Category Archives: Feminism

“Without” at The Looking Glass Theatre

My play “Without” that I wrote in 2004 and was a finalist that year for the Samuel French Short Play Festival is being produced again at the Looking Glass Theatre in NYC June 4-7.  I originally wrote the play while studying playwriting at the Actors Studio Drama School at the New School. There is some interesting history to this play and it’s sort of ironic that it’s my most produced play (this is the third time it’s been produced in NYC).  Oddly enough, every time I get a production I re-write it a little, so it’s kind of always evolving.  The play is about a young woman who is attacked by a gang in Paris and as she’s trying to piece together what happend and who attacked her she discovers something – a miracle perhaps?  It’s one of my plays that deals with the psychology of the mind and plays with an alternate universe.  The Looking Glass Theatre is blogging about it,  so if you are interested in checking it out – you can buy tickets on their site.

Something for mom: Femme Feast

This Sunday at 3PM the Waverly Writers, Wanderlust Productions in association with The Playground Series at Manhattan Theatre Source will present “Femme Feast”, a veritable feast of female performances. With short plays by Bekah Brunstetter, Lisa Ebersole, Lara Gold, Laconia Koerner and Laura Rohrman (me) it’s sure to be outstanding! This is truly a labor of love and since I am one of the producers, I am certainly urging you to attend…and yes, bring your mom! Tickets are $15. Reservations: (212)501-4751 or order online.

Manhattan Theatre Source 117 Macdougal Street New York City between 8th Street and Waverly Place

NYC Train Interviews: Thursday and Friday

NYC Train Interviews
Thursday is the day I go to White Plains to take care of my aunt, so it’s not usually very exciting.
I asked the mustached train conductor what the craziest experience he’d ever had on the train.
“Oh lots of things,” he says.
“Like what?”
“People having fun.”
“Fun drinking, fun what?”
“You know, having fun.”
Oh, I get it.  Okay.  Having “fun.”  I say this while I am imagining the scene from “Risky Business.”
“Can I take your picture?”
“No  way.”
The lady across from me who was wearing sexy smart glasses and an interesting animal print dress and high brown boots asks what I’m doing.
With a smile ear-to-ear she came and sat next to me and we chatted the rest of the way back to New York City.
“You know I have to interview you now, right?” I said.
“Oh no. I’m so boring,” she said with a smile.
You know, I’d rather interview someone who says that they are boring than someone who is supposed to be exciting who ends up being boring.

She could be Molly Shannon

She could be Molly Shannon

Who: Jackie
Where:  Metro North, heading back to New York City from White Plains
Occupation: Research Pharmacist
Jackie is a self-described optimist; the book she was reading about “Change” was just proof of her desires in life.
“I tried to be a real-estate agent once, but that didn’t work out.”
Jackie wants to be open to change, but obviously it hasn’t been in her past.  She stayed at one job for 13 years and when I asked her how long she’s been living in NYC, she said: “19 years,” before telling me that she was born and raised in Brooklyn.
So, really she’s been in NYC her whole life.
“Most people aren’t open to change, but not me,” she says with a renewed freedom.
Jackie loves to travel though and through her work, she’s been all over the world.
“Thailand was my favorite.  I just loved the people there.”
Of all the people I’ve met, Jackie had the least to say, but was the most happy and optimistic about life.  She reminds me of Molly Shannon in “The Year of The Dog.”
“Change is good,” she says with an even bigger grin than before.
There was something about her. She could be an actress. I can see her in one of my plays.
“Really?” she says.
“Yes, absolutely.”
Hopefully this is a Democratic change.
I took some photos of some people on my way home to watch the debates.
My husband wanted me to wait for him, but I couldn’t.
Here’s a weird thing and I’ll just say it.  I can’t keep my eyes off of Sarah Palin.
Okay, I said it.
It’s really horrible that she uses her charisma and hotness to get ahead, or is it?
The things that Tina Fey makes fun of about Sarah Palin — the winking, the kiss blowing, the effusive goofiness, the hairdos, the hot outfits, I don’t know.   Is that really wrong?  Just look at what America appreciates.
As a woman and a feminist, it disgusts me that she’s chided for this. Obviously using her good looks is something that’s gotten her ahead in this world, why should she stop now?
Hillary was booed for her poor outfit choices and harshness.
We are either not pretty enough or too pretty, but that’s what people talk about with women instead of what’s really important.
Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president.  That’s the only thing that’s important to know about her.
Anyway, I had all kinds of plans, but ended up lying around my apartment all day hoping to feel better.  It never happened.
Finally at 3PM Beatriz came by and this would force me to leave my den.  Beatriz is the daughter of Maria our once-a-week cleaning lady.
Maria, Beatriz mom, put both of her daughters through school by cleaning houses for a living in NYC.  We inherited Maria as our cleaning lady when we got our apartment six years ago.  If you are wondering, “oh she has a cleaning lady” – I married into the cleaning lady deal.  I never grew up with one and never had one before.  It was my husband’s thing, but sure, a great idea.
Maria’s set of keys proves to me that she probably has 40 clients.  So over the years her daughters have come in and cleaned in her place; secret-cleaning genies who did things a little more detailed than their mother.  I often hoped that these girls would grow up and take good care of their mom; she deserves it.
Laura the elder is now a Police Officer.  Beatriz, the younger is an up-and-coming filmmaker, and I hadn’t spent any time with her until recently because she was studying in Spain.

