New play reading series- Patricia Crosby
The LAVA Center (324 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301, Greenfield MA)
The LAVA Center is presenting a series of new play readings by local playwrights and friends of LAVA. Join us for a reading of George Gissing’s The Odd Women, adapted by P. H. Crosby.
P. H. Crosby is a graduate of Greenfield Community College, Catholic University and Brown, with a background in college and community theater, English Literature (minor in Drama), teaching, and career development. She has worked in Washington D.C., Boston, Springfield and this region as a bookseller, education coordinator, program director, development officer, and board administrator. A writer in many genres, Crosby has been published in The Other Side; Changing Men; War, Literature and the Arts; the Montague Reporter; 30 Poems in November 2020, 2021; Friends Journal; Sparks of Calliope; Blue Unicorn (forthcoming), and other venues. Four poems appeared in “In this Together: A Virtual Exhibition on the Intersection of Planetary and Human Health” at the Forbes Library, and a short play, “A Change in Climate” was produced online in 2020 by The Lava Center as part of Facing the Future: a Climate Change Theater Festival.
Crosby’s stage adaptation of George Gissing’s The Odd Women has been read and critiqued over the past year in the LAVA Center’s monthly playwrights group, to which Crosby owes her deepest thanks for fellow writers’ interest, patience, humor, good advice, and excellent acting!
Written in 1893, The Odd Women has the unusual distinction of being a feminist classic by a Victorian male author. The author of 23 novels, George Gissing (1857- 1903) had intimate knowledge of the struggles of the working and genteel classes. As a poor artist in London, he struggled to make a living by writing, and he was highly attuned to the controversies of the time, including those related to science, religion, education, class, and what was known as “The Woman Question” - whether women had the right to vote, work and act as the true equal of men.
The Odd Women may initially strike one as classic BBC drama fare, full of drawing room wit, intrigue, and romance, but its “happy ending” has a twist, and Gissing explores throughout the contradictions and challenges of being a woman in a time when everything was expected of you, everything was changing, and everything had to be fought for. (Wait, isn’t that time now?)
The Odd Women has been adapted into a three-act play, leaving out many strands and sub-plots of a complex novel. The planned reading will comprise several scenes that give a taste of the characters and conflicts. Audience members are encouraged to read the whole book for a full appreciation of Gissing’s provocative and still-timely narrative. (Or maybe wait for an opportunity to see the whole play produced, who knows?)
Gissing’s The Odd Women is in the public domain. Crosby’s stage version is under copyright.