River Company will present Jane Martin’s “Talking With …”, directed by Ann Foskett, for two weekends beginning Friday, Oct. 15 in the Porter Room of Skidompha Public Library, Elm Street entrance. Performances will be Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 15 through 23, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 17 at 3 p.m.

This delightful, poignant piece is really nine small plays in one, with no connection between them except the most elemental of all – all the characters are women, women who are on the verge of losing something essential or have found fascinating ways to survive in the modern world. This collection of sharp, bittersweet portraits of women, many of whom have reacted to disappointments by melting into private worlds, includes those of an actress; a housewife who lives much of the day in the dream world of Oz, a rodeo rider; an aspiring actress; a devotee of McDonalds; a snake handler; a tattooed woman; and older woman in the twilight of her years talking with us about their experiences in the poetic language this playwright is known for bringing to all her stage characters.

Foskett, who also appears on stage, directs an all-star cast the includes Andrea Handel , Ellen Erickson, Suzanne Rankin, Natasha Salvo, Ellie Busby, Nancy Durgin, Erin Blomquist and Heidi Kopishke. This production is a rare opportunity to see so many fine local actresses in one piece.

Mysterious playwright “Jane Martin” slipped a manuscript under the door at the Louisville Theater Office to begin a mystery that has confounded the theater community for more than two decades. Who is the writer who has produced more than 10 full-length plays, six one-acts and numerous shorts? She has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won the American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award twice, but has not made a single public appearance. There have been no interviews, no pictures, no sightings of who has been called America’s best known unknown playwright.

In her absence, retired Actors Theatre of Louisville artistic director Jon Jory has accepted her awards and served as her spokesman. It is a relationship that has dogged him since “Talking With …” premiered at his theater’s Humana Festival in 1981. Countless theatrical sleuths have tried to connect the dots and they all seem to lead to Jory himself; “I’m not going to talk about that” is Jory’s usual response when asked about the subject. He has been adamant in his denial despite a mountain of circumstantial evidence that suggests the contrary.

Tickets are available at the door or by reservation at 563-8116. Ticket prices are $15, $13 for members. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended, due to limited seating.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.