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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “Peter Pan”

Martha Richards

Martha Richards, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenExecutive Director, WomenArts – Non-profit Arts Manager
San Francisco, California USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I am inspired by our history. I love reading about women’s accomplishments in theatre and in the world at large because those stories fill me with a sense of possibility for my own life and for the lives of all the women I work with.

What play or production changed your life?
I saw Mary Martin in a touring production of Peter Pan in San Francisco.  I was only in second grade, but from that day on I knew that I wanted to work in theatre when I grew up. My parents got me a record of the show and I listened to it over and over – learning all the songs by heart and trying to fly in our living room.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Plays by dead white men – Since I have spent the past 17 years constantly advocating for women artists, it feels terribly wicked, but I still love to see great productions of works by the male playwrights I grew up on – Ibsen, Shaw, Chekhov, Wilde, Coward, Kaufman & Hart, and of course, Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I dream of taking a series of leisurely trips by bicycle and train where I could meet with women theatre artists in different parts of the world and observe their work.

What is your best escape?
I love being with my friends – especially if we can go for a long walk or have a nice meal. I always find that being in nature calms me down and helps me focus, and I often get my best ideas during casual conversations with my friends.

I feel most like myself when I ….
am sitting at my computer solving some complicated budget or software problem. I love those math problems.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
My introduction to arts management involved folding paper towels from the school bathroom into Origami paper swans to sell to my classmates. Instead of applauding my incipient managerial skills, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office for taking too many paper towels.

Martha Richards, Founder/Executive Director of WomenArts (a non-profit serving women artists) has held top management positions at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College and StageWest. Holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.

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Carol K. Mack

Carol K. Mack, member of League of Professional Theatre WomenPlaywright/Writer
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m often inspired by overheard conversations on buses or on line at the supermarket. Cell phones can work well for playwrights as the other end of the conversation remains completely open to imagination. Sometimes, mid-work, a word or gesture by a stranger can point to the solution of a ‘moment’ or a problem in a play in progress. My other major source of inspiration is myth and folktale.

What play or production changed your life?
The play that changed my life was Peter Pan when Uta Hagen sent me off to audition for Wendy and I finally realized I would never get to play Lady Macbeth or Blanche Dubois or any of the characters I longed to “be” so I began to write the powerful and interesting protagonists I could inhabit in my imagination. I have always used Uta Hagen’s great acting techniques in writing and in teaching writing.

The production that changed my life was the incredibly moving way that my play Without A Trace (about a blind pianist) was produced in Scotland by Sounds of Progress, a group of very talented disabled musicians and actors with a mix of other actors and directed by the amazing Gerda Stevenson. This production illuminated the experience I think is unique to theatre, that of an entire audience being transported from their world beyond the fourth wall to the world of the play. When an entire audience is moved deeply, sometimes to tears, that moment becomes a kind of communion unlike any other experience! For a playwright the imagined “world” begins as text, and what a gift it is when realized by the talents of actors, designers, and director. In this play the musicians and actors were “seen” as the extraordinary artists they are and not “seen as” disabled. After 9/11 and because of the “Scottish play” in 2002 I realized that a play could change and/or powerfully inform the beliefs of audiences and lives of a company. This pointed the way for me to work for social change via playwriting.

What is your best escape? Walking, especially through Central Park.

Carol K. Mack‘s one act plays published in Best Short American Plays editions 1984-85, 1990, 1993-94, 2005-06 Applause Books; other plays published by Heinemann Press, Samuel French, DPS, Smith Kraus. Books published by Arcade, Holt, Skyhorse, Profile Books; plays staged at E.S.T., Berkshire Theatre Festival, A.R.T., Humana Festival, Women’s Project. www.carolkmack.com

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