Beyonce tells us “Who run the world? Girls!”, but she forgets about the theater world…and the film world…and the business world when she prematurely asserts feminism’s victory. Only roughly 20% of plays produced nationally are written by women, which is technically more then the number of female written screenplays, but still a pretty paltry representation for half the human population. So when we found out about 3 Girls Theatre (3GT) new works festival that is dedicated to presenting works by female playwrights, we wanted to find out more. We got to sit down with 3GT’s Founder, Artistic Director and Resident Playwright, AJ Baker to learn more about the company and their festival which opens this week at Thick House.
Katie: Why did you originally start Three Girls Theater?
AJ: Only 20% of mainstream theater that is produced is written by women, and that’s across the board, that’s not just Broadway. It’s very hard for women to get work produced. My partners and I thought, we need to stop complaining about this and do something. You can’t just sit around and wait for the culture to change, you have to be a change agent.
Brittany: Be the change, as they say.
A: We are facing such a gigantic cultural bias against the voice of women. If it’s written by a women or has issues that are considered “women’s issues” (which in reality are issues that concern everybody) for some reason it’s not viewed as important as male-written works. The perspective of a women telling a story is a human perspective, in the same way as a man telling a story is a human perspective. That’s why our tag line is “Putting women’s work onstage where it belongs”.
K: What challenges has your company faced over the past 4 years?
A: There are so many small companies in the Bay Area. This is probably one of the most vibrant cities for independent theater in the country. It’s New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area. There are just so many people competing for the same arts dollars, cannibalizing the same audience, and that I think is the real challenge. The same audience just can’t go to everything. I just want more energy, more young people to learn about this amazingly rich and wonderful cultural resource we have. So often you sit in a theater and look around you and there is just old white people. In Marin if you’re not there with your oxygen tank you feel left out. But these are the people who buy tickets, they are people who care about theater, and support it. There’s no reason theater needs to be for old people, it’s fun, it tells compelling stories, at its best it brings people together in community for a shared emotional and cultural experience. This is why I think we need to focus on expanding the audience. That’s why our festival is free.
B: How did the pieces in the festival get chosen?
A: The first 2 plays are finalists in our salon series, which is a series of 6 new plays we put up in people’s living rooms and then we have an independent panel of judges that pick 2 of the 6 that go on to be done at the festival. We also have judges for the festival who pick one piece that we will produce in full.
K: Why should people come out?
A: It’s FREE, the theater is right on Potrero Hill, there’re great restaurants nearby, you can get a glass of wine and drink while you watch, and it’s not a gigantic time commitment, none of the showings are more than 90 minutes. They start at 7:30 so you will be out around 9pm and you can still go bar hopping.
VERDICT: This is a win win situation. Support local theater, the women’s movement, and independent artists all for free. We will be there. We hope you will too.
WHAT: 3Girls Theatre Company Presents…
The 4th Annual New Works Festival
3GT Honors Risky Women: Having Fun and Wreaking Havoc!
WHERE: Thick House
1695 18th St. (between Arkansas and DeHaro)
But reserving tickets is recommended:
WHEN: Monday, August 3 to Sunday, August 9, 2015
August 3 @ 7:30pm: Entanglement by AJ Baker
August 4 @ 7:30pm: Kicking Facebook by Margery Kreitman
August 5 @ 7:30pm: The Effects of Ultraviolet Light
August 6 @ 7:30pm: ReproRights! Women @ Risk
August 7 @ 7:30pm: Best of Lezwrites!
August 8 @ 1–6pm: Women Playwrights Meet & Greet
1pm: Kicking Facebook by Margery Kreitman
2:30pm: Entanglement by AJ Baker
4pm: Talk Back
4:30-6pm: Champagne Reception
August 9 @ 12pm & 2pm: Girl Talk Teen Monologues
*Beginning 30 minutes before each performance:
Lobby Art Exhibit. Risky Women: Wreaking Havoc!