PORT TOWNSEND — One day in Italy, playwright Mara Lathrop took a walk with a friend.
“She started telling me about this thing that happened to her when she was living in this fishing village,” recalled Lathrop, who now lives in Port Townsend.
Her friend had grown up on the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea, back when Croatia was Yugoslavia. It was not an easy life for a girl.
Lathrop was inspired to write a one-act play, “Is Story of Poor Sea Village Girl,” set at a beach bar on the edge of the village where the heroine works. In colorful, broken English, the Girl tells her true tale — in the form of a floor show for the tourists — of stumbling through many wrong places en route to creating a new life for herself.
Now Lathrop is bringing this play to the virtual stage starting at 6 p.m. Thursday. The show’s stars are two of her friends from the West Coast theater community: Abby Dylan, who portrays Sea Village Girl, and Mark Lewis, who plays 21 characters in the 75-minute production.
West of Lenin, a theater venue in Seattle’s Fremont district, is hosting “Sea Village Girl’s” run through March 25. To connect, see westoflenin.com, where tickets are free with donations encouraged to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. The fund, run by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, is providing financial help to actors whose livelihoods are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires in the West and hurricanes in the South.
To donate, see members.sagfoundation.org/donate and select “Sea Village Girl” from the Designation menu.
“I’m donating my time. We did this out of love,” Dylan said in an interview from her home in Southern California.
Lathrop brought the play to Dylan’s attention several years ago, and the women have since workshopped it in New York City, Los Angeles and Seattle. Lathrop, also has had her plays “Garden of Monsters” and “The Six Basic Rules” produced at Key City Public Theatre in Port Townsend.
“Sea Village Girl,” recommended for viewers 18 and older, is gritty, funny and shocking, Dylan said.
“She encounters men who take advantage of her,” yet she creates a better life for herself, a life in which she is no longer used by others.
Another friend, opera director Cynthia Stokes, directs “Sea Village Girl,” which works since the story is an operatic one — “a woman’s epic journey,” Dylan added.
Lathrop, for her part, sees this as a play for right now.
“Every one has had to reflect on who we are, and on the changes we need to make to get through this thing we’re all going through,” she said.
“ ‘Sea Village Girl’ keeps finding herself in bizarre circumstances. And she adapts.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]