A SWAN Debuts

Women make up three-fifths of theater audiences—yet only one-fifth of the playwrights are women. The percentage is even lower for women of color.

You wouldn’t know that if you walked into Bru Cafe on Orange Street Saturday, when Quarter Life Dilemmas made its debut in “The ProduceHERS” 2012 Inaugural Series.

Aaliyah Miller, co-producer of Quarter Life Dilemmas, wrote the play “during the same time in her life as the characters in the play,” she said. “At the time, I wrote it as an outlet for how I was feeling.”

After attending a conference in New York City for women artists, Miller and her co-producer and director, Halima Flynn, “decided to use the script after we started a similar organization in New Haven for promoting women artists.”

The staged reading took place on SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now), a national effort “that started in 2007 to call attention toward the disparity of women artists in the industry,” said Miller. A packed room of women and a handful of men gathered to support SWAN Day at Bru. (Click on the play arrow for a sample.)

Ariela Martin PhotoThe actors were all volunteers from all over Connecticut, “who believe in the power of women and the importance of making the voices of women heard, in the ways they know best, writing and producing,” said Flynn.

The play follows the life of four diverse women in their mid 20s after graduating from college. Through the course of their conversations and correspondences, the women share their frustrations about work, relationships, living situations, financial woes, and more. One of the women is offered an acting role in Hollywood, which sparks a flurry of mixed emotions among her friends. Another woman is faced with continuous job rejections while dealing with a spiteful boss. Together, the group of women offer one another support and advice through both good and bad times.

“The play is about the importance of friendship throughout adulthood,” Miller said. “It’s our closest circle of friends that help us get by, so no matter what you’re going through, you have this circle of women around you that help you get through it.”

Flynn and Miller plan to continue this series by showcasing women artists at staged readings throughout Greater New Haven.

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posted by: Brutus2011 on April 3, 2012  3:29pm

Ms. Miller and Ms. Flynn put a beautiful face on Ct. theatre.

Thanks NHI for a great picture and story.