Section: Arts

All the world’s a stage in upcoming Stage Femmes festival

All the world’s a stage in upcoming Stage Femmes festival

Courtesy of Emma Miller and Julia Greer

By Paige Ballard

The Stage Femmes won’t  perform anywhere near a stage for this year’s “Kenyon Alumnae One Acts Festival.” Instead, the festival will take place in a bedroom, on a porch, in the woods and at other sites around campus, with the guided audience purposefully exposed to extraordinarily realistic scenes.

All are written by Kenyon students, alumnae and professors, including Laura Barati ’12, Gracie Gardner ’16, Beth Hyland ’13,  Madeline Jobrack ’13, Kate Kremer ’12, Natalie Margolin ’14 and Playwright-in-Residence and Professor of Drama Wendy MacLeod ’81. Many of these alumni playwrights worked with Stage Femmes while they attended Kenyon.

Additionally, about half of the plays are Kenyon-specific, written exclusively for the One Acts Festival about places the playwrights remember from their time at Kenyon. These include a party in a North Campus Apartment living room and students studying in Gund at four in the morning. Inspired by a site-specific performance last year put on by several advanced drama courses, Stage Femmes decided to depart from the traditional model of theatre — a static audience in an auditorium – in favor of giving Kenyon a taste of the experimental.

Stage Femmes was originally a feminist theatre group at Kenyon in the late 1980s and early 1990s but eventually disbanded. Current Co-Presidents Julia Greer ’15 and Emma Miller ’15 restarted the group during their sophomore year, keeping the name but rebranding the group’s ethos. Stage Femmes is now a celebration of women’s role and voice in the theatre, but remains open to male directors and actors as well.

The actors in this year’s one acts do not necessarily appear in Kenyon productions time and time again. “Part of our mission has been trying to get people who aren’t typically seen on the Kenyon stage involved,” Greer said. “It’s important to us to not just welcome new students every year, but to give older students a chance to explore theatre throughout their Kenyon career.” Stage Femmes adheres to this mission by hosting an annual question-and-answer session which aims to introduce new students to theatrical life at Kenyon. Additionally, this year’s One Acts Festival features many actors new to the Kenyon drama scene, pairing inexperienced actors — both first years and adventurous upperclassmen with limited acting experience — with more experienced actors and directors.

Greer and Miller accepted applications from prospective directors over the summer, and carefully matched each one with the alumnae-written plays. The directors of this year’s plays include Cassidy Jones ’17, Haleh Kanani ’16, Matt Super ’15, Clara Mooney ’17, Katie Moss ’15, Lauren Katz ’15 and Chris Stevens ’17. Super said that his piece “is such difficult material and it’s so well-written that I’m really excited to grapple with it.”

The performance date is not yet set for the Stage Femmes One Acts Festival, but will be decided by the end of next week.

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