Wednesday, February 9, 2011


By: Amanda Halkiotis
Only 17% of America’s main stage productions are written by women. Wide Eyed Productions works to balance the playing field for female playwrights in their new production of four short one-acts: A Girl Wrote It (at the Red Room on 85 East Fourth Street in New York’s East Village). Statistics aside, the show makes for an enlightening evening of theater filled with both hilarity as well as heartbreak.

A Girl Wrote It is 
refreshing to watch, and even more so, quite relevant for today's audience. While women writers are all too often generalized – and marginalized – for focusing on topics like beauty and breakups, A Girl Wrote It, never goes near such clichés. Instead, each writer brings their own unique take on reality, from a traumatizing hostage situation transforming into a tender and intimate evening in Lynda Green’s Clementine, to what happens to society when scientists begin screening civilians prior to procreation in Selection by Kris Montgomery. A personal victim of the injustice and imbalance of the male-dominated theater world, Montgomery began play-writing as a way to take matters into her own hands: “I studied writing in college but acted professionally for many years.  After a while I began to get frustrated by the fact that [there] are a lot more roles for men and less men competing for jobs.  I decided that rather than complain about it, the best thing to do would be to sit down and write plays with roles for women.”

Lynda Green’s Clementine and Selection by Kris Montgomery
The Return of Toodles Von Flooz featuring Lisa Mamazza, Colin McFadden & Brianne Mai 
The gem of the evening is The Return of Toodles Von Flooz by Lisa Ferber, a film noir spoof with razor-sharp wit and great chemistry between all the characters. Ferber’s writing shines in giving typically one-dimensional roles like the femme fatale, male protagonist and ingénue depth and motive. Ferber’s self-aware ear for dialogue resonated with the audience, and in her own words she writes, “My idea behind writing this play is the same as with all my plays: to make myself laugh while writing it, make others laugh while watching it, and to point out some endearing foible of human nature. I am happy that Wide-Eyed Productions has revived my play, as I get the feeling director Kristin Skye Hoffmann clicked with my style.”

Wrapping up the production is Plight of the Apothecary by Elizabeth Birkenmeier, the longest and most somber of the four pieces. Set in a stranded island in a post-apocalyptic era, this tale of sibling rivalry and survival, while riveting in places, does not match the strong dramatic writing or tight plot structure found in the other three plays. 

Host Liz White 
Interlude monologues between each play offer additional insight and commentary on the role of the contemporary female playwright. Written by Henrietta Ozelle, Bekah Brunsetter and Lulu Arbid and performed with warmth and honesty by Liz White, these interludes offer a refreshing and thought-provoking perspective on how women are perceived within their respective fields, both within the theater world and beyond. 

When White, as a high school English teacher, meets with a talented student, for example, she tells her student with candid and earnest concern to “stop writing plays.” This stems from the personal frustration White’s character has experienced making no money and rarely getting produced, despite her quality writing. Or the essay an emerging playwright wrote after being nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Award in 2010, only for the selection panel to decide not to issue the award that year due to them not being able to choose a worthy enough recipient. While works by female playwrights may still not be as well-known or well-produced as their male counterparts, groundbreaking shows like A Girl Wrote It by Wide Eyed Productions certainly takes measures to remedy this.

For tickets, go HERE.

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