This Week in Feminist Theater (2/28-3/6)

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Boston’s “Badass” Festival
Magdalena Gómez, Robbie McCauley and Kate Snodgrass are featured artists in the upcoming Badass Festival produced by Sleeping Weazel at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.  These artists, all of whom are in their 60’s and 70’s, are being recognized for their long-term achievements as artists and teachers.  Each will present new work for the festival.  The festival was programmed by Sleeping Weazel artistic director Charlotte Meehan who notes, “People getting older in our culture don’t have less to say; they have more to say…they are at the height of their powers as artists…For me, it’s really badass that they’ve lasted, and that they’ve continued to make really original work.”

Play about Rape Culture Commissioned by Big Ten Theatre Consortium
Naomi Iizuka’s new play Good Kids will receive a production this month at University of Maryland.  The play, which addresses rape culture and refers to recent cases in Steubenville, Ohio and Columbia University, is the first new work to be produced by the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s New Play Initiative.  For the past three years, the Consortium has commissioned new plays by national-level female playwrights that feature strong roles for young women. Good Kids, the first commission to reach production, is receiving a series of rolling-premieres in 2014/2015 at University of Michigan, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Maryland, and Purdue University. The play examines the aftermath of a casual sexual encounter gone wrong. Was she raped? Was she asking for it? Does it matter? Whose story do you believe — and what does this reveal about you?  You can read more about Iizuka (who chairs the Playwriting Program at UCSD) and the play in this American Theatre article.

The Glass Proscenium Holds Fast
In her NYT feature about the current Broadway revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles (originally produced on Broadway 27 years ago), journalist Ginia Bellafante notes: Whatever anachronisms might pervade, one of the themes embedded in Wasserstein’s play — that as a society we fail to recognize female artists sufficiently — feels as relevant today, especially in regard to the medium of theater, as it ever did.”  Bellafante also observes that only two women (Wasserstein in 1989 and Yasmina Reza in 1998) have won Tony awards for Best Play. The article also quotes veteran playwright Marsha Norman (one of the co-founders of the Lilly Awards): “Wendy and I and others, we all thought the world has now changed and we are welcome into the theater! It’s done! The stories of women will be heard and of course that didn’t happen at all. There were a lot of women who received first productions and then no more.”  While the glass proscenium’s persistence isn’t news to female theater artists, it is encouraging that NYT continues to offer regular converge of the issue.

Tena Stivicic Wins Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
From the UK Telegraph: Tena Stivicic has won the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the oldest playwriting prize for women, for her 2014 play 3 Winters, which was produced at the National Theatre in London last December. Stivicic already plans to write another play for the National Theatre and later this year hopes cameras will roll on an independent film adaptation of her play Invisible, which explores the many sides of migration. Speaking at the prizegiving ceremony, Stivicic said that she wrote 3 Winters to try to address the imbalance in the male-dominated theatre community. ‘The problem is we’ve all internalized this perspective so it seems perfectly natural to look at the world from the male perspective,’ she said. ‘A lot of women have internalized it. It doesn’t even occur to us that it doesn’t represent life.’ Stivicic also hopes the prize will spur interest in a New York-based production of 3 Winters, adding: ‘It is ostensibly a play about a family in Croatia but it deals with so many themes and subject matters that I think are relatable.’”

Shows to See
Enemies
By Patricia Milton
Directed by Gary Graves
Produced by Central Works
Featuring Maura Halloran, Desirée Rogers, Danielle Thyss, Jan Zvaifler A darkly comic intersection of foreign “black ops” and family politics
Runs thru March 29th, Berkeley City Club
* Join WWSF Meetup Group in seeing this show on Sunday March 15th at 5:00pm!

What Do The Women Say
Produced by Golden Thread Productions
Featuring the poetry of resistance and prose of resilience of Middle Eastern women artists who counter and shatter stereotypes. A celebration of International Women’s Day and an official SWAN Day event.
Thursday, March 12th @ 8pm, La Peña Cultural Center (Berkeley)

The Convert
By Danai Gurira
Directed by Jasson Minadakis
Produced by Marin Theatre Company
Featuring Jabari Brisport, L. Peter Callender, Elizabeth Carter, JaBen Early, Omoze Idehenre, Jefferson A. Russell and Katherine Renee Turner
Runs thru March 15th, Marin Theatre Company

Antigone
By Sophocles
Directed by Paige Rogers
Produced by Cutting Ball Theater
Featuring Madeline H.D. Brown, Hannah Donovan, Tim Green, Emma Crane Jaster, Paul Loper, Elissa Beth Stebbins, Wiley Naman Strasser, Jason Wong
Runs thru March 19th, EXIT on Taylor
Cutting Ball is offering WWSF readers a special 20% discount off general seating from 2/19-3/1.  Buy tickets here with discount code “WWSFAntigone”.

Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them
By A. Rey Pamatmat
Directed by Desdemona Chiang
Produced by Crowded Fire
Featuring Nicole Javier, Maro Guevara Maro, and Wes Gabrillo
Full of humor, this sweet coming-of-age story celebrates the love that binds us.
Runs thru March 21st, Thick House
*Note: while the playwright is male, more than 50% of the artists working on this production are female.

Hilarity
By Alison Page
Directed by Claire Rice
Produced by DIVAFest
Featuring Allison Page, Jennie Brick, Heather Kellogg, Marie O’Donnell, and Jason Pencowski
Cyd is a comic on the edge of destruction.  Will she turn it all around?
Runs thru March 28th, EXIT Studio

Stories by Alice Munro: “The Office” and “Dolly”
Produced by Word for Word
Featuring Sheila Balter, Jeri Lynn Cohen, Paul Finocchiaro, Susan Harloe, Harold Swain
Word for Word brings award-winning author Alice Munro’s work to the stage
Runs thru April 2nd, Z Below

Image courtesy http://www.sleepingweasel.com

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