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The Oldest Profession

The Oldest Profession
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Paula Vogel
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 48
Pub. Date: 2005
ISBN-10: 0822220512
ISBN-13: 9780822220510
Cast Size: 5 female

About the Play:

The Oldest Profession is a full-length drama by Paula Vogel. The play charts the professional decline of a madam and her employees, as younger women threaten their tenuous hold on their turf. But every girl has a right to go out in her own style, doesn't she? A laugh-filled chronicle of five very special ladies – how they lived 'The Life' and how they say goodbye. Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel perfectly captures the great dignity and small dramas of these women living on the fringe of a prosperous society.

The Oldest Profession is tells the story of Mae, a madam, and her stable: Ursula, Lillian, Vera and Edna. They are five "working girls" at the end of their very long careers who are coming to terms with retirement – from the oldest profession. Unfortunately, the old-age pension is not what it used to be. Veterans of legalized prostitution, doing their bit for the war effort, in the Storyville red-light district of New Orleans, where Mae says, "there was honor in the trade," five very senior 'ladies of the night' have migrated together to New York City's Upper West Side in the early 1980s. They now are faced with a diminishing clientele, younger competition for their niche market, and aching joints. These elderly 'working girls' are at the end of their very long careers. They are businesswomen whose clients are literally a dying breed and these girls aren't getting any younger themselves. With wit, compassion and humour, they struggle to find and learn new tricks as they fight to stay in 'The Life'.

The Oldest Profession had a rolling world premiere in 1988 in Canada at Theatre Network in Edmonton and 25th Street Theatre in Saskatoon. It was seen around the world, in Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Poland, before it premiered Off-Broadway in 2004 by Signature Theatre Company at The Peter Norton Space. Since then the play had productions at professional theatres across the US, has been mounted by community theatres.

Cast: 5 female

What people say:

"Captures Ms. Vogel's most essential gift as a playwright: an ability to find transfixing warmth and vitality in subjects often employed to titillate or repel…this venturesome dramatist provides a transforming theatrical wit, compassion and tolerance that keeps…theatregoers hooked." — The New York Times

"...the playwright obviously cares so much about these very-much-in-their-prime women and makes their conversations and concerns so delightfully wicked and dear that it's hard to resist any of it." — Backstage

About the Playwright:

Paula Vogel is an American playwright and university professor. One of the most widely produced and honoured playwrights writing in the English language, her work has garnered numerous awards and prizes including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Susan Smith Blackburn Award, New York Drama Critics Award, Obie Award, AT&T New Plays Award, among many others, as well as fellowships from the Pew Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She is currently the Eugene O'Neill Professor and Chair of the Department of Playwriting at Yale University.

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