JS&P 2007-8: Los Desaparecidos (The Vanished)

José de Ribera’s painting “Duelo De Mujeres (The Duel of Women)” was the focus of the next round of Joining Sword & Pen.

Duelo de MujeresThe Babes and David Woolley requested full-length plays rather than one-acts, and received over 20 entries.

The winning play, Chicagoan Barbara Lhota’s Los Desaparecidos (The Vanished), was staged at the Raven Theatre, April 6 – May 11, 2008. Directed and choreographed by Fight Master David Woolley, Los Desaparecidos (The Vanished) was the first BWBTC production to feature a mixed-gender cast. Ms. Lhota received the Margaret W. Martin Award, which carried with it a $1000 stipend.

Admat PC frontCAST: Libby Beyreis* (Female U/S, Servant, Fight Swing), Lisa Herceg (Marisol), Gregory M. Larson (Antonio), Sean Patrick Leonard (Eduardo), Morgan Manasa* (Zania), Meghan Martinez* (Isabel), Paul Martinez (Frederico), Stephanie Repin* (Diana), Mercedes Rohlfs (Lucilla), Dustin Spence (Father Roberto, Man), Rachel Stubbs (Eliana), Ryan Zarecki (Male U/S, Servant, Fight Swing)

STAFF: Leigh Barrett* (Lighting Design), Tina Bernacci (Assistant Director), Libby Beyreis* (Fight Captain), Alexander Braatz (Sound Design), Amy E. Harmon* (Producer), Gillian Humiston* (Assistant Producer), Anders Jacobson (Set Design), Michelle Julazadeh (Costume Design), Kjerstine McHugh* (Stage Manager)

Graphic Design by grumpy monkey graphics & design

* denotes BWBTC ensemble member


How/when did you hear about Babes With Blades Theatre Company?
My now wife, Lisa Herceg, was involved with BWBTC soon after we met and started dating. She was in Choose Your Adventure, which I thought was super fun and funny. I went to see that play, of course, and then I went to see The Girl in the Iron Mask, which I also really enjoyed.

Marisol (Herceg) Eliana (Stubbs)How/when did you hear about Joining Sword & Pen?
I was at a fundraiser at The Theatre Building (when it was still called that) and BWBTC was doing a portion of When Fairy Tales Attack. Sam Alden announced the first Joining Sword & Pen.

I didn’t write anything that first year. I wasn’t going to do it the next time either because I knew nothing about writing period pieces or scripts with sword fighting, but a Babes member, Alison Dornheggen, really encouraged me. So I wrote Los Desaparecidos (The Vanished), which won Joining Sword & Pen that time around. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing but it was an exciting way to work.

What made you decide to enter the competition?
I wanted to stretch myself. I was fascinated by writing a play for an all-female cast. I wrote male characters for the show but had originally imagined it with all females playing the Isabel (Martinez) Eliana (Stubbs)characters. I was also interested in letting go of the control of the story. Having a visual for inspiration that was completely different from my life experience allowed me to research and experiment in a wholly different time period than I would ever consider on my own. I never wrote a play that included sword fighting so that was quite exciting.

What did you think when you won the competition?
I was thrilled! I was so excited to see what David Woolley would do with the fights, which were amazing.

Do you have a favorite memory from the development/rehearsal/production process?
About three-quarters of the way through the rehearsal process, we were feeling like one particular scene going into another was clunky. David and I realized that the order of the scenes may be slowing down the progression. We immediately said let’s try and reverse them. Once we did, it’s as if everything magically flowed much better. Everyone in the room could feel that shift help propel the play faster and in a more logical way.

Frederico (Martinez) Isabel (Martinez)I believe I did something similar with for The Double after Leigh suggested it. I’m pretty sure that also occurred for 180 Degree Rule with a Rachel suggestion. I must tend to have two scenes out of order.

What’s happened to your script since (readings, productions, publications, etc.)?
It’s now called The Vanished. There’s been a few rewrites as I wanted to shorten the script a bit. The publishing & performing rights were granted to Chicago Dramaworks in January 2015.

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a play called Phantom Pain, which is about three women in their 50s who grew up in Detroit. All three of them faced racial tension and childhood violence. One of the three lost her leg in the violence they faced. They meet up as adults and begin to realize what is buried beneath the surface of their relationships. It’s sad, funny, and ultimately somewhat hopeful.

Diana (Repin) Isabel (Martinez)I’m starting to work on a reverse-gender, urban musical riffing off The Prodigal Son/Forgiving Father story.

I’m also outlining a play about an older female boxer who has been on a losing streak. She faces domestic abuse in her relationship. Her relationship happens to be with a female stockbroker. The play will also have a slew of interesting, off-beat boxer characters (coaches, competitors, etc.).

All the plays I’m writing right have violence central to the storyline or back-story of the play.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Isabel (Martinez) Diana (Repin)Diana (Repin) Eliana (Stubbs)Isabel (Martinez) Eliana (Stubbs) Diana (Repin)

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