1 : to lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of by making partial excuses : mitigate
2 : to lessen the strength or effect of
Extenuate was borrowed into English in the late Middle Ages from Latin extenuatus, the past participle of the verb extenuare, which was itself formed by combining ex- and the verb tenuare, meaning "to make thin." In addition to the surviving senses, extenuate once meant "to make light of" and "to make thin or emaciated"; although those senses are now obsolete, the connection to tenuare can be traced somewhat more clearly through them.
*** FREE THEATER IN NYC ***
Sunday January 21, 2018
BROKEN BRANCHES - A PLAY IN THREE PIECES
by Donna Stearns
Last year on January 21st, the historic Women's Marches took place. To celebrate this one-year anniversary mark on January 21st, plays written by women all over the world will be produced, promoted, and honored. "Broken Branches" is an autobiographical drama of the playwright's own adoption. The story follows a young adult woman who asks how she came to be adopted. In this memory play where the truths are shocking, she comes to understand how wonderful it is when family makes the choice to love a child they bring into their home. Full-length play with music written by Donna Kendall Stearns. Produced by Moonbeam.net Productions. Free and open to the public. Due to sensitive material, this play may not be appropriate for children under 12 years old.
*** CLASSES AT PRIMARY STAGES ***
COMEDY WRITING FOR THE STAGE with KATE MOIRA RYAN (Writer (with Judy Gold), The Judy Show at DR2 Theatre) at at Primary Stages ESPA: A solid grasp of the mechanics of comedy writing for the stage is a powerful tool in the hand of any playwright. While comedy is a main element of a farce or a satire, it is just as essential to delicately lace comic elements into the most serious drama. In this class, you will study the specialized rules of comedy, and complete writing assignments to develop your comedic work over ten weeks.
Payment plans available. http://primarystages.org/espa/writing/comedy-writing-for-the-stage
*** PLAYWRIGHTS OPPORTUNITIES ***
Aberrant Theatre is currently seeking short, horror themed plays to be produced as part of our upcoming Ghost Light Anthology.
Working from an anthology model akin to Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt, Aberrant Theatre will be presenting an evening of short, scary plays as part of what we hope will become an annual event.
This year, Strange Sun Theater will select two plays as part of its Greenhouse Project, and we are proud to announce that each of the two playwrights will receive a $500 award, and be a part of our ‘ON BOOK’ series, which explores and develops the plays through a rehearsal process culminating in a public staged reading of the plays in New York City.*
Punk Monkey Productions is now accepting one-act plays for their seventh season of PL.A.Y Noir. Submissions should ideally range from between 10 to 20 and are required to fall in the genre of Film Noir and tradition of the vintage crime novels of the 30s and 40s by Chandler, Hammett, and Cain (think private detectives, femme fatales, unscrupulous villains, etc.).
*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the web site at http://www.nycplaywrights.org ***
*** WOMEN’S MARCH ***
Last year NYCPlaywrights presented the WOMEN IN THE AGE OF TRUMP project. You can see all posts on the NYCPlaywrights blog about the project here:
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival, in partnership with the National New Play Network (NNPN) and the New Play Exchange (NPX), has announced the creation of International Women’s Voices Day. It will be on Jan. 21, 2018, which marks the one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March. As part of that day, the organizations encourage theatres around the world to host free readings of unproduced plays by women.
The event will be held in conjunction with the Women’s Voices Theater Festival (Jan. 15-Feb. 15, 2018), where theatres around Washington, D.C. will produce new plays by women.
“NNPN is thrilled to partner with the Women’s Voice Theater Festival to create this worldwide celebration of new works by women,” said Nan Barnett, the executive director of NNPN, in a statement. “And now, with NPX, any theatre, anywhere, can find an unproduced play by a woman writer that’s perfect for their programming and mission and share it with their audiences.”
The Humana Festival of New American Plays has announced the world-premiere works selected for inclusion in its 42nd year of original programming, which will take place February 28–April 8, 2018, at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Five of this year’s plays are written by women, including God Said This by Leah Nanako Winkler; Marginal Loss by Deborah Stein; Do You Feel Anger? by Mara Nelson-Greenberg; You Across from Me by Jaclyn Backhaus, Dipika Guha, Brian Otaño, and Jason Gray Plate; and we, the invisibles by Susan Soon He Stanton. Also in the lineup: Evocation to Visible Appearance by Mark Schultz.
International Centre for Women Playwrights
ICWP began in 1988 in Buffalo, New York, with the mission of supporting and promoting women playwrights around the world and bringing attention to their works. Recently we have published books of scripts and given recognition awards to theatres operating gender equity in the annual season.
