The Alcyone Festival 2011

June 9 - July 10 2011

5 of the country's top female writers
Remix 5 classical plays by women
No Holds Barred

Botoxed hipsters, invented savages, missing nuns, loves treason and Harriet Tubman--this year’s Alcyone Festival puts a new spin on overlooked classics. We asked five contemporary women to rework/ adapt/sample/remix plays written by classical women, celebrating over a thousand years of writing by women.

On average only twenty percent of plays produced each year are written by women. In Chicago in 2009, only 19% were. The percentage of women produced on broadway  last year was virtually unchanged from 100 years ago. Because female playwrights are horribly represented on stages across America, we created the Alcyone Festival to combat this directly, by celebrating the depth and breadth of women writers.

It's pretty common to rework the dead men of the cannon. No one is really re-imagining Maria de Zaya y Sotomayor or Anna Cora Mowatt. (At least not that we're aware of.) Looking at works using/adapting/sampling plays written by women from Hrosvitha (c. 935 to c. 1002) through 1870, our hope is to celebrate both new and (really) old writers and see how the lineage of female playwrights over the past thousand years can inspire and inform contemporary audiences and artists.

Instead of picking scripts that have already been written, we picked some of our favorite writers and took off the brakes. While we couldn't afford to commission, we could commit to producing. And that's what we did. Amongst all the talk of development hell, etc, we're putting some of our favorite writers in the driver’s seat, and seeing what happens. The only rules the writers had were: it has to be inspired in some way by a work by a female playwright written before 1870 and it had to be ready to go into rehearsal in April. No holds barred.

At the Greenhouse Theatre Center

The Lineup:

pictured: ensemble of Fa$hion, photo by Corey Nuffer