DIVAfest’s Loud & Unladylike Festival of new plays runs thru June and July, and I’m excited to help present three original plays about rad women that you probably haven’t heard about. Loud & Unladylike was inspired by something crazy that happened when a classmate from my MFA program at SF State wrote a play based on a woman from history that I had never heard of. Surprisingly, I experienced a few of the stages of grief. First, of course, shock and denial; how could I not know about this kick ass female? Then, came the guilt: I should have known all about her; and then came the anger: WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS AWESOME WOMAN? I’m sure there were other moments, but those were the ones I remember. Anyway, it got me thinking; there must be countless women that history has neglected to tell us about. I even got a little angry, because why wasn’t SOMEONE telling us about these people? Why should we leave them where they’re at, forgotten in time? That’s where Claire Rice and Tracy Held Potter come in. Shortly after I got all fired up from this innocent class presentation, the three of us had a theater date. Before curtain, I was telling them how I wish there was a festival, like the SF Olympians Festival, that commissioned new plays each year, but instead of dealing with Greek Myths, these would all be about women that history has left behind. And, seriously, without blinking, they both were like, “Okay, let’s do it.”
That’s why it’s important to have good friends, they allow you to go the crazy places you want to go. Claire pitched the idea to DIVAfest’s artistic director Christina Augello, and now DIVAfest is sponsoring our 2015 and 2016 Loud & Unladylike festivals featuring original plays about women that history forgot. Claire, Tracy, and I are this year’s guinea pigs, with each of us writing our own plays, and we’ve just commissioned the three playwrights for next year’s festival. I am so proud of this festival, and the work we’ve put into it. First off, we’re commissioning plays by female writers, something that the theater community desperately needs more of. But also, all the plays will have female protagonists! Fierce new roles for women! And not just fierce, because we’re not just doing the stories of heroes, we’re looking for all sorts of women; good women, terrible women, selfish women, and women who sacrificed everything. Our stipulation is that they were historical figures and are not household names. Another exciting part of this festival is that the focus is also on development for the writer. We have a week off in between readings to rewrites so we can fix whatever wasn’t working and try out new pages right away in front of a supportive audience. I’m excited about introducing the world to more kick ass women. The Loud & Unladylike festival runs June 25-27th and July 9-11th. Tickets and more info, here.
– Rachel Bublitz, playwright and festival co-producer