Women’s Theatre Project Celebrates Lesbian Themes With Girl Play Festival

By Bill Hirschman

If, as La Cage aux Folles’ Zaza suggests looking at life from a different angle, The Women’s Theatre Project’s annual Girl Play series of staged readings June 21-23 examines life from yet another point of view.

Girl Play is comprised of three programs featuring readings of 16 short plays with lesbian themes, by straight and lesbian playwrights. The scripts were chosen from a field of 110 submissions from the United States, Canada, England and Australia and underwent two sessions of evaluations.

This is the fourth edition of the festival; last year’s was postponed because The Women’s Theatre Project, then based in a tiny space in Fort Lauderdale, was searching for the new performance space that they eventually found at Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton.

Created in 2001, The Women’s Theatre Project, “was founded from a need for women’s voices to be heard, a desire to break down the stereotypes of women propelled by the media, and to create more professional theatrical opportunities for women of all shapes, sizes, races, and ages,” according to its website.

Festival coordinator Marj O’Neill-Butler said, “We originally started (at The Women’s Theatre Project) using only women (actresses) and women playwrights. The reason was there was so little opportunity for women, to this day.”

The festival itself had similar origins: “We had a member on our board who happened to be a lesbian and she said there was very little done that had a focus on plays by or about lesbians,” O’Neill-Butler said.

While The Women’s Theatre Project’s general programming speaks to the experience of all women, its shows have attracted a large and loyal lesbian audience. It prompted New Times alternative newspaper in 2008 to dub The Women’s Theatre Project “the best place to meet intelligent lesbians.”

The productions will be mounted at Art Gallery 21 at the Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors, 600 NE 21st Court. Each evening begins with “Foreplay,” a half-hour of cocktails, music and displays of artwork from local female artists.

The schedule is:
* 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, (Foreplay at 7 p.m.), eight plays.
* 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22 (Foreplay at 7 p.m.), eight different plays.
* 2 p.m., Sunday, June 23 (Foreplay at 1:30 p.m.), the best of those 16 plays voted upon by the audience the previous two evenings.

The plays this year are:
Are You Married? by Joan Lipkin
Based On True Events by Sharon Goldner
Cake Top This by Donna Hoke
Diaphanous  by Rahti Gorfien
Dyke Tracy, Detective by Dian “Mj” Perrin
Gallery Postmortem by Karen L. Lewis
Gayby’s Playdate by Jan O’Connor
Hildie And Hilda Go For A Walk by Ruth Dyck Fehderau
In The Water by Tabia Lau
Palpitations by Penny Jackson
Personal Penchants by Barbara Lhota
Semi-Circles by Eileen Tull
Sharing The Pie by Kathleen Warnock
Stonehenge by Patricia Milton
Taste Of Thai by Michelle F. Solomon
Zero Mile Mark by Carol Mullen

The readings will be directed by Genie Croft, Kim Ehly and O’Neill-Butler. The casts will include Sally Bondi, Casey Dressler, Lela Elam, Noah Levine, Ann Marie Olson, Barbara Sloan, Karen Stephens, Carol Sussman, Pilar Uribe and Elayne Wilks.

Tickets are $15 for one show; $25 for two shows or $35 for all three. Tickets will be available at the door but seating is limited. For reservations, call (866) 811-4111
For more information call (561) 705-0470.

Due to the Stonewall Festival, parking is limited. All Girl Play patrons will be issued a parking pass for Saturday & Sunday to avoid a $10 parking fee (Friday is metered parking at $1 per hour).

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