Where the girls are

2 Feb

Cool post from Chicago playwright Marisa Wegrzyn on women playwrights, the canon and the Big Picture- read it here.
(Thanks to Adam Szymkowicz for pointing this one out).

This “big picture” idea (ie., men write about the broader political sphere, women write about small personal relationship things) must have some empirical basis, but it puzzles me since I (and the women playwrights I connect with) all engage in our work with the larger political world. Often with women as–um– characters rather than devices or love-interests or bitches, it’s true. And we’re hardly alone–off the top of my head I can think of twenty or thirty very well known women whose plays are politically and formally expansive (which can be multiplied by the hundreds I don’t know of). And then, what makes a play big-picture rather than small? What about all those in yer face young British male writers of the 90s who basically wrote nasty relationship plays? Are they “political” because their characters’ milieu was working-class or unemployed, not the middle-class professor or doctor?

George Hunka suggests that the preponderance of male artistic directors in the well-paid echelons of theatre may have a lot to do with it, and I think that’s probably accurate–certainly the increased representation of women writers at the small, scratchy experimental level is paralleled by the women directing and running theatres at the level of “oh hell, I’d better do it myself”.

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