20% Theatre Company Chicago is dedicated to strengthening the presence and raising public awareness of women artists in theatre. It is estimated that only 20% of theatre professionals are women. By building a community of theatre professionals and fostering emerging female artists through workshops and new plays, we provide opportunities for women directors, producers, designers, and playwrights. 20% Theatre Company Chicago strives to increase the number of women in theatre.
Feminist play ‘Vinegar Tom,’ Feb. 2 to 11, adds voice to ‘Year of the Woman’
Called “a play about witches, with no witches in it” by playwright Caryl Churchill, “Vinegar Tom” follows the lives of seven characters, four of whom will be executed, in 17th century England.
Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts presents “Vinegar Tom” from Feb. 2 to 11 in the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston.
Written in 1976 by the famously feminist Churchill, the play uses a witch hunt to reveal how nonconformist women who fail to fit into the narrowly defined social categories of the patriarchy were frequently labelled witches.
The Kilroys are a gang of playwrights and producers in LA who are done talking about gender parity and are taking action. We mobilize others in our field and leverage our own power to support one another.
Now in its fifth year, our BECHDEL FEST features an all female-identifying cast performing eight new short plays passing the now-famous Bechdel-Wallace Test. Created by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, “the Test” asks whether a work of entertainment features at least two women in conversation about something other than a man. Bechdel Fest: Identity Crisis follows an array of diverse and powerful women wrestling with the questions that define them and fighting for the world to see them as they are. Join us for the fifth iteration of our favorite feminist festival!
The festival ran September 10th – 13th, 2017 at The Den Theater.
A story of a fictional 16th-century female painter. Greek warriors laying siege to the walls of Troy. A couple engaged in an eerily morbid sexual transaction. Families torn apart by France’s colonial rule over Vietnam.
All of the above came to the Paris stage this month courtesy of women. In a perfect world, that fact would be unremarkable, but don’t be fooled by the claims of Catherine Deneuve and others, who argued recently in the newspaper Le Monde that the #MeToo movement was starting to infringe on artistic freedom: France is a long way from gender equality, and the output of its theater sector remains deeply skewed toward stories written and staged by men.
None of the country’s five national theaters is run by a woman; last season, the proportion of female playwrights and directors they presented ranged from 11 percent to 32 percent. The situation is slowly improving in France’s network of 38 National or Regional Dramatic Centers, which make up the next tier of publicly funded theater institutions, but 71 percent remain led by men.
The second Women’s Voices Theater Festival begins its two-month ripple of 24 new plays across Washington stages this month, and what has happened in terms of equality since the 2015 festival is . . . not much. And outside in the larger culture, there’s a #MeToo riot going on.
The festival is one of the great good deeds in the American theater right now, a full city push to get past the usual lip service of readings and panels. The idea is basic: Let’s actually produce new works by women! The imbalance remains appalling: In the reputedly progressive hothouse of U.S. theater, female writers get less than a quarter of the new productions — a mere 22 percent, according the slap-in-the-face three-year Dramatists Guild-Lilly Awards survey released in 2015.
So for at least two months, Washington will put its money where it ought to be fully half the time. And that gesture of solidarity puts the District ahead of most of the country.
Yet Washington itself still lags, even among the major companies that generated the festival. The latest local demographic survey by D.C. playwrights and Woolly Mammoth Theatre staffers Gwydion Suilebhan and Olivia Haller finds scripts by women getting only 32 percent of the pie last season, a slow climb from the lowly 21 percent five years ago. And while Washington’s non-Equity theaters boast 50-50 gender parity in its directing ranks this season, Equity theaters still give two-thirds of the gigs to men.
In New York, Broadway’s 32-show season of 20 plays and 12 musicals includes only five projects by women, with six women directors.
“You’ve got to have the opportunities to work,” says writer Theresa Rebeck (of off-Broadway’s recent glass-ceiling comedy “What We’re Up Against” and NBC’s “Smash”), who is directing her updated version of the Restoration comedy “The Way of the World” at the Folger Theatre. “Or your work just doesn’t get any better.”
The Jan. 7 Arts & Style article “In her own words ” cited the woefully poor progress professional theaters are making toward parity for women playwrights. Of plays produced professionally, only 22 percent nationally are by women. Professional theaters in the District enjoy bragging rights for a higher percentage (32 percent) of women playwrights produced. Kudos to D.C. theaters for that distinction. There is, however, an even better story to share regarding a nearby professional theater that has achieved parity for women playwrights: the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, W.Va. CATF, in its 27 seasons, has produced 121 new plays. Of those, 60 were written by women, and 55 were directed by women. Each summer, Equity actors arrive in this historic town — just about 100 minutes by car from Washington and Baltimore — to produce daring and diverse stories, so many of which happen to be written by women.
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