The 11 women may be as different in lifestyle as they are in age in Louisiana Voices for Women's "Women on Fire," yet they are connected.
You'll have to pay close attention to find those connections in their monologues, but they're there.
The theater company, also known as LaVow, opens Irene O'Garden's play on June 28 in Theatre Baton Rouge's Studio Theatre. The production follows LaVow's mission of performing works by women playwrights.
"There are lots of women playwrights out there, but their voices aren't always heard," director and founder Aileen Hendricks said. "We want to get their voices out there."
LaVow will stage "Women on Fire" with five actors portraying two or more characters. Each character delivers a monologue, offering the audience a slice of her life.
"And when you follow the monologues, there's always hints that connect these women," actor Julie Richard said. "One of the characters is a writer who can't get published and goes to the bookstore and spray paints a book display. Another character's daughter has just had a book published, and someone has spray painted her display at the bookstore."
The monologues are emotionally charged, Hendrickson said, adding "and the roles are challenging. Some are mothers, career women, caregivers, a construction worker, artists and activists. The oldest character is in her 80s, but she's being played by our youngest actor."
Kaylan Landreneaux tackles that role, simply known as The Dancer. She's nearing the end of her life, and though she delivers the final dialogue, hers is a message of hope.
"She brings it all together and talks about joy," Hendrickson said. "She says it doesn't matter what happened to you when you were a child or what problems you have. You have to keep going, because there's so much joy in the world. You can't grieve forever."
Landreneaux also plays a young author named Zatz.
"Zatz wasn't wanted by her parents, so she was passed from foster home to foster home," Landrendeaux said. "Now she's written a book, and she's discouraged because she can't get it published, no matter how badly it's written. So, she connects not being wanted as a child to not being able to get published."
Zatz is the complete opposite of the octogenarian dancer, but it's Landreneaux's oldest character who imparts the best life advice, not only to Zatz but to all the women on fire.
"She wants them to be joyous," Hendrickson said. "And that leaves the play on an uplifting note."
Along with Landreneaux and Richard, LaVow's cast features Abrielle DeCuir, Christina Normand and Crystal Brown.
'Women on Fire'
Louisiana Voice of Women's summer production
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. June 28-29, 3 p.m. June 30
WHERE: Studio Theatre, Theatre Baton Rouge, 7155 Florida Blvd.
TICKETS: $25 at lavow.org