The Wood$tock Tontine
by Steffi Rubin
Five women meet at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 and reunite 50 years later at the funeral of the group’s emotional pulse, the glue that has kept the diverse group connected over the years. Finding their bond in danger, they invest in their friendship—literally—by forming a tontine, each contributing a substantial amount of money to ensure that the last gal standing will be taken care of financially. It is a proposition both tantalizing and morbid. Conflicting worldviews clash as scene by scene, the group dwindles. But those who remain discover the lasting influence that friends can exert on each other.
- Cast Size: 5W
- Running Time: 90+ minutes
- Royalty Rate: $75 per performance
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About the Playwright
Steffi Rubin came to play writing with the production of “The Wood$tock Tontine” in 2017. She is also known for her musicals, “My Other Mother,” based on her life as an adoptee, “Co*Laborate,” and “TBD.” Steffi is the lyricist for Marlo Bernier’s musical-in-process, “Beyond the Dressing Room,” featuring Austin Pendleton. Other full-length works include “Ogrodowa Street,” “Always Will,” “First Child,” “It Was June” and “Three.” Steffi is a painter and graphic designer who lives in Chapel Hill, NC. She is originally from the Bronx.
Being acutely aware of the inevitable end of our lives prompts a whole bunch of opportunities to be wildly authentic and, in some cases, authentically wild. This is a wisdom that informs Rubin’s remarkable play. The women of the tontine may have found early liberation at Woodstock, but they up the ante as women “of a certain age” who shed pretensions, deceptions, and ego as they begin to face mortality together. The play is liberating, thoughtful, and surprisingly funny as it reminds us all to live fearlessly.
Steffi Rubin’s “The Wood$tock Tontine” is a play I was privileged to have read in a few of its earlier drafts back in 2016, a staged reading I attended at the Road Theatre in NOHO (North Hollywood, Ca) at the Summer Playwrights Festival of 2018 – and ultimately a full (online) production in 2020 – produced by Mad Cow Theatre of Orlando.
To say that this work of Rubin’s evolved from good, to better, to really better, to “Ah, YES, there it is…,” would be an understatement.
Simply put, “The Wood$tock Tontine” is a piece of contemporary American theatre that speaks, not only to the essence of the inner workings of relationships between (Rubin’s) women of a certain age but to our humanness with all its baggage (some easily visible, and some that require a bit of digging up), regardless of one’s sex and regardless of the passing of one’s time in this world.
I look forward with great anticipation and hopefulness to the night, that night when we will be able to sit, shoulder-to-shoulder in a darkened theater, collectively suspending our disbelief and allowing us all passage on this life journey along with the women of Steffi Rubin’s “The Wood$tock Tontine.”
Auf der Bühne Theatricals
Steffi Rubin’s THE WOOD$TOCK TONTINE is a warm, funny and ultimately moving play celebrating the enduring friendship of five women who’ve been through the messy ups and downs of life. Now, five decades later, they find new bonding and understanding as they enter a time when not all of them will be around anymore. Rubin’s witty dialog reflects the teasings, irritations, jealousies and affections these women share, frankly revealing how their conversations can ricochet around marriage, sex,money, politics, religion and death, with regular asides about shoe fashion, mixed drinks, bumper stickers and favorite songs.
The play is a proven audience-pleaser and a bounteous gift to that portion of the acting pool often neglected or relegated to stereotype. Theaters and directors looking for something “a little different” should find this play fits the bill in every way.
During the three wet, muddy days of the memorable and musical lovefest of 1969 named: “Woodstock”, five young women meet and share unforgettable experiences. When the music ends, each woman is catapulted onto their unique lifespans.
Fifty years later, together again, they meet at a different life celebration, one we will all share. These smart, sophisticated seniors have matured into wisdom bearers, and they are challenged with a new opportunity: but it involves “money”:
Woodstock Tontine guarantees a lump will form in your throat, (once or twice), a flutter in your heart and many true belly laughs. We want these women to live forever. This play left me with the feeling of a warm afghan surrounding a full heart on a cool Fall dusk. Delicious.