Maine is in the house for festival of female playwrights
- September 13, 2021
Company: Powerstories Theatre
Contact: Deb Kelley
Maine is in the House for Powerstories Voices of Women Theatre Festival
On October 6-17, 2021, Powerstories Theatre, in collaboration with Thrü-Line (a theatrical production company based in Tampa, Florida), aims to help women crash through the glass ceiling with “The Voices of Women Theatre Festival” showcasing diverse stories written entirely by women playwrights. In the last survey taken by Broadway by the Numbers before the pandemic, 85% of all playwrights given the opportunity to be heard were male voices.
A hybrid of live, in-theatre productions and live-streamed prerecorded performances on Powerstories’ virtual stage, “The Voices of Women Theatre Festival” spotlights Tampa Bay and North American playwrights including two from Maine: Carolyn Gage whose In McClintock’s Corn opens the Festival on October 6, and Laura Emack who showcases a moment in Maine history with The Pride of Bangor [or What Not to Wear] which streams on October 10. After each 8 PM show, the playwright, cast, crew, and audience will meet online for a Zoom question and answer talkback.
Carolyn Gage is a Maine playwright, performer, director, and activist. She has authored nine collections of lesbian and feminist-themed plays and eighty-three plays, musicals, and one-woman shows. She specializes in non-traditional roles for women, especially those reclaiming famous lesbians whose stories have been distorted or erased from history. She taught at Bates College and at the University of Southern Maine, and is now semi-retired and living on Mount Desert Island.
In McClintock’s Corn features gender-non-conforming geneticist Barbara McClintock and her companion/partner Harriet Creighton, and McClintock’s revolutionary quest to understand diversity in nature and to reframe “deviance” as an expression of natural variance. This woman stood her ground—literally—for sixty years, planting her beloved corn year after year, entering its cellular world via the microscope, and teaching us that life is infinitely more adaptive, more complex, and more to be revered than the established dogma confidently proclaims.
Laura Emack’s plays have been performed in New York City and throughout Maine. She edited At Play: An Anthology of Maine Drama, Levant Heritage Library (2004), and published a business newsletter called Prospects for four years. Her essay “Solving the Child Care Conundrum” appeared in Save Wisely, Spend Happily published by the American Institute of CPA’s in 2012, and hers was the only Maine voice represented in that collection. She resides in a stone house in Prospect with her husband of forty-one years.
The Pride of Bangor [or What Not to Wear] also features a pioneering woman who served as mayor of Bangor as well as the area’s representative to the Maine Legislature. Blunt and outspoken, Patricia Blanchette casually picked a fight with shock jock Don Imus with nary a thought to what might ensue. The question at issue – whether the Paul Bunyan statue should don a T-shirt welcoming Don Imus to Bangor – seemed as silly back in 1997 as it does today. Yet it evoked escalating visceral reactions about morality, civic pride, and a claimed icon of mysterious lineage.
A familiar face in Portland, actress Pat Mew portrays Mayor Blanchette, joined by several other playwright/actors: Lynne Cullen, Chalmers, Ignacio Lopez, and Joe Swenson, who also serves as technical director for the production. All players are members of Page to Stage Pipeline – currently meeting via Zoom – affiliated with the University of Southern Maine and advised by Professor Assunta Kent.
To learn more or purchase tickets for the “Voices of Women Theatre Festival” on October 6-17, 2021, visit powerstories.com/voices-of-women-theatre-festival-schedule. Tickets are $15 per show. Festival passes are also available for $99. A portion of ticket sales to her show directly accrues to each playwright.