Walk a Mile in Her Iron Shoes


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Photo by Vincent Louis Carrella

It’s like a surreal sort of #MeToo movement in miniature as different women meet and discover they’ve all been doomed to roam through the world in iron shoes. That’s the sad state of affairs in Iron Shoes, the world premiere collaboration between Shotgun Players and Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble at Berkeley’s Ashby Stage. Kitka is a nearly 40-year-old Oakland chorus specializing in Eastern European polyphony familiar from Bulgarian’s women’s choirs and other Slavic and Balkan traditions, which may give some sense of the spellbinding music that’ll be woven through the piece.

Inspired by Eastern European fairy tales, Iron Shoes is described as a “contemporary, neo-feminist folk opera brimming with humor.” Created by longtime Kitka core member Janet Kutulas, playwright Michelle Carter, and director Erika Chong Shuch, the show features a modern woman meeting three innocent girls who’ve stepped right out of separate Slavic folk tales, each cursed for different reasons to walk around in iron shoes until she’s worn out three pairs of them. We also meet each girl’s lover, each struggling with a curse of his own, and three volatile witches, or Baba Yagas. It promises to be a fascinating exercise in opening up and listening to the stories of women whose shoes we’d never want to walk in.

Iron Shoes, March 15-April 15, 8 p.m. or 7 p.m. Wed.-Thu.; 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 5 p.m. Sun; Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley; $5-$40; 510-841-6500, ShotgunPlayers.org

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