DIVAfest 2011

May 5 - May 28, 2011



EXIT Theatre, San Francisco's downtown home for new and alternative indie performance, announces its 2011 DIVAfest, featuring the work of established and emerging women writers, directors, and performers. The 10th Annual DIVAfest runs Thursdays through Saturdays, May 5 through May 28, 2011 with select Sunday matinees on May 15 and May 22.

Featured at this year's DIVAfest are two plays, A Most Notorious Woman and Eleanor, about strong, commanding women whose stories are less known than they might be, if history hadn't been written for so long a time by men. In addition, the festival presents Lucky Girl, the true story of a woman piecing together the shards of a life shattered by rape. San Francisco Poet Laureate Diane di Prima and Singer/Songwriters Carrie Baum Love and Melissa Lyn complete the festival.


Publicist Gary Carr at carrpool@pacbell.net

Christina Augello as Grace O'Malley

PHOTO: Laurie Gallant

Grace "Grania" O'Malley, the hussy who hath indeed impudently stepped o'er the bounds of womanhood", is the center character in playwright Maggie Cronin's story of the Irish pirate queen. Set against a backdrop of an Ireland soon to be lost forever, an Ireland on the cusp of history, this solo piece performed by Christina Augello, follows Grace from a young defiant girl to her historic meeting with England's Queen Elizabeth in 1593 at the age of 63. Driven by a fervent love of the sea and a fierce loyalty to the Gaelic way of life, Grace became a "cut throat, cut purse sailor woman", a symbol of national defiance, "a nursemaid to every rebellion in Connaught". Hard-nosed businesswoman…barbarian…woman in love…romantic heroine…all are revealed in this "absorbing and multi-layered portrait of a most bewitching and infuriating historical figure." This will be the third historical solo show for Ms. Augello who has created the roles of Baroness Elsa, the "Mama of Dada" and Boxcar Bertha, a 1920's labor heroine, in her two previous shows. Augello has toured both of these plays on the international Fringe Festival circuit and plans to take "Grania" on tour in 2012.

A Most Notorious Woman by Maggie Cronin previews May 6, 8:00 pm, Preview Tickets $10. Opens Saturday, May 7 at 7 PM . Runs Thurs-Fri-Sat May 12-28 8PM (Matinee SUN May 22 3pm)- Tickets $15 (I Need a Discount Ticket) $20 (General Admission Ticket) $25 (I Support the Arts Ticket). Tickets at BrownPaperTickets.com (1-800-838-3006) EXIT Stage Left, 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco

Directed by Jayne Wenger, Stage Manager Allison Jones, Set Design Johnny Mayne, Costume Design Laura Hazlett, Light Design Amanda Ortmayer, Sound Design Ted Crimy



Eleanor a new play by Margery Fairchild Previews May 5-6 at 8pm. Tickets $10 Opens Saturday, May 7 at 9 PM Runs Thurs-Fri-Sat, 12-28 8pm (matinees 3pm Sundays May 15 & May 22)

Tickets $15 (I Need a Discount Ticket) $20 (General Admission Ticket) $25 (I Support the Arts Ticket). Tickets at BrownPaperTickets.com (1-800-838-3006) EXIT Theatre

Eleanor is a new dramatization of the exploits of the French queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. A strong female sovereign alongside both of her husbands, as well as in her own right, Eleanor established the notion of courtship and romantic love in a way that forever transformed the role of women in the west. As a central figure in the chivalric code of courtly love, Eleanor, a true "lioness in winter", showed that women were more than a piece of property sold by a marriage contract and expected to turn into well-behaved bearers of male children. With her influence a woman's attention became something to fight for and earn. For centuries Eleanor has been condemned by writers and only now is her true contribution coming to light. Fairchild's Eleanor imaginatively furthers this new insight into a true diva of history.

Written, Directed, and Choreographed by Margery Fairchild, Featuring: Alice Moore*, Nathan Tucker, Mikka Bonel, Christopher P. Kelly, Scott Ragle, Brandon Wiley, Matthew Von MeeZee, Martin Schwartz, Sarah Moss, Jenni Gebhardt, Natalie Koski-Karell, Meg Hurtado, and Ryan Beebe.

Songs and Music by Margery Fairchild and Ryan Beebe, Musical Direction by Ryan Beebe, Dramaturgy and Script Development by Martin Schwartz, Concept Developed by Fairchild, Schwartz, and Beebe, Lighting Design by Curtis Overacre, Set and Prop Design by Jonathan Horton and Able & Baker Studio, Costume Design by Sarah Moss, Stage Managed by Meghann Dubie

*Appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association. An Equity approved project.

Co-produced with Dark Porch Theatre, in residence at the EXIT.

Cheryl Smith

PHOTO: Laurie Gallant


Lucky Girl by Frances Driscoll and Tom Juarez previews May 5 at 8:00, tickets $10. Opens Saturday, May 7 at 5:00 PM and runs Thur-Fri-Sat, 8:00 PM May 12- 28 (Matinee SUN MAY 15 3pm) . Tickets $15 (I Need a Discount Ticket) $20 (General Admission Ticket) $25 (I Support the Arts Ticket) BrownPaperTickets.com (1-800-838-3006) EXIT Studio. SPECIAL READING BY FRANCES DRISCOLL from her book The Rape Poems at 6pm Saturday May 21 before the show.

