Women’s Words Week


Pride Films and Plays is delighted to announce the results of our Women’s Words contest and have named Pat Montley, Laura Jones, Jan O’Connor and Heidi FitzGerald as the four finalists.

In a change from previous years, Women’s Words will include a week of entertainment with lesbian characters or themes. We will begin with a Film Festival of lesbian shorts written and/or directed by women on Monday, September 15. (See separate press release for the complete schedule.) This will be held at Chicago’s Public House Theater.

On Friday, September 19 we move to Center on Halsted for a staged reading of a contemporary lesbian classic – Patricia Kane’s Pulp, a gritty and witty play about the shady lavender menace known as lesbianism.

On Saturday and Sunday, the new works by the finalists will be performed, and you will meet women of mystery and women with history; women with tools and women who don’t suffer fools; women who dance and women who take the “man” out of romance.

Tickets for Pulp are $20. Tickets for the Film Fest and the Saturday and Sunday readings are $10 each. A pass for the weekend can be purchased for $40 at BrownPapertickets.com or by calling 1 800 838 3006. Center on Halsted is at 3656 N Halsted. Chicago Public House Theater is at 3914 North Clark.

Here’s the complete schedule for the Women’s Words Week, followed by author bios and synopsis.

o        Women’s Words Film Festival, Monday, September 15, 7:30 PM, Chicago’s Public House

o        Pulp by Patricia Kane, directed by Liz Pazik, Friday, September 19 at 7:00 PM

o        Kali Dances by Pat Montley, director to be announced, Saturday, September 20 at 3:00 PM

o        Creative Nonfiction by Laura Jones, directed by Anna Rose li-Epstein, Saturday, September 20 at 7:00 PM

o        The Girl Who Would Be King by Jan O’Connor, directed by Elyse Dolan, Sunday, September 21 at 1:00 PM

o        Jack and the Box Store by Heidi FitzGerald, directed by Lexi Saunders, Sunday, September 21 at 4:00 PM

Tickets can be purchased through www.brownpapertickets.com.

Here are the authors’ bios and play or screenplay synopsis.

Pulp by Patricia Kane

July 1956. A hot and humid Chicago. Enter Terry Logan. Tough-talking, rebellious, seductive. When she takes up residence at The Well – a club run by women who love women – well…then the trouble really begins. PULP is an award-winning, heartfelt comedic love letter to lesbian pulp fiction and the Barbara Stanwycks of the world.

Patricia Kane is a Chicago-based actress and award winning playwright. Her play Float premiered at About Face Theatre in Chicago during the 2010/2011 season,

receiving critical acclaim, three Joseph Jefferson Award nominations (including for Best New Work) and an extended run. Her play Pulp had its premiere in February 2004 at About Face Theatre — garnering four Joseph Jefferson Award nominations (including for Best New Work) and winning for the music and lyrics. Pulp also received two After Dark Awards for Best New Work and Outstanding Production. Pulp has been performed in numerous critically acclaimed productions across the country, including an extended run remount at About Face in 2007.

Kali Dances, a stage play by Pat Montley

When a music teacher is found at the church organ with her throat slit, her lesbian lover, the pastor, and his young daughter become suspects and confront the terrifying Indian Goddess Kali. More than a detective story, this mystery play explores the intersection of Hindu and Christian beliefs about death.

Pat Montleyhas seventeen plays published and a grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance to write/produce a reading of a play about an American nun who becomes Pope Joan II.

The Girl Who Would Be King, a stage play by Jan O’Connor

This fractured fairytale comedy, about the adventures of a girl who has been raised secretly as a boy in order to be crowned King, was inspired by Mark Twain’s short story “A Medieval Romance.” When she falls in love with a princess, the girl is forced to confront her identity and her destiny. Calamity ensues.

Jan O’Connor’s award-winning plays include Gayby’s Playdate (winner: Lesbian & Gay Playwriting Festival, L.A.); Dressing Robbie Temple (semi-finalist: Ashland New Plays Festival); and Angel’s Flight (Best of Fest, L.A.’s INKFest).

Creative Nonfiction, a screenplay by Laura Jones

This is a dramedy about Addie, a woman dealing with the layers of truth and fiction in her life. Ex-wife Smith is now happily remarried after Addie cheated on her with another woman. But when the other woman leaves, will Smith reunite with Addie, and will Addie ever tell others – and herself – the whole truth?

Laura Jones is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer. She works as a journalist and previously spent fifteen years in television production in NYC and L.A.

Jack and the Box Store, a screenplay by Heidi FitzGerald

When a small-time lesbian secretly lures big business into town to take over her hardware store, she doesn’t count on the community rallying behind her. Or on falling in love with the undercover scout sent to destroy her livelihood.

Heidi FitzGerald is a produced playwright currently at work on a chick flick comedy and a short play involving icehouses.

About the review process

Allison Fradkin, literary coordinator for Women’s Words, assembled a reading team of 25 theatre and film professionals who served as adjudicators for the contest, evaluating the scripts for structure, plot, dialogue, and character development.

This year’s reading committee comprised:

o        Lindsay A. Bartlett, artistic director of 20% Theatre Chicago

o        Kathy Betts, ensemble member of GayCo

o        Poppy Champlin, comedienne

o        Trish Cole, playwright & PFP Network Writer

  • Sandra de Helen, playwright
  • Ky Dickens, filmmaker (Fish Out of Water)
  • Mierka Girten, Chicago actress & ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre
  • Sarah Gitenstein, associate artistic director of The New Colony & director of Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche
  • Dana Goldberg, comedienne Allison Hendrix, associate artistic director of Kokandy Productions
  • Ali Hoefnagel, education & outreach director of About Face Theatre
  • Angela Alise Johnson, artistic director of Prologue Theatre Company
  • Rebecca Kling, performance artist & educator
  • Margery Kreitman, playwright & curator of 3Girls Theatre’s LezWrites Project
  • M.E.H. Lewis, playwright & co-winner of last year’s Women’s Work contest
  • Barb Lhota, playwright & co-winner of last year’s Women’s Work contest
  • Susan Lieberman, literary manager of Raven Theatre
  • Alison Lyssa, playwright
  • Fawzia Mirza, writer / film producer / performance artist
  • Bridgette Dutta Portman, playwright & finalist in last year’s Women’s Work Contest
  • Kimberly Shelby-Szyszko, playwright
  • Kelli Simpkins, artistic associate with About Face Theatre
  • Eileen Tull, playwright & finalist in last year’s Women’s Work Contest
  • Mia Vivens, associate instructor at {she crew}
  • Yasmin Zadeh, playwright

About Pride Films and Plays and Center on Halsted

Pride Films and Plays, a 501c3 non-profit founded in 2010, is dedicated to comprehending the history of great LGBT writing and fostering its excellence in new works for the stage and screen. Pride Films and Plays, based in Chicago, links an international network of writers with professionals working in film and theatre. Through readings, contests, classes, screenings, and full theatre productions, Pride Films and Plays engages artists and audiences in the full developmental process needed to make great artistic experiences. PFP’s current production, the Jeff Recommended Some Men by Terrence McNally, runs to September 13 at Rivendell Theater. For more information, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com.

Center on Halsted is the most comprehensive lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community center in the Midwest, and strives to meet the social, recreational, and cultural needs of people of all ages in a safe and nurturing environment. Every day, more than 1,500 people walk through the doors of this 60,000-square foot building, which includes a gym, theater, computer lab, two art galleries, and a rooftop garden. It offers a variety of social services and public programs, including mental health services, support groups, and free HIV testing seven days a week. www.centeronhalsted.org, 773.472.6469.


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