Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-12
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



FALL THEATER PREVIEW Artemisia Fest fights for femme presentation
by Catey Sullivan

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Google Artemisia Gentileschi's 17th-century oil painting Judith Beheading Holofernes. Seriously. Do it. I'll wait. The image is emblematic of Gentileschi's art: Magnificent, lush and thematically violent. It was also revolutionary: In 1600s art and life, the male gaze wasn't a thing, it was the only thing. So much so that for centuries after Gentileschi's death, her work was attributed to her male contemporaries.

"Nobody believed a woman painted like she did," said Artemisia Theatre Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot." "Critics and history ignored her signature, and credited various men with her paintings. They tried to erase her."

Proudfoot isn't one for female erasure, not in the 17th century and not today. With the six-play Artemisia Fall Festival, she's putting plays about women in the limelight. "American theater clings to a white male perspective," said Proudfoot. "It does not embrace a feminist voice. And because of that, our culture is robbed of stories that aren't just great stories, they're universal." The fest's series of staged readings from Sept. 24 through Oct. 3 at the Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway.

Statistics offer dismal proof off Proudfoot's assertion. According to American Theatre Magazine, men wrote close to two-thirds of all the plays produced in 2017. Women wrote 26 percent. Gender queer authors were all but statistically insignificant, coming in at .004 percent, ( less than one half of one half of one half of one percent. )

Proudfoot recalled having an epiphany when trans actor/writer/activist Delia Kropp ( ) spoke on a panel last spring.

"Delia said something that struck me so hard: 'I had no realization of how much privilege I had as a white man until I became a white woman,' " Proudfoot recalled. "It was an incredibly powerful moment."

Proudfoot often finds herself explaining that writing a female lead isn't enough. "I get submissions from writers who say, 'Oh, there are strong women in my play. Strong leads.' And they've written a strong hooker. Or a strong mother. Or a strong nice girl next door. We have more stories than that. Way more."

Shame, Proudfoot said, can silence those stories. Compared to rom-coms or sunny musicals, plays that take on "unpleasant" topics like rape or domestic violence are few. "We're shamed out of talking about these things," Proudfoot said. "Until fairly recently, we've haven't even dealt much with stories of women loving other women—whether it's a love affair or a deep friendship or a family that doesn't fit traditional gender roles. The gender stratification runs thick and deep."

Shame played a tragically significant role in the life of Artemisia Theatre's namesake. As a young teenager, Gentileschi was raped by one of her father's coworkers, Agostino Tassi. Her father prosecuted Tassi for theft of household goods, the goods being Gentileschi's virginity. Tassi was found guilty. His sentence was not enforced. For the rest of her work, Gentileschi's work often referenced acts of violence.

Working in Hollywood in the '90s and early Aughts, Proudfoot saw countless contemporary versions of that story play out. "I was there when Harvey [Weinstein] was in power. I had friends who called the [actors' union] hotlines. I saw women destroyed," she recalled of her days doing national ad campaigns and shows such as "The Gilmore Girls," "The Practice," and "The Cradle Will Rock."

When Proudfoot returned to Chicago in 2005, she found herself repeatedly auditioning for the same roles in different plays: "Moms who were the moral center, bitchy character parts, neurotic career women. It got frustrating," she said. In 2011, she founded Artemisia Theatre, driven partly by the lack of opportunities for women and partly by the overwhelming dominance of female characters created from a male point of view.

Artemisia's annual festival stands as both entertainment and a reclamation of female stories. Of the six festival plays, Proudfoot will select one to be fully produced next season. Her specs for women characters are clear: "I want women complex enough to have an inner world and an outer world. Women who go through a process of discovery, who learn to master both of those worlds," she said. "I want women who ultimately have agency."

Artemisia's Fall Festival runs at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24-Oct. 3 at the Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway. For more information, go to .

See related: .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018-12-12 - Playwright: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields At: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets: . Runs through: Dec. 16. ...

Gay News

Hedwig' tour in Chicago in 2019 2018-12-12 - John Cameron Mitchell—the Tony-winning, Golden Globe-nominated co-creator of Hedwig & the Angry Inch—will bring his rock spectacle to the United States for the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Rent,' Ariana Grande, Lena Waithe, Elton John 2018-12-11 - Fox has announced the full cast for the upcoming live musical event Rent, which will air Sunday, Jan. 27, a press release noted. ...

Gay News

The Second City 107th Mainstage Revue, Algorithm Nation or The Static Quo 2018-12-11 - Writers: Ryan Asher, Tyler Davis, Jeffrey Murdoch, Emma Pope, Nate Varrone, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn At: The Second City Mainstage, 1616 N. Wells ...

Gay News

T.R. Knight talks about upcoming 'Dream' role 2018-12-11 - T.R. Knight might still be best known for his five-season run as Dr. George O'Malley on ABC's Grey's Anatomy—and for the infamous 2007 ...

Gay News

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins 2018-12-10 - Author: Michael Daily, from the book by Eric Kimmel At: Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tickets:; $20-$25. Runs through: Jan. 5 ...

Gay News

The Santaland Diaries 2018-12-10 - Playwright: Steve Scott, adapted from the essay by David Sedaris At: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: $15-45; . Runs through: ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-12-10 - Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque, ( Sub )version Productions at Reggie's Music Joint, through Dec. 26. Fan-dancing snowflakes, a glass-eating "Calavera Catrina" and a ...

Gay News

Stomp 2018-12-10 - By: Luke Cresswell and Steve MacNicholas At: Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St.. Tickets:; $39-$84. Runs through: Dec. ...

Gay News

Les Miserables comes to Cadillac Palace Theatre July 2019 2018-12-10 - CHICAGO ( December 10, 2018 ) Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Miserables, will ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.