Performance Venue
Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two
2700 S Lang Street
Arlington, VA 22206
Avant Bard Theatre Office
3700 S Four Mile Run Drive
Arlington, VA 22206
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by Julia Marks

Please note: Though the Scripts in Play Festival is free, please register by clicking the “Buy Tickets” button.
Julia Marks
January 26 and 28, 2024
In 17th century Italy, women had three options: get married, join a convent, or become a prostitute. Unless, of course, you consider the fourth option: become a widow. Giulia Tofana, hand-in-hand with her mother, daughter, and a vast web of women, created an untraceable poison disguised as makeup. Aqua Tofana was behind the murder of 600 men…and the agency of 600 women. In a world without choice, how far will women go to help each other build their collective power? Tofana explores women’s anger, their fear, and their desire to keep loving. Tofana tells the true story of Renaissance women who attempted to have a voice in their own story, and suffered the consequences. Although they lived in a period of great knowledge, there are very few extant texts from female writers from that time, just as there are very few dramatic texts from women from before the mid-20th century. We know Giulia and her family of poisoners existed– but all records of her come from the hands of men. Her life comes to us colored by myth, and we are left to guess at the truth of it. How do we engage with characters knowing their writers were (perhaps unconsciously) prejudiced against them? What is our responsibility to carry their stories forward? And how can we ever hope to know a true story?

Avant Bard would like to thank Sara Cormeny and Pete Miller for their support of the 2024 Scripts in Play Festival.


Performance Days and Times

Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 28 at 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201


Production Team

Director: Gillian Drake
Dramaturg: Kate Foster Vishniakova
Stage Manager: Jessica Schweizer

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