’Til The Fat Lady Sings
Other Plays by Carolyn Gage
- Artemisia And Hildegarde-2f
- Calamity Jane Sends A Message To Her Daughter-1f
- Cookin With Typhoid Mary-1f
- Countess And The Lesbians-The-3f
- Gage And Mr Comstock-The-1f
- Harriet Tubman Visits A Therapist-2f
- Labor Play-A-2m1f
- Louisa May Incest-2f
- Obligatory Scene-The-2f
- Parmachene Belle-The-1f
- Pele Chant-The-2f
- Til The Fat Lady Sings-3f
Gage, Carolyn (American playwright, theatrical director, actor, March 14, 1952-____), “’Til The Fat Lady Sings,”
a 35-minute drama in English with music by Andrea Jill Higgins (and Puccini, Wagner, Verdi, Mozart, and Gluck), set in a hospital, U.S.A.,
© 1994 by Carolyn Gage;
• in Carolyn Gage’s ’Til The Fat Lady Sings (Gorham, Maine, U.S.A.: The Author, 1997);
• Cited by http://www.carolyngage.com/.
Sara (f), 32, opera singer, soprano, grossly overweight, Gillian’s partner; Gillian (f), __, opera singer, contralto, Sara’s partner; Nurse (f), __, hospital attendant, non-singing.
“Sara, a young woman in her early 30’s, lies in a hospital bed, waiting to be taken down to surgery for a gastric bypass operation. Sara weighs more than 250 pounds, and she is convinced that, without the surgery, she will never be able to realize her ambition to become a professional opera singer. Her years of training and graduate school will have been wasted. Sara’s partner, Gillian, is opposed to the surgery, and when she shows up in the hospital room, an argument ensues. Realizing that their conflict is causing Sara distress, Gillian apologizes and asks Sara to sing 'Vissi d’arte,' a favorite aria by Puccini. When a nurse arrives to administer a sedative, however, Gillian renews her opposition and exits. Under sedation, Sara experiences a series of dreams which incorporate elements of well-known operas with concerns about the impending surgery and her experiences with fat oppression. The dream sequences include a comic interlude as a Rheinemaiden, an encounter with the 'Ghost of Callas Past,' a confrontation with a Met director who insists on a graphically realistic finale of La Traviata, a duet with Pagageno, confusion between Madame Butterfly’s hari-kari and gastric bypass surgery, and a scene from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice in which Gillian plays the tormented troubadour on a mission to retrieve his love from the Underworld, a mission which must be achieved without turning and looking back at her. At this point, Sara wakes up, but she is still confused by the drugs. Mistaking Gillian for Orfeo, she insists that Gillian not look at her, because that is the only way to lead her out of hell. Gillian expresses a concern that perhaps Sara’s immersion in operas that reflect morbid male fantasies might be coloring Sara’s perceptions. She points out that what is making life hell for Sara is not the way she sees Sara, but the way other people see her. She challenges Sara to give a voice to her body, instead of trying to give a body to her voice. Sara considers the suggestion and the play ends with her singing the aria, 'This Body Is My Song,' a radical love song between a diva and her body.”—Synopsis of Plays, Part II, http://www.carolyngage.com/shows2.html#Section16, accessed September 23, 2007.
• Single set.
• Production history: * 2006, staged reading, Ohio State University, Columbus (directed by Christopher Purdy for International Center for Women Playwrights Annual Retreat.) * 2006, Maine Short Play Festival, Acorn Productions, Portland, ME.
