“Top Girls” is Top-Notch Feminist Theater

Top Girls_HF_1

Few women playwrights have garnered as much praise and generated as much controversy as Caryl Churchill. Her work has been called feminist, post-modern, post-colonial, Marxist, experimental, irritating, innovative, ludicrous and brilliant. She has worked with feminist collectives such as Monstrous Regiment and at establishment institutions such as the Royal Court Theatre, where she was the […]

The Fantasy of Mammy, the Truth of Patsey

9357758718_2c5b687d95

It was not lost on some that, 75 years after Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, the beautiful, poised and talented Lupita Nyong’o would become the sixth black woman to win that same Oscar—and for playing the same type of role, a slave. If we count Halle […]

While Loving Lupita, Don’t Forget Gabourey

12919511684_468d93bc53_o

Like most people who have souls, I teared up listening to Lupita Nyong’o’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress during Sunday night’s Oscar telecast. I admire Lupita not only for her obvious talent, but for her honesty and willingness to defend black beauty. Her inspirational speech on the intersection of race and beauty at Essence‘s […]

“Love Alone” Takes on Malpractice, Grief and Gay Rights

_JWG8917

‘Tis the season when theaters across the country announce their 2014-2015 seasons. Two plays continue to dominate the boards, just as they did last year: David Ives’ Venus in Fur and Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. These shows played off-Broadway in 2010 and 2012, respectively, both transferred to Broadway and both […]

Celebrate Women’s History Month With #SheDocs

Screen shot 2014-02-28 at 1.51.49 PM

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Women and Girls Lead and Eileen Fisher Inc. are launching #SheDocs, an online film festival that gives anyone with a computer the opportunity to watch inspiring, women-focused documentaries. Twelve acclaimed independent docs will be available for free during the month of March, one of the most prominent being director Pratibha […]

Is a Vote for Leo’s “Wolf” a Vote for Sexism?

9090824053_5bd4873c1b_z

The campaign to assure Leonardo DiCaprio of his first Academy Award has filled many a full page in The New York Times and Variety. The ads laud his all-out portrayal of stock hustler Jordan Belfort, framing The Wolf of Wall Street as a modern financial morality tale and DiCaprio as its coked-up bard. But the […]

Giving Birth to Yourself

Doula Crop

During most major life transitions, there are those who are not at the center but bear witness. While they might go unrecognized, their presence is vital and their perspective often unique. A doula is someone who, by definition, holds such a role. Greek for the word “servant,” a doula supports a laboring mother and her […]

A Feminist Light in the Piazza

Perry Ojeda and Patti Cohenour in South Coast Repertory's 2014 p

The great Southern writer Elizabeth Spencer wrote her most famous story, “The Light in the Piazza, ” while living abroad. She had left the small town in which she grew up, Carollton, Miss., on a Guggenheim Fellowship for Italy. There she also wrote The Voice at the Back Door, about race relations in the South. This […]

Is “The Wolf of Wall Street” Punk Rock? Hardly.

7583795578_9896f06fce

It’s not that Martin Scorsese’s most recent opus, The Wolf of Wall Street needs yet another review or another debate on whether it’s misogynist. It’s the attempt by the film’s star, perennial Scorsese muse Leonardo DiCaprio, to qualify it and Scorsese as “punk rock” that drew our ire and forced our pens. Punk rock (or […]

Binders Full of Women and People-of-Color Playwrights

ShirleyJoFinney

At a recent panel on diversity in Southern California theater, several of the artistic directors on the panel trotted out familiar platitudes about their commitment to diversity, their willingness to challenge their audiences with plays about people that don’t look like them and their desire to build a more diverse audience. Yet these same artistic […]