The Ithaca Ladies Read Medea
Available on from Next Stage Press

The Ithaca Ladies
Read Medea

A full length drama for 6w, 1m
In 1953, after interrogation by the House Un-American Activities Committee, four faculty wives meet for their monthly play reading after one of them betrayed the host.

Runtime: 75 minutes

Period: 1953

Setting: A living room
ADELAIDE HOUGHTON 40-50's. Uses a wheelchair.
ELSIE BISHOP 60's+ (70's?)

The Ithaca Ladies Read Medea
Mary-Margaret Lewis as Elsie.
Photo by Alex Moy

The Ithaca Ladies Read Medea Poster

About The Ithaca Ladies Read Medea

Drama, Full length, 6w, 1m

(A new One Act version for 6w is available.)

The Ithaca Ladies Read Medea
September 2016 premiere of The Ithaca Ladies Read Medea
L to R: Kathryn Farren, Marti Hale, Kristin Carey, Tara Donovan, Shirley Hatton, Mary-Margaret Lewis.
Directed by Danielle Ozymandias at Little Fish Theatre, Los Angeles. Photo by Alex Moy.

The year is 1953, and the House Un-American Activities Committee is at its peak, fomenting suspicion and distrust, nowhere more so than in the insular world of academia.
In the university town of Ithaca, four faculty wives, shackled by the societal constraints of the fifties, defined and confined by their husbands' careers and politics, meet for their monthly play reading - knowing that one of them betrayed the host to save her husband’s position.
This is the evening they have chosen to read Euripides’ Medea - and as they delve into the classic Greek tragedy, their own stories unfold, their secrets and betrayals are brought to light, and their friendships are tested, shattered and renewed.

The play premiered in Los Angeles at the Little Fish Theatre in 2016, garnering some rave reviews.

One Act version.

I recently rewrote the play as a 36 minute, UIL safe one act version for 6w. I am reaching out to drama teachers and others looking for a one act for a cast of women, and once I've had a chance to see it up on its feet, I'll submit it to Next Stage Press (who publish the full length) as an official alternate version. If you are a drama teacher - probably best at High School or College level - looking for a one act play, please contact me!

Why this play?

The play is very loosely based on my grandmother, and the stories that I heard growing up of her "Amateur Dramatic Society" that met every month for a play reading, and one fraught night where they did indeed read Medea... but my decision to actually write the play came from an off hand remark she made to me once: "Well, it was all very informal. Why, we didn't even wear our gloves once we were indoors." That was a world I wanted to explore, and that line made it into the play almost intact.
The other part of the full-length play, which had to be excised for time in the one-act version, is the role of Senator Mundt. My original conceit was to only use actual trial transcripts from the McCarthy Hearings, which have recently - finally - been released to the public for all the interrogation scenes. That idea held up for the first few drafts, but once the feisty Elsie Bishop came into her own, there was no way that character would stick to my ideas. She had her own, and all I could do was to nod politely and try and keep writing as fast as I could to keep up with her. Senator Mundt never had a chance.


Little Fish Theatre

Little Fish Theatre

Kristen Carey
Kristen Carey as Alison Dunham, James Rice as Senator Mundt.
Photo by Alex Moy

Sample Dialogue...

Ithaca Ladies Read Medea Selection

Kristen Carey
In the Little Fish Theatre staging, Senator Mundt loomed over the action for the entire play!
Photo by Alex Moy

Wordsmyth Theater 10th Anniversary Celebration
Wordsmyth Theatre Company included Ithaca Ladies in its 10th Anniversary Reading Celebration, July 2017, MATCH, Houston, TX.