Cheri Magid's play "The Gaba Girl"

Tuesday, Apr, 5 2016 — 7:30 PM
At: Black Box Theater at the Tennessee Williams Center

Photo: Cynthia the mannequin (part of her, anyway), 1937. Source:


Sewanee Writers' Conference, Mellon Globalization Forum, and organizers of “Why All the Fuss about the Body?”: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Local and Global/ized Bodies (April 11-16) present Cheri Magid's play The Gaba Girl, excerpts of which will be read by professional actors at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, in the Black Box Theater at the Tennessee Williams Center. Cheri Magid is the 2015-16 Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at Sewanee.   


Synopsis of The Gaba Girl

New York City, 1937. Lester, a young soap carver, meets an infamous socialite and her best friend, an androgynous and closeted theatre director with dreams of going to Hollywood. Aiming to be as outrageous as they are—and perhaps also as a way to avoid his growing sexual feelings for the director and his homosexuality--Lester creates a life-sized mannequin that looks exactly like the socialite. Questions of what is real and what is not reach dizzying heights--until they don’t. The Gaba Girl, based on the fantastic but true story of Lester Gaba and his mannequin Cynthia, is a meditation on celebrity and intimacy and the cost of the former at the expense of the latter.

Cheri Magid is the Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at the University of the South in 2015-2016. She was a 2014 Audrey Resident at New Georges, and a 2014 Walter E Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Playing Dog will be produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the fall of 2016. The Ghost of Enoch Charlton was produced at the Keen Company for Keen Teens, Manna at the University of Iowa, First Lady of Christmas at Sarah Lawrence College, and her one-acts at La Mama, Blue Coyote Theatre Company, the Slipper Room, the Turnip Theatre Festival, and Vital Theatre Company, among others. Her plays have been developed at Primary Stages, New Georges, the New Group, the Women’s Project, Rattlestick and The Lark, and others. Magid has been commissioned by Cincinnati Playhouse (Playing Dog), South Coast Rep (et al; and The Reluctant Dragon), the Keen Company (The Ghost of Enoch Charlton) and director Jackson Gay (First Lady of Christmas). Manna and The Ghost of Enoch Charlton have been published by Playscripts and excerpts are included in Smith and Kraus’ The Best Stage Scenes of 2009. Camera Four is published in The Best Short Plays of 2012 and by Indie Theater Now, and Post Mortem will be in The Best Short Plays of 2015

Magid’s erotic story She Grinds Her Own Coffee is published in Cleis Press’ anthology Hide and Seek and was shot as a short film in February of 2015 starring Raul Castillo (Looking) and directed by Michelle Bossy. Lydia, or the Girl at the Wheel, Magid's radio play about the earliest days of burlesque, aired on National Public Radio and her short story "Yeah, We Got That" was featured on Playboy Radio. She wrote the screenplay Story of D, about the real story behind the writing of the famous sadomasochistic novel Story of O, for Nicole Kidman and adapted the book Heart of the Game for film producer Richard Wiener (Any Given Sunday). Magid is currently writing on the Emmy-award-winning children’s television show "Arthur" and is a teacher in Dramatic Writing and the area head of Undergraduate Curriculum at New York University.

All events linked to the conference on "The Body" at Sewanee are free, open to the public, and have received generous support from the Dean of the College, Mellon Globalization Forum, University Lectures Committee, the departments and programs of Art and Art History, Asian Studies, English, Film Studies, French, German, History, Humanities, International and Global Studies, Italian, Politics, Religious Studies, Russian, Spanish, Women’s and Gender Studies, the Sewanee Union Theater, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Tennessee Williams Center, and Greenspace Studio.

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