The inaugural year of the Aphra Behn Festival followed the season’s theme: Adaptation. The group of promising women directors and playwrights were invited to join the festival for it’s first year, showcasing original material. The festival is named after Aphra Behn, the British playwright, poet, translator and fiction writer from the Restoration era. As one of the first English women to earn her living by her writing, Aphra Behn broke cultural barriers and served as a literary role model for later generations of women authors.
The Festival included the following new plays:
The Music of the Goddess by Shualee Cook, directed by Kristin Rion
Performed ensemble: Michael Pierce, Lex Ronan, Carolyn Sealy, Chris Ware, John Wolbers
On the eve of her orchestral debut, violinist Clara Reisenberg finds she can barely even pick up her bow. But if certain divine beings have their way, it may be more of a beginning than an end. A mythic account of gods, demi-gods and the invention of Theremin, The Music of the Goddess is inspired by the life and music of Clara Reisenberg-Rockmore.
Life Ever After by Alyssa Ward, directed by Kate McAllister
Performance ensemble: Nicole Angeli, Elizabeth Van Pelt
In Life Ever After, Liz, an aspiring novelist who has recently committed suicide, meets Agnes, who works as an administrative assistant in the afterlife. Liz struggles to understand and deal with the consequences of her recent death and learns to accept her journey into the unknown. Agnes, submitting to the demands of her never-ending job with her usual cynicism, helps Liz on her journey back to Earth.
Deflowered by Erin Renée Roberts, directed by Sophie Powell
Performed by: Erin Renée Roberts
In her play Deflowered, Erin Renée Roberts utilizes the biblical text of CORINTHIANS 13 as the foreground for her abstract interpretation of the loss of one’s virginity & the discovery of love. Simplistically shaped by the text and imagery, the piece was written to allude to the romantic, sensuality of spring; the arousing, innocence of youth; and the waning beauty of our physical selves. The piece contains a “choose your own adventure” ending that mirrors the different experiences of love, which begs for more than one viewing.
The production stage manager for the Aphra Behn Festival was Kristin Rion. Lighting design by Elizabeth Lund and costumes by Liz Henning. Photography by Joey Rumpell and graphic design by Dottie Quick.
SATE’s Aphra Behn Emerging Artists Festival is made possible by funding from Missouri Arts Council, Siteman Family Foundation, and the Steve Nelson Memorial Playwright’s Fund.