The new show by the East Bay’s three-year-old theater company Those Women Productions, “Escape Velocity” doesn’t have anything to do with space travel. The curious collection of shorts does, however, have a theme of escape running in major and minor ways through its six short plays by four local women playwrights, performed in the round at Temescal Art Center in Oakland.
The evening kicks off with two pieces by Those Women co-founder Carol S. Lashof. Directed by Norman Patrick Johnson, the first one, “Craving,” is a rambling monologue about escapism, less a play than a series of introductory remarks. Loralee Windsor portrays a pleasant, grandmotherly woman who comes out swinging a sword-hilted umbrella like swashbuckler. She greets the audience as fellow story hunkies, and then confesses just how deep and life-interfering her addiction to fiction really is. More vague and less convincing is the litany of causes she really should be taking up to help people instead of getting lost in books and movies.
The second Lashof piece, “Who Dares,” directed by company co-founder Elizabeth Vega, appears to be yet another encounter between Macbeth (Lijesh Krishnan) and the three Weird Sisters, packed with a whole lot of exposition and Shakespearean paraphrases.
Contrary to appearances, however, the three spooky women (Brianna Rodriguez, Brittany Sims and Julie Ann Valdez) explain that they’re not the witches at all but their familiars — their animal companions, or…