Playwright’s Horizons, one of the most important institutions that supports new plays and musicals, has announced it’s upcoming season and it is full of women. Five of the six plays are written by women and several are directed by women.
The current play running (through April 7) at the theatre The Flick by award-winning playwright Annie Baker has run into some controversy during its run. Patrons have complained about the length (3 hours) and the silences among other issues and there have been walkouts. Not because the play is bad, but because the play is different. Playwright’s Horizons is a theatre that depends on its subscribers for its continued success means that the theatre really listens to them.
So Artistic Director, Tim Sanford, who is a stalwart supporter of female voices (the Lilly Awards are held at Playwright’s Horizons each June) addressed the complaints in a letter to subscribers.
Here are some excerpts from that letter.
Did we know we had programmed a three-hour play when we chose it? No. I don’t think Sam Gold, the director, did either. But after our initial concern about walkouts, we began to pay attention to the other voices, the voices that urged Annie and Sam not to cut a second, the voices imbued with rapture for a theater experience unlike any they had experienced and for a production that stayed with them for days, even weeks afterwards. And it became clear to me that every moment of the play and production was steeped in purpose. Annie had a vision and this production beautifully executes that vision. And at the end of the day, we are a writer’s theater and my first responsibility is to that writer.
This guy gets some serious props for standing up for his artists.
Here is the list of female written plays for next season (descriptions from Playbill.com):
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play – written by Anne Washburn
“What will endure when the cataclysm arrives — when the grid fails, society crumbles, and we’re faced with the task of rebuilding? Anne Washburn’s imaginative dark comedy propels us forward nearly a century, following a new civilization stumbling into its future. A paean to live theater, and to the resilience of Bart Simpson through the ages, Mr. Burns is an animated exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another.”
World Premiere of a new play by Marlane Meyer – Directed by Lisa Peterson
“Aubrey, a very determined romantic, believes she’s met her soul-mate in Calvin, a boozing womanizer. But in this tilted, thoughtful comedy, true love is an even more tangled predicament. Peopled by an assortment of eccentrics, mystics and front porch philosophers, this new play from Marlane Meyer is a sweet polemic, an unexpected love story, and a deliciously cockeyed view of the sustaining — and destructive — power of belief.”
The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence – World Premiere of a new play by Madeleine George -Directed by Leigh Silverman
“Watson: trusty sidekick to Sherlock Holmes; loyal engineer who built Bell’s first telephone; unstoppable super-computer that became reigning ‘Jeopardy!’ champ; amiable techno-dweeb who, in the present day, is just looking for love. These four constant companions become one in this brilliantly witty, time-jumping, loving tribute (and cautionary tale) dedicated to the people — and machines — upon which we all depend.”
Fly By Night: A New Musical – New York premiere of a new musical – Conceived by Kim Rosenstock, By Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly and Michael Mitnick
“In this darkly comic rock-fable, a melancholy sandwich maker’s hum-drum life is intersected by two entrancing sisters. A sweeping ode to young love set against the backdrop of the northeast blackout of 1965, Fly By Night is a tale about making your way and discovering hope in a world beset by darkness.”
Stage Kiss written by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Rebecca Taichman
“Art imitates Life. Life imitates Art. When two actors with a history are thrown together as romantic leads in a forgotten 1930s melodrama, they quickly lose touch with reality as the story onstage follows them offstage. Sarah Ruhl’s singular voice returns to Playwrights Horizons with Stage Kiss, a charming tale about what happens when lovers share a stage kiss — or when actors share a real one.”
Playwrights Horizons Defends Annie Baker’s THE FLICK (Broadwayworld.com)