Eisenstein, Linda (American playwright, composer, 1950-____), “Marla's Devotion,"
a 50-minute comedy in English set in a hectic city, 1990s,
• © 1996 by Linda Eisenstein • scripts/rights available from Linda Eisenstein via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.lindaeisenstein.com or via regular mail, Herone Press, P. O. Box 749, Cleveland, Ohio 44107-0749, U.S.A., voice/fax 216-631-5812; Eisenstein says,
Dramatis Personae Marla (f), 25, a perennial student, interested in self-improvement and spiritual matters, chunkier than she would like to be, and cries easily; Joey (f), 25, her lover, a domestic relations attorney, a high-energy materialist, somewhat spiky and quick-tempered.
Synopsis “A longtime lesbian couple, Marla and Joey have hit a bad patch. To combat her isolation and depression over Joey's long hours at her law practice and suspected infidelity, Marla begins her 'devotion': a spiritual practice including Buddhist-inspired prostrations and meditations that suddenly have her half-living on her knees. The result: a comedy of confusion, cross-communication, and a relationship in an uproar. Joey, who deals with battered women, is infuriated by the very idea of Marla on her knees. (‘Maybe this groveling on the ground would be good for monks. Male monks. But you of all people do not need more contact with a religious ideology that says your ego identity is an illusion.’) And when Marla begins trying to ‘quiet her mind’ by crawling in public, all hell breaks loose.
Comment “A great choice for two actresses of contrasting comic types. ‘Marla’s Devotion’ is an offbeat comedy about relationships—and the exquisite difficulty of making changes that actually change anything. The script runs 9 scenes, 42 pages—with simple, fluid transitions between scenes. Staging requirements: a nearly bare stage, indicating Marla and Joey’s apartment in a hectic city. Requires an answering machine tape. Some music transitions between scenes would be nice but are not required. ‘Marla’s Devotion’ won the Festival Prize, 1997 All-England Theatre Festival (Hull) and Third Prize in the 1996 Ohio Theatre Alliance Playwriting Competition. It was simultaneously premiered in April, 1997 by Tenfoot Theatre Company (England) and New Visions Productions at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia). It has received readings at the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University, and at the Ohio Theatre Alliance Conference. . . . ‘Funny, honest, warm, delightful—a terrific play.’—OTA contest judge. . . . From the International Center for Women Playwrights, Daphne Hull, ‘(Eisenstein has) a special gift for creating believable-yet subtle-yet funny-yet serious relationships between characters.’ . . .—Daphne Hull, International Center for Women Playwrights. . . . ‘The play personified the outer, corporate world and the inner, private yearning for meaning. The audience became completely wrapped up in the sheer physicality of Marla’s attempted transformation. I loved it, as did my husband.’—Kathleen O’Quinn. Note: Production of ‘Marla’s Devotion’ requires permission from the playwright and a royalty.” • “Here's information on a student-directed production at Baldwin Wallace College of one of my most favorite one-act comedies, ‘Marla’s Devotion.’ The play takes a comic look at a relationship between two women: Marla, a student, and her partner Joey, a driven feminist attorney, which becomes stressed when Marla begins an extreme Buddhist meditation practice that has her half-living on her knees. Scenes from ‘Marla’s Devotion’ have been featured in 3 anthologies: Best Women’s Stage Monologues 1997, Best Stage Scenes 1997 (Smith & Kraus), and Scenes for Women by Women (Heinemann). It won a festival prize at the All England Theatre Festival, and has subsequently been seen in NYC, San Francisco, Omaha, Washington D.C., and several colleges around the US. It had a lovely staged reading several years back in Red Hen’s FemFest, but this is its first full production in the Cleveland area—so I’m delighted to know it’ll finally be on its feet...uh, knees.”—Linda Eisenstein, via e-mail email@example.com, October 31, 2000.
Themes Buddhist, female homosexuality, lesbian, longtime relationship.
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