Top Row: Louise Gotscheid, Lesya Ukrainka, Afra Behn; Second Row: Josefina Nigli, Isidore Aguirre, Wakako Yamauchi; Bottom Row: Shirley Graham Du Bois, Catherine Bernard, Princess Amalie of Saxony.
Brooklyn: Hedgepig Ensemble Theater has expanded its third annual canon with nine more overlooked classics written by women from the 17th century to the 1970s. Starting with 2020’s Hedgepig’s Expand, each year Canon reviews plays written by women and selects them as timely, relevant, and effective, and the company highlights each play’s merits or public readings to highlight their Loose Canon readings in the coming months. Of the nine plays on this year’s list, six include translations that would have been US premieres if the plays had been produced.
“All media is education,” Hedgepig art director Emily Lyons said in a statement. “If we say the classics are only white people who deserve to be revived, we’re teaching ourselves and future generations that those are the only stereotypes we’ve been given for too long. Everyone should have their own story. We need artists and teachers to encourage the reality that women always write.”
The list has helped inspire numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway, and national theater productions. Among the writers on the group’s opening list was Alice Childers, whose Trouble in the mind In the year It made its Broadway debut, delayed in 2021, at the Roundabout Theater Company, and Wedding band It has been revived regionally over the years, but this year it had a major off-Broadway revival with the production of Awoye Tiempo. In the year In 2020, the Roundabout’s Refocus Project organized several readings of plays included in the canon list. And the Island Shakespeare Festival in Langley, Wash., has committed to expanding Canon’s play each season for the next three years.
The list was announced following the Canon Ball release party on September 19 and can be found at www.expandthecanon.com. Most recently, Hedegpig hosted a conversation between Folger Theater Artistic Director Karen Ann Daniels and Roundabout Theater Company Literary Manager Anne Morton.
This year’s plays are as follows.
The lucky chance By Afra Behn, a 1686 farce about license, capitalism, and the passion for youth.
Stone host By Lesia Ukrainka, the 1912 legend of Don Juan puts women back in charge.
Lodamiya By Catherine Bernard, French verse from 1698 about a queen’s political intrigue, a la Shakespeare’s story, evoking Greek tragic introspection.
Messalians The 1743 play by Louis Gottsched is about class, honor and vanity in which society is ruled by gossip.
His uncle In Princess Amalie of Saxony, a German romance from 1835 about a clever genius who turns out to be a clever villain.
Singing Valley By Josefina Nigli, a Mexican American writer about community, environment and the romance of going back to one’s roots.
Dust to earth / coal dust A 1939 response to Eugene O’Neill by Shirley Graham Du Bois (wife of WEB Du Bois) consists of two versions. Hairy monkeyShe delves into coal mining culture, class, race and the value of belonging.
Las Pasqualas By Isidora Aguirre, a Chilean local legend about family love. 1957 reinterpretation.
The soul dances A 1976 play by Wakako Yamauchi about Japanese immigrants in the US from the Great Depression to World War II.
Then expand the 2020, 2021 and 2022 canon lists and this year’s reading schedule here.
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