CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

In Portrait: The Women Playwrights Giving Broadway a Moral Compass

Vanity Fair: “I wanted to write a new play,” explains the playwright at the center of Paula Vogel’s Indecent, “that posed contemporary moral questions, that forced us to face some uncomfortable truths.” Vogel’s inventive portrayal of a 20th-century Yiddish theater troupe struggling with controversial material does just that, as do Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes from the Field and Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, for which Nottage received the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.


Katherine Sharpless said...

As always, I love reading more about female playwrights, and as always, I'm disappointed this article doesn't go more in depth. I often forget how few female playwrights get the spotlight- how our season has nearly all male playwrights- and how their work and perspective deserves more attention. One of the first shows I worked on all the way through was 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. While the whole piece was inherently and intensely painful, personal, and emotional, her perspective as a female artist is integral to the piece. New works can only continue to be original and relevant with the female perspective- why this article didn't elaborate on the gap, on more playwrights, on more of their pieces, is beyond me. I think I've read from the Broadway League only 30 percent of working playwrights are women? Vanity Fair probably isn't the go to source for feminist discussion, and I hope to learn more about the actual work these women are doing in the future.

Rebecca Meckler said...

There are definitely not enough female playwrights, especially on Broadway, and I’m glad that this article bring attention to the women who are there. That being said, the article feels choppy and as I result is hard to read. Nevertheless, I like how the article attempts to give some insight about the play without spoiling to many plot details. The article feels as if it is meant to be a sidebar in a magazine. I short brief article to give extra information on a subject that is closely related to the main article. I wish that the article had been more in depth, but if this is its purpose, I understand the need for brevity. Maybe next time, the female playwrights will get a more substantial article written about them. I would have liked to hear more about the playwrights and their inspiration, especially from Smith. I would have really liked to hear how Notes from the Field changes one women shows. However, it did peak my interest, which was most likely the point of the article.