Athena Festival Playwright Mora V. Harris Shares Her Thoughts on Space Girl and the Gender Gap in Theatre.

Space Girl by Mora V. Harris 
Directed by Emma Couling
December 5th at 5:00PM
Arugula Suarez just wants to fit in. But it's not easy when you're a 16 year old lesbian alien from the planet Zlagdor. In a world where the only things that make sense are Roller Derby and salad, Arugula and her father, Nancy, must carve out an existence and figure out how to pass as humans in an alien world.

At its heart, what is your script about?
Mora V. Harris:
This play explores the loneliness of being a human being, our desire for friendship and connection and our fear of being alone.
left to right - Katy Fatella (Charlotte) and Laura Baker (Arugula) in rehearsals.

What do you want audiences to feel when they leave the theatre?
Mora V. Harris:
I would like audience members to be reminded of a time when they felt like the new kid, and maybe be filled with a little more compassion for the newcomers to their town or workplace or community. I would also really like it if people left this play valuing their friendships a little more than usual and the idea of making others feel like they belong.
left to right - Katy Fatella (Charlotte), Scott Gryder (Nancy) and Laura Baker (Arugula)
in rehearsals.

What inspired you to write your script?
Mora V. Harris:
I had just moved to a new city for graduate school, and the experience of uprooting my life and figuring out a new town brought up all kinds of vaguely comedic angst for me about my place in the universe. Of course this resulted in a play about teenagers.
What are the themes and motifs contained within your script? What are the conflicts?
Mora V. Harris:
Friendship, loneliness, love, connection, space, the largeness of the universe.
left to right - director Emma Couling, Laura Baker (Arugula), Katy Fatella (Charlotte) and Scott Gryder (Nancy) in rehearsals.
Have you personally experienced the gender gap in the theatre industry?
Mora V. Harris:
That's a difficult question to answer, since as a playwright most of the time I have no idea why my play is or isn't chosen by a theater company. But I also can see what does get chosen for theater companies' seasons, and more often than not, they choose a whole lot of plays by men. It's hard to look at what gets programmed and not feel like the odds are stacked against you, so I am always really encouraged when theaters make an effort to communicate a commitment to gender parity.
left to right - Sarah Sarka (Usher), Scott Gryder (Nancy) and Laura Baker (Arugula) in rehearsals.
What do you think is the best way to combat the gender gap in the theatre industry?
Mora V. Harris:
I think the next step is for theaters and producing companies to be really rigorous with themselves when it comes to what they program. I think the companies that are programming these bland white male seasons need to be asking themselves whether excluding the stories of half their audience members is really serving their communities and their mission statements.
Director Emma Couling in rehearsals.
Where do you see the future of the theatre industry going in terms of inclusion and
the gender gap?
Mora V. Harris:
I think that things are getting better. I can see more and more theaters making an effort in terms of parity and being very vocal about that effort, which in turn makes other theaters join the movement.
The staged reading of Space Girl by Mora V. Harris can be seen Saturday, December 5th at 5:00PM
The Athena Festival
is a project to provide a greater voice and representation for women in Chicago Theatre. Athena is the Greek goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. Likewise, the Athena Festival will feature staged readings of plays by diverse women playwrights, directed by women, featuring women in prominent roles  
- in particular, stories of women overcoming the barriers laid before them to show Chicago and the world that their voice is one to be heard.
Join Us For a Weekend of Staged Readings and Good Conversations - $7 per show or $20 for the entire weekend!
Can't attend?  Still want to support Idle Muse?

Supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H.  Driehaus Foundation.
December 5 & 6, 2015
1:00pm & 5:00 each day.
1106 W Thorndale Ave
Chicago, IL 60660 
Enjoy a series of Staged Readings followed by Conversations in support of Chicago Storefront Theatre.
Also This Season:

Jackalope Theatre's Frontier
1106 W Thorndale AveChicago, IL 60660