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Colorado Springs Independent
April 16, 2009
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Female playwrights take spotlight at new festivalBy MARK ARNEST THE GAZETTE
April 12, 2007 - 10:14PM
The 6 Women Playwriting Festival is off to a flying start.
Although itís the first year for what founder Donna Guthrie hopes will be an annual event, a national call for unproduced plays no longer than 10 pages long drew some 80 entries from 24 states.
The festival, which opens Thursday at the Manitou Art Theater, will showcase the six best of those plays.
The productions feature three top-notch local directors ó Birgitta De Pree, Rhonda Greder Kimble and Eve Tilley ó and some of the regionís best acting talent, including Ashley Crockett, who won Best Actress awards last year from the Pikes Peak Arts Council and the Gazette.
De Pree said Guthrie ó a Rocky Mountain Womenís Film Festival co-founder ó deserves credit for the festivalís relative smoothness: "Donna is one of those people you want on your team, because her organizational skills are so great."
Meanwhile, Guthrie insisted she had lots of help, singling out Tilley, who she said "knows everybody in town, and is the mother of all kinds of festivals and ideas."
The festival also benefits from the experience Guthrie and her partners gained last year with "Six Women at 60," which had a similar format.
That concept ó staged readings of short plays by six female playwrights, produced in six cities ó was meant to be a one-time celebration of Guthrieís 60th birthday, but it generated so much interest Guthrie decided to expand the idea.
"The show sold out every night," said Guthrie. "And afterwards, women came up and said theyíd always wanted to write or act. So this stayed in my mind, that thereís a lot of talent in our town ó directors, actors and perhaps women playwrights."
Tilley says this yearís productions will be more polished than "Six Women at 60."
Kimble said itís always an adventure to bring new work to life.
"Donna has given these playwrights their voice," she said. "Itís amazing to me how many voices are out there, waiting to be heard."
De Pree said the festival will also strengthen local theater: "Itís about woman playwrights, but itís also about engaging the community."
FULL DISCLOSURE: GO! Editor Warren Epstein will appear in one of the plays.
The Manitou Art Theater presents the first 6 Women Playwriting Festival
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20 and 21, 2 p.m. April 22
Where: Venue 515, Business of Art Center, 515 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs
Tickets: $15; 685-4729 or www.themat.org
6 Women Playwriting lineup: "Our Neighborhood" Best friends navigate the complex feelings of being a mother of child who is at war. "The Garage Sale" In the jumble of a garage sale, two women discover the depth of friendship. "The Spiral Stair" Famous lovers W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne meet for a final tryst of a different kind. "Encore!" Two friends avoid addressing an illness."Appearances" How we appear is not always who we are. "The Other Woman" A twist on the classic dilemma of a triangle.