Reading Plays

The two plays which follow were meant to be part of a collection of plays about California women who have made big contributions to our state. I have finished only two, but I have already used them both myself with dozens of groups, in libraries, schools, churches, and clubs. BREAKING FREE, which is about the first woman to receive manumission (legal freedom from slavery), Biddy Mason, is set in 1856, in Los Angeles, which was a small town with one church at the time. Biddy later became a well-to-do owner of property and the grandmother of a City Council member. SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF JULIA MORGAN is about the first woman licensed architect in California, who designed hundreds of still-treasured buildings. Julia was also the first woman in the world to graduate in architecture from the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, France.

I did a lot of research to write each of these plays, and I like to think they could form part of the research of another serious scholar. I think the lives of these women, and the backgrounds of the day, are interesting enough that I don’t need to “pad” them. (If you’re interested in the subject of history plays and movies, check out my “blog” for an op-ed I wrote for the newsletter of the Institute for Historical Study.)