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The Suffrage Plays to open Nov. 1, director, full cast announced
2019-09-18

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Full casting has been announced for the opening production of Artemisia's season — THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS - an evening of three one-act comedies from the Suffrage Theatre, a vital element of the British Women's Suffrage Movement. The program will include two comedies by Evelyn Glover: MISS APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING and A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY, along with PRESS CUTTINGS by George Bernard Shaw. Running November 1-24 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Artemisia's THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in America. "Suffrage Plays" emerged during the British women's suffrage movement and were popular from 1907-1914.

The evening of one-acts will be unified through the directorial vision of Beth Wolf ( Artistic Director, Midsommer Flight ) and a diverse cast playing multiple characters. Wolf's cast will include Megan DeLay ( an ensemble member with Promethean Theatre where she was last seen as Lady Croom in ARCADIA ), Lucinda Johnston, ( Paramount's IN THE HEIGHTS and A Red Orchid's THE MANDRAKE ), Brittani Yawn ( THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS with Sideshow Theatre ), Tom McGrath ( Stephano in Midsummer Flight's THE TEMPEST ), Steve Silver ( Mercury Theater's COMPANY ), and Vijay Sarathi ( BLUE STOCKINGS with Promethean Theatre Ensemble ). DeLay and Johnston will appear in all three plays, and Yawn will have roles in MISS APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING and PRESS CUTTINGS. McGrath, Silver and Sarathi will appear only in PRESS CUTTINGS, as Glover's MISS APPLEYARDS' AWAKENNING and A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY, as was typical of many Suffrage plays, call for all female casts.

The design and production team will include Rachel M. Sypniewski ( Costume Designer ), Jillian Gryzlak ( Set & Props Designer ), Becs Bartle ( Lighting Designer and Master Electrician ), Stefanie M. Senior ( Sound Designer ), Jinni Barak ( Assistant Director ), Lindsay Tornquist ( Dramaturg ).

Suffrage plays served to reveal many of the double standards that women faced daily and featured familiar everyday situations with relatable characters. Though the three suffrage plays in Artemisia's program are all comedies, they have a clear political focus, Director Beth Wolf says, "I am so thrilled to be working with Julie Proudfoot and the entire team at Artemisia to tell these three stories centered around the U.K. women's suffrage movement. These plays written a century ago, these plays about a movement that long ago enjoyed its victory, these plays that ought to be museum pieces by now! — are astonishingly relevant to our life in 2019 America. As we prepare for a year ahead of contentious election politics here at home, examining the importance of One Person, One Vote is more vital than ever. These three plays offer a kaleidoscope view of opinions, political tactics, and opposing values that are very much 'of their time' and yet eerily reflect ones that persist today in modern America. With our own country approaching a crossroads in November 2020, now is the time to bring these 100-year-old British stories back to the stage."

Evelyn Glover was one of the most influential writers of suffrage plays, and dramatized the arguments of working-class women in particular, because of the criticism that was leveled at the Suffrage Movement - that only middle-class women would benefit from sexual equality and the vote. A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY depicts a conversation between a suffragette charwoman and an upper-class matron; and MISS. APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING is a comedy in which an anti-suffrage activist comes to realize the fallacies and illogic of her views.

George Bernard Shaw, most remembered for plays like SAINT JOAN, PYGMAILION, and CANDIDA, which were critical of Victorian notions of marriage and femininity, openly supported women's suffrage. His one-act comedy PRESS CUTTINGS is a farce satirizing British politicians and attitudes against suffrage and imagines a time when suffrage activism led to an imposition of martial law and a chaotic society.

Artemisia will offer post-show discussions using these historical pieces on Women's Suffrage to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19thAmendment, and to bring to light the importance of one person — one vote in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election.

BIOS

Evelyn Glover ( playwright, A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY and MISS APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING ) was a British writer who penned influential plays for the Women's Suffrage Theatre - A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY and MISS APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING being her most popular. She dramatized the arguments of working-class women in particular because of the criticism that was leveled at the Suffrage Movement - that only middle-class women would benefit from sexual equality and the vote.

George Bernard Shaw ( playwright, PRESS CUTTINGS ), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist. His influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to the 1950's and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as MAN AND SUPERMAN ( 1902 ), PYGMALION ( 1912 ) and SAINT JOAN ( 1923 ). With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Beth Wolf ( director ) is delighted to return to Artemisia after directing WITCH CAMP at last year's Fall Festival. Earlier this year, Beth directed Jeff Recommended productions of NON-PLAYER CHARACTER at Red Theater and THE ROOMMATE at Citadel Theatre. She is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Midsommer Flight, where she has directed nine Shakespeare productions in Chicago parks, most recently THE TEMPEST in 2019.

Other credits include LIAR!, which won first place in the City Lit Art of Adaptation Festival; ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, BLACK MAGIC: AN EVENING OF SHAKESPEARE, SEASCAPE WITH SHARKS AND DANCER, BURY THE DEAD, THE FANTASTICKS, and SHAKESPEARE IN THE GARDEN ( Promethean Theatre Ensemble ); and various staged readings and assistant directing credits with Remy Bumppo, Idle Muse, City Lit Theater, and more. She also co-founded and is the former artistic director of Promethean Theatre Ensemble. Beth is a proud Northwestern University graduate with a double major in theatre and gender studies. Much love to her team: Dave, Roxy, and Miles. More at www.wolfatthestagedoor.com and www.midsommerflight.com .

DETAILS

THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS

A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY and MISS APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING, by Evelyn Glover

PRESS CUTTINGS, by George Bernard Shaw

Directed by Beth Wolf

November 1 - 24, 2019

Wednesdays — Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 3 pm

The Den Theatre

1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Tickets $20 - $30 ( on sale August 15, 2019 )

More info & tickets at http://artemisiatheatre.org/plays/

773-697-3830

An evening of three one-act plays from the Suffrage Theatre, which was active from 1907 -1914 and a vital element of the British Women's Suffrage Movement. A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY is a conversation between a haughty upper-class woman and a suffragette charwoman. In MISS APPLEYARD'S AWAKENING, an anti-suffragette activist sees the flaws in her thinking through a conversation with someone who shares her views. George Bernard Shaw's 1909 PRESS CUTTINGS is a farcical comedy that ridicules the arguments of the anti-suffrage movement.

ABOUT ARTEMISIA: A CHICAGO THEATRE

Founded in 2011, Artemisia, A Chicago Theatre is a professional, not-for-profit theatre that produces classic and all-new feminist plays that center on women who have agency, independence, and are the focal point of their own narratives. Each season, Artemisia searches for groundbreaking original plays to developed into world and regional premieres. Artemisia is a 501 c 3 organization and, as such, relies on public support to fund theatre that promotes gender parity, both onstage and off.

Artemisia Gentileschi was a Baroque artist whose paintings depicted violence with fierce honesty and elegance. For centuries after her death, her art was attributed to men. Feminist curators in the late 1970's rediscovered Artemisia, who is now considered the greatest female painter prior to the modern period. A common theme in Gentileschi's later work is women in moments of power, or triumph, which is why she is the perfect namesake for Artemisia.

—From a press release


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