ASU MainStage drops the boys to the curb, adding seven women playwrights for the 2015-2016 theater season

It's an unfortunate truth that women actors, playwrights and roles are far from prominent in the theater world. This is a problem that has inspired ASU's MainStage to focus on female empowerment through the medium of plays for this upcoming season.

According to a press release from the Herberger Institute of ASU, this theatrical season will feature more female-driven playwrights. Lance Gharavi is the artistic director of the MainStage season and assistant director of theater in the School of Film, Dance and Theater at ASU. In the press release, he addressed the decision to feature more women influences.  

"The majority of plays in our upcoming season were written by women, and five of the seven plays tell stories which focus on female characters," he wrote. "This is nothing to be smug about. This shouldn’t be the exception. It should be the rule. It should be the it-goes-without-saying normal. But sometimes leading, sometimes innovating, can just mean doing the obvious."

Administration and professors isn't the only group at ASU concerned about this issue. Journalism sophomore Aida Chavez said she understands the challenge that women face, not only in theater, but other art outlets. 

"I find that most of the things in art and media is mostly male-driven," she said. "I like to see not only women being involved but also stronger female characters and complex ones because a strong female character is not always complex."

Music therapy freshman Peyton Wayne agreed that men are featured more than women in most subjects, but she is excited for the upcoming MainStage productions. 

"My studio class is doing a theme of women empowerment," she said. "I think the whole school is trying to get into that as far as the music program. This is really cool because girls can be just as cool as guys. I mean, living in a society where guys have always been seen as more superior and stuff, but girls can rock it."

The following plays make up the 2015-2016 season and help to encourage ASU's MainStage in continuing the common thread of using female-driven roles and playwrights as the norm. 

"A Streetcar Named Desire”

This play features a troubled former school teacher, Blanche DeBois, who leaves her small town to escape financial ruin and live with her sister in New Orleans. Her flirtatious personality and her need to confront her past causes problems, creating a tense and dramatic story that is perfect for the stage.  

"Dry Land"

The production is made for a mature audience and presents the story of two high school friends, Amy and Ester, bonded together by the need to terminate Amy’s unwanted pregnancy without anyone knowing. It plays out as an intimate and searing portrait of their bond while teenage desperation occurs in the setting of the girl's locker room. 

"Brooklyn Bridge "

This play will appeal to young audiences and families. It focuses on the life of 10-year-old Sarah, who has no active parents in her life and an encroaching essay deadline. In her quest for a pen and company, she wanders her apartment building finding unique tenants. These tenants tell her stories about the Brooklyn Bridge while at the same time helping her to confront her fears. 

"Lasso of Truth"

This mature story about comic books, love and truth incorporates Gloria Steinem, a lie detector, and bondage to explain Wonder Woman's origin and her lasting legacy.  It's a mixed bag of different story elements that come together to make for a powerful play.  

"The America Play"

This production will mark the 10th anniversary of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s "Theatre & Performance of the Americas" program. The character, Founding Father, re-enacts the assassination of Abraham Lincoln repeatedly.

"She Kills Monsters"

The play, both appropriate for young audiences and families, features Agnes, a girl who rediscovers her younger sister she lost to a tragic car accident. However, in doing so, she has to embark on a quest into the fantasy world of "Dungeons & Dragons." The blurry line between fantasy and reality forces Agnes to battle her own demons and embrace anything out of the ordinary.

"On Display"

ASU Master of Fine Arts student John Perovich incorporates art and abuse into this play. A lower East Side artist named Jack faces tough choices when his mother dies unexpectedly. A woman uses the help of a curator to find herself int his work but eventually the innocent partnership develops into a dangerous problem of exploitation. 

Related Links:

'Our Kiki: A Gay Farce' brings normalcy to gay politics at ASU Mainstage

'The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea' queers classic Greek tragedy


Tell the reporter what you think about MainStage's decision at ryan.santistevan@asu.edu or follow @ryanerica18 on Twitter.

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