A collection of nine plays by women for theatre companies to consider produciing has been revealed in the Expand the Canon list from Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre.
Four of the plays will be staged in a digital reading series this fall, including Bold Stroke for a Husband by Hannah Cowley and House of Desires by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. In addition to the works by Cowley and de la Cruz, the plays selected for 2020 are: A Bold Stroke for a Wife by Susanna Centilivre, Her Soul by Amelia P. Roselli, Rachel by Angelina W. Grimke, Restless Night in Late Spring by Fumiko Enchi, Spunk by Zora Neale Hurston, The Drag by Mae West, and Wedding Band by Alice Childress.
“From hundreds of plays by women, we chose 9 that span history, geography, and subject matter—and are by writers from diverse backgrounds,” said Mary Candler, artistic director of Hedgepig. “Each play takes on relevant conversations to this moment and can easily, and meaningfully, slot into 2021 seasons.”
Expand the Canon is a call to action for theatres to stage classical plays by women and to include more diversity in their repertoire. The project aims to ensure that what’s considered a “classic” includes a diverse set of women’s voices from history.
The Do This Play: Expand the Canon virtual reading series kicks off September 22 with Cowley’s 17th century play. Directed by Emily Lyon, the cast includes Skye Pagon, Shannon Corenthin, David Huynh, Basil Rodericks, Sara Hymes, Rachel Schmeling, Jory Murphy, Andrew Hutcheson, Gregory Jon Phelps, Marcus D. Johnson, and Madeline Addis.
Up next is de la Cruz’s Mexican comedy September 27, directed by Melisa Pereyra and produced in partnership with American Players Theatre. House of Desires stars Cher Alvarez, Eduardo Xavier Curley-Carillo, Triney Sandoval, Alejandro Cordova, Sebastian Arboleda, Basil Rodericks, Jamal James, Olivia Williamson, and Desiree Baxter.
Ma-Yi Theater Company co-presents Fumiko Enchi’s Restless Night in Late Spring September 29. Directed by Chari Arespacochago, the world premiere English-language translation of the Japanese play features Sasha Diamond, Shannon Tyo, Daniel K. Isaac, and Fara Faidzan.
Closing out the series October 1 is Spunk by Zora Neale Hurston. The reading is directed by Bianca LaVerne Jones and produced in partnership with The Classical Theatre of Harlem, with casting to be announced.