Theatre festival highlights women playwrights of colour

Now in its twelfth year, the River Crosses Rivers II festival is one of the only events in America that highlights the works of women playwrights of colour.

“The goal, simply put, is to give these women the kind of exposure that is provided by Ensemble Studio Theater, whose goal is to nurture individual theatre artists and to develop new American plays,” the festival website says. “The River Crosses Rivers II is a stellar lineup of playwrights whose voices add richness and texture to the American Canon.” The American Canon has not traditionally made a whole lot of space for women playwrights, and it’s made even less room for women playwrights of colour. The River Crosses River festival is one way to rectify that.

The New York Times recommends the play “Skin”:

Naveen Bahar Choudhury goes for it in “Skin,” a Bengali boy-meets-girl-in-a-fraught-doctor’s-office encounter, directed by Jamie Richards. Irritation, charm and drama ensue as hip-hop boy (Vandit Bhatt) does and does not convince tightly wound girl (Nitya Vidyasagar) of their common ground, including his feeling that she has the Bengali look: “Like that intellectual, pretentious kinda look. … Like you read Tagore while drinking chai, and listen to sitar.”

Sounds pretty great, right? Sure doesn’t sound like normal theatre fare – which is exactly the point of the festival.

The River Crosses Rivers II started a few weeks ago and continues until this weekend. Tickets are cheap by New York theatre standards – $18 each! You can buy them here.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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