The new piece, by Anne Washburn and directed by Anne Kauffman, is called The Ladies. Few, however, would call some of the half-dozen women depicted in the play "ladies." They include four infamous dictators' wives: Elena Ceausescu, spouse of the former Rumanian Communist strongman; Imelda Marcos, the shoe-collecting half of the Phillipines' Marcos regime; Eva Peron, whose short reign as the wife of Argentina's Juan Peron brought her international fame and derision (as well as a musical based on her life); and Jiang Qing, a.k.a. Madame Mao. And the other two ladies? Strangely enough, Washburn and Kauffman have placed themselves in this unsavory crowd. The work, which is made up of new text, found text and the women's own words, will explore "the pleasures and perils of the dictatorial impulse."
Washburn earlier explored the legacy of Elena Ceausescu with The Communist Dracula Pageant, a comic drama focusing on the Rumanian Revolution of 1989, which was workshopped at Downtown Manhattan's Soho Rep.