Extra credit- Women in Theatre

Read this article and w2013.12.21.Bader.Mainrite a 200 word response:)




3 thoughts on “Extra credit- Women in Theatre

  1. This article kind of reminded me a bit about that slide Dr. Smorol showed us about the art that is published in galleries, the people who go to art galleries, and the owner’s of art galleries. This article reminded us that just like in art galleries, women and people of color are underrepresented in theatre. This is salient in many facets of our culture and it is truly a shame. I always remember hearing people say, “Oh yeah well Shakespeare used all male actors for his plays” But I never really wondered why that is. This article shows the discrepancy between the percentage of plays produced and directed by women, and how many women are in the audience. On Broadway 16% of plays are directed by women, yet 63% of the audience is women. The disparity here is unsettling. As is with most parts of life, theatre has been geared toward the white, male, heterosexual norm, and unfortunately this has leaked over into the arts more generally.
    I did find it interesting that in smaller and poorer theatres the amount of women directors and playwrights inclined. To me this suggests that in small pockets inequality can be reached. However, oppressive structures rigidly hold patriarchy to the utmost importance, thus suppressing women’s voice and influence in theatre and the arts.
    I like at the end of the article when the author says, “If 80 percent of the stories that are told are written by and about men, if the majority of female characters are created from a male perspective, and if the directors, producers and critics are predominantly male, something is inherently wrong. We do ourselves and the theater community a great disservice by not working together to address this problem.”
    If 80% of the work produced is by males and for males, then our perception of what we are watching is most likely skewed and gender biased. I do not know if that is the best thing for society, unless you are a heterosexual white male. I’m glad that the author calls for a shift in this paradigm, and raises almost a very solemn warning or maybe even a precautionary note, that what we are watching may not always be taken at face value.

  2. Similar to the article on the underrepresentation of women featured in art galleries, women also face a tough shot in finding success in drama and theater arts. It seems to become more and more clear to me that women in almost all aspects of visual arts are ignored and pushed aside simply because of their gender. I am reminded of the fact that, for instance, in the film industry it took around 80 years to finally award a woman for best directing. I heavily agreed with playwright Aja Houston in that there are not enough “multifaceted, 3-D, characters” when it comes to women in plays (and the same could apply to television and film). Women are complex individuals who have more than one outstanding personality trait. This is hard to find in drama productions however because of the male domination that persists in writing, directing, and producing. The cause for discrimination in drama productions seems to be the same old story that can be found in many other visual art productions: the audience just won’t be interested in something created by women. This discrimination limits the interesting female characters that could be created, leaving audiences with the same, recyclable female character that continues to be created from a male perspective.


  3. As I was reading this article, I found myself agreeing at some points. Agreeing in the sense that there fails to be a stronger presence of women in the theater industry. From the history of theater I have learned from other classes, males were seen as the admirable figures while women in those earlier centuries were considered prostitutes. The idea of women even participating in the theater was heavily frowned upon in ancient Greece. I agree with the fact that if women fail to produce as playwrights, it will make it harder for society in the long run, especially in the minds of men, to understand the opinions and perspectives that a woman takes. I admit that seeing the statistics of women’s role in the theater shocked me quite a bit. I expected the percentages to be a lot higher in performance and participation in producing. It is sad to think that there are some theaters out there that will not even consider the talent some women possess in being a playwright. All in all, I think bigger statements can be made. Gender should not be the determining factor of what is suitable to an audience and what is not. It is society that deems women as incapable of storytelling the way a man is capable. What I think it boils down to is the inability of the theater community to address the need for more women in not only star roles, but as the seat of authority for once. Women should have just as much the right as men to be allowed the opportunities given to them. Let’s face it. Theatre, or much rather anything, would be a lot less interesting without the presence and mindset of a woman.

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