Benefit Event for On The Rise

Benefit Event for On The Rise

Area Playwright Ginger Lazarus (center) and Director Fran Weinberg (second from right) greeted staffers from On The Rise, Cambridge, at the March 8 performance of “A Blessing and a Curse” at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre. The event was a benefit for On The Rise, which assists women who are homeless or in crisis. At left is OTR Executive Officer Martha Sandler. Next to her is Program Director Charyti Reiter. Gillian Grossman, Director of Development & Communications, is on the right.

by Mary Holbrow   

Staff members of On The Rise, a Cambridge day program for women, joined the audience at Boston Playwrights' Theatre on March 8 for a benefit performance of "A Blessing and a Curse," two short plays about motherhood by Ginger Lazarus.

On The Rise, located at 341 Broadway in Cambridge, assists women who have fallen through the ever-widening cracks of the social system. Lazarus and Director Fran Weinberg greeted the group from On The Rise. Lazarus introduced Executive Officer Martha Sandler, who spoke briefly about the organization.

The two plays brought laughs, applause and murmurs of agreement from audience members whether they were connected with the evening's cause or not. In "Benny and Serena's High School Graduation," Serena (Claire McClanahan), a strung-out single mom, struggles to raise her prodigy son Ben. Boston Latin junior Tadesh Inagaki portrays Ben from the moment he is delivered to his high school graduation.

"Mary" shows how the Annunciation, a frequent subject in religious art, might play out today. McClanahan plays Mary, a law student. An angel (Cliff Odle) with a briefcase notifies her that she’s been chosen to bear the savior of the world. Mary is outraged and horrified—as far as she's concerned, it's a hostile takeover. Her efforts to resolve the situation are heroic.

Performers also include Sharon Mason, Anya Whelan-Smith and Gillian Gordon. Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is at 949 Commonwealth. Performances continue March 12-15.