10/24: This Week in Feminist Theater


Women in Theatre: Why do so few Make it to the Top?

Charlotte Higgins writes in The Guardian: “Some months ago, the staging of two all-male Shakespeare productions at the Hampstead theatre in London uncorked an explosion of frustration from women actors, writers and directors. There was a sense of basic injustice – actor Janet Suzman talked of a “really frustrating” career where there “aren’t bloody well enough parts for women”; deeper concerns were also expressed.

This failure to represent women, argued the actor, writer and director Stella Duffy, was deeply entwined with society’s wider failure to put women’s voices on an equal footing with men’s. A sense of responsibility to the world was, she said, being ducked – particularly by our larger national stages.”

The conversation continues. Also, hat tip to Rebecca J. Ennals for posting this on YISF!

Sex and the Theater: An actress bares all about onstage nudity

Actor Rachel Manteuffel writes an honest piece for The Washington Post about taking on roles that required nudity and explicit sex scenes. She also includes a funny, poignant list of the things that might happen if you are female and have played such roles on stage.

She writes: “I wanted this role, for all the reasons above, and one more: I am interested in exploring where funny and sexy intersect. In our culture, women’s sexuality doesn’t tend to be funny. Women’s bodies are almost never a punchline the way men’s can be. For better or worse, there is a cultural seriousness to female nudity. And when women act sexy, at best they aresetups for punchlines: Meg Ryan’s extended fauxgasm in “When Harry Met Sally” wasn’t the joke; it was the tension-building prelude . “I’ll have what she’s having” was the joke.”

Men and Women See Art Differently

By Jacqueline Howard for The Huffington Post: “A provocative new study shows that the sexes exhibit distinct differences in how they evaluate art: men tend to place more emphasis on the artist, women on the art itself.

For the study, 518 men and women were asked to judge two unfamiliar paintings and to read a fictitious biography of the artist who painted them. Some of the study participants read a biography that characterized the artist as “authentic” or experienced, while other participants read one that characterized the artist as “ordinary” or a beginner. The men and women didn’t know the biographies were fictitious.”

Read on to find out more about the research findings.

League of Professional Theatre Women Honors Patricia Ariza

In an exclusive for Classicalite, Jon Sobel writes about LPTW honoring Patricia Ariza, legendary Colombian actress and playwright: “Next week the League of Professional Theatre Women will honor Patricia Ariza, legendary producer, director, actress, playwright and poet from Colombia, with its Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award. A week-long series of events in New York City from October 27 – November 3, 2014 will celebrate Ariza and 20 other internationally-acclaimed artists.”

Shows to See

Traveling While Black

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

Golden Thread Productions’ #1: Mahmoud

Written and performed by Tara Grammy

Mahmoud is a one-woman show about an aging Iranian engineer-cum- taxi driver, a fabulously gay Spaniard, and a young Iranian-Canadian girl, all trying to get by the day-to-day grind in a big metropolitan city. Iranian born playwright/performer Tara Grammy invites us to watch as these characters’ stories intertwine over the course of an hour, exploring themes of displacement, immigration, home, and culture. At once hilarious, insightful, and irreverent, Mahmoud takes an exacting look at racism against Middle Eastern immigrants, homophobia within immigrant communities, and media-created stigmas surrounding Iranian (and Middle Eastern) culture.

Runs through 10/26 at The Thick House

#2 Dear Armen: An Immersive Theatre Experience
Artists: Lee William Boudakian/Kamee Abrahamian

This audience-immersive theater experience from Saboteur Productions is inspired by Armen Ohanian, an enigmatic performer and poet who survived early 20th century anti-Armenian pogroms in Baku. Integrating traditional Armenian dance, erotic performance, live music, and spoken word;Dear Armen follows young Garineh, who has been delving into the life and art of Ohanian in search of a role model and mentor. Garineh begins unraveling questions about her own gender, sexuality, ethnicity, family, and the role of the artist in modern life.

Runs Thurs-Sun, 10/30-11/9 at The Thick House

Also, Golden Thread Productions offers $5 discount with code ‘woman’ to both shows.


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

Ragged Wing offers $5 ticket discount with code ‘worksbywomen’ to their production of REDWOLF.

Image courtesy The Huffington Post

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