One-Eyed, One-Armed Directing
In 2008, at the age of 36, theater director Michaela Goldhaber suffered a stroke that paralyzed her left side and ruined the vision in her right eye. She shares the extraordinary story of her recovery and return to theater in her article in the May/June issue of Theatre Bay Area magazine.
An excerpt from the article:
“I’ve always thought my main job as director is to ask questions about the play. Before my stroke, I would physically jump in to help the actors answer the questions. Now that my movement is restricted, I ask the questions and watch the actors find the answers. The actors enjoy the freedom and make strong creative choices. I’ve always considered myself a very collaborative director. I don’t need or even want to have the best idea in the room. My decreased mobility pushed me to release even more control, and the result was satisfying for all concerned.”
And the Winner Is…
Some outstanding women theater artists have been recognized recently for their artistry and service to the field:
The 4th annual Lilly Awards were celebrated in New York City in June. Founded in 2012 by Julia Jordan, Marsha Norman, and Theresa Rebeck and named for powerhouse playwright Lillian Hellman, the Lilly Awards were created to recognize extraordinary contributions to the American theater made by women. This year’s awardees included actress Lois Smith (Lifetime Achievement Award), Blackburn Prize Founder Emilie “Mimi” Kilgore (Lifetime Achievement Award), Jessica Hecht (Acting Award), Jill Du Boff (Sound Design Award), Julie Crosby (Non-Profit Producer Award), Laura Marks and Tanya Barfield (Playwriting Award), and Lear deBessonet (Directing Award). Jihae Park also won the Leah Ryan Playwriting prize for Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, which can be seen at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival later this month, featuring effervescent local actors Lily Tung Crystal and Cindy Im and Anna Ishida. Read more about this year’s Lilly Awards here and here.
The Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, given in honor of the pioneering lesbian playwright, recognizes feminist plays and performance texts created by women writers that present significant opportunities for female performers. Two San Francisco/Bay Area artists were honored this year: Claire Chafee won the contest for her play FULL/SELF, and Lauren Gunderson received a runners-up commendation for Silent Sky, which will receive its Bay Area premiere at Theatre Works in January, 2014.
On Her Shoulders Launches Inaugural Season
In association with New Perspectives Theatre Company and the 50/50 in 2020 Parity for Women Theatre Artists campaign, On Her Shoulders is a staged reading series dedicated to “re-loading the canon” by familiarizing potential producers and audiences with a neglected legacy of plays– not by women playwrights– but by great playwrights. Produced by Artistic Director Melody Brooks, playwright Andrea Lepcio and actor Lillian Rodriguez, this impressive reading series runs from June through December 2013 and features plays by Cicely Hamilton, Susan Glaspell, Shelagh Delaney, Lorraine Hansberry, Daphne Du Maurier and Susanna Centlivre. If you are in the NYC area and want to participate as audience, actors, directors, producers, publicist or in any other way, contact Andrea Lepcio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Sexist Is This Show?
A new blog launched in June 2013 that invites contributors to review theatrical productions in terms of how sexist they are in their representations of women. So far there are two reviews of San Francisco/Bay Area shows with a request for others to submit content and offer multiple viewpoints on productions. Visit the blog to add your comments and feedback about recent productions and expand the conversation.
In Memoriam: Alma Becker
Nationally recognized theater director Alma Becker passed away in June 2013. Born and raised in the San Francisco/Bay Area, Alma specialized in developing and directing new plays. Many of her earliest productions were in San Francisco at the Julian Theater at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood Hous, The Eureka Theater, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. You can read more about Alma’s life and accomplishments here. (thanks to Marilyn Zoller Koral for submitting this news item)
Join WWSF’s July Meetup
For our 9th MeetUp, we will visit the annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival, produced by Playwrights Foundation. There are many wonderful plays this year featuring women artists, but we’ll be helping close the festival on Sunday, July 28th by attending Before & After by Erin Bregman.
An experiment in form, the play follows the journey of a single soul who grapples with a metaphysical dilemma: shift forward to a new phase of life and forget what was before or, remember, and remain in the ever-after. Without memory, what remains of your life after you’ve lived?
In addition to Erin, women working on the project include: Susannah Martin (Director), Margot Manburg (Dramaturg), Sarah Roland (Designer), Sofia Ahmad (AEA Actor), Sheila Balter (AEA Actor), Lizzie Calogero (AEA Actor), Carla Pantoja (AEA Actor), and Valerie Weak (AEA Actor)
After the show, we’ll head a few blocks up the hill to Blooms, 1318 18th street, between Missouri and Texas, and have invited the cast and crew to join us.
DISCLOSURE, a new play by Carol Lashof
Monday 7/22 @ 7:30pm, Jean Shelton Theater (downstairs), 533 Sutter St., SF
Presented as part of the Playwrights Center of San Francisco Spring Reading Series
Tickets at the door: $5-10 sliding scale, PCSF members free
When you have believed that sharing your story will heal your pain and you find that it doesn’t, what then?
Featuring: Anne Hallinan, Cat Luedtke, and Roneet Rahamim