This three-act surrealistic play opens as Ruth confronts her daughter, Sabrina, with questions about being sexually involved.  Sabrina, age 15, resists her mother’s interrogation.  The Woman in Shadow, a black-clad being who personifies American culture throughout the play, makes catcalls and describes “feminine charms” from her upstage position, balancing out the style of realism in the interactive scenes between Ruth, Sabrina, and their friends.  By the end of the first scene, Ruth airs her deepest suspicion and Sabrina unconsciously confirms it:  Sabrina is dating 33-year-old Kate, the sister of Ruth’s best friend Judy.


Ruth’s first move is to seek answers from the astonished Judy.  Ruth hopes to end the relationship without involving the authorities, for the sake of both her daughter and her friend.  In each act, Ruth approaches the situation in a different way.  In Act I, she defines the relationship as one of child abuse, a label which Sabrina vehemently denies.  By Act II, Ruth believes the relationship is financial, where Sabrina participates voluntarily in order to receive gifts.  Meanwhile, Sabrina is convinced that her mother merely opposes her choice of a female partner, and that the oppression she suffers is coming from her mother, not her adult girlfriend.


It is in Act III that Ruth’s strategy comes together with Judy’s advice:  while Ruth now views the relationship as a consensual one in which dominance and submission, rather than money, are exchanged, she decides that if she can’t end the relationship, she will try to become solidly involved in it.  But Kate resists this intrusion, despite Ruth’s legal threats.  Meanwhile, Judy persuades Sabrina to try again to arrange a meeting between Kate and Ruth, a meeting that leads to a failed attempt at reconciliation between all four characters.  Despite the new understandings gained by all, Ruth’s proposed restrictions collide with Sabrina’s drive for freedom, and together they place everyone in the same mode of secrecy as when the play began.




Play Structure:

3 Acts:  Act I, 8 scenes;  Act II, 8 scenes;  Act III, 5 scenes; Epilogue

Cast size:




All female


Late 1990’s


Any west coast town.


An empty stage with sparse utilitarian furniture, such as folding chairs.  A table upstage with gavel is needed for the Woman in Shadow.



Lighting crossfades should signal change of scenes within acts.  A screen upstage should accommodate video and overhead projection.  Various sound effects.






Production History


Woman/Girl received its premiere production by The Experimental Theatre Project (White Cat Productions) at the Richard Hugo House Theatre in Seattle, Washington, on April 21 – May 6, 2006.  The production was sponsored in part by the Richard Hugo House.  The play was directed by Kerry Christianson, and was performed by the following cast and crew:




Linnet Blumenthal


Cherilynn Brooks


Christine White


Danielle Reierson

Woman in Shadow

Eileen Fix


Assistant Director

Craig Ackermann


Mishabae Edmond

Costume Designer

Jennessa Richert

Set Designer

Katie Lawrence

Props Designer

Sunny Giron

Lighting Designer

Bruce Wheelock

Sound Designer

Moe Smith

Light Operator

Bruce Wheelock

Sound Operator

Michael Mowery

Stage Manager

Steve Cooper

Production Team

Amanda Askea

Michael Mowery

Poster Design/


Ken Holmes

House Manager

Amy Hartwell