Women in the arts are celebrated throughout March with the Athena Project Arts Festival. One of the most anticipated events is the Plays In Progress Series, March 22 to 31, a play development workshop for female playwrights to include a concert and table reading. All events take place in The Black Box Theatre at Johnson-McFarlane Hall at University of Denver, 1903 East Iliff Ave., Denver.
Playwrights submitted their work during last year’s festival, 150 scripts were judged blindly, and three of the strongest submissions were selected to receive workshop-level productions. Each play featured during the festival will get two workshop readings.
Workshop-level productions are designed with minimum sets, lights, sound, and props. Actors stay on book in case there are last minute changes to the script but are not behind music stands as in a traditional staged reading. Immediately following each reading the playwright receives critical feedback from audience and theatre professionals.
Two additional scripts were chosen to receive either a concert or table reading to further support women writers during the development process. Tickets range from FREE to $35 for a PIP Series Pass that gets you into to all three plays + Table Reading + Concert Reading + both Panel Discussions.
Here’s the 2018 schedule:
2018 Plays in Progress Series
The Buddha’s Wife by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin. Trapped within her role as an at-home mother, she struggles to find meaning in a life so different from what she believes she deserves. Meanwhile, in India 2500 years prior, Yasodhara leads a parallel existence. A 16-year-old princess of enormous talent and education, she marries prince Siddhartha, who leaves her and their newborn child to seek enlightenment. The Buddha’s Wife juxtaposes these two women, moving fluidly through time and place to show how their mutual choices drove them to this point of despair. Their common story answers the question: can one attain enlightenment standing at the kitchen sink?
Friday, March 23 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 31 at 2 p.m.
Mama’s Eggnog by Angela Stern. On a hot October day, after the sudden passing of their mother, the Pereira family siblings come together after more than a year of separation. At the behest of youngest sibling, Belinda, the three surviving children gather to witness the cremation of their deceased mother. As the family gathers over the holiday season, they are forced to face their differences while also deciding what to do with their mother’s ashes. On Christmas Eve, Belinda finds her perfect solution to bring them together and return their mother’s ashes to her native land. But when Belinda reveals what she has done with the ashes, all hell breaks loose and the enormity of their loss leads to utter chaos in the home.
Saturday, March 24 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, March 31 at 7 p.m.
The Golden Hour by Elizabeth Nelson. In The Golden Hour, a play with music, Michael and Elana are reunited after a ten-year absence. Over the course of the evening, they relive their past and imagine a future, dreaming into existence a life that might have been while living what is and moving toward what inevitably will be. Touching on themes of love, sex, and grief, The Golden Hour explores the intersections of time, sound, words, and movement. At the end of the play, a four-hands piano duet, which has been played in parts throughout, is performed, linking together the stories and theatrical elements experienced over the course of the play.
Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m. and Friday, March 30 at 7 p.m.
Moving Stories: New play development and the process of generating stories for the stage. Stories give meaning to our lives. They give shape to our pasts and generate space for our futures. When stories are brought to the stage they provide us with a window into the complexities and beauty of our lives. On March 24, explore ways that dramaturgs, directors, and actors bring stories to the stage. On March 31, hear about it from the playwrights’ vantage point in a discussion with all PIP Playwrights moderated by the Dramatist’s Guild.
Saturday, March 24 & Saturday, March 31 at 5 p.m.
Tickets: FREE but due to limited capacity make a reservation here.
The Inside Child by Claire Caviglia. Eight-year-old Rose Emsworth has never been allowed outside. With a busy senator father, John, and an unsteady mother, Amy, Rose’s only solace comes from her governess, Sarah. When John’s political rival threatens to reveal their unconventional situation, John and Amy are desperate to keep Rose indoors and their secrets hidden. They bring in another girl into the house to live as Rose. But with John’s campaign, Amy’s declining mental state, and Sarah’s increased chance at freedom, this plan backfires, forcing Sarah to revisit her shared past with Amy…and finally find what is underneath the floorboard.
Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $5 suggested donation
Strong Face by Philana Omorotionmwan. Maybe it’s her “energy.” Maybe it’s her hair. Or maybe it’s just her skin. Whatever it is, no one in Follywood seems to be able to see that actress Bentley Jones is a woman. Nevertheless, Bentley is determined to be seen and make a name for herself. When she realizes that playing men may be the only way she’s able to accomplish her goals, Bentley decides not to disabuse anyone of their misperception. Not even her hip-pop star “girlfriend” Yoni Baker. Or man-in-address film star Whip Williams. But things change when Bentley learns that major film studio 19th Century Cocks has green lit a slavery-themed biopic guaranteed to earn its female star an impOSTOR nomination. Selling her agent on what she calls “genderblind” casting, Bentley manages to land the female lead. However, Bentley soon discovers that being seen as a woman in Follywood isn’t all that she hoped it would be.
Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $8 suggested donation