Author: Ann Firestone Ungar


Rachel Calof is a solo drama based on a Yiddish memoir, Rachel Calof’s Story: Jewish Homesteader on the Northern Plains. The play is a chamber piece, intimate yet large, ambitious to tell the life story of a resourceful and fine woman whose life’s hard, but through its lessons she triumphs. Rachel is Jewish, but she could be every woman who, with grit, humor and dignity manages to survive and thrive.

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This play deserves future productions, and I’m confident it will find its way into the American repertory. It’s very much a story about commitment and temptation, ambition for the complex, ambition for the simple, and reaching for the moon, however you define that.

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Schooled by Lisa Lewis is a drama about Claire, a young woman in mourning for her father. She’s a student in a New York City film school with a screenplay to which she is wedded. It’s good, says her professor, Andrew, but the two-page voiceover at the beginning has got to go. It’s good, says her boyfriend, Jake, also a film student (who Claire likens to Aaron Sorkin), but not as good as mine even though you’re brilliant. Both men have a stake in their relationship with Claire, and both men lose her because her stake, her deep hunger, is to pay tribute to her deceased father with her film.

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In the space of one swift hour the skilled dramatist and actress Rohina Malik portrays five Muslim women. Their personal stories vividly and movingly tell their experiences as they wear the hijab of their faith, encountering racism and islamophobic hate crimes, and yet surviving and thriving despite this ugly onslaught.

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