The Theatre Unbound logo is a corset loosened, suggesting the opening of a woman’s body, heart, soul, social status, and very being. Theatre Unbound is where stories by, for and about women are particularly valued, where everyone is invited, and where one hopes that views and perspectives will be broadened!
This year’s Girl Shorts is a festival of short plays, short stories, and a series of short dances produced by Theatre Unbound in collaboration with 20% Theatre Company, Gadfly Theatre Production’s, Table Salt Productions, Erin Sheppard Presents, and Raw Sugar. Audience members can choose to attend one set of three to four presentations for $12 or attend the whole festival for only $ 30, now through March 15th. What a bargain! My comments are based on the order in which I saw each set on Saturday.
1. The story of Jeanne D’Arc has been told many times and in many way. Voices by Hortense Flexner, however, is the story of a young shepherdess praying to the beloved saint, when all seems to be lost. This was one of my personal favorites, especially when her prayer turns into a dream-like dance.
2. Perception is Reality is a series of three dances by Erin Sheppard Presents. Three dances weaved between the dramas in this set. Bus Stop is about a woman, who is not interested in the flattery of a man invading her space, and the man who absolutely believes she must be interested in him and his flattery. Day Job is about two women and a man at work. When the man spills his coffee and leaves, the women enter into their own reality beyond the daily grind of work. BRB could be about BFF, but constant texting becomes rather narcissistic. Adding dance to Girl Shorts was fantastic! Do it again next year!
3. The high pitch squeals of teenage girls was intolerable. However, witnessing a young girl’s worse fear, a visit from Aunt Flo, just before a swimming competition, is quite comical. The choreography in Synchronicity by Jenny Moeller was my favorite part, as well as when the team attempts to put their various squabbles to rest.
4. Workout by Wendy Wasserstein reminded me of the old commercial where a woman “brings home the bacon and cooks it too!” Just how much can one person possibly do in a single day? Apparently, more than me and many others could possibly dream of doing! What a workout!
5. Whiskeytown by Seraphina Nova scored 100 + 20%! There is far more trouble than the problems in the kitchen, where Cal and Angie both work. Action packed with heightened emotions right up to the final second, this was also a favorite and at the top of my list for dinner time discussion!
6. The Illuminati in Drama Libre by Alice Gertenberg was another favorite. Sparse words lead to short phrases, which left lots of room for innuendo. I wish I could see this one again to see how well it was crafted by the writer, the performers, and the director! Kudos to all on this short on words, but not short on meaning, script!
7. QUEER! Girlz was a series of short stories, which embraced the word queer as more than a negative stereotype. Topics included identifying as pan sexual, gender queer, bisexual, lesbian, and being married to a drag king.
8. Heartshell was created by Heather C. Brady and Anne Bertram. The modern woman may not wear a corset, but that does not mean she can’t also be bound by the fashions of her day. One women may be safe or stuck within a shell. A second women may gain or lose her freedom as she attempts to wear the wardrobe luring above her. A third woman attempts to get the attention of another woman, by walking in different shoes.
9. Lily by Sally Nemeth was an absolute favorite.The universal tale is in the particulars of this Irish tale of not so long ago. A younger sister and an older sister play a sing-song game about “not saying” as the reality of their life together is unveiled. Members of the town express interest, concern, mistrust, and ultimately judgement of the people they have helped create.
10. Shades of Ginger by Rachael Brogan Flanery was a play, an interview, and a concert all rolled together. Personally, it was too much for me or my day might have been too long. There were some memorable moments between flash backs of reality, the persona represented in the interview, and the Country Music songs.
Congratulations to all the companies, performers, directors, production staff, donors, and audience members, who help bring such festivals to the Twin Cities! See one, two or three sets of Girl Shorts at the Peoples Center Theater, located in Minneapolis, from March 7th to March 15! For more information, become a Facebook friend at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Theatre-Unbound/13155465934 .