Who: Beatriz
Where: My apartment
Occupation: Filmmaker
Beatriz is a like a little wind-up doll filled with extra batteries.  She talks a mile a minute and is doing a million things at once, including cleaning our apartment.
“Did I tell you that I got a job working with a production company that does gay sit coms?”
“Great,” I say as I get out my tape recorder.
I’d like to interview Beatriz.  I think she’s full of hope and excitement, but she talks too fast, even for my tape recorder.  Or maybe I am just too slow today.

Here’s some random photos I took of people around my hood.

Reading of REPORTER GIRL (a play about Brenda Starr Reporter) September 26th at 7:30PM.

If you like Mad Men, you’ll love my new play.  I’m just showing the first half (as a reading), but if you enjoy learning about history and feminist issues — and if you ever read Brenda Starr Reporter, you’ll love this play.
Watch a young female cartoonist as she fights her way into a male dominated culture in the 1940’s.  Years later her granddaughter struggles with some of the same issues and discovers what is true and fiction about her grandmother’s amazing story.


NEW YORK, Friday, September 26, 2008
7:30pm – 9:00pm
REPORTER GIRL by Laura Rohrman
Laura Rohrman will present a staged reading of REPORTER GIRL,  a full-length play about her grandmother, Dale Messick, who created the famous cartoon strip BRENDA STARR REPORTER in 1940.  Dale Messick was the first syndicated female cartoonist in the world. The play has been a finalist for both the O’Neill festival and the Princess Grace award.
Friday Night Footlights New York is held in the Frederick Loewe Room, Suite 710, at 1501 Broadway (located between 43rd and 44th Streets), New York, NY  10036. you must have a photo I.D. to enter the building.

Top Girls

A friend invited me to get a free ticket to see Carol Churchill’s Top Girls, presented at the Bitmore Theater in NYC. What an treat. Fist of all, we had great seats — 6th row. Second, we got to use the patron’s lounge, which included free M&M’s and wine during both intermissions. The drama on stage was superb, some of the best acting I’ve ever seen! But the drama off-stage almost usurped the whole experience for me.

As the lights lowered, I unzipped my purse and there was a slight whiz to the zip. A grumpy bear of a man sitting next to me, who looked as if he was about to nod off, peered at me with serious discontent at this with a look like
“Make one false move and I’ll kill you.” I thought, oh no, I’m sitting next to “one of these.”

“One of these” is one of these older gentlemen who is no longer a gentleman, but a rude, uncouth monster and the theater is full of them these days.

10 minutes into the first act, he was fast asleep, thank goodness. But then again, so was I.

The first act of the play, and particularly the first 20 minutes are difficult to sit through. In Act I we see Marlene, a career gal, hosting a dinner party with five women from history who have accomplished something important for their era. I found the choice of women rather odd, since none of them had accomplished anything per se, save Pope Joan. Pope Joan, who disguised as a man, was rumored to have been the Pope between 854-856 AD, although likely a character from a legend popularized during the Middle Ages.

