Upcoming Theater: ARTEMISIA FALL FEST (Raven Theatre)

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by Nia Liat on September 22, 2021

in Theater-Chicago

Three new plays. Three audience discussions. One great mission.

Artemisia Theatre returns to live performances with its 10th Artemisia Fall Fest, a showcase of three timely new plays by women writers presented as staged readings, October 18-20, 2021 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark Street, Chicago.

Celebrating women as heroes is the theme. Amplifying diverse voices and creating space for interactive discussions that inspire compassion and social justice for women are the goals. Each staged reading is followed by an audience discussion.

For tickets ($15 single-$30-$40 pass), visit Artemisia.

Inda Craig-Galván, E. Faye Butler, Deneen Reynolds-Knott,
Myesha-Tiara, Lauren Ferebee, Julie Proudfoot.

Artemisia Fall Fest – “Stories for Days”

Since 2011, Artemisia has created career-altering opportunities for diverse theater artists through full productions of classic and all-new feminist plays, along with its annual Fall Fest of staged readings.

This marks Artemisia’s 10th Fall Fest dedicated to elevating new works by feminist writers. The reason? Because “women still struggle to find a place where they can share their stories and be their true selves as artists,” says celebrated Chicago actor E. Faye Butler, president of Artemisia’s board. “That’s what I love about Artemisia. It’s a sisterhood of leaders, who empower women as writers, directors, performers. A place where women can bring their fire, their passion and their lived experience and share true stories from their perspective.”

Fire, passion and lived experience will all be on full display at Artemisia Fall Fest. Here’s more about this year’s exciting new works:

The Great Jheri Curl Debate
by Inda Craig-Galván, directed by E. Faye Butler
Monday, October 18, 7:30

It’s 1979 and Veralynn Jackson, a Black woman in her forties, knows hair, and she knows her neighborhood. She also knows that the invention of the Jheri Curl marks the end of the world. When she takes a job in Mr. Kim’s Korean-owned Black beauty supply store and the posters start talking to her, Veralynn discovers her true calling.

The Great Jheri Curl Debate examines gentrification, immigration and racism from the perspective of two groups who don’t have the luxury or privilege to ever ignore these topics: Korean immigrants and African-American citizens. The play is a retrospection of a specific point in U.S. history and is just as much a reflection of the divisions and social constructs we’re operating under during 2021.

Babes in Ho-lland
by Deneen Reynolds-Knott, directed by Myesha-Tiara
Tuesday, October 19, 7:30

In 1996, Ciara and Taryn, two young Black women, meet during a sunless winter semester on campus and share a love for R&B girl groups. They create their own bubble of discovery, music and sanctuary in Ciara’s Holland Hall dorm room on a mostly white college campus. However, the stress of love, financial hardship and the persistent lack of privacy threaten to destroy it.

“Looking back, I recognize the strangeness of 18-year-olds moving from their family to a college campus: perhaps sharing a room with a stranger and experiencing an abrupt blast of freedom they may or may not be ready for,” said Reynolds-Knott. “The adjustment can be stark as a young Black woman on a predominantly white campus.”

Driftless
by Lauren Ferebee, directed by Julie Proudfoot
Wednesday, October 20, 7:30

The Strongs, a white family that has farmed dairy in the Driftless region ever since there were settlers there, have held out against the factory farming boom until the most recent generation decided to leave. Yet even as Ruby, Chris and Jorie take their own paths in life, they’re haunted by the myths of their family and the place they called home. Driftless is a story of salvaged junk, self-destruction and a sadness made of one family’s discarded dreams for better lives.

“Driftless felt like the perfect play for Artemisia Fall Fest because the genesis of the play came in thinking about a lineage of vengeful mothers,” said Ferebee. “This play is really looking at motherhood in a broad scope, and all the ways that nourishment and caretaking can also contain destruction – all the way from the Earth as uber-mother to the individual human mother. The terror of the female creator also being the destroyer is a potent power.”

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About Artemisia Theatre: Making women heroes – on stage and off – by sharing their empowering stories

Artemisia Gentileschi was a great feminist painter, forgotten by history. Now, she’s considered the greatest female artist prior to the modern period. It just shows why women’s stories are important. They change our perspective, on the past, the present and the future.

That’s why Chicago’s Artemisia Theatre was founded, to share women’s untold stories. Since 2011, Artemisia has enriched Chicago’s culture by taking creative risks, achieving artistic excellence, and engaging the audience directly in unique performances and after-show discussions that inspire compassion and social justice for women. Artemisia’s leadership is 100 percent women.

For more, visit artemisiatheatre.org where you can sign up for the company’s e-newsletter and subscribe to its new feminist podcast, We Women. Or, follow the company on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest and YouTube.

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