A one woman show

A play about one woman's struggle against breast cancer & how it affects those around her... with Allaire Paterson Koslo, adapted and directed by Bridget Kowalczyk

Allaire Paterson Koslo stars in this one woman show, directed and adapted by Bridget Kowalczyk and conceived by Daryl Lindstrom.

We often invite Breast Cancer Survivors to talk at the Post-show discussions which follow each performance.

The title, Purple Breasts, refers to the purple ink used to mark the body for radiation treatment. These markings on the breast are the "map" drawn by hospital technicians in order to line a patient up correctly with the radiation machines. One must choose either felt tip pen markings or permanent tattoo.

The play was produced in San Jose, and in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in 1993 and 1994

"Creatively directed and superbly acted, this is a compelling and important piece of theater." 1994, Coast Weekly, Carmel-by-the-Sea

The Los Angeles Premiere of Purple Breasts at The MET Theatre took place during October and November, 1996 ... playing to a full house on November 23rd and then, with a Standing Ovation (and three beautiful speakers afterwards) on the Full Moon, Sunday November 24th ... a very moving evening. Subsequent performances March 1997, March and October 1998 with the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival.

Subsequently there have been many performances in the Lakes Community and Antelope Valley.

For information about future performances, write us to be on our e-mail list, allaireeconet.org

For a copy of the script, send $7 to
Allaire Paterson Koslo, Purple Breasts
P O Box 371
Lake Hughes, CA 93532-0371

Added attractions on nearby pages
Scenes and Images Letter of Support, 1996 Press Release, 1996

On this page you can find out more about ...
The Need The Solution Project History The Story of Purple Breasts
The Program
Characters The Company Director's Notes Special Thanks to P.B. Angels


Breast Cancer.

There is little that can assuage the fear these words can bring. And although treatment breakthroughs can be encouraging, as of today there is no guaranteed cure for the disease.

Breast cancer occurrence continues to rise. In 1960, 1 in 30 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. In 1996, 1 in 8 will be diagnosed with the disease. It is estimated that by the year 2000 the occurrence rate will be 1 in 7.

Nearly 50,000 will die of breast cancer this year in this country. Despite current efforts, the death rate for breast cancer has actually risen in the last decade.

2,600,000 women in the United States are living with breast cancer.

Awareness is vital in order to create the necessary climate in which funding and innovative research can be harnessed together to fight this killer. The importance of direct monies to research cannot be overemphasized; however, public consciousness will ultimately play the key role in determining long-range priorities for governmental and private funding for years to come. Effective tools which help people to recognize breast cancer as a major health concern are essential in order to eradicate public indifference to this growing phenomenon.


PURPLE BREASTS is an entertaining and compelling presentation designed to raise awareness of the issues surrounding breast cancer. In critically acclaimed stage productions in the United States and Britain, PURPLE BREASTS has proven itself as an effective means to help people understand the difficult decisions and complex emotions that accompany this life-threatening disease. Co-authored by a 37 year-old breast cancer patient who died after a four year battle with the disease, PURPLE BREASTS documents one young woman' struggle for life after a diagnosis of breast cancer. Tracing the heroine' search for answers from her first time diagnosis and treatment to her recurrence, PURPLE BREASTS illuminates the patient's struggles, as well as those of the people touched by her cancer: mother, husband, sister, friend, doctor. A powerful reminder that cancer is a family phenomenon, PURPLE BREASTS ends with a message that the fight against this disease is far from over.


Conceived and co-authored by Daryl Lindstrom, a 37 year-old teacher and director who suffered from metastatic breast cancer, and a company of four fellow actors, PURPLE BREASTS was inspired by a deep desire to give cancer patients and their loved ones a voice for their concerns and struggles in the battle for survival. The title refers to the purple ink marks used during radiation.

PURPLE BREASTS premiered at San Jose City College in 1989. Thereafter the play was produced by American Theatre Ventures and performed at many medical institutions and after a successful California tour, it received a reading at the prestigious actor's Institute in New York. In 1990 PURPLE BREASTS went on to an acclaimed production at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland where it was called "passionate and caring...more about life than death...a stirring and thought-provoking testament to the human spirit..." (Festival Times, Edinburgh, Scotland). PURPLE BREASTS has evolved into numerous, varied adaptations. The New York Times calls the play "Spunky and sentimental." The one woman version was commissioned by Allaire Paterson Koslo and adapted and directed by Bridget Kowalczyk. It is their hope that Ms. Lindstrom's dreams be realized- to raise public consciousness and to increase efforts in the fight against breast cancer.

Ms. Lindstrom, the inspiration for PURPLE BREASTS, succumbed to breast cancer in 1989 before the play fully realized its success. Her story reinforces this poignant reminder that behind every statistic there is a human being.


At thirty-three, an age when most people are realizing their futures, Zoe confronts her mortality. Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she begins to fight not only for her own survival, but to understand the pain and confusion that has suddenly engulfed her life. Armed with an indomitable will power, Zoe vows to relate her experience through the one method closest to her heart- the theatre. She makes only two rules for herself: to tell the truth and to complete the project regardless of the inevitable difficulties. Zoe chronicles her story in the form of a play she entitles PURPLE BREASTS.

Aided by her younger sister and best friend, Zoe recounts the fear of those days and weeks following the discovery of a suspicious lump in her breast. She describes her first encounter with the purple dye that becomes the all-too-familiar marks of radiation therapy. As Zoe contemplates her changing body, she brings insight to our cultural language and the social pressure for compliance. In dramatically-staged flashback sequences she recalls the disappointments of her medical treatment, her family's depleted emotional resources and her deteriorating marriage. As the story unfolds, Zoe's struggles, as well as those of the people touched by her cancer become poignantly articulated. The firsthand experiences of those close to her, give forceful testimony to the complex web of pain wrought by the disease.

Faced with hard choices in a world where hard choices are the only ones to make, Zoe's search for an answer sometimes takes her down unorthodox paths. In the end she learns that inner strength is her last and best salvation. Cancer finally wins the fight but is unable to conquer the spirit of hope that sustains Zoe through her final days.

Tracing the heroine's search for answers from her first time diagnosis and treatment to her recurrence, PURPLE BREASTS illuminates the patient's struggles, as well as those of the people touched by her cancer: mother, husband, sister, friend, doctor. A powerful reminder that cancer is a family phenomenon, PURPLE BREASTS ends with a message that the fight against this disease is far from over.

CHARACTERS (in order of appearance)

David, Zoe's husband
Susan, Zoe's sister
Beth, Zoe's best friend
Zoe's Mom
Demon Dreamgirl
The Good Doctor
Jane Doe
Zoe's Breast Surgeon
Nurse at Zoe's hospital
Tsering Choeden

Voices of other doctors: Bridget Kowalczyk, Michael LaMere, David Scott
Direction & Adaptation: Bridget Kowalczyk
Choreography: Susan McMahon
Production Stage Manager: Steven Ullman
Set Design: Paul Vallerga
Sound Design: Barbara Gotcher
Lighting Design: Barbara D'Ardenne
Slide Photography: Peter McCarron
Sound Editing: Orjan Haugen
Dance/Movement Coach: Kathryn Sanders
Additional Set Construction: J. Allan Paterson

A strobe light is used in the performance.

The play lasts approximately 75 minutes and is performed without an intermission.

You are invited to join in an optional post show discussion after the performance.

Purple Breasts was originally created by Daryl Lindstrom, Gloria Symon, Sidney Markus, Susan McMahon and Allaire Paterson Koslo. Teleplay by Rick Lore and Margaret Mancinelli-Cahill. Purple Breasts was first performed as a work in progress at San Jose City College in California in March 1989 under the direction of Daryl Lindstrom. Allaire Paterson Koslo commissioned Bridget Kowalczyk to create a one-woman version of Purple Breasts incorporating the concept and dialogue from the original scripts and teleplay, in addition to writing original dialogue, monologues and scenes.

The MET Theatre production is sponsored by Board Members Laura Owens and Darrell Larson.


Allaire Paterson Koslo (Actor & Co-Author) received her classical training at Shakespeare & Co. in Massachusetts and at the Sorbonne in Paris. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.F.A. from San Jose State in California. She has performed in numerous theatre productions and films. Stage credits include Katherine in Henry V, Alice in Through the Looking Glass, Hermione in The Winter's Tale, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Since Purple Breasts' premiere in 1989 she has been an activist for breast cancer awareness and prevention. Allaire is equally passionate about the preservation of our environment. She is an electric vehicle enthusiast and has raced for WE'RE IT!, The Women's Electric Racing Education International Team. Allaire dedicates her performance to her family, Daryl, and her Godmother.

Bridget Kowalczyk (Director & Adaptor) received her M.F.A. from San Jose State and has taught at the University since 1986. Directing credits on the San Jose State University Mainstage include Working, and About Face. San Francisco Bay Area projects include Baby with the Bath Water, Reynard the Fox and several avant-garde productions. Bridget's most thrilling theatrical experience to date was playing Grandma in The Sandbox under the direction of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee. Bridget is an equity actor who has appeared in numerous shows, most notably in the role of Carol in Angry Housewives at San Jose Stage Co. for a record-breaking three and one-half year run.

Susan McMahon (Choreographer & Co-Author) has a B.A. in dance/theatre from University of Toledo in Ohio. She danced five years with the Valois Co. of dancers in Ohio and as a member of the Isadora Duncan Heritage Society dancers in San Francisco. She has taught numerous children's creative dance classes and workshops and is also a massage therapist. Another project includes Earthshare, a multimedia ecology performance piece. Susan's main focus in life now is her daughter, Jocelyn.

Steven Ullman (Production Stage Manager) has been working professionally in the theatre for the past twenty-one years in several capacities. He produced the U.S. West Coast Premiere Production of Hurlyburly by David Rabe (who also directed) starring Sean Penn, Danny Aiello, Michael Lerner and Mare Winningham; The Foreigner starring Rene Auberjonois and Imogene Coca, directed by Jerry Zaks; Greater Tuna, which ran for more than five years in San Francisco; and the U.S. National Tour of Some Like It Cole!, a revue of Cole Porter's music. His World Premiere Production of The Stonewater Rapture (which he also directed) won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. Steven was the Production Stage Manager of Los Angeles' longest running hit play, Tamara, as well as numerous productions with the Long Beach Opera. He began his career as a Musical Director, conducting 100+ productions in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an accomplished classical pianist.


On March 3, 1989 the very first production of Purple Breasts was staged at City College in San Jose. The project was a collaborative effort conceived and directed by the late Daryl Lindstrom. With the combined efforts of director, actors, designers, friends and loved-ones, a script was created and performed in five short weeks. As an audience member I attended numerous performances of Purple Breasts and witnessed three different versions of the script. I was introduced to Daryl during the first run. I knew I had met an exceptional woman with drive and determination, seemingly invincible. After all, she created something both moving and thought-provoking in five short weeks! She was truly a force to be reckoned with; if anyone was going to beat cancer, it was Daryl. When I got the news that she had passed away, I looked at mortality in an entirely different light. But I knew that she had left a powerful legacy behind-- one that could serve both as a source of comfort, as well as a stimulant. I believe that Daryl was a remarkable woman. This version of Purple Breasts was created as a tribute to Daryl, not as a factual representation of her life. It is written in honor of her courage and strength.

It is the wish of those involved in this project that Purple Breasts will offer support to those who are coping with cancer. Additionally, and ideally, if this production can serve as a catalyst for increased research to find a cure for breast cancer, as well as more aggressive lobbying for funding, then Daryl's vision may become a reality.

Daryl Lindstrom died on October 29, 1989 of metastatic breast cancer.


Sunny Bocanegra, Ed Clune, Todd Conatser, Fred Curchack, Dan Duling, Randy Earle, Shannon Edwards, Bob Filippi, Kevin Kennedy, Darrell Larson, Edwin Lopez, Dr. Susan Love, Yvonne Lynott, Ursula Oerding, Laura Owens, Dee, Leron, and Allan Paterson, SJSU Theatre Arts Dept, Wayne Sobon, Peter Staats, Judith Lyn Sutton, Ron Swenson, Maria Luisa Yanez, Post Show Discussion Participants and Facilitators, and all the wonderful people who have been involved since the creation of the various renditions of the script and productions and those who offered their assistance since the program was completed.

Original Music: Desdemona's Theme by Thomas O'Connor


I want to dance naked
in the rain
ritualistically spinning
as the spray caresses,
beading like fine mist on oil
I want to drink
its oaken freshness
through every pore
pelting my tongue, my eyes
stinging the hardness of my breasts
dancing off the ample curves of my flesh
rushing like a spring through every orifice
exploring every weakness
drowning in the glory
of rain

...Bridget Kowalczyk

updated 2010 November 27