The six of them, Isabella Bird, a Scotswoman who traveled in the late 17th Century, Lady Nijo, a courtesan to a Japanese emperor in the 11th Century, Dull Gret, the subject of a painting, Patient Griselda, from fables and Pope Joan, all talk over each other while they eat and none of it is very coherent. I couldn’t help feeling like all these women are just talking about themselves. Then suddenly, it happened. The old red-haired woman sitting in front of us (a lady version of the old monster man), turned to her lady monster friend and said in quite a loud voice (she could’ve been an actor her voice was so robust) “What’s going on? I don’t understand anything.”

The mean man next to me woke up at this. Who dared speak in the theater? Without a moments hesitation he tapped her on the shoulder and yelled “BE QUIET.” He could’ve been a drill sergeant, his voice was so loud. They were no longer at a theater surrounded by others and actors on stage performing, they were in their own playground throwing stones at each other.

“DON’T TOUCH ME.” She yelled back.

Then, nearly punching her out, he yelled “If YOU DON’T BE QUIET I’LL HAVE YOU THROWN OUT!

“I’ll CALL THE POLICE.” She retorted, as if she said this on a daily basis.

Then, all was quiet and the play went on. When the lights came up, the man I was so frightened of, turned to me and asked me about my playwriting. I guess he overheard me chatting with my friends. He certainly seemed nice enough. But then, the arguing and drama started again, and I excused myself.

Upstairs in the patrons lounge I was shoved out of the way by an old woman who just had to get her M&M’s.

When the second act started, the mean man and his wife were gone, but I was thinking what’s the deal with all these gray haired meanies? I guess when you get past a certain age, you no longer care about being polite. When you go out to a theater with a very old subscriber base, like MTC has, this is oh so evident. A majority of the older people seemed pushy and impatient, which is understandable. Getting old sucks. For some, just getting to the theater was a huge struggle; they don’t feel good and they’d rather be at home and in bed. I get it. Still is no fun to be sitting next to so many that are so GRUMPY. It’s a good thing, the play improved with the second act.

In ACT II, we see Marlene again, busy at work the “Top Girls” employment agency. She’s just been promoted and the action centers around what a great accomplishment it is for a woman to be promoted over a man, which she has been. Turns out, Marlene has given up a lot to get to this position. Her sister, played excellently by Marisa Tomei, adopted her daughter, Angie, who is now a teenager and sadly “thick in the head.” When Angie, who guesses that Marlene is her real mom, shows up in the city at her job, Marlene tells the other girls that Angie couldn’t work at “Top Girls” because she isn’t going to “make it.” The play shows that to be a “Top Girl” you need to have it all, brains, beauty, style – and be self centered enough to leave the losers behind.

What to make of all this? It’s not a typical structure, but the play somehow builds to a coherent end that sums it all up.  I originally thought the women in the first act at the dinner party were odd choices as none of them were “known” — were actually brilliant choices for their relatively unknown accomplishments.   “Top Girls”  is any “girl” that does something strong, which is every woman, every day.

After the play, I went out with the “girls” until 3AM – and the play inspired us to talk all night. Of course we talked about Hillary and women’s issues. Now that’s good theater.

Thanks to Hillary…SATC and Brenda Starr Reporter

Now that all the Hillary hating is over, people can start missing her. In some of those photos, Hillary is absolutely stunning. Her beauty is deep within in the lines of her face.

The political landscape is far less interesting these days without her in the race.

I spoke to the Marketing Director of The Chicago Tribune today and she said: “Never in my life did I think I’d see the day when a black man and a white woman would be running for president. Together they’d be unstoppable.”


Why was I talking to the Marketing Director of the Chicago Tribune? Well, because we were chatting about my granny and Brenda Starr — and how my granny, Dale Messick was one of the early pioneers for women, paving the way for not only other cartoonists, but for journalists. Dale Messick via her character Brenda Starr Reporter inspired millions with the “I’m a woman and I can do it” attitude.

SATC – perhaps it just proves that movies don’t have to be all about men or violence to be popular.