A play about women by a woman

CAST (in order of appearance)
Sally Ward ............... Defne Halman*
Marian Ward .............. Jennifer Dorr White*
Tracy Ward ............... Lara Agar Stoby
Liz Allen ................ Babs Winn*
Arlene Bonelli ........... Becky London*
(*appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association)
Playwright ............... Latife Mardin
Director ............... Melanie Martin Long
Producer................Arif Mardin

THE "A" WORD, a new play by Latife Mardin, has been scheduled to perform through February 18,  at the Greenwich Street Theatre (547 Greenwich Street).

Mardin is a Turkish-born playwright who brings a unique perspective to this American story set in the watershed year of 1968.  THE "A" WORD examines the difficult moral questions an unplanned teenage pregnancy raises in a suburban family such  when an unwanted teenage pregnancy brings the issue of abortion home.  While we have come along way from 1968 the time the play is set, when the right to choose was non-existent, abortion today remains a passionately debated issue. THE "A" WORD raises questions of morality and happiness, bringing forth hidden secrets and creating turmoil in an otherwise ordinary household.

Although THE "A" WORD does not physically contain a male character, the male presence reverberates throughout the play as these five woman negotiate their lives in terms of male standards and definitions of womanhood. While there is little room for them to fully develop their beliefs and decide the courses of their own lives, their camaraderie gives them strength and remains central to THE "A" WORD.

Even though women of the twenty-first century seem better equipped to define their own identities than women in the late sixties, the challenges they faced are still very much with us.

Before the landmark case Roe v. Wade was decided upon, women with unwanted pregnancies had to seek out back-alley doctors who were willing enough to perform abortions, but these procedures came with a high price tag, sometimes even with their lives. But however the Supreme Court has decided, the issue of pro-life and pro-choice is one that is individually dealt with and handled in each family. Although not knowing what the future holds with the current political climate, this decision may soon be reversed.

Latife Mardin wrote this play eight years ago on the eve of the Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey which upheld the Roe v. Wade decision by a slim margin of five to four. The play was written as a reminder to both women and men of what the world was like before there were legal and safe abortions in the United States.

Melanie Martin Long directs this all women cast of THE "A" WORD, which will feature Defne Halman, Becky London, Lara Agar Stoby, Jennifer Dorr White, and Babs Winn. Melanie Martin Long, whose directorial credits include A VERY OLD MAN WITH ENORMOUS WING at Lincoln Center, is an Associate Artist at the Lark Theatre. She is also the founder of the Crisis Point Theatre in Minnesota.

She has worked with The Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Theatre Gael, Theatre Emory- all in Atlanta, and the Guthrie Theatre in Minnesota. Set design is by Troy Hourie whose recent credits include THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, ISLAND OF BLUE DOLPHINS, and in April, Latife will also be conducting a book signing in Istanbul, Turkey for her novel, "East Is East."

More about Latife Mardin (Playwright):
She was born in Istanbul, attended English High School for Girls and American College in Istanbul. Married to well known record producer Arif Mardin, she has three children; Nazan Joffre, Joe Mardin, Julie Mardin; and a granddaughter Lara Stoby. Latife worked as Assistant Director on documentaries and other films in Turkey. She also worked at the ILO Institute for Labour in Turkey as a simultaneous interpreter and translator as well as at the United Nations. She has published a novel, Of Emeralds and Kings. Presently Latife is working on a trilogy about the later years of the Ottoman Empire, tentatively titled East is East and West is West.

About the Producer: Arif MARDIN

Please contact: Lydia Sherwood 520 579-8064

This issue is dedicated to contemporary Turkish artist Erol AKYAVA┼×.
ISIKBINYILI.ORG The Light Millennium
Winter 2001
Winter 2001
Winter 2001
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