Lucky Girl is the true story of a woman piecing together the shards of a life shattered by rape. This collection of poems from Frances Driscoll's book, The Rape Poems, embraces the denial, the acceptance, the suicidal thoughts and the humor experienced in the aftermath of a rape. It's about the messiness of our reactions to the events that happen to us, responses that are often contradictory. It's about learning to live with and accept that messiness as part of life. Ms. Driscoll's text distills a universe of emotion. In this new solo show performed by Cheryl Smith, we can see and hear the universe behind her words. Often painful, Lucky Girl, is also beautiful, heartbreaking, quirky and funny.

The Rape Poems has become a primary source for understanding the experience of rape and living with post-traumatic stress disorder. The book has been used in training programs by police departments, the US Air Force, medical schools, college athletic departments and at rape crisis centers around the world. The Rape Poems is used as a text in college classes ranging from creative writing and literature to medical ethics.
Driscoll's poetry has appeared in the journals Go, International Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Pudding, Sojourner, 13th Moon, Volt and Willow Springs. Poems from The Rape Poems were included in the anthologies the why and later, edited by Carly Sachs, and The Pushcart Prize XIX: Best of the Small Presses.

Praise for The Rape Poems from prominent poets includes:

Nikki Giovanni: "Powerful. Sad. Touching. Inspiring. What a gift she has."

Ralph Angel: "… tender and private and hugely humane, these unsettling poems arrive like dispatches from the very source of our wounds."

Cheryl Smith recently appeared in A Perfect Ganesh at New Conservatory Theatre Center and Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune at the EXIT. Cheryl performed in Ambit Theatre Company's adaptation of The Rape Poems at the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe and received the Dean Goodman Choice award for her performance in Kilt at NCTC. Directed by Kathryn Wood, Stage Manager Theresa Hernandez, Light Design Tyler Null



Diane di Prima, "What's New?" Poetry reading by Beat icon and current San Francisco Poet Laureate Diane di Prima. In her 7th annual solo appearance for EXIT Theatre's DIVAfest, she will read several of her poems, unpublished and "slightly published," over the past five years. Saturday, May 7 at 3:00 pm. Admission: $5 donation suggested at the door. Advance Tickets $5 at BrownPaperTickets.com (1-800-838-3006). EXIT Theatre



You Can't Play Guitar When You're Dead - An Ironic Optimist's Guide to the Universe! by Carrie Baum Love, Singer Songwriter, Saturday May 21st. @ 10 PM Tickets $10 at BrownPaperTickets.com (1-800-838-3006)

Carrie Baum Love, is back at the EXIT after her award winning 2008 Fringe show, Exit Sign: A Rock Opera. While Exit Sign was a musical exploration of grief and loss, Ms. Love's latest musings on mortality take the form of a new song cycle entitled You Can't Play Guitar When You're Dead - An Ironic Optimist's Guide to the Universe! This work focuses on the unlikely and often unnoticed (let alone sung about) experiences that make life worth living. You can expect to be entertained in the intimate setting of the Exit Theater Cafe where Carrie will take you on a tour of our universe that you aren't likely to forget!



Melissa Lyn, Singer Songwriter, Saturday May 14th @ 10PM Tickets $10 at BrownPaperTickets.com (1-800-838-3006)

Melissa Lyn, born and raised in the Twin Cities, classifies her music as "alternative folk." Her set list includes "Good to You," an inspirational song written for her younger brother, "Next Time," a would-be love song, and "Time Spent Trying," an ode to a worry-wart. Melissa now calls the Bay Area her home and is a member of the band, The Bandishere. She is working on her first solo album.


EXIT Theatre, EXIT Stage Left, EXIT Studio, EXIT Café, and EXIT on Taylor

San Francisco's center for experimental theatre since 1983, EXIT Theatre draws audiences for cutting-edge performances staged in five intimate venues, all with a bohemian cabaret atmosphere. EXIT Theatre is also the producer of the annual San Francisco Fringe Festival each September. EXIT Theatre, EXIT Stage Left, EXIT Studio and EXIT Café are located at 156 Eddy Street (between Mason and Taylor) in downtown San Francisco. EXIT on Taylor is located around the corner at 277 Taylor Street (between Eddy and Ellis). All theatres are within a 2-3 block walk of the Powell Street BART/Muni station and the cable car turnaround. Parking is available on the corner of Eddy and Taylor or underground at nearby Union Square. The EXIT Café offers beer, wine, and a light bistro menu from one hour before curtain time.

EXIT THEATRE, 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, 415.673.3847. www.theexit.org


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San Francisco Fringe Festival
156 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Ph: 415.931.1094 Fax: 415.931.2699
email: mail@theexit.org

A home for San Francisco theatre since 1983.

A member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals Fringe and Fringe Festival are registered trade-marks of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals.

A member of Theatre Bay Area.

 EXIT Theatre, 27 years of independent theater in downtown San Francisco