I hate writing about this. But it should be known that the Great Plains Theatre Conference has become a much lesser plains for the ladies.
I’m a big fan of GPTC. My play KIGALI was chosen several years ago to be one of the mainstage shows. I had an entire week to work on rewrites, working with terrific director Sonia Keffer and wonderful actors like Amy Lane and Terry Brannen. A year later, I was invited back to give feedback to other actors and hear another great reading of my short play TOP OF THE HOUR.
I didn’t apply this year. It’s just as well, apparently.
That first year I participated, more than half the shows chosen for mainstage readings – five of the eight chosen that year – were written by women. This year, there is just one play by a female writer on the mainstage. 26 other writers were invited to participate in the conference PlayLabs. Of them, seven are women.
And this in the year GPTC is honoring the wonderful writer Connie Congdon.
Artistic leaders say the selections are blind.
I don’t argue for a quota system. But when the numbers look like this, it begs a closer look at who is making those blind selections. And what criterea they are using. How blind is blind?
Or perhaps it just means we don’t write very well.