Thursday, July 12, 2012

Athena Project Festival's "Plays in Progress"

Athena Project Festival's "Plays in Progress" series represents female playwrights

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     "A theater that is missing the work of women is missing half the story, half the canon, half the life of our time. That is the situation we have now." - Marsha Norman, playwright and activist

What is Athena Project?

     Athena Project is a professional group of artists dedicated to supporting and expanding women’s artistic contributions to the Denver stage and the wider community. 
     Vision: Athena Project envisions a world in which women’s voices are powerfully expressed and fully integrated into the creative life of every community.
     Mission: The Athena Project mission is to empower women and strengthen the Denver community through developing and showcasing women’s and girls’ artistic contributions, while inviting new audiences into the creative process.

Plays in Progress Series

     The Athena Project's "Plays in Progress" Series, running July 12-29, 2012 are workshop level productions designed for an audience to give feedback. The series runs for three weekends in July -- the first two at the Aurora Fox at 9900 East Colfax Avenue and the last at Edge Theatre at 9797 West Colfax Avenue -- and will provide six female playwrights with staged readings for their works in progress, complete with post-show audience talkbacks to help them bring their work nearer to completion. Each show has been assigned its own director, stage manager, and dramaturg; the theaters will provide lighting and other technical support. Many playwrights -- especially women and more especially women of color -- cannot expect even close to that much for their plays. Moreover, from those six plays, one script will be chosen to receive a full production to headline the Athena Project Festival next spring. The selection will be made based on an audience vote and the recommendations of the advisory board.
     Audiences will be seeing this material for the first time and will have a formative role in the development of the final product. "A lot of plays live in the land of the perpetual staged reading," said Astle, adding, "the act of getting a final production is very different. My feeling is that the audience is that key component. They're the ticket buyers."
     "The stories speak for themselves," said Astle on the organization's basis for choosing the plays. There was a "blind submission process... every script went through three different reads to determine which scripts would rise to the top."
     The six plays are Tami Canaday's dark comedy Death by Hairbrush; Kim Merrill's drama about a mother working to forgive her son's murderer, Marla and Her Prayers; The Living, a drama about a woman planning her suicide, by Nina Miller; an examination of race and ethics called Race Relations, by Carrie Printz; Kendall Sherwood's drama about women held in sexual slavery in a basement, called The Record Breakers; and Clinnesha D. Sibley's piece about an elderly couple in Detroit dealing with memories of the rioting in 1940, Tell Martha Not to Moan.
     A ticket to one of the plays costs $10; $35 buys a pass to see all of the plays as many times as you want. For more information about Athena Project Festival, the Plays in Progress series, or how to buy tickets, visit their website.

Opening Weekend at The Aurora Fox Theatre (9900 E. Colfax Avenue, Aurora):
Thursday, July 12 at 8pm –Tell Martha Not to Moan
Friday, July 13 at 8pm— Race Relations
Saturday, July 14 at 3pm— The Record Breakers
Saturday, July 14 at 8pm—Marla and Her Prayers
Sunday, July 15 at 3pm— The Living
Sunday, July 15 at 7pm— Death By Hairbrush

2nd Weekend at The Aurora Fox Theatre (9900 E. Colfax Avenue, Aurora):
Thursday, July 19 at 8pm – Race Relations
Friday, July 20 at 8pm— The Living
Saturday, July 21 at 3pm— Death By Hairbrush
Saturday, July 21 at 8pm—The Record Breakers
Sunday, July 22 at 3pm— Marla and Her Prayers
Sunday, July 22 at 7pm—Tell Martha Not to Moan

Closing Weekend at The Edge Theatre (9797 W. Colfax Avenue, Lakewood):
Thursday, July 26 at 8pm – Marla and Her Prayers
Friday, July 27 at 8pm— Death By Hairbrush
Saturday, July 28 at 3pm— Race Relations
Saturday, July 28 at 8pm— Tell Martha Not to Moan
Sunday, July 29 at 3pm— The Living
Sunday, July 29 at 7pm— The Record Breakers

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