HERSTORY 2: WE RISE was a success thanks to YOU! We had over 40 members of the community come through the doors of the Silk Road Art Gallery this weekend. Whether you braved the cold to see the show, asked a thought-provoking question during the Q & A, or made a donation to our theatre, YOU helped make this our best production yet. THANK YOU!
HERSTORY 2: WE RISE is tomorrow night! We’re looking forward to a great weekend of new plays and want to take a moment to thank all of our supporters who made this event possible.
Thank you to the following businesses for their generous donations:
We would also like to give special thanks to the following:
The Silk Road Art Gallery
The Dramatists Guild
Cloud 9 Day Spa
The Canvas Patch
Lynn R. Lichtig
And to all of you for visiting our website!
HERSTORY 2: WE RISE won’t be possible without the support of each and every one of you!
HERSTORY 2: WE RISE, features new plays highlighting the struggles and triumphs of unsung heroines. This International Women’s Day, we invite you to learn more about these amazing women, the ways they transformed our world, and to see their stories come to life on stage this Friday and Saturday evening.
Performances will take place at the Silk Road Art Gallery in New Haven, March 10th and 11th, at 7pm. Performances will be followed by a Q & A with actors, writers, directors, and organizers. There is a $10 suggested donation.
Warning: Mentions of death and suicide.
ABOUT THE WOMEN
KAPLANA CHAWLA was an immigrant from India who became one of the first woman of color to go into space. She moved to the United States in 1982 to study science and engineering at the University of Texas in Arlington. As a research scientist and as an astronaut, Dr. Chawla advanced NASA’s understanding of our universe. Dr. Chawla passed away along with seven other crewmates in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
Hailey’s character in A Moment of Silence was inspired by LEELAH ALCORN, a transgender Ohio teen who took her own life on December 28th, 2014. She posted her suicide note on her Tumblr, which has since been deleted. The note ended with this: “My death has to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s &%@ed up” and fix it…”
IDA LUPINO was one of Hollywood’s first female directors. She immigrated to the United States from England. She created The Filmmakers, and independent film company, alongside her husband. Her directing credits include Not Wanted, Never Fear, and The Hitch-Hiker. LEONOR FINI was an experimental artist from South America. Her sculptures merged animal (mainly big cats) and human forms. She was bisexual, polyamorous, and proud of her sexuality.
ANNA MAE AQUASH was a Native American activist in South Dakota during the 1970s. She was an advocate for education, employment, and civil rights for Native women and Indigenous communities. During her time as an activist she was under investigation from the F.B.I. Anna Mae passed away in 1976. Today, her death remains an unsolved mystery.
Happy Women’s History Month!
This is a list of new productions, workshops, readings, and publications by female playwrights. Our goal is to create greater gender parity in theatre by highlighting the works of female writers and the organizations that promote and produce their works.
HERSTORY 2: WE RISE
Produced by NOplays Theatre
A new play festival celebrating the bravery and strength of unsung heroines. Featuring A Moment of Silence by Allie Costa, K.C. Reporting by Natalie Osborne, Ida and Leonor by Danielle Winston, and My Aim is True by Lucy Wang.
The Nasty Cabaret
Produced by Nasty Women New Haven
Lyric Hall 827 Whalley Avenue New Haven, CT. Friday, March 24th 7-9pm. Tickets $20. More info at lyrichallnewhaven.com. Part of the Nasty Women Exhibition at the Institute Library 845 Chapel Street New Haven, CT.
The Women Playwright’s Initiative
Produced by Ivoryton Playhouse (CT)
Four one acts by four fabulous playwrights. Staged readings and talk backs followed by Talk Backs and refreshments each night. Starts at 7pm.
To attend the free pre-reading discussion hosted by the League of Professional Theatre Women (Connecticut Chapter) on Saturday, March 4 from 5pm, please register by following this link. To purchase tickets for the Friday, March 3rd or Saturday, March 4th readings – each start at 7pm – please call 860.767.7318 or follow this link to purchase tickets online. Tickets for Friday and Saturday night 7pm readings: $20 adult each night; $15 senior each night; $10 student and LPTW members each night.
One Acts and Snacks
Produced by Casa de Beverley
Casa de Beverley’s monthly reading series featuring works by female playwrights. Saturday March 18th at 6pm. Rugby Road, Brooklyn, New York. Tickets available here.
To submit to the April issue of LADIES FIRST, email firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of the month. Send us your name, the name of your play, the name of the theatre producing your work, a sentence or two about the play, the where and when, and an image. Thank you to everyone who participated in this months LADIES FIRST.
Allie Costa’s new play A Moment of Silence will be featured along with four other plays in HERSTORY 2: WE RISE. In this interview with Artistic Director Natalie Osborne, Allie Costa discusses Leelah Alcorn, LGBT representation, and what we as theatre-makers can and should do to raise our voices. You can see HERSTORY 2: WE RISE, March 10th and 11th at the Silk Road Art Gallery in New Haven.
Trigger Warning: Suicide, Abuse, and Misgendering
1.) How long have you been with 365 Women a Year?
I have been involved with 365 Women a Year since the first year, 2014. I connected with Jess Eisenberg on Twitter, and when she spoke of collecting new plays about historical women, I immediately threw my hat in the ring. I have contributed plays to 365 Women a Year every year.
2.) Has your approach to writing about these historical women changed at all?
Whether it’s for stage or screen, I approach each new script in a similar way: stubbornly and honestly. Stubbornly because 99% of the time, I have to think of the ending before I start typing. Before I start typing, yes, but not necessarily before I start scribbling; I still like to write scenes/drafts longhand, and I often scribble down ideas and snatches of dialogue in my notebook and on scratch paper. And honestly because I intend to communicate the truth of the characters and the story.
When I am writing something inspired by real people and real events, I do a great deal of research. I want to honor the person’s real life and experiences. In many of my 365 Women a Year plays, I have incorporated quotes, things that were said or written by the women.
3.) Can you tell me more about the inspiration behind A Moment of Silence?
A Moment of Silence was inspired by Leelah Alcorn. Leelah was 17 years old when she took her own life in December 2014. She posted a suicide note on Tumblr which went viral. Leelah was a transgender girl whose parents refused to accept her identity and her chosen name. In her note, Leelah expressed, “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s *&^%ed up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”
Leelah’s suicide note was subsequently removed by her parents, but is accessible via the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20150101052635/http://lazerprincess.tumblr.com/post/106447705738/suicide-note It was also shared by City Councilamn Chris Seelbach: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisSeelbach/posts/10152890372978559:0
4.) What was a big challenge for you while you were writing this play?
I decided early on that I would base the story on what I had learned about Leelah, but I named the main character Hailey in order to allow myself to fictionalize some things, to fill in the blanks and create a similar story without feeling as if anything I wrote was false or disrespectful.
5.) Why do you think it’s important for people to hear stories about the LGBT community now?
Love is love is love. The current political climate certainly means we need to keep fighting for inclusion for all, for not only tolerance but true understanding, for open-mindedness and acceptance.
Leelah felt like she was not being heard. In death, more people know her story than ever did while she was alive. That is heartbreaking.
6.) What do you think we as artists can do given the current challenges faced by the LGBT community?
Speak up. Speak out. Support others. Include others. For example, if you are an artistic director or producer who realizes your entire season is programmed with heteronormative stories, make an effort to consider and include scripts that have LGBTQ characters. If you are a writer, add LGBTQ characters to your next script. The same can be said for producing/writing scripts that feature minorities and characters who have disabilities, and stories with an equal number of male and female roles (or more female roles, or all female roles!) Do not write stereotypes. Write something real. Create and find new works that reflect the world’s true population and situations. Use your art and your heart to give voice to people who feel like they have been silenced, who feel like they have to be silent.
7.) What would you like the audience to walk away with after watching this play?
I hope it moves them, and that they make positive moves: “Give me emotion into action,” as Sara Bareilles says in her song Parking Lot.
I hope people will reach out to those they know who might be in a similar situation and offer them their support. Having someone listen to you, having a shoulder to cry on, can make a world of difference.
8.) What 365 plays are you working on now?
This year, I’ll be writing plays about Margarita “Peggy” Schuyler Van Rensselaer; author Zilpha Keatley Snyder; and singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles.
9.) Are there any other thoughts or pieces of advice you have for your fellow writers or the theatre community at large?
Keep showing up.
Keep speaking up.
If you would like to support HERSTORY and NOplays efforts to bring women’s stories onto our stages, please consider making a donation. This interview is part of a three part series. To read the first interview with playwright Danielle Winston, click here. To read the second interview with Lucy Wang, click here.