NORTH ADAMS, Mass.—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and MOSAIC, in partnership with the Fine and Performing Arts Department Theatre Program, presents Fornés Festival – a year-long series of events dedicated to honoring the life and legacy of Cuban American playwright, Maria Irene Fornés (1930-2018).
