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Attracting followers like a sweater with static cling attracts socks, the Spin Cycle Theater has revived student interest in women's theater with its production of Third and Oak: The Laundromat, which opens tonight. "It's a forum for women's issues at times of the year other than the week of the festival," Goodman said. The Laundromat is about two women in a laundromat at 3 a.m. The women, a starchy suburbanite and a washed-out housewife, are prompted into sharing confidences because of the strangeness of their situation. The play falls under the rubric of women's theater both because of its well-known feminist author, Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman, and because of its themes. Goodman said this week that the show portrays the struggle of a woman whose husband will not let her work, a problem that she said is as relevant now as it was when Norman wrote the play in the mid-1970s. "Fifteen years ago when she wrote it, [the problem] was a little more novel than it is now," she said. "But it scares me that it's still so common for women to think that they don't have the right to make choices about their own lives." Another of show's important themes is the development of communication between the two women, according to actress Elana Weinstein, who plays the suburbanite. "I do think it's a women's play. There's a lot of communication between the two about men, although not in the men-bashing sense," the College junior said. "There's a lot of relating to each other and sympathizing with each others' situation in life, which is something women do a lot." Both Weinstein and Goodman said that although good communication is not an exclusively feminine quality, the characters' gender and their choice of topics put The Laundromat in the feminist realm. Norman also wrote a play called Third and Oak: The Pool Hall, in which two men are in a similar situation. Her other plays include 'Night, Mother. First-year graduate student Wendy Braund, the show's only other actress, said that the play's appeal is not confined to women. "It's not that limited," said Braund, who plays the housewife. "There's definitely an empathy that you can feel whether or not you're a woman." The Women's Theatre Festival, which English Professor Lynda Hart developed and produced last year, has become a student-run enterprise, according to Goodman. She added that the festival, which will take place in February, has drawn 45 student volunteers this semester. "There are a lot of really intelligent women on this campus who are highly motivated and who want to put that motivation into a festival," the director said. "All these feminists are mixing their love for theater and their love for women's issues." The Women's Theatre Festival has lent its name to the production of The Laundromat, and Penn Women's Alliance and the Women's Center are helping produce the show. Goodman said she created the Spin Cycle Theater specifically for this production, but added that she will probably use the name for other productions because "it has sort of a women's connotation and it's kind of tongue-in-cheek." Third and Oak: The Laundromat opens tonight at 8 p.m. in the High Rise East Rathskellar and plays through Saturday. Tickets are $3.50, or $3 with a donation of a piece of winter clothing for the University City Hospitality Coalition.

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