• “Carolyn Gage is a lesbian-feminist playwright, performer, director, and activist. The author of four books on lesbian theatre and fifty-five plays, musicals, and one-woman shows, she specializes in non-traditional roles for women, especially those reclaiming famous lesbians whose stories have been distorted or erased from history. On the roster of the national speakers' bureau Speak Out!, Gage offers performances of her award-winning, one-woman show, The Second Coming of Joan of Arc, as well as her a dramatic and provocative presentation on lesbian theatre history, "Lizzie Borden and Lesbian Theatre:Axes to Grind." In addition, she offers an actor workshop on non-traditional roles for women, incorporating work from her book Scenes and Monologues for Lesbian Actors. In 2007, she is touring to Ireland as a guest artist at the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival, and is in negotiations to perform at the Harvest Festival in Montreal, Canada. Gage's collection of plays, The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and Other Plays was named national finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in drama. The title play has been featured on National Public Radio. A Brazilian production of the play achieved first-class production in 2001-2, and it was the top-selling show in both Rio and Sao Paolo, going on to tour the country. Gage, who has performed at the Kennedy Center, was invited to perform the show at the World Summit on Economic Sustainability in Johannesburg. In 2007, she won the Maine Literary Award in Drama for The Poorly-Written Play Festival. Her play Ugly Ducklings was nominated by the American Theatre Critics Association for the prestigious ATCA/ Steinberg New Play Award, an award with given annually for the best new play produced outside New York. It won a 2004 Lesbian Theatre Award from Curve Magazine, and a documentary film has been made about the play as part of a national anti-harassment campaign. That same year, her audience-interactive courtroom drama, The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women, was named national finalist for the Jane Chambers Award, given by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. The play is published by Samuel French. Her one-act play, Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist, was presented at Actors Theatre of Louisville in the Juneteenth Festival of African American plays. It was a national winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, and is included in Random House's anthology Under 30: Plays for a New Generation. A professional reading of the play, funded by a Ford Foundation grant, was given at a national leadership conference for historically Black colleges at Howard University. Gage's own production of Thanatron was named among ‘Best Productions of 2003’ by the Portland Phoenix in Portland, Maine, and the show was read at the prestigious Pen and Brush Club in New York. In 2003, The Parmachene Belle, finalist for the Maine Playwrights AWard [sic], was performed Off-Broadway at the Bleecker Street Theatre. The Last Reading of Charlotte Cushman was national winner of the $3000 Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Grant for best play about a lesbian historical figure. Gage offers a lecture on the life of Cushman, and the play has been published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Gage has directed a production of this work that was featured at the National Women's Music Festival and at Queerfest in Los Angeles. This production, starring Debra Wright, is currently available for touring. For booking information, contact Debra Wright. Gage's musical, The Amazon All-Stars is the first lesbian full-book musical ever published by a mainstream play publisher. Published by Applause Books, it is the title work of an anthology of lesbian plays that was a national finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Her manual on lesbian theatre production, Take Stage! How to Direct and Produce a Lesbian Play, was published by Scarecrow Press. Gage has also written Scenes and Monologues for Lesbian Actors, the first collection of its kind in the world. In 2003, the University of Oregon acquired her personal papers for their Special Collections Archive. Gage's plays have been endorsed by Andrea Dworkin, Phyllis Chesler, Diana E.H. Russell, Victoria A. Brownworth, and John Stoltenberg. Gage has served as a contributing editor to the national feminist quarterly On The Issues, and she has been published in the Dramatists Guild Quarterly, The Harvard Review, Trivia, Sinister Wisdom, Lesbian Ethics, The Lesbian Review of Books, The Lambda Book Report, The Michigan Quarterly Review and off our backs. Gage has written the first meditation book for feminist activists, Like There's No Tomorrow: Meditations for Women Leaving Patriarchy (Common Courage Press). This book has been described by feminist philosopher Mary Daly, as "a work of burning, uncompromising vision and daring." Gage was a Guest Lecturer at Bates College in 1998-99. She has won the Oregon Playwrights Award from the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts. She has received grants from the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Women Writers Collection, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Eleanor Humes Haney Fund, the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, the Open Meadows Foundation, and the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts. In 2005, she received the Lynda Hart Memorial Grant from the Astraea Foundation. She has been named national winner of the Nancy Dean Distinguished Playwriting Award, given annually at the Sisters on Stage Lesbian Theatre Conference in New York. In 2002, she received the Janine C. Rae Cultural Award for the Advancement of Women's Culture from the National Women's Music Festival. Former recipients include Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Margarethe Cammermeyer, Nikki Giovanni, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. Most recently, Gage's tours have included the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, the University of Colorado in Boulder, Gettysburg College, the University of Connecticut at both Stamford and Storrs, the University of Oregon at Eugene, the University of New England, SUNY Geneseo, Hollins University, the University of Virginia, the National Women's Music Festival, the National Women's Studies Association Conference, the University of Nebraska, Kansas State University, Chatham College in Pittsburgh, the United Kingdom Women's Studies Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Women's Week at Provincetown, and the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, where she was invited to teach an intensive workshop. The founder and director of three theatre companies, she is currently the artistic director of Cauldron & Labrys, an all-women theatre in Portland, Maine.”—Biography, http://www.carolyngage.com/cgbio.html, accessed September 23, 2007.
• National Finalist, Lambda Literary Awards in Drama, The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and Other Plays (Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A.: HerBooks, Inc., 1994), ISBN 0939821060, ISBN 978-0939821068.
• Finalist, San Francisco Playwrights Center DramaRama Festival, California, U.S.A.
• Reviewed in Lesbian Review of Books, Altadena, California, U.S.A. • Winner, Portland State University's New Voices Competition, Oregon, U.S.A.
• “‘Mason-Dixon,’ ‘Jane Addams’ and the ‘Devil Baby,’ and ‘Louisa May Incest,’ are all single-set, small-cast plays which are thematically and stylistically related. They may be presented together as a full program: The Roar of Silence. (The title is taken from George Eliot's quote, ‘. . . we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.’) I recommend production of these with the afterpiece ‘Battered on Broadway.’”—Synopsis of Plays, Part II, http://www.carolyngage.com/shows2.html#Section16, accessed September 23, 2007.
• * "Women, Health, and Representations" Conference, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Westbrook, ME. * "Provincetown Fringe Festival, Women's Week, Provincetown, MA. * "National Finalist, Lambda Literary Awards in Drama (The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and Other Plays, HerBooks, Inc., Santa Cruz, CA) * "City of Cleveland Department of Health sponsored a tour and video of the play. * "Reviewed in Lesbian Review of Books, Altadena, CA. * "Excerpted in Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public's Health, Judith Leavitt (Beacon Press, 1996). * The Lesbian Review of Books, Altadena, CA: “. . . blood-curdling, side-splitting . . . out of the mouths of full-blown characters who can mount a stage and own it.”—Synopsis of Plays, Part II.
• Photograph from http://www.carolyngage.com/, accessed September 27, 2007.
aria, Callas (Maria Callas, American-born, Greek dramatic coloratura soprano, perhaps the best-known opera singer of the post-World War II period, December 2, 1923–September 16, 1977), dream, dream sequence, gastric bypass, Gluck (Christoph Willibald Gluck, German composer, July 2, 1714–November 15, 1787), hari-kari, La Traviata (opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave), lesbianism, Madame Butterfly (opera in three acts, originally two acts, music by Giacomo Puccini, Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa), Metropolitan Opera, mistaken identity, obesity, opera as a profession, Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, aka Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, European composer, b. Salzburg, January 27, 1756–December 5, 1791), Orfeo ed Euridice (opera, 1762, by Gluck), Pagageno (Mozart’s Pagageno/Papagena Duet for practicing the letter “p”), perspective, Verdi (Giuseppe Verdi, Italian Romantic composer, October 9 or 10, 1813–January 27, 1901), Piave (Francesco Maria Piave, Italian librettist, May 18, 1810-March 5, 1876), Puccini (Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini, Italian composer, December 22, 1858–November 29, 1924), Rheinemaiden (water nymph in German folklore, such as, Woglinde, Wellgunde, or Flosshilde in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the opening opera of Der Ring des Nibelungen, 1869), sedation, surgery, “This Body Is My Song” (a radical love song between a diva and her body), “Vissi d’arte” (Tosca's aria from Puccini’s Tosca, 1900), Wagner (Wilhelm Richard Wagner, German composer, conductor, music theorist, essayist, May 22, 1813–February 13, 1883).