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  • Writer's pictureSofia Lindgren Galloway

Pirates, Puppets, and New Plays: OH MY!

Check out my blog post about pirates for Collective Unconscious Performance. You can read it below, or on their website by clicking here.

Updates from Associate Artistic Director Sofia Lindgren Galloway: This fall has been busy for Collective Unconscious Performance! While David and the French Ladies were sipping champagne, I dove into a workshop for one of our future works. Inspired by an old tale by Rabbi Nachman, this new play about femme pirates will follow a headstrong young woman and her crew as they sail into a life of piracy. These clever seafarers will battle sea monsters, and monstrous sea men, with wit, charm, and (of course) some puppets! This play has been a dream of mine for almost five years. I first encountered the story in a beautiful children’s book called The Serpent Slayer: and Other Stories of Strong Women compiled by Katrin Tchana, and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

It follows a clever princess named Judith who must run away from her home to be with her lover but she and the beau are shipwrecked and separated. Judith vows to be reunited with her love but along the way, she meets men who keep trying to marry her. In each case, she agrees to the wedding but tricks her suitors at the last minute and kills them, captures their ladies in waiting, or steals their treasures. Eventually, she assembles a mighty crew of lady-pirates and by a strange miscommunication, ends up as the king of another land! Needless to say, I was head over heels for this fast paced adventure that lets a princess have all the fun and “close-calls” of the stories from my childhood that seemed to be reserved for courageous (male) royalty and benevolent (male) street urchins. It inspired me to stage a play that lets women and queer folks move through a traditionally masculine narrative without question, judgement, or being “saved” by another character.

This fall, we focused on generating content based on some of the following questions:

  • What happens if the crew encounters sea monsters from our collective remembering of sea tales? What if they meet a cyclops, Poseidon, the shark from Jaws?

  • Is our main character a princess? Does she need to chase after her prince?

  • Can we have a love story between our supporting characters? (YES- WE CAN AND WE WILL!)

  • What is funny about this narrative? When do we need to take this seriously?

  • What benevolent sexism from our own lives has a home in this story?

I had the absolute privilege and delight of working with some of the most creative, sensitive, and silly performers in town: Addison Sharpe, Bethany McHugh, Jasmine Porter, Jex Arzayus, Mickaylee Shaughnessy, Morgen Chang, Nora Huxtable, Stephanie Johnson, Stephanie Ruas, Suzi Love, and Victoria Pyan. Based on the content we generated, I will be creating a new draft of the script that we will workshop again in early 2019. We’ll be sure to keep you all posted on upcoming workshops and public readings over the next year!       - Sofia

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