Contemporary Women Playwrights. (World Wide Web Review)

Article excerpt

Websites with information on women playwrights tend to fall into either of two main categories: support resources for writers or basic information about the work of particular individuals. My search revealed no indepth, fulltext critical literary analyses of playwrights and their works, but the Web does offer some excellent bibliographies of print sources, an opportunity to find basic information about the major female voices in theater today, and, for the aspiring playwright, some networking and production opportunities. The following reviewed sites are grouped under three general headings: theaters, general information and support, and individual playwrights.

THEATERS

Women's Project and Productions (WPP)

URL: http://www.womensproject.org/

Developed/maintained by: Syntechs NY (hosted by HostPro)

Last updated: Unknown

Reviewed: May 16, 2002; revisited: August 30, 2002

A New York Off-Broadway theater "dedicated to putting women playwrights center stage since 1978," WPP is a development venue for women playwrights, including board member and well-known Pulitzer Prize--winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who offers a glowing endorsement of the theater, its mission, and its artistic director, Julia Stiles. Other recognizable names involved in this theater include Maria Irene Fornes and Joyce Carol Oates.

WPP is not for neophyte artists. This is a support entity primarily concerned with already well-established playwrights; the women whose work it produces usually have at least a master's degrees in playwriting and several productions to their credit before working with WPP. For qualified women, the project provides several venues for development of new works:

The Playwrights Lab "provides a forum for early and mid-career women playwrights to develop their work." Selected playwrights join for a period of three years, during which time they meet periodically to read and respond to each others' writing and take part in other developmental opportunities. Application information for Playwrights Lab is provided.

The "First Look" Reading Series provides a venue for rehearsed staged readings of fifteen to twenty selected scripts each year. Performed by professional actors and directors, these readings allow both beginning and established playwrights to develop their scripts in a "professional but informa1 environment in front of an audience. For selected scripts, the Women's Project will undertake a work-in-progress performance to prepare a piece for possible mainstage production.

The WPP website is kept up-to-date and includes information about current and past productions, as well as information about submitting scripts and applying for internship opportunities. Visitors to the site may also order any of several anthologies of plays by WPP participants. The site is thorough and generally easy to navigate, although many of the links require plug-ins or Acrobat Reader, and some simply don't work at all.

New Georges

URL: http://www.newgeorges.org/

Maintained by: Unknown

Last updated: Unknown

Reviewed: May 17, 2002; revisited: August 30, 2002

New Georges is "a non-profit theater company that produces and develops imaginative new works by women & supports the creative efforts of emerging women theater artists." Physically located in New York City, it was founded in the early 1990s by a group of women actors concerned about a lack of solid women's roles in contemporary theater. In contrast to Women's Project and Productions, New Georges is interested in developing work by new artists whose work strikes a chord with the New Georges staff.

The website provides basic information about the organization, its mission, and its current projects and is kept up-to-date. For female playwrights who wish to have their work considered for development and production, there is also submission information. …