Debt, depression, body image and smoking pot are among the subjects covered in the Tank’s Lady Fest, a series of new works created by female-identified artists. Launched three years ago by Meghan Finn and Rosalind Grush, the Tank’s co-artistic directors, the event was conceived specifically to amplify and celebrate the female voice in a typically male dominated field.
“We started Lady Fest because of a very easily observable gender inequity in who is getting programmed at different theaters around the city and who was getting visible opportunities,” Grush told ALL ARTS in a recent interview. “And so we just wanted to carve out a couple of weeks in our summer programming where we could really focus on the work of women-identified artists.”
The multidisciplinary event, which includes comedies, musicals, dance and drama, features 11 productions on the theater’s mainstage and five readings of works in progress, supporting the Tank’s efforts to act as an incubator of sorts for new works and up-and-coming playwrights and performers.
Among the program’s highlights are Alexis Roblan’s musical “Red Emma & The Mad Monk,” which charts the intellectual journey of a precocious and politically engaged 12-year-old girl who becomes obsessed with the early 20th-century political activist, anarchist and writer Emma Goldman; Sam Kaseta’s “Kings,” a drag king cabaret that parodies history and traditional notions of masculinity; and Peggy Robles Alvarado’s poetic play “Live Big Girl,” a work that was born after three poets spent time together writing about their experiences of living in bodies that are rejected by mainstream culture.
“Part of what’s so exciting about the festival is that we do see a lot of different kinds of work coming through and a lot of different definitions of womanhood and femininity and what it means to identify in this way,” Grush said. “We’re very open to who the participants are and what they’re trying to say.”
Lady Fest runs through Sept. 1 at the Tank. Ticket prices range from entirely free to $20.
Top Image: Imani Pearl Williams and Fernando Gonzalez appear in Alexis Roblan’s musical “Red Emma & The Mad Monk” at the Tank. Courtesy of Michael Brown