ON WOMEN FESTIVAL At Irondale Announced Today
Irondale, Brooklyn's leading theatrical ensemble producing immersive and non-traditional performance, will present the On Women Festival, a three-week theater festival that places the feminine perspective in the spotlight, March 4-21. With two mainstage productions, To Moscow! A Palimpsest and Night Shadows - Or, One Hundred Million Voices Shouting, and two works-in-progress, England's Splendid Daughters and The Fainting Room, coupled with educational workshops and a special performance by the Young New Yorker's Women's Ensemble, the festival highlights Irondale's mission to present relevant and reflective works while tackling current issues facing the community.
March 4-7, the On Women Festival will present a play by Ada Luana and Gabriel F., To Moscow! A Palimpsest, the first play in their Chekhov Trilogy-a project that began in 2017. Based on Chekhov's more well-known works Three Sisters, this contemporary re-write explores themes of society, class, feminism, isolation and time, as four siblings dream of living in the cosmopolitan city of Moscow and all the freedoms that go along with it. The highly acclaimed Brazilian theater company, Setor de Áreas Isoladas, will make its U.S. debut at Irondale. An ensemble of four actresses and two musicians live through love, loss, and an overarching class struggle, with a resolution of resounding female perseverance and resilience.
The premiere of Night Shadows - Or, One Hundred Million Voices Shouting, by Lynda Crawford is the festival's second mainstage production, March 11-14. The play focuses on one of the most significant Russian poets, Anna Akhmatova, just prior to, during, and after the Russian revolution. Akhmatova was strong and leading female voice which bore witness to the political events around the Stalinist Terror, the work is a strong juxtaposition between the beauty and love of the Russian people, their culture and their art, and the crushing weight of a heartless dictatorship that attempted to destroy the rich legacy of their people.
During the festival's final week, March 19-21, audiences will experience two pieces in their workshop phases, Ann Kreitman's England's Splendid Daughters and Becca Bernard's The Fainting Room. A short physical theater piece based on the memoirs of lesbian ambulance drivers in World War I, England's Splendid Daughters documents a story of finding love and community against the backdrop of one of the most gruesome wars in modern history. Comprised of stolen moments, snapshots and scenes depicting an ambulance unit recruited by the British Armed Forces, the work centers around the building of community around a shared secret, told by a cast of six queer women, and depicts their unknown heroic place in history. The Fainting Room is a solo narrative play that explores how the mental and physical diagnosis of hysteria, which was in the disease vernacular until 1952, has shaped the understanding of mental and sexual health. With an immersive nature where the audience play patients in a medical facility along with the protagonist, the play chronicles her encounter with two different doctors, a midwife and an anthropomorphized vibrator, as she is exposed to absurd medical treatments and anatomical misunderstandings of the past and awakened to her own ability to listen to her body and administer self-care.
"In being committed to presenting works that are reflective of our times, this unique festival brings attention to women's voices through presenting a series completely different but important works," says Terry Greiss, Executive Director of Irondale. "Curated from a dynamic and compelling pool of submissions, it is important that these playwrights and presenters be seen and heard for the issues they are tackling, and it is with great pride that we welcome them into our space as part of this festival."
A public Artists Exchange will also take place during the festival on March 7 to offer a conversation about each playwright's work, their creative process and the importance of being female creators. Irondale's young company will also engage in workshops with both Ann Kreitman and Becca Bernard to ensure that presenting the female perspective becomes as significant to the next generation of artists as it is to Irondale and the works they present. The festival will close with a performance by the Young New Yorker's Women's Ensemble, bringing together the finest choral musicians presenting classical greats and prominent living composers.
General admission seats to the mainstage performances are $25, and workshop productions, $20. Festival packages are available; 2 shows for $40, 3 shows for $60, 4 shows for $70, and the full festival pass, $80, on sale at http://irondale.org/on-women-festival/.