One list that female playwrights want to be on is called simply The List, and it includes both a Kenyon alumna and professor.
Lee Nowell ’92 and Wendy MacLeod ’81, James E. Michael Playwright-in-Residence and professor of drama, were both nominated for The List by a group called The Kilroys, female playwrights and producers in Los Angeles who are challenging gender disparity in the theater.
Plays by men are overwhelmingly more likely to be produced in American theater than plays by women, according to several recent studies. In Broadway’s 2012-2013 season, only 10.5 percent of the plays produced were written by women. The List, which was released in June, is a compilation of 46 female-written plays that producers, dramaturges and artistic directors feel were the best unproduced plays they read in the last year — with the hope that listing them would lead to them being staged.
Nominated for The List was Nowell’s Paper House, which focuses on adult children dealing with their mother’s hoarding problem. Nowell says the play explores boundary and power issues children face when dealing with an aging parent. “It’s about trying to do the right thing on both sides of the board,” she said. “It’s about realizing everyone there is a complicated person.”
Nowell, who lives in Atlanta, said The List is “creating a flash fire right now. It’s up in the air whether that’s going to change anything in any way. But it furthers the discussion.”
MacLeod’s nomination is for Women in Jeopardy!, a comedy about two middle-aged women who are concerned their friend is dating a serial murderer. The play was commissioned by the Arden Theater and will premiere this winter at the Geva Theater in Rochester, N.Y. (to be eligible for The List, plays cannot have yet been produced).
“I think it will help,” she said about The List. “It raised awareness. Theaters will know that they’re being tracked.”