Playwriting workshop showcases ‘Four Women Speak’

Four women sit upright in their chairs.

Music stands hold up their scripts as they all follow along in a reading. Taking turns reciting their lines, one takes the character of a bride, another the character of a widow, still another a mother and the last a single woman.

These women will take on the roles written by author and poet Jo Ann Lordahl in “Four Women Speak” for this weekend’s Women In Theatre playwriting workshop.

Lordahl has been working on “Four Women Speak” for quite some time now. But hopefully, with the help of the women of WIT and the actors doing the reading this weekend, Lordahl can put on the finishing touches.

Tomorrow at the Aloha Center in the Nawiliwili Harbor, the women of WIT will be hold the first of a series of workshops on the process of live theater, focusing on promoting the work of local women playwrights.

Producer of the workshop Faith Harding said she hoped this will get women writers up and writing.

“The goal is to have it be a part of promoting local women and helping them get their play into its final stages,” she said. “Hopefully these will springboard into future productions for WIT.

At the workshop, the actresses Louise Arakaki, Nola Conn, Susan Zollinger and Kasey Alcott will do a reading of Lordahl’s play, then break for lunch, provided by E.B.’s eats of Lihu‘e. Then there will be question-and-answer session in which Harding, Lordahl and director of “Four Women Speak” Linda McCall hope to bounce around ideas of how the play should go.

“I started writing the play of the four women on the cross — the bride, the mother, the widow and the single woman,” Lordahl said. “I’ve written an ending and have changed it several times, but I’m seeing an end in sight. Hopefully I’ll have one after this.” Hearing her play read by the actresses and getting feedback from them has been beneficial for Lordahl.

“I’m feeling really good about it,” she said. “It was supposed to be finished but it wasn’t coming together like it is now. To go through line by line and see what stuff comes out and the feedback, watching them try to say things they can’t say because it was written in poetic form, is helpful.” “Four Women Speak” chronicles women and their issues of loneliness, old age, beauty and men. As it is, the play could be compared to a reading of “The Vagina Monologues” in that the women share their experiences with the audiences and not the other women. But they are somehow connected to each other.

Lordahl said she hopes that WIT and workshop participants can benefit from reading her play while helping make it complete.

Harding said she hopes more plays will come out of this workshop and become full-fledged productions, possibly for WIT.

Lordahl is a prize-winning poet, has 16 published books of fiction and nonfiction and heads a local writing group.

Harding, in addition to her producing for WIT, serves as the secretary for the board of directors.

For reservations or more information, contact Harding at 651-1927.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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