Established in 1998 by Leslie Swackhamer and Janice Kennedy of Hedgebrook, the Women Playwrights Festival was created to acknowledge and nurture the talents of women playwrights. (For its first five years, the Women Playwrights Festival was hosted by ACT Theatre.) The catalyst for the festival was the fact that although women represent more than half of the playwriting community, only about 16% of mainstage productions nationally are authored by women. Festival participants are selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees from throughout the country, and provided with an opportunity to further their plays through intensive work with actors, dramaturgs and directors. Each play is given a public reading at Seattle Rep, following which the playwrights adjourn to Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island for a week-long retreat. Ensconced in their own private cottages and armed with feedback from their directors and dramaturgs as well as the audience, the playwrights are given something which for many writers is a rare commodity - solitude, time and space to focus on and further develop their work.
This year's Women Playwrights Festival features:
autodelete: //beginning dump of physical memory//
by Honour Kane; Directed by Jerry Manning
Wednesday, May 5 at 7:00 pm
Publisher/editor/high-flying media babe Kick Malone has twenty bestsellers on the list when she loses her mind. A comedy of loss and re-collection, with music by composer Eve Beglarian.
by Eisa Davis; Directed by Kathleen Collins
Thursday, May 6 at 7:00 pm
Two black literary critics, grad students immersed in their studies, turn violent. If the body is just a text, perhaps it too should be deconstructed...
by Tanya Barfield; Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
Friday, May 7 at 7:00 pm
Kris returns with her teenage daughter to her home in rural Oregon. She is met with suspicion by a jealous sister, eccentric father, and gun-toting brother, each of whom suspects that she has returned to sell off their homesteaded land. A romance between Kris's daughter and a young drifter brings about a pivotal choice for the family.
By Rosanna Staffa ; Directed by Richard E.T. White
Saturday, May 8 at 8:00 pm
An inspired genius, Ada - daughter of the poet, George Byron - imagined the first computer program, one century ahead of her time. In her struggle against the genteel cage of a Victorian woman's life, her best companion is the spirit of her dead father, whose tragic fate she is destined to follow.