Week of 11/7: This Week in Feminist Theater


Women Playwrights are Dominating for the First Time Ever

Adi Eshman of NYU Local has some great news to share — a research conducted by a Princeton economics student shows that “Women are discriminated against in theater. More often than not, artistic directors choose plays written by men.”

But, “Over the last 10 years, female-written Broadway shows earned more money than male-written ones. Even still, the plays run for an equal amount of time as less-profitable, male-written plays. But things are changing. Audiences are starting to see the power of a woman’s pen onstage. And the quality and profitability of their work underscores that attention. So what does this mean?

It means a lot. It means a tidal shift in how we understand theater, and art in general.”

NYTimes’ Ben Brantley encapsulates this “tidal shift” in his review of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land: “What is it about very young women in the theater these days, and whatever it is, can it be bottled?”

WWSF Congratulates Shakespeare’s Sister Fellow, Dipika Guha

Dipika Guha of New York, NY, is the recipient of A Room of Her Own Foundation’s first Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship, a partnership joining A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO), Hedgebrook, and The Lark together with award-winning actress, playwright, and author Ellen McLaughlin.

Guha is a former Dramatists’ Guild Fellow, as well as a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Lab. Of the fellowship, Guha said: “‘It’s such a rare and incredible opportunity, inviting the creation of something that maybe hasn’t even been dreamt of yet'”.

Congratulations from your Bay Area sisters, Dipika! And shout-out to Kirsten Brandt for posting this to YISF.

Susan Stroman on What’s Changed for Women in the Last Decade

Victoria Myers does an illuminating interview with five-time Tony winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman. (Crosspost: The Interval)

An excerpt: “I feel it would be great if there were more organizations for women to observe and to partake in the different art forms that are involved in the theatre. My union, the SDC [Stage Directors and Choreographers Union], has an observership program for young, up-coming directors to observe — and I always choose a woman. I always have a young woman observe whatever show I’m doing. I’ve chosen a young woman for Little Dancer to observe, and she hopes to be a director someday.

But they should do that with everybody, like the set designers and the costume designers and musicians and everybody. I think allowing women to observe the different art forms that they might long to do is a wonderful thing, and a lot of those young women whom I’ve had observe on all of my shows have gone on to become directors and choreographers.”

Arts Garage’s “A Celebration of Women’s Voices”

“The 2014-15 season at Arts Garage is all about women—playwrights, that is. Under the theme of “A Celebration of Women’s Voices,” Arts Garage’s main-stage theater season hosts three works by female playwrights, all of which explore universal themes while highlighting the prowess of female writers and spotlighting new works: Sarah Treem‘s The How and the Why, Lauren Gunderson‘s I and You, and Allison Gregory‘s Uncertain Terms.”

Women at War Opens in Chicago This Week

“After four years of development, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s Women at War opens in Chicago this week for a one-month run. Written by RTE member Megan Carney, who is also Director of the Gender & Sexuality Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and directed by Rivendell’s Artistic Director, Tara Mallen, the play begins previews November 5.

“The all-female cast includes Rengin Altay (Awake and Sing at Steppenwolf), Rivendell founding member and Jeff Award nominee Mary Cross (WRENS), Krystel V. McNeil (ETA Theatre’s Jeff-nominated Jar the Floor) and U.S. Army paralegal-turned-actor Cynthia Hines.”

Shows to See

Dear Armen: An Immersive Theatre Experience
Artists: Lee William Boudakian/Kamee Abrahamian
Produced by Golden Thread Productions

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

Golden Thread Productions offers $5 discount with code ‘woman’  to the show.


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.


Written by Rinne Groff
Directed by Marissa Wolf
Part of the SF Playhouse Sandbox Series

A high-powered businesswoman, her stay-at-home husband and her socialite mother wrestle with the decision to have another child, while her father braves a squall with his schooner in the Chesapeake Bay. What are the odds?

Runs Thurs-Sat, through 11/22 at Tides Theatre

Note: Our anniversary outing as a Meetup group to see this play on 11/20!

The Dragon Play

Written by Jenny Connell Davis
Directed by Tracy Ward
Produced by Impact Theatre

In the frozen north a woman and her husband, weathering the challenges of their marriage, receive a mysterious visitor who threatens to upend their world. Decades before and thousands of miles away in the burning south, an 11-year-old boy and a 300-year-old — yet still relatively adolescent — dragon girl meet and fall in love. Far from fairy tales or airbrushed fantasies, these two achingly poignant stories alternate in a heart-rending dance of desire, longing, and commitment that spans time and geography.

Runs Thurs-Sun, 11/8-12/14, at La Val Subterranean, Berkeley (No performances Thanksgiving weekend)

In From the Cold

Written by Co-Artistic Director Jonathan Spector
Directed by Christine Young
Produced by Just Theater

The past might be catching up to an ex-Cold War spy, the hidden meaning of 80′s movies is revealed, and it’s ladies’ night at Chili’s. A play about what it means when you used to mean a lot, and now you don’t mean much anymore.

Runs Thurs-Sun, through 11/23, at Live Oak Theater

Image courtesy SFPlayhouse

One response to “Week of 11/7: This Week in Feminist Theater

  1. Was very excited to learn today that The Dragon Play not only has a female playwright and female director (Tracy Ward, who directed What Every Girl Should Know for Impact last season) but also has an all female design team!!

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