Over 50 years ago, thousands of young American women went to Vietnam to serve their country. These women's stories remain untold. In 2016, Infinite Variety Productions interviewed five of these women; Ann Kelsey (Special Services Librarian), Judy Jenkins Guadino (Special Services RecreationEmployee), Jeanne "Sam" Christie (Red Cross, Donut Dollie), Lily Adams (US Army Nurse), and Doris "Lucki" Allen (US Army Intelligence Specialist).
In Their Footsteps, is a 55-minute documentary theatre piece,in which the actors only use the exact words from the five women's testimonies to tell these women's stories.
Photo credit: Noelle Fair Photography
Displeyst tells the true story of a well-to-do Jewish family, headed by matriarch Margaret Welish. Fleeing Nazi persecution, Margaret took her family from Austria to the Philippines, only to have their life ripped apart again by the invasion of Japan.
Using Margaret's 1981 diary and oral histories from her daughters, Infinite Variety Productions has created a one act that incorporates shadow puppetry, devised moment and powerful storytelling.
Displeyst had its workshop production at Under St.Marks in the spring of 2019.
Upcoming production: Bethpage Library
BEYOND THE ETCHINGS
Beyond the Etchings tells the story of women and men whose names are visited on the Vietnam Wall every day and the mothers, wives and sisters who were left behind after the soldiers were gone.
We see the faces behind the names as the etching of each story is brought to life out of the stone. Beyond the Etchings began with source material from co-writer Bob Staranowicz who served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. Bob then collaborated with Kelly Teaford and Ashley Adelman to create this original work.
Photo credit: PJ Valentini
It is 1925, and young yet ingenious Cecilia Payne seeks guidance from veteran astronomer Annie Jump Cannon on her doctoral thesis. Sensing Cecilia’s doubts about her unbelievable findings, Annie leads Cecilia through her own struggle as a brilliant female scientist in a male world. She introduces Cecilia to Mina Fleming, Antonia Maury, and Henrietta Leavitt, women whose research and discoveries in science have lived throughout the centuries but whose names have been ignored. Fiercely sarcastic and bittersweet, Insignificant tells the true stories of the women behind the stars and their astounding but uncelebrated triumphs in the field of astronomy. Defiantly unconventional, the play reminds us that women have to break all the rules to make history.
Photo credit: PJ Valentini
These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich is based on the true story of Catherine Donohue. Ms. Donohue was hired to work at The Radium Dial Factory in Ottawa, Illinois. Paid by the watch, the women were encouraged to dip the brush in their mouths for a finer point. The solution they used though had radium in it so the watches would glow in the dark. Guaranteed they were safe, many women fell ill, Catherine Donohue one of them. She fought back though and sued the company, winning right before she passed away. Her trial and one in NJ set the precedent for changing labor union laws for generations to come.
Censored On Final Approach tells the story of four WASPs (Women Air Force Service Pilots). The WASPs were a group of roughly one thousand women hired by the United States Army Air Forces during WWII to fly military aircrafts, thereby freeing male pilots for combat missions. These women flew a combined total of over 600 million miles in every type of military aircraft and paved the way for future generations of female pilots, both military and civilian. Once the war ended, the program was deactivated. The women who were there as civilians were told to “just go back home.” It was not until 1977 that these women were finally given military status, over 30 years after the war had ended.
Eclipsed was one of the first plays to tell the story of the Magdalene Laundries and was inspired by the playwright's experiences as a young novitiate. After seeing the horrendous mistreatment in the laundries, Patricia decided against becoming a nun and instead highlighted the plight of these women in her writing.