Two Plays By Women, Two Worldviews

PREM0238 copy

When I hear producers say, “Plays by women don’t sell tickets” (and they seem to say that a lot), I always find myself asking, “Which plays by which women?” The classification “plays by women” denotes nothing other than the author’s sex, and any two plays by any two women are as likely to be as […]

Venus in Fur: Is It Good for the Feminists?

VenusProduction_02.jpg

Before I met 36-year old Chicago-based director Joanie Schultz, I never really saw or thought about the connection between Jane Austen and the politics of the dominatrix. This was among the topics we discussed recently at the opening of  a production of Venus in Fur that Schultz directed at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. The comedic […]

War Torn

women

  I believe that the things we don’t express will kill us. Kill us as a country, kill us as people. Paula Vogel   Walking the streets of Philadelphia is like walking through time. Reenactors in colonial garb occupy park benches and linger next to food carts, ready to regale passers-by with stories of our […]

“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 […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Playwright Rebecca Gilman on Feminism, Class and Flawed Heroes

LUNA GALE PUBLICITY PHOTO-thumb-320x400-13955

Before I met playwright Rebecca Gilman to discuss her newest work, I prepared myself to discuss some dark topics. A common thread in her widely performed, often gritty and self-described “naturalistic” works is violence against women, such as in her most critically acclaimed play, The Glory of Living (1998), about a female serial killer. We […]

Love In Afghanistan

Love in Afghanistan

Charles Randolph Wright’s powerful Love In Afghanistan examines many of the complicated issues facing young Afghan women. The play, which recently completed a world premiere run at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.,  focuses on Roya, a young Afghan woman who is a translator at a U.S. army base in Kabul. There she meets an […]

Stomp the Runway: The Choreographer Behind Rick Owens’ Astonishing Fashion Show

9974495203_97df76210d

When the lights darkened and the chattering of the audience ceased at the recent Rick Owens fashion preview in Paris, many of the seasoned fashionistas and reporters probably expected a frail-looking army of willowy 19-year-olds to come gliding down the runway. Instead, what they got were loud, stomping, thizz-facing steppers who made a different kind […]