Paul Taylor of The Independent is all praise for Phyllida Lloyd‘s “fresh, bracingly persuasive staging of an abridged Henry IV”. Taylor writes:
“Played straight through in two hours, it’s the second in a projected trilogy of collaborations between director Phyllida Lloyd and Harriet Walter, an actress who would have been one of our great Hamlets, had the culture been open to this liberating non-literalism when she was younger.”
Matt Trueman of Variety writes a more critical review, but insists that “Lloyd’s production is never, ever dull. If nothing else, it’s a real kick to see so many women act with such ferocity.”
From Broadwayworld: “Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core, announces the first production of their twentieth anniversary season, the world premiere of WOMEN AT WAR, written by RTE member Megan Carney and directed by Artistic Director Tara Mallen.
“As a debate rages over whether females should serve on the frontlines, more women are being sent into active combat zones than ever before. Woven from first-person interviews with women who have laid their lives on the front lines, WOMEN AT WAR is the result of four years of intensive research and development. Working closely with veterans and organizations, Megan Carney explores the multifaceted world of female soldiers-from enlistment to deployment to the often complicated return home.”
In response to Chad Jones of SFGate‘s question about what really motivated local playwright Michael Gene Sullivan, San Francisco local playwright and actor, to create his play, “Recipe“, that Berkeley’s Central Works is producing the premiere of, Sullivan simply says: “I wanted to create roles for women of a certain age”.
Jones reports that in spite of women ruling the theater, both on-stage and in front of it, “Sullivan points out that… women of that certain age — let’s say 50 and beyond — see onstage opportunities dwindling or being limited to the nutty aunt, the annoying granny or the lady who types a letter for the lawyers.”
“Adding a political bent to comedy is nothing new for Sullivan, who has been involved with the San Francisco Mime Troupe since the mid-’90s and is the company’s resident playwright.”
In other words: “Laughter helps sell the message”.
More reason to rejoice from the what-if-women-play-key-male-roles stable: “John and Sara Cruncleton, two of the driving forces behind the Midwestern Theater Troupe and the Nightingale Theater, were discussing the movies of Quentin Tarantino and some of their distinctive features.
Sara Cruncleton, in an effort to “shake up people’s perceptions of the story”, decided that a key role, played by Harvey Keitel in the movie adaptation, would be played by a female, Angela Adams.”
More such casting decisions, please. And more power to women who make these decisions!
Mark Shenton of The Stage Opinion, who’s “been seeing a slew of new musicals and revivals recently”, asks the question that’s on everyone’s mind: Why, indeed, is there such a paucity of female writers in musical theatre?
“What do all of these shows have in common? With the single exception of Betty Comden, who co-wrote the book and lyrics to On the Town in 1944, every single one of these shows is written by an all-male team – even, in the case of the 1959 Gypsy, 2010′s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown or this year’s Made in Dagenham for stories that mainly revolve around women.
“…And yet, it seems, the shows they are seeing are mainly being written and directed by men, even when they are stories about – and, given that those survey results, largely for – women. There’s something wrong this with picture.”
Theatre Backstage interviews Bay Area’s very own prolific librettist, lyricist and playwright Patricia Milton. A must-read!
Shows to See
Director Amanda Ortmayer
Produced by DivaFest
These dramatic presentations use burlesque like you’ve never seen it before. Come strip away your inhibitions in this intimate and cozy theatre with comfortable seating, little tables and a great view of the stage no matter where you sit.
Sat 10/18 only at EXIT Theatre
Written and Performed by Marga Gomez
In her tenth solo play LOVEBIRDS, acclaimed performer Marga Gomez portrays a crew of incurable romantics as they chase their hearts’ desires – into the night, through decades, and to insane lengths.
Runs Fri-Sat, through 10/18, at Marsh Berkeley Arts Center
Written by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Mina Morita
Produced by Theatre First
Fire Work is a present day romantic comedy set in a place where the conflict between social conformity and individual freedom turns deadly serious. Ben meets Ana in her father’s retail fireworks shop and the sparks quickly fly between the two. But when a bomb goes off in their town, the young lovers wrestle with their new adulthood and the problems that arise in a war-torn city.
Special offer for WWSF: Use discount code “works” for 10$ off on the ticket.
Runs Fri-Sun, through 10/19 at Live Oak Theatre
Written and performed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe
Based on treks through Europe, the Americas and Africa, Traveling While Black is part travelogue and part history lesson and seeks to exploit the tensions between tourism and colonialism as it interrogates boundaries and reveals cultural connects and disconnects. Inspired by Langston Hughes’ I Wonder As I Wander, TWB examines the post-slavery condition of Black travel, both fanciful and forced. The show received original support from Zellerbach Family Foundation.
Runs Fri-Sun, through 10/26 at BRAVA Theater Center
Written by Amy Sass and Anthony Clarvoe
Directed by Amy Sass
Produced by Ragged Wing Ensemble
Ripe with hunger, sexuality, and the conflict between the paved and the wild, REDWOLF follows a young woman’s journey from girlhood to wolfhood.
Runs Fri-Sun through 11/8 at The Flight Deck
Edit: A quick note courtesy Valerie Weak – Ragged Wing offers $5 ticket discount with code ‘worksbywomen’ to their production of REDWOLF.
Image courtesy: Variety