Pardon my Pandora

Required reading for students at Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix

First, apologies to my two daughters — whose time spent with Edith Hamilton’s classic “Mythology” was a source of much wailing and gnashing of teeth during high school.

Ask them about the evils unleashed when Pandora opened her box and they’ll likely tell you it was those heartless teachers who made them memorize the names of all those Greek gods and goddesses.

Mention the word “Pandora” to my college-age son and you’ll get an entirely different response — a detailed description of the Internet radio service that offers “personalized stations” thanks to something called “The Music Genome Project.” And yes, there’s “an app” for that.

Just last August, their blog boasted of Pandora’s “10 billionth thumb.” The rest of us have some catching up to do. I prefer being thumbed over thumbing, so it’s unlikely I’ll spend much time with the service.

Still, I was eager to learn of Pandora’s philanthropic efforts — in which they “team up with GlobalGiving…to support students and classrooms that are using music to make a difference.”

For some, a mention of Pandora’s box unleashes thoughts of evils that feel more personal. So it seems with some of the playwrights featured in this year’s Pandora Festival, taking place May 20-22 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

The Pandora Festival hits Scottsdale this weekend

The 5th Annual Pandora Festival features “staged readings of selected new plays for women playwrights.” It’s presented by the Arizona Women’s Theatre Company, which is entering its seventh season of producing contemporary plays by women playwrights.

The festival opens this Friday evening with the first of two full-length plays — “The Fire in Minerva” by Larissa Brewington of Arizona. The second full length play, “Remnants of a Dream” by New Mexico’s Ruth Cantrell, will be performed Saturday evening.

Three one-act plays are being performed Saturday afternoon — “After Life at the Cinema” by Hannah Lillith Assadi of Arizona, “Me” by Maia Akiva of California and “Out of Focus” by Carol K. Mack of Connecticut.

Sunday’s line-up features a selection of ten-minutes plays, including several by Arizona playwrights — “Despair of a Cheerleader” by Shayanna Jacobs, “A Shared View” by Mary Caroline Rogers and “The Secret” by Kristy Westphal.

Other works being presented Sunday include “Firewall” by Rita Kniess Barkey (Montana), “Close Enough” by Kellie Powell (New York), “Jesse Rode a Bicycle Today” by Sara Israel (California), “Jinxed” by K. Alexis Mavromatis (Rhode Island), “The Procedure” by Diane Grant (California) and “Nephrology” by Sara Ilyse Jacobsen (Maryland).

We all deal with our own Pandora’s box, and I’ll pardon your Pandora if you’ll pardon mine. Maybe one day we’ll join the gifted women using pens to transform Pandoras into performance art.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for festival details and ticketing information. Click here to learn about an “Introduction to Myth Making” summer camp for grades 9-12. It’s being offered the week of July 11 by the University of Arizona Poetry Center, which has a lovely assortment of programs for youth.

Coming up: All hail the dancing queen!


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