We Did It…With Lots of Help!

We did it–45 events in 26 days! I’ve always said it takes a village to produce this festival and this year that was more true than ever.

Heartfelt thanks to~

Our venues:
Cheryl King & Stage Left Studio
Orietta Crispino & Theaterlab
Haejin Han, our TD at Theaterlab

Our producers:
Deb Long, Margaret Stockton & Anne Carlino – Estro Short Plays
Vinnie Marano – Estro Xtended (Reading Series)
Cheryl King - Sola Voce
Andi Cohen - EstroTaneous Combustion
Heidi Russell – Estro Visual Art
Ashley Marinaccio – Girl Be Heard & Dancing at the Shame Prom
Kia Roger - The God Box

Our co-producing companies:
Malini Singh McDonald & Black Henna Productions for kicking things off with Runo Rimac
Alaina Hammond & Michael Bordwell - My Country Burns & Other Plays
Mary Matoula Web & John Doe Theater - Love at Home
Katie Braden, Gwen Sisco & Ivy Theatre - Mill Fire
Vivian & Eddie Neuwirth & Lagniappe Productions - NOLA Plays
Heidi Russell & the International Women Artists’ Salon - The Creative Lounge

& our Creative Lounge panelists, our actors, our directors, our designers, our SMs and board operators & YOU, our audience!

And a special personal thanks to Malini Singh McDonald for helming our marketing and social media presence and, even more so, for keeping me sane this year!

Can’t wait to see you all in 2014 for our 15th (gasp!) festival.

Jen Thatcher, Executive Producer


Special Thanks.

As we come upon our closing weekend, we want to thank Cheryl King & Orietta Crispina for all their support and their fabulous spaces. 
Here’s some info on Stage Left Studio:
stage-leftAnd on TheaterLab:
Theatre Lab

EstroGenius 2013 Xtended (Reading Series)


The Great Bellied Woman by Stacey Lane

Synopsis - Widow Agnes Moulsworth, a respected Elizabethan midwife, and her high-spirited daughter Margery return from a successful delivery to interview a prospective apprentice, Jane Cobbe.


Match by Lezlie Revelle


Grievances and Whirligigs by Donna Latham


When Mary Claire visits her parents after a lengthy absence, she lugs her ever-present Sack of Grievances. Attempted murder, stuffed emotions, and toxic chili roil to the surface when Mary Claire’s abusive father threatens her daughter, Knife.




It Happened. We’ve Estro-Taneously Combusted!

On Friday night, writers & actors gathered at Stage Left Studios. Writers picked actors’ names out of a hat (actually it was a shoe box, but “out of a hat” has a better ring to it) and our fearless facilitator, Andi Cohen, gave us all a first line and a cultural reference. Writers then scurried off–some to a local watering hole, some to their ateliers, some to other cliched places writers write–to write their scenes overnight. We’ll rehearse today and tomorrow and the results will be presented for your entertainment Sunday, Monday and Tuesday @ 8pm. Tickets only $15.

Writers: Sarah Chichester, Homer Frizzell, Stuart Green, TR Hayes, Maura Kelley, Bill Kozy, Vincent Marano, Jen Thatcher

Actors: Anthony Fuller, Helene Galek, Alaina Hammond, Sonja Kari, Autumn Kioti, Tim Licht, & Christopher Prince

Incredibly ably produced/facilitated/directed by Andi Cohen


Screening of Happening to Your Body

Based on a 2002 Estrogenius play by Mac Rogers, “Happening to Your Body” is a chilling, cinematic exploration of women’s lives in an imagined American theocracy, where the line between church & state has been destroyed.

Happening to Your Body

Running time: approx. 12 min

Screenplay by Mac Rogers, based on his 2002 EstroGenius Play

Directed by Jon Ecklund

Produced by Fiona Jones

Starring Jen Taher, Sophie Walker & Leigh Adel-Arnold

Art Direction by Jason Bolen

Music by Chris Black, from the album “Drunk at the Funeral”

Director of Photography: Benjamin Gooch

Sound Designer: Suz Dyer




Join us as we mount Estro-taneous Combustion (aka, Spontaneous Combustion with an Estro twist).

Spontaneous Combustion
20 actors and 10 writers will work together to create and produce a full evening of five-minute plays ready for audiences in 48 hours.

Playwrights: Face the heat of writing a play overnight! Collaborate with actors and watch your words fly from the page to the stage!

Actors: Brainstorm, rehearse, and perform a play in about the time it takes to say “improv”!

A longtime Source tradition, Spontaneous Combustion gives playwrights and actors a 48-hour workshop environment to play collaboratively as artists and feel the combined power of their talent and hard work. If you’ve Spontaneously Combusted before, you know it’s not for the fainthearted, but it is a fireball of fun. Whether you’re a veteran or are stepping on those coals for the first time, join us!

Fri Nov 1 @ 6pm - Writers & Actors Meet. Writers will be given a line to start the play and a special Estro-centric theme!
Sat Nov 2 - Writers deliver scripts by NOON, Actors rehearse til 6pm
Sun Nov 3 - Tech during the day, perform that night
Mon Nov 4 – Tue Nov 5 - Two more performances

Blog edited by Christine Siracusa


My Country Burns & Other Short Plays by Alaina Hammond

EstroGenius Festival 

(October 15th – November 30th)


Fertile Source for Stories
A dirty play within a dirty play.

Drawback to Benefits
Chances are your doctor’s not as sociopathic or sadistic as this one, depending on your coverage.
Directed by Alaina Hammond

My Country Burns
A widow receives a most unwelcome visit from her brother, a Nazi soldier
Directed by Michael Bordwell

Finally It Happens
A married man and an engaged woman enter his hotel room. This isn’t going where you think it is.
Between One and Zero
Melba must face the most important interview of her life.

Welcome None and All
Peter and Shelby, two people who don’t exist, meet at a bar that caters exclusively to them.

Producers: Alaina Hammond & Michael Bordwell

10/29 & 10/30 at 7:30pm




Women in Motion (WiM) presents the WOMEN IN DANCE Panel

EstroGenius Festival

(October 15th – November 30th)

Women in Motion (WiM) presents the WOMEN IN DANCE Panel, with women who continue to push the assumptions of what it takes to succeed in the New York City dance world, and a celebratory salon performance to close the evening. WiM producers, Melissa Riker, Amber Sloan and Anne Zuerner have crafted a conversation topic for the WOMEN IN DANCE Panel, inviting dance makers Wendy Blum, Maura Donahue and Adrienne Westwood to respond to the question “How has motherhood affected your relationship to your art.

After what is sure to be a thought provoking and inspiring discussion, choreographers Deborah Lohse, Alison Manning, Kristin Swait, and Zoe Rabinowitz, will present short works in surprising spaces in WiM SALON #4.  Choreographers such as these and past salon participants are integral to Women in Motion’s mission to give female choreographers more visibility, flexibility in how their work is witnessed and space to play and discuss their work immediately with a happy audience. To see information about past WiM Salon’s, go to our Facebook Page.

Women in Motion celebrates and supports the work of female choreographers by commissioning new work from a select group of artists each year and supporting them in every step of the process of creation and performance. In addition to our fully produced season, our salons provide more opportunities for women choreographers to show work in any stage of development at unexpected venues, and to generate financial and community support for our annual fully produced season.

Women in Motion is Melissa Riker, Amber Sloan and Anne Zuerner.

Deborah Lohse will present Camille’s Nuts, a work set to interviews with Camille Paglia.

Performer:  Emily Sears

Sound: Brandon Wolcott

Alison Manning of DanceTheYard will present Out (excerpt), a set of 3 duets that speak to the inner turmoil and tumultuous relationships between two women, a man and a woman, and a woman and herself.  Each scene informs the next, leading to a breaking out from constructed molds we as humans often confine ourselves to.

Performers:  Holly Jones, Benjamin Cheney, Alison Manning

Music: “Biting Down” Lorde, String Quartet No. 3 “Mishima”: ‘IV 1962:Body Building’ & ‘VI Mishima/Closing’, Phillip Glass performed by Brooklyn Rider

Mixed by Benjamin Cheney

Kristin Swiat’s 2 Cast a Spell has grown out of her investigations of the concept and experience of fear and the observations of the cycles in which one can become entrapped and inhibited in our development. More specifically, the piece observes how fear can affect the breath, and in turn the breathing can affect the body and its ability to express. Other themes play with finding and losing balance, taking a movement or posture and displacing it in space, the idea of getting stuck in loops or repetitive cycles, and the possibility of resolution and overcoming fear.

Performers: Jessica Myers, Maya Orchin, Kristin Swiat

Zoe Rabinowitz presents k(not), depicting the unraveling of a relationship despite every effort to compromise. Performers: Zoe Rabinowitz and special guest.

Music:  Nate Young, 3 Cast a Circle


The Shame Game – Blog Post by Marcia Yerman (Dancing at the Shame Prom)

capture1 (1)The Shame Game by Marcia Yerman

How does shame shape who we are and how we live our lives?

This was the question that editors Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter put to twenty-six women. The result was the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small. The essays include examination of alcoholism, sexual abuse, suicide, distorted body images, hoarding, alienation, racial identity, and anxiety.

The response was tremendous. It opened the floodgate for narratives to finally be shared openly. It didn’t hurt that Brené Brown had delivered a TED talk in 2012 on the subject.

In tandem to the book’s release, I did a health article about the subject. I learned how shame specifically impacts girls and women. Shame is a belief that reinforces the concept, “I am bad.” Shame is feeling worthless. Shame is quite specific, as in, “I am damaged.” It creates low self-esteem and a poor sense of self-worth, usually accompanied by a lot of “should haves.”

Since most women are “relationship-centric,” they often end up bringing childhood shame and a “less than” mindset into their adult interactions.

As an emotion, shame is frequently at the root of mental health problems like depression and anxiety. It can create a sense of isolation, which diminishes an individual’s self-esteem. Often, people are unable to even speak out loud what they feel ashamed about. The source of shame can be directly tied to a core value, thereby necessitating the need to cover up at all costs. It leads to an ongoing internal negative dialogue, with refrains such as, “I wasn’t good enough” or “I deserved it.” This often paves the way to the desire to stay invisible. Who wants to feel vulnerable? Yet, this stunts our ability to grow and can translate into a fear of takings risks.

Often, women don’t readily acknowledge shame as a presenting problem. They can have body image dread and not realize it is shame. Feeling shame about one’s body, for whatever reason, can lead to eating disorders. Shame about sexual abuse can lead to avoidance of intimacy. Shame about an addiction can delay or sabotage efforts to recover. In essence, shame is connected to self-perception and how you think people perceive you.

And let’s not forget the impact of societal expectations. The issues of class, race, class, gender, sexuality, ideology, and economic status readily supply eternal pressures. How often are we forced into a false norms…rather than challenging those norms?

Women have been conditioned to demand perfection of themselves.

They want to be accepted and are afraid of being different. Trying to measure up to airbrushed celebrities and models is no easy task. The result can lead to self-hate of one’s body and oneself.

The foundations of shame are laid at the ground level where the family of origin’s dynamics evolved. It then moves outward toward group identification. If there is a family behavior such as alcoholism, suicide, sexual abuse, or domestic violence, it remains with us. The same can hold true for the larger identity commonality, such as race or religion. The flip side of that is the use of shame as a tool to promote a specific ideology, thereby keeping group memberships and affiliations intact.

The Shame Prom anthology has been functioning as a tool for dialogue while allowing readers to discover, “Oh. It’s not just me. I’m not the only one.” They have named the emotion and now realize that they are not alone.

Sharing experiences gives rise to empathy, which is essential to healing. It helps to normalize the shame experience and release blame.

Reaching an audience through the dramatization of these personal accounts is the next step in amplifying the need to let go of shame. The actresses are in place; the audience will be an integral part of the equation.

A talk back with authors and the director will directly following the reading.

Please join us.

Marcia G. Yerman, based in New York City, writes profiles, essays, and articles focusing on women’s issues, human rights, the environment, politics, culture and the arts. She has been published by AlterNet, The Raw Story, Women News Network, RH Reality Check, and The Women’s Media Center. She has verticals at The Huffington Post, Open Salon, and Daily Kos. Her articles are archived at mgyerman.com. Yerman comes out of the world of the visual arts, where she has exhibited for over twenty-five years. Recognized for her narrative and psychological paintings, her artwork can be seen at marciagyerman.com.


Dancing At the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories that Kept Us Small
Adapted and Directed by Ashley Marinaccio
Shame is a powerful thing. It can weigh on your heart and mind, diminish your sense of self-worth, and impact the way you live in the world. But what happens when you share that secret burden? A theatrical adaptation of an anthology written by various women sharing stories of overcoming shame, written in collaboration with all of the authors of this anthology. 
10/21 at 7:30