CHICAGO - In order to continue its strong feminist story-telling tradition, Artemisia Theatre announces an entirely virtual 2021 season. The new season includes two World Premiere theater productions and eight audio performances airing on its podcast We Women. Both World Premieres,"Goods" and "Into a Blaze: The Triangle Shirtwaist", are written by Artemisia resident playwright Lauren Ferebee. These productions will stream online via YouTube and feature video after-show discussions that are thematically relevant. Performances for "Goods", May 5 - 30, and "Into a Blaze: The Triangle Shirtwaist", Oct. 20 - Nov. 14, are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15-$30 and available at ARTEMISIATHEATRE.ORG.
The eight audio performances of professionally-produced plays drop on the We Women podcast Wednesdays, Jan. 20 through Nov. 10. Bi-weekly following each audio performance, Artemisia is releasing creative discussions with the cast and playwright if applicable, and social justice interviews with non-profit organizations that are relevant to the topics in the productions. The podcast is curated, co-produced and co-hosted by Artemisia Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot and Willow James, Artemisia's resident Sound Designer. The Artemisia We Women podcast is free and available on Apple Podcasts and ARTEMISIATHEATRE.ORG.
"While the pandemic forced us to rethink how we share our empowering stories, I'm excited to bring our classic and new feminist plays to our audience in a unique way," said Proudfoot. "We always aim to showcase the works of female BIPOC and LGBTQ theater artists, especially around issues of compassion and social justice. Our 2021 season continues that mission, while introducing new audiences to Artemisia through our podcast and partnering with social justice organizations."
The mainstage season begins May 5 through May 30, with "Goods", written by Ferebee and directed by E. Faye Butler. Set in the year 2100, "Goods" is the story of interplanetary trash collectors celebrating 20 years of working together. An unexpected job forces them to confront the dirty secrets of their relationship and the overwhelming problems and devastating choices of the world they've left behind.
The season continues Oct. 20 through Nov. 14 with "Into a Blaze: The Triangle Shirtwaist", also penned by Ferebee and directed by Proudfoot. Commissioned by Artemisia, this production revisits the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that claimed the lives of hundreds of young immigrant women in New York City in 1911. While the fire left devastation in its wake — it also ignited the fight for labor rights that continues today. "Into a Blaze: The Triangle Shirtwaist" weaves together the voices of resilient, fierce women workers past and present, amplifying their struggles and celebrating their spirits.
Ferebee is Artemisia Theater's 2021 resident playwright. Her 2020 production of "Every Waiting Heart" (an O'Neill semifinalist) was performed as an audio play on Artemisia's We Women Podcast. Ferebee is a nationally-recognized playwright whose work has been a finalist for BAPF, the Kennedy Center's John Cauble and Gary Garrison Awards and the Princess Grace Award. Her work was also featured in the 2018 Smith & Kraus Best Original Monologues anthologies.
The We Women Podcast season includes:
"What About the Children", by Sharai Bohannon — Jan. 20 (Creative Discussion, Feb 3 — Social Justice Interview, Feb 17); The wife of an ICE officer has had enough. Written for Protest Plays Project's #TheatreActionImmigration
"Opposing Ophelia", by Deneen Reynolds-Knott — March 3 (Creative Discussion, March 17 — Social Justice Interview, March 31); Yvette, a former model and student at the Ophelia Devore School of Modeling & Charm, is confronted with new ideas about beauty, Blackness and womanhood, when her daughter, Nina, joins the National Black Feminist Organization in 1973.
"Bold Stroke for a Wife", by Susanna Centlivre — April 14 (Creative Discussion, April 28 — Social Justice Interview, May 12); A military officer falls madly in love with a young woman and dons four different disguises to convince her powerful and extremely disagreeable guardians to grant him her hand in marriage.
"Rachel", by Angelina Weld Grimké — May 26 (Creative Discussion, June 9 — Social Justice Interview, June 23); A sensitive and well-educated young Black woman loves children and, when she meets the man of her dreams, is eager to raise a family with him. But her dream of blissful family life is destroyed when she is forced to come to terms with American racism.
"Aftermath", by Mary P. Burrill — July 7 (Creative Discussion, July 21 — Social Justice Interview, August 4); Set in rural South Carolina, a Black soldier returning from serving his country in World War I discovers that his father has been lynched. Burrill was a Harlem Renaissance gay feminist playwright.
"Medea", by Euripidies, adapted by Julie Proudfoot, soundscape by Willow James — Aug. 18 (Creative Discussion, Sept. 1 — Social Justice Interview, Sept. 15); The tragedy of Medea, reimagined as a solo character study of Medea's inner struggles and lust for freedom and power. Medea, a barbarian princess, is betrayed by her husband Jason when he abandons her to marry a Greek princess, gaining wealth and political power. Though he returns and promises to keep her as a mistress, Medea murders her and Jason's sons and her husband's new wife before escaping to Athens.
"Close the Book", by Susan Glaspell — Sept. 29 (Creative Discussion, Oct. 13 — Social Justice Interview, Oct. 27); A comedy about an elite family enjoying their status as the power brokers of a University founded by their ancestors. Their grandson, a professor at the University, creates a controversy when he announces his engagement to a beautiful outspoken liberal with gypsy ancestry.
"Above the Fold", by Julie Zaffarano — Nov. 10 (Creative Discussion, Nov. 24 — Social Justice Interview, Dec. 8); Set in 1935, Dorothy, a determined female reporter, covers a grand jury investigation into the death of rising musical theater star Evelyn Hoey. As she fights to gain equal footing with her male reporters, Dorothy struggles to convince her former lover and colleague, Carl, and her editor to ditch sensationalism and embrace truth in journalism.
About Artemisia Theatre
Artemisia Theatre makes women heroes, on stage and off by sharing their empowering stories. Through productions of classic and all-new feminist plays, Artemisia creates career-altering opportunities for African American, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA), Caucasian & LGBTQ theatre artists. Artemisia enriches Chicago's culture by taking creative risks, achieving artistic excellence, and engaging the audience directly in unique performances and after-show discussions that inspire compassion and social justice for women. The theatre's namesake, Artemisia Gentileschi was a great feminist painter, forgotten by history. It's why Artemisia Theatre was founded, to share women's untold stories.
Artemisia's leadership is one-hundred-percent women, and the theatre is organized as a 501 c 3 nonprofit in Illinois.