Noteworthy News and Shows to See

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The Numbers Problem and Why It Matters 

In a recent post, playwright Laura Shamas, one of the founders of the LA Female Playwrights’ Initiative, offers a comprehensive overview of various global theatrical data gathering projects.  This post offers a wealth of detail about specific data gathering efforts happening in LA, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C, Sydney, Australia and the UK as well as a myriad of excellent arguments for the necessity of more coordination and financial support for data gathering. Our favorite of these come from Gwydion Suilebhan of Washington, D.C., a member of The Welders, A Playwrights’ Collective: “Looking at data is like looking into a well-polished mirror. It shows us exactly who we are, whether we like what we see or not…and helps us make reality-based decisions. If we really want to achieve gender parity in the American theater, we have to know exactly where we’re starting from…and monitor whether our choices are really making a difference or not.” Previously, Laura has blessed the theater community with her multi-point plan for addressing gender parity on a grass-roots level.  Everyone should read her gorgeous HowlRound essay from last year – How to Build Gender Parity Initiatives and Influence Theater.

Caridad Svich on Artistic Innovation

Caridad Svich is known for the dark and poetic potency of her plays (she won a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theater) but also, and perhaps even more importantly, for her big-thinking about the role of theater in transforming culture.  She shares some inspiring insights into the nature of creativity and innovation in a series of essays posted on the TCG website.  Her opening line: “I am an optimist. Better said: I am a creative optimist. Why else would I have written seven uncommissioned plays in the last year and a half, and be in midst of two more, as we speak? (talk about a pitching dilemma!)”

Upcoming Shows to See

Crackpot Crones: The Sequel

Terry Baum and Carolyn Myers, aka A Couple Crackpot Crones, are back with a new show for the winter holidays.  Crackpot Crones: The Sequel boasts a new collection of sketches and improvisations and some chestnuts from last year’s show.  Written and performed by Terry Baum (a slightly world-renown lesbian playwright) and Carolyn Myers (a retired warrior princess of comedy), the show offers a touch of mockery and blasphemy to balance the traditional piety and purchasing that overwhelm December.

Get your tickets here. The riotous show runs 12/14 – 12/29.

Actor and theater educator Radhika Rao stars (in a supporting role) in New Conservatory Theater’s run of My Beautiful Laundrette as Tania. Radhika has a background in street and improvisational stage performance and a passion for forum theatre. Runs through 12/22, Thursdays through Sundays. 

Look out for WWSF’s interview with Radhika – coming soon! 
Also in a supporting role is Cat Luedtke who was a finalist for the 2013 TBA ATLAS Titan Award, and can be seen as Isabella Bird/Mrs Kidd/Joyce in Custom Made’s Top Girls (March 2014).

The Southern Railroad Theater Company, run by playwright Susan Jackson and actor and co-producer Diana Brown, brings to the stage Three Marys and an Otter, a fabulous and mostly-female production.  From the press release: “It’s just six weeks till Christmas and the presentation of the annual Beaver Dam living nativity. This year, the much coveted role of Mary is up for grabs and the competition is fierce.  Choices must be made: who will be the Virgin Mary, who will be the Baby Jesus, and will the fly metaphors be enough to secure life-long friendships?”

Featuring: Diana Brown, Robert Cooper, Susan Jackson, Adrienne Krug, Eric Nelson and Margo Sims; written by Susan Jackson; directed by Ann Thomas. Runs 12/5-12/7, and 12/12-12/14.

For tickets and information, visit Brown Paper Tickets.

Forever Ginling

This winter, Foundation Honoring Nanjing Massacre Survivors premieres “Forever Ginling”, a play based on the life of Minnie Vautrin, an American woman who not only served as the acting president of Ginling College—a women’s college in China—but also used the campus to shelter more than 10,000 women and children during the Nanjing Massacre. The play is inspired by American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking by Hua-ling Hu, The Undaunted Women of Nanking, edited and translated by Hua-ling Hu and Zhang Lian-hong, and the Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. The show premiered last week in SF, and also has a January run – 1/16 – 1/19.

For more information or to get a ticket, please visit www.nanjingmassacre.org

Image courtesy: The Southern Railroad Company

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