Out of Spite: Tales of Survival in Sarajevo, based on Elma Softic's life as adapted by Cynthia Ashperger and Damir Andrei from her autobiography, Sarajevo Days, Sarajevo Nights, has been extended through July 13, as part of the Downstage Left workshop program at Chicago's Stage Left Theatre.
Softic was born in Sarajevo, the capital of what is now Bosnia, in 1961 and maintained her home there throughout the early 1990s war that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. An ethnic Croatian, Softic worked at the city's Jewish Community Center where all her letters and diaries were stored, and served with a United Nations Humanitarian group. She wrote a memoir of her experiences, which was later translated by Nada Conic. The translated version of Softic's book and of her letters and diaries were adapted into the one-woman play by Cynthia Ashperger and Damir Andrei.
In the play, Softic struggles to maintain her sense of humor and sanity in a crumbling society. Somehow, amid the turmoil, she manages to continue working -- and even falls in love.
Marguerite Hammersley, who plays Softic in Out of Spite, is a member of the Stage Left Theatre Company and has been nominated for four Joseph Jefferson Awards.
Drew Martin, artistic director of Stage Left Theatre, is directing the play which is at the third level of development in the Downstage left program. This program give an ensemble the tools to experiment with theatrical ideas: A (small) budget, rehearsal space and time, public readings and performances, marketing assistance, and artistic guidance and support from the Stage Left Company. If successful, the play will move on to a fully staged production at Stage Left. For tickets or more information: (773) 883-8830.
-- By Honey Freilich