They met at Woodstock.

In August, 1969, at the Woodstock Music Festival, five women were brought together by Valerie, an outgoing free soul not afraid to talk to anyone, anywhere, about anything. Almost 50 years later, Valerie has died and the remaining five gals meet up at her funeral.

They stayed in touch.

The gals realize that they need to do better at staying in touch. Now that Valerie—the glue that has kept them together and fanned the flames of their sacred Woodstock memories—has passed, what will keep the group from falling apart.

They formed a tontine.

A tontine is a financial instrument whereby people throw in an agreed amount of money. As investors die off, their funds are absorbed into the remaining shares. At the end, the last gal standing will receive a substantial windfall. But who?

Can friendships change us?

Even when we get to a “certain age” and assume we are fully formed, complete and immutable, circumstances and relationships can remind us that growth and possibility are always available. By allowing in even the most unlikely agent of that change, we can find ourselves in a different location, a different frame of mind and sporting a very different attitude toward life.

In “The Woodstock Tontine” world views clash. Historical backgrounds could not be more dissimilar. And yet these women who stumbled upon one another by chance form lasting friendships that can help them to see themselves in new ways.

The gals of “The Woodstock Tontine” prove that serendipitous meetings can change us forever. Perhaps our generation is always looking to get back to the garden. And perhaps, if we invest in the relationships that graciously come to us, we can surprise ourselves at any age.

Oh, and who gets the money? That is a surprise, too.


Women's Theatre Festival NC 2017 mounts mainstage preview performance of “The Woodstock Tontine”

“The Woodstock Tontine" was produced in July, 2017 as part of the Women's Theatre Festival’s season: “Women are Funny.” Directed by Lucia Foster, it featured Jennifer Kuzma, Verlene Oates, Julie Oliver, Judy McCord and Lisa Leonard. It was performed at Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh, NC.


Steffi Rubin’s Woodstock Tontine Is an Emotional Journey of Love, Loss, and Friendship