Sonoma County’s contribution to the inaugural Bay Area Women’s Theatre Festival is a two-weekend mini-festival being presented by 6th Street Playhouse under the umbrella title Heroines, Harpies, and Harlots – A Woman Speaks. With performances from February 28 through March 8, this celebration of women’s place in history has been written, produced, and directed by a fully female-identifying team of local theatre artists.
The performances, which feature multiple performers, are titled Women at Large, Women at Home, and Devising Women. Each focuses on a different aspect of Women’s History and will be performed in repertory with each other.
So what can audiences expect? According to Festival Producer Beulah Vega, “It is over 40 female-identifying artists (including designers and crew) of all ages, colors, sizes, sexualities, and creeds that have come together to empower each other through the telling of 13 plays all trying to answer the question: What does a woman have to do to make history? Women at Large deals with the question at an international level, Women at Home deals with the question at a local level and features six local playwrights and five local poets writing new and commissioned works to answer the question. Devising Women takes a different approach and tries to find the answer to who we are as women as we age, through a devised piece pulling from all of their collective backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences.”
The offerings include meet-and-greets, performances and talk-backs with the local playwrights and a powerhouse all-female direction and production team. All poetry in the pieces will be be performed by Rachel Wynne and Nayla Makinano.
Here’s the schedule of performances and a run-down of what each includes:
Women at Large
What does it take for a woman to make history? Women from several cultures, races and locales take a look at how we overcome obstacles.
Sunday, March 8, 2:00 pm includes Post-Show Talkback
Poem: “They shut me up in Prose” by Emily Dickenson
March – A play about where racial equality fits into suffrage.
written by Pat Montley, directed by Serena Elize, featuring Cortunay Minor and Ellen Rawley
Poem: “Eve Remembering” by Toni Morrison
The House the Grants Built – Is a better future enough incentive to forget the past?
written by Rachel Bykowski, directed by Serena Elize, featuring Lydia Revelos and Bonnie Jean Shelton
Poem: “An Ode to Fearless Women” by Nikita Gil
Admiral Grace Hopper Revisits – Can one woman change the entire world by herself?
written by Jennifer O’Grady, directed by Jenna Loceff, with Bonnie Raines
Poem: “You Foolish Men” by Sor Juana
Fenix – Rising above attacks and acid to the beauty of the soul.
written by Diana Burbano, directed by Jessica Headington, with Charlie Whitaker
Poem: “Her Tin Skin” by Evie Shockley
Waterfall – Even Cis-female sexuality is taboo, how does a pan woman even begin to cope?
written by Amanda Clairborne, directed by Erin Lane, with Amanda Clairborne
Poem: “A Litany for Survival” by Audre Lorde
Every Concentrated Fragment – Is standing up for what is right, worth your liberty, your country, and your life?
written by Susan Hansell, directed by Juliet Noonan, featuring Grace Kent, Brianna Rene Dinges, Aliya Bacal Peterson and Shirley Nilsen Hall
Poem: “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
Women at Home
What does it mean to be female in the Bay Area?
Saturday, March 7, 7:30 pm includes Post-Show Talkback
Poem: “girl power” by ae
What They Did To Alice – Even torture shouldn’t keep you from speaking truth.
written by Kathleen Haynie, directed by Caitlin Strom-Martin, with Ellen Rawley
Poem: “Butterfly Worm” by Sara Valerio
New Voices from the Alley – In a land of plenty, wishes don’t make homelessness disappear.
written by Nancy Hargis, directed by Jessica Headington, with Anastasia Encarnacion
Poem: “BoysBoysBoys” by Heather Gibeson
Evy-Lynn Chapel – If you are conditioned to be the perfect wife, when you snap things get messy.
written and performed by Lorin Bell, directed by Allie Pratt
Poem: “Don’t” by B. Vega
That’s My Time – Maybe women aren’t funny, because there’s nothing funny about assault.
written by Erin Lane, directed By Beulah Vega, featuring Heather Gibeson, Olivia Rooney, and Noel Yates
Poem: “Gone” by B. Vega
A Valentine for Ellie – Where do forgiveness and closer come from, when school gun violence hits home?
written by Madeline Puccioni, directed by Jacinta Gorringe, featuring Jeanne St. Jean and Peri Zoe Stanley
Poem: “Confidence” by Katie Silva
Sweet are the Uses – A young woman learns to trust her friends and find her inner queen in this Shakespeare/Fresh Prince of Bel-Air parody.
written by Merlyn Q. Sell, directed by Beulah Vega, featuring Heather Gibeson, Lindsay John, Taylor Diffenderfer, Olivia Rooney, Margaret Bromige, Regine Danae, Tika Moon, and Catherine Bish
Who are we when we are no longer the Maiden or the Mother?
Sunday, March 8, 7:30 pm includes Post-Show Talkback
written by The Women of Sonoma County
directed by Lennie Dean, assistant director Sara Jocelyn, featuring Carole Barlas, Bonnie Gamble, Stacey Kerr, Maureen Merrill, and Diane Pratt
All performances are on the Monroe Stage at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa.
Due to mature content, all shows are recommend for ages 15 and above.
For more information and ticketing, go to 6thstreetplayhouse.com.