“Fornés is America’s truest poet of the theater.” —Erika Munk
“An extraordinary play of uncommon insight and wit.” —Los Angeles Herald Examiner
“One of the most powerful plays written about the mysteries and shared hallucinations of the female experience.” —L A Weekly
“Though written in 1977, the message of FEFU AND HER FRIENDS remains ever the same: women don’t know what to do with feminism. Or rather, they don’t know what to do with themselves. It’s a strange, unsettling play, not least because the strong women characters are at a loss with each other and with themselves. Without a man to center around, they disintegrate into cattiness and then madness. Fefu is probably deranged to begin with. She ‘pretends’ to shoot her husband with a gun that may or may not be loaded. She likes men better than women and in fact finds women ‘loathsome.’ Fefu and her friends are a group of society women, circa 1935. They’re bored and affected in the manner of wealthy women who have too much free time. The play begins with plans for a charity benefit being planned at Fefu’s New England estate. During the second part, four different scenes play simultaneously in four different rooms. The audience is led around to each in no particular order. In the final act, the women turn giggly, then bitchy, and then everything takes a tragic turn. Though not a realistic play neither is it strictly allegorical…at the heart of the play [is] ‘a provocative statement about women to this day.’ Fornés’s self-loathing, self-doubting women only gradually come to understand the glossy surface and the dark underbelly that is the dual reality of their lives. It’s thought-provoking but challenging, not for those who enjoy escapism in their theatre.” —Jenny Sandman, CurtainUp
Fornés was born on May 14, 1930, in Havana, Cuba, to Carlos Luis and Carmen Hismenia Fornés. After her father died in 1945, she moved with her mother and sister to the United States, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951. From 1954 to 1957, Fornés lived in Paris, studying to become a painter. However, after attending a French production of Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT, Fornés decided to devote her creative energies toward playwriting. Upon returning to the United States, she worked for three years as a textile designer in New York City. THE WIDOW, Fornés's first professionally produced play, was staged in 1961. Fornés acted as the director for many of her subsequent works, including THERE! YOU DIED (1963; later retitled TANGO PALACE, 1964), THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE OF 3: A SKIT IN VAUDEVILLE (1965), and MOLLY'S DREAM (1968), among others. In 1973 she founded the New York Theatre Strategy, which was devoted to the production of stylistically innovative theatrical works. Fornés has held teaching and advisory positions at several universities and theatrical festivals, such as the Theatre for the New City, the Padua Hills Festival, and the INTAR (International Arts Relations) program in New York City. She received eight Obie awards — in such categories as distinguished playwriting and direction and best new play — for PROMENADE (1965), THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE OF 3, FEFU AND HER FRIENDS, THE DANUBE (1982), MUD, SARITA (1984), THE CONDUCT OF LIFE, and ABINGDON SQUARE (1987). Fornés received numerous other awards and grants for her oeuvre, including Rockefeller Foundation Grants in 1971 and 1984, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972, National Endowments for the Arts grants in 1974, 1984, and 1985, an American Academy and Institute of Letters and Arts Award in Literature in 1986, and a Playwrights U.S.A. Award in 1986. She also produced several original translations and adaptations of such plays as Federico Garcia Lorca's BLOOD WEDDING (1980), Pedro Calderón de la Barca's LIFE IS A DREAM (1981), Virgilio Piñera's COLD AIR (1985), and Anton Chekhov's UNCLE VANYA (1987). She died in New York City on October 30, 2018.
If original stage producers credits appear in bold below, all licensees are required to include them in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
Originally produced by the New York Theater Strategy
In addition, the following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Fefu and Her Friends is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC
Lonnie Carter, with Loy Arcenas, based on the short story "The Romance of Magno Rubio" by Carlos Bulosan, additional dialogue in Filipino by Ralph B Peña
Set in the central valleys of California in the 1930s, the play focuses on Magno Rubio, an illiterate Filipino farm worker and his pen-pal courtship with Clarabelle, a white woman from Arkansas who advertises in the back pages of a “lonely hearts” magazine. Believing he's found the woman of his dreams, Magno fantasizes about their life together, only to soon realize that reality and dreams do not always align.
Cast: 5 total (5 male) Full Length Drama (about 80 minutes) Single Set Contemporary Costumes
Lynne Alvarez, adapted from a story by Pam Muñoz Ryan
ESPERANZA RISING is the story of a young girl who is uprooted, transplanted, and re-grown in alien soil. The glorious, live music of Mariachis carries Esperanza (whose name means “hope”) across the dividing line that cuts through the center of this play. That line (both literal and figurative) divides two countries, two cultures, and two languages. It also separates Mexico and California, the year 1930 from 1931, and Act One from Act Two. Brought up in the lush and beautiful world of the Mexican aristocracy and then torn away and replanted in the impoverished world of a migrant labor camp in California, Esperanza ultimately fulfills the promise of her name.
Cast: 11 total (6 female, 5 male) Full Length Drama (about 90 minutes) Minimal Set Requirements Period Costumes
In Hollywood in 1939, an actor/director named Julian Hyde is blackmailed by a gossip columnist known as Hollywood Confidential who threatens to reveal Hyde’s homosexuality. Hyde is coerced into revealing secrets of other Hollywood stars. Hyde plots revenge by making a film about Hollywood Confidential’s life, revealing all of his secrets.
Cast: 13 total (3 female, 10 male, extras) Full Length Drama (about 130 minutes) Minimal Set Requirements Period Costumes
On the night in 1939 when Count Basie is to be the first black performer at the Palomar Ballroom next door, a pair of Bimini Baths attendants are tasked with cleaning up a stranger fished out of the La Brea Tar Pits.
Cast: 3 total (3 male) Full Length Drama (about 60 minutes) Minimal Set Requirements Period Costumes
High atop a railroad trestle that spans a bone dry creek, two teenagers plan to race across the bridge against an oncoming locomotive. At first their scheme adds excitement to life in a small factory town during the Great Depression, then sensual experience awakens dangerous passions in an era of stifled ambitions. With theatrical flourish and lyrical finesse, Naomi Wallace delves into a world where people struggle to change lives that bear down upon them.
Cast: 5 total (2 female, 3 male) Full Length Drama (about 110 minutes) Single Set Period Costumes
While the dance world celebrated Vaslav Nijinsky’s meteoric rise to fame in the early 1900s, few were privy to the private side of this creative genius. This bold new play explores Nijinsky’s shipboard courtship of, and marriage to, Romola DePulsky, a relationship that would span thirty years, weathering his exile and frequent bouts of madness.
Cast: 9 total (4 female, 5 male) Full Length Drama (about 120 minutes) Minimal Set Requirements Period Costumes
Los Angeles, 1933. PI Frank Ellery doesn’t know it, but he’s taken on the strangest case of his life. A literary agent has been gruesomely murdered. The four suspects: his remaining clients, all writers for different pulp magazines. Frank dives into the mystery, and his world turns upside down as life begins to imitate literature. Science fiction, romance, adventure, horror … and one down-on-his-luck gumshoe who’s about to learn what really lurks between the lines.
Cast: 5 total (1 female, 4 male) Full Length Comedy (about 100 minutes) Minimal Set Requirements Contemporary Costumes