Women’s Theatre Alliance Showcase: 7 new plays that pass the Bechdel Test

The Women’s Theatre Alliance New Play Development Workshop Showcase is Wednesday, July 20th at 7:30 PM at City Lit Theatre (1020 W Bryn Mawr Avenue) in Chicago. The showcase features seven new plays with a focus on female characters. Some are short plays that will be performed in their entirety; others are full-length plays from which select scenes will be performed. These plays exhibit a variety of styles and subject matters. The only requirement for inclusion in the workshop was that the plays pass the Bechdel Test. I’m am proud to have written one of the plays in the showcase.

From the workshops’s producers:

So much theatre, much of it good theatre, even good theatre written by women falls short of showing the story of women, through their own eyes, with their own words, and without the need for a man to make it happen. After seeing many, many shows which failed the test, we decided to put Chicago’s Playwrights to the task and asked that this year for our New Play Development workshop all plays pass what is commonly known as the Bechdel Test.

What is the Bechdel Test? It is a rule derived from Alison Bechdel’s comic Dykes to Watch Out For. Commonly applied to movies, the Bechdel Test requires that a movie or play meet three criteria: 1) include at least two women, 2) who talk to each other, 3) about something other than a man. It is a pretty low bar that surprisingly few pieces of popular entertainment meet.

Below are the plays being presented at the workshop and their descriptions from the showcase program:

Pam’s Key by Susan Leiberman

Nora is the keeper of her neighbors’ emergency keys. It makes sense. She’s usually at home, caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. But when her neighbor Pam’s dog walkers start to ring Nora’s bell to borrow a key, Nora learns what other people really think of her.

FullStop by Chistopher Donaldson

Genevieve’s weekend at the beach house is interrupted by her ex-husband and a new “friend”. In a conversation, prompted by insomnia and biology, she and her daughter Jilly try to unravel the mystery of the unwanted guest… as well as untangle their own complicated relationship.

Support by Ilana Gordon

Two women make an emotional connection over the course of one technical support call.

UnSubstantial by Axel Arth

Rebecca is many things; a mother, a recovering alcoholic. Something she isn’t, though, is part of her daughter Olivia’s life. She’s been replaced by another woman; someone with blue skin and horns. To survive her childhood, Olivia invented her imaginary friend Athena. Athena has been there through it all, the mother that Rebecca couldn’t be. And she’s still around too, guiding Olivia through new jobs and a move across the country. But things have changed; Rebecca has faced her demons and is ready to be part of her child’s life again. And she won’t let a little thing like an imaginary friend stand in her way.

Daughters of Lilith by Megan Mackie

[A play] about a woman and her three daughters, each at a different stage of growing into adult women. Intelligent but poor these women struggle together and apart to find a happy life in a world that refuses to help them.

The Better Mother by Kim Z. Dale (Me!)

A new mother is forced to reveal her parenting fears as she interviews a childcare provider.

Harmony in Three Parts by Sara Keely McGuire

A play that is a poem and a prayer:

  • Part One: MAIDEN I’m Not Angry
  • Part Two: MOTHER Love Song for Faelyn
  • Part Three: CRONE You are Loved

If you are in Chicago, come see our plays! Wednesday, July 20th at 7:30 PM at City Lit Theatre (1020 W Bryn Mawr Avenue) in Chicago. $10 suggested donation. Limited seated available. You can find more information at the Facebook Event.

If you are a producer who is not able to see the show, but you are interested in learning more about the plays you can send an inquiry to wtachicago@gmail.com.

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