Women-in-Writing Conference to be held at Harrison House, Glen Cove, L.I., Aug. 7-8. A variety of workshops are planned for the weekend which costs $75-$87. For details, write Hannelore at 1628 York Ave., New York, N.Y. 10028 or call her at (212) 737-7536.

ART NOTES: Recent shows include Miriam Brumer's at Lotus Gallery, 81 Spring St., and Juanita McNeely's at Prince St. Gallery, 106 Prince. . . .Brooklyn College Student Center showed work by June Blum, including her portraits of women artists. . . Suzanne Benton, metal sculptor, has put together a book, The Art of Welded Sculpture, showing her ritual masks.

Marilyn Coffey, Karen Malpede, Erika Duncan, Gloria Orenstein, Carole Rosenthal

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