Setting My Skirt On Fire! Great Women Telling Stories!

This past weekend was the culmination of the work I have been doing on my script, The Easy Road.  I first wrote the piece in the first annual Play in a Day, 24 Hours Playwriting Contest held at the Edmonton International Fringe in the summer of 2012.  I submitted it that fall to Skirts Afire, a brand new festival celebrating women artists, for Peep Show and was selected to share a 20 minute selection at the inaugural HerArts Festival.  A couple of firsts and I was lucky to be a part of both.  Getting into Peep Show was the start of dramaturgical support from APN with Tracy Carroll and the evolution and growth of The Easy Road. Like any good journey, it wasn't over then.  The script was selected once again to be further dramaturged and presented as a complete piece in a staged reading at this year's Skirts Afire HerArts Festival.  What I got was three fabulous days of workshop with 8 amazing women artists and my script grew by leaps and bounds.  The first day of workshop was way back in January with Tracy Carroll acting as Dramaturge/Director and Stephanie Wolfe, Michele Fleiger, April Banigan, Jenny McKillop and Lora Brovold playing the five women in the script.  This past week Amy DeFelice stepped in for Tracy as Director and Sharla Matkin for Lora and we continued to workshop it and I wrote two drafts and made many, many, many notes to take away for another new draft.  It was wonderful.  I love process and this experience was all about process.  The wisdom of the women I was working with was so valuable.  It was great to have them ask questions of me and of the script so I could go back to it and decide what I needed to be answered.  The reading was a delight - how lucky was I to have such actors who emotionally committed to the journey despite scripts in hand with no set or costumes. I am excited about where I am at with it and where I see it going. 

The next day, I went back to the festival to hear four other women playwright's stories at this year's Peep Show. I saw intriguing pieces by Nicole Moeller, Katherine Koller, Holly Turner and Michele Vance Hehir. It was a great afternoon hearing four distinct voices in the scripts - nothing specifically female - but all completely human.  Some were darker than others, some humorous, some an intriguing mix of dark and light. I thought what I have been thinking a lot lately.  Why aren't more women's scripts on our stages?  Why aren't more women directors working on our professional stages. 

And I decided, I no longer want to be 'happy' with one or two women being allowed to tell their stories.  I like that Skirts Afire is addressing the imbalance.  I love that the audiences were full of women and men. 


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