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Elizabeth Roden
Playwright and Screenwriter
Senior Scholar, In Memorium

Elizabeth Roden writes biographical plays that center on the experience of historical and contemporary women at critical periods in their lives. Recently she explored issues of power and sexuality in the later life of Sarah Bernhardt. The play, the tenth in Roden's biographical series, is called "Lovers and Tribes: Bernhardt on Belle Isle" and will be produced in Ashland, Oregon. Her research into the mores and the sub-culture of aging men and women has been of assistance in recrafting an earlier play which she called "Slab City/ Sun City." This social comedy contrasts a group of retired women, who have formed a unique community in the Anza-Borrega desert with their more affluent peers in enclaves like "Sun City" in Arizona. These villages and cities, composed entirely of the elderly are a phenomenon of our time and deserve dramatic commentary. During the last ten years Roden has written three plays about Dorothea Lange, the only woman photojournalist on the staff of the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression. Her first screen play "Dorothea Lange: The Eloquent Witness" (written with Steven Cohen ) is now completed and under option. Dorothea Lange was able, through her pictures, such as the award-winning "Migrant Mother" published in 1936, to put a human face on the real life of the migratory workers and changed forever the way Americans viewed the Depression Era.