Feminist Playwright’s Festival Addresses Social Stereotypes


Collins' stage hosted Women's Empowerment's Feminist Plawright's Festival this weekend, along with "The Laramie Project"
Collins’ stage hosted Women’s Empowerment’s Feminist Plawright’s Festival this weekend, along with “The Laramie Project.” Ram Archives

By Amanda Giglio

As Sunday was International Women’s Day, it seems fitting that Women’s Empowerment’s Feminist Playwright’s Festival was this past weekend. Consisting of three one act plays, each written, directed and performed by Fordham students, the plays all had to do with gender, sexuality and racial issues in a feminist context. Each play brought a different topic of discussion to the front, giving variety to the show.

“Rough All Around,” written and directed by Joshua Ramos, FCRH ’15, was the first play on the stage and looked at intertwining gender and racial stereotypes in present-day NYC. It focused on Alex, played by Mateo Millership, GSB ‘17, who is a minority student experiencing racial bias that parallels gender bias experiences many women face. “Rough All Around” brings to light the daily occurrences that could take place in a city, with scenes that are all too familiar for some. While this play was well-thought-out and, without sound equipment, the students were able to project their voices well, the storyline was dragged out a bit.

The next play was a collection of four monologues, called “Fault Lines,” written and directed by Rachel Dougherty, FCRH ’15. Each monologue described a different experience with gender-based violence. Niara Walden, FCRH ’17, played Charlie, a gender-queer person who describes the daily routine of picking out an outfit and trying to take up as little space as possible. Jamie, a gay man played by Max Beyer, FCRH ’16, details the experience of being sexually assaulted, and in similar fashion the other monologue, performed by Rachel Sternlicht, FCRH ‘17, describes being sexually assaulted by an intimate partner. The last monologue, performed by Elle Crane, FCRH ‘17, focuses on a woman being street-harassed. All four monologues describe the individual experiences of people, but culminate with a focus on the absurdity and commonness of victim-blaming. This play was by far the most chilling and thought-provoking of them all, beautifully performed and written.

The last play was the most comical and equally thought-provoking. “Dogma Style,” written and directed by Katherine Lichtenfels, FCRH ’17, and Molly Carney, FCRH ’18, is about a group of high school students on a Catholic school retreat to learn about sexuality. Over the course of the play the students come to personal realizations on their own sexuality and views on relationships that challenge the church. Full of sexual puns (that were painfully obvious, but who does not like puns?) and laughs, “Dogma Style” was a great way to end the show. Nicole Chiuchiolo, FCRH ’17, made the strongest impression with her character Sam’s giant outbursts and forwardness about relationships and sex that countered the Catholic teacher’s teaching of abstinence. The only downfalls of the play were its long speeches and the redundancy of the moral of the show.

Genevieve McNamara, FCRH ’17, and Eilís Russell, FCRH ’15, the student producers and coordinators of this event, did a great job of showcasing feminist plays that showed the reality of gender, sexual and racial stereotypes and violence. Women’s Empowerment put on a show that taught important lessons and was enjoyable to watch.