Friday, October 13, 2006

Women's Voices in Theatre

Hi, Dear Readers -

So, I just posted the following to the message board at Performink in response to an article written by Becky Brett.

What do you think about this issue, if anything? And, even if you don't think about it, why not? I'd love to start a discussion.

"I was so happy to see this article today as I think it's an excellent topic to open a discussion on.

'Why is it that so many theatres stick with the tried-and-true, when the medium has so much more to offer its audiences? Dare we ask the question and risk the flaming response: Are women..s stories just not as compelling as men..s?'

'Why do these female audiences not demand to see plays that look like them and speak to their experience?'

'No one interviewed pretends to be able to reach any conclusions, but it is important to raise the questions and re-start the discussion. However, many people had advice about how we may begin to develop more roles for women.'

I think that this subject is very touchy ... which is why no one wanted to answer conclusively probably. All the answers are going to be relative ... in my personal experience with Chicago theatre, I've often wondered what would happen if I was a man, based on reviews I've received where the term "feminist" was thrown around like a dirty word by male reviewers when our plays offered strong female leads that considered themselves equal to the men they were dealing with. My coartistic director and husband, Chris Riter, and I have often wondered what would happen if we had switched our names on the different directing projects we've worked on, what type of critical response we would have received ... would it have been the same, regardless of the director's gender? What would have happened if Chris had been the one to write the little opinionated blog that was penned in August that, unfortunately, was reproduced here in Performink and discussed for a spell ... with only males responding with a tone of wrist slapping - (it, honestly, made me feel about five years old at times) ... I've often thought of myself as an equalist, but I'm finding out quickly that it may be more important to continue the good fight of being a feminist.

So, yes, let's talk about this!

Naomi Wallace and Caryl Churchill are two playwrights that I can read tirelessly, by the way ...

Excellent article, Becky!


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