Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Kilroys Release Their 2016 List of Great Plays, Ready to Add to Your Season

You may have heard the myth that the reason women are underrepresented as playwrights on American stages is that there just aren't enough of their plays "in the pipeline," so male artistic directors have no choice but to (once again) pick a season chock full of plays by men.

As I said, it's a myth. But that and another damaging myth -- that plays by women don't perform as well at the box office -- are what the men who sit on panels to discuss the lack of gender parity in theatre seem to repeat with nauseating frequency. Before and after the particular remarks that ignited a social media firestorm, we've seen initiatives to make plays by women more visible, with the Women's Project and their Pipeline Festival in New York, the Women's Voices Theatre Festival in Washington DC, and the Kilroys, a group of theater artists in Los Angeles who curate a list of excellent unproduced plays written by women and trans women. The Kilroys even presented cakes to theaters who used the list and produced plays from it. You can't get much better incentive than cake!

The Kilroys
Photo credit: Elisabeth Caren
For the past three years, the Kilroys have surveyed some 230 "influential new play leaders," including artistic directors, literary managers, dramaturgs, scholars, producers and directors, to compile and recommend plays which are as yet unproduced but deserve a spot (or spots) on stage. Last week, they have released the results of this recommendation process as their official 2016 list.

You'll find plays by Dipika Guha (The Art of Gaman) and Sarah Burgess (Kings) at the top of the list, with two plays by Rachel Bonds (Curve of Departure and Firecracker) and Jen Silverman (Collective Rage: A Play in Five Boops and Wink) also represented. You'll find plays about history, politics, race, reunions, small towns, big cities, myth, college, crisis management, competitive dance, science, science fiction, love, loss and hip hop. It's a very diverse group of plays.

And even if there was an excuse for not having plays by women in your season (which there wasn't), there certainly isn't now. Thanks, Kilroys!

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