Magazine article American Theatre

Annie Weisman: Writing into the Void. (Season Preview 2002-03).(be Aggressive/Hold Please)(Brief Article)

Magazine article American Theatre

Annie Weisman: Writing into the Void. (Season Preview 2002-03).(be Aggressive/Hold Please)(Brief Article)

Article excerpt

When Southern California playwright Annie Weisman was asked for permission to include her play Be Aggressive in an anthology, The Best Plays by Women 2001, she turned the offer down, explaining, "I don't recognize myself as a woman writer. I recognize myself as a writer, period." This decisive statement impressed the publisher, who placed the work in another collection, with a gender-reference-free title: The Best Plays of 2001.

Audiences and critics embraced Be Aggressive after its July 2001 opening at La Jolla Playhouse--a geographically apt venue for Weisman's sparkling satire of the superficial values so prevalent in Southern California. The play, about a 17-year-old cheerleader, was intended as "a cultural commentary," the writer says, "showing tribal, chanting rituals that allow these girls to express and shape their feelings."

Weisman's other acclaimed work, Hold Please, which also premiered in 2001, at South Coast Repertory, highlights the escalating jealousy among four women in a corporate office. "I wanted to write about the way women participate in creating and perpetrating sexism in the workplace," Weisman says. "I'm also interested in the way women relate to each other, not just on the job, but as mothers and daughters. It seems to me that there's tremendous resentment from older generations, because they think the youngsters don't have to struggle the way they did."

Still safely ensconced in the younger generation herself--she's 28--Weisman says she always knew her destiny was theatre. …

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