Aisle Seat

Till Death Do Us Part
Darrah Cloud began writing The Sirens two years ago, long before the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson made domestic violence a regular topic in the daily news. Opening at the Magic Theatre this week, Cloud's play explores the lives of women who murder their abusive husbands. Cloud interviewed women in prisons and shelters, as well as judges and lawyers in the Denver area after receiving a commission from Denver Center Theatre. “Hanging around the battered women's shelter is really what pushed me to a whole different level of understanding,” Cloud says. “These women were fleeing for their lives. It was like being a part of the underground, and I realized we really are at war. My most vivid experience was getting to the 'bunker' — one of the shelters — at about 8 o'clock at night, and they said, 'We're having a red alert,' which means a husband had called and threatened to come and shoot his wife. We closed the blinds, and hid out in the basement for two or three hours. No one knows how the man got the number, but he did.”

Cloud also recounted the story of a woman, now in prison, who left her husband in Missouri by simply walking out the door with her two kids and nothing else so as not to arouse his suspicion. She hid out in a shelter, moved to Denver, changed her identity and thought she was safe. But she made the mistake of telling her sister where she was living. The husband came to the sister and threatened to kill her if she didn't tell where his wife was living. He showed up in Denver, saying he would kill her parents back in Missouri if she didn't go back to him. That's when she shot him. “Women kill differently than men do,” Cloud observes. “They have to sneak up on a guy, or he'll overpower her, so the whole crime-of-passion thing is a moot point. A woman claims self-defense, and the court says, 'Where was his weapon?'”

Director Julie Hebert returns to the Bay Area after an absence of six years to stage Sirens. As a resident of the Bay Area, Hebert directed at the Eureka Theatre Company, Intersection for the Arts and the Magic. She has also worked at LaMaMa Etc. in New York, the Steppenwolf in Chicago and LATC in Los Angeles. Another well-known former San Franciscan, Mary Forcade, appears in the play, along with June Lomena, Kathleen Cramer, Rod Gnapp and Regina Saisi.

Eat Some WormsThis week 42nd Street Moon presents Once in a Blue Moon, a revue of rarely heard show tunes by Cole Porter, Oscar Hammerstein and others, including Kay Swift's “Let's Go Eat Worms in the Garden” from Fine and Dandy.

By Laura Jamison

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