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‘Feeding the Furies’ to be presented onstage in Cave Creek

Shea Stanfield~ 3/18/2015

The late great Joan Rivers once remarked, “I succeeded by saying, out loud, what everyone else is thinking.” So goes the new play, Feeding the Furies, by local author and playwright Andrea Markowitz. Andrea would describe Furies as Ozzie and Harriet collide with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in this off-kilter satire about a couple trying to live the 1960s American Dream. Yes, there are more than a few of us that have “been there, done that,” and we will see shadows of our families in the struggles of Ruthie and Marty Furies’ onstage marriage.

Andrea grew up in northern New Jersey, near Manhattan. Her parents loved the arts, so she and her brother were frequent visitors to the museum, galleries, concerts, operas, and plays in the city. Andrea thrived on the energy and creativity generated by each of these uniquely diverse venues.

Over time, she took painting and sculpture classes, as well as dance and piano lessons, but her love of reading and writing would take the lead in guiding her career.  Andrea completed degrees in English Literature, Music, and Psychology. Her first writing job was as a copywriter for an advertising agency. Dysfunctional work environments inspired her to pursue a career in human resources, followed by a stint as an assistant professor of industrial/organization psychology. After moving to the Cave Creek area in 1999 with her husband (Pat O’Brien), Andrea freelanced as an editor for trade and textbook publishers and individual authors. She also wrote feature articles and advertorials for various media publications. Now retired, Andrea is living her “American Dream” writing novels and plays.

Andrea reflects that, “It never occurred to me to write a play until I was 40ish. I was with my parents in a restaurant, watching them perform the same antics they’d acted out, in restaurants, since I was a child. It hit me their routines would make an entertaining play.” But as many ideas that began as a single “flash,” Andrea’s inspiration sat for more than 15 years before she began to put pen to paper bringing it to tangible form. The Furies started as a comedy, using her parents as inspiration. 

Through this process, Andrea realized many of their rituals were symbolic of serious frustrations experienced by couples of the 1940s and 50s. She observed that many of the pressures of the day were as unhealthy for men as they were for woman.  Consequently, the plot morphed into a satirical drama about a family’s conflicting reactions to the feminist movement. She credits her background in psychology for the foundation of the characters’ personalities, motivations, and what “makes them tick.” Andrea’s ability for making the obvious humorous enables us to fix our gaze on our common cultural struggles of the time.

The Arizona Women’s Theatre Company awarded Furies a staged reading at the 2013 Pandora Festival of New Works.  Encouraged by the audience to take the play to the next level, Andrea refined the action and dialogue and is offering it as a staged reading fundraiser for the Desert Foothills Library and Desert Foothills Theater.  She describes both of these nonprofits as community gems that enrich and entertain. The wonderful actors who are performing in Furies are volunteering their time to support these nonprofits, as well. They all live in the Desert Foothills area, and three of them attend Cactus Shadows High School. 

See Feeding the Furies at The Desert Foothills Library on March 28 from 1-3:30.  Registration is required; please call the Library at (480) 488-2286.  All proceeds will benefit the Desert Foothills Library and the Desert Foothills Theater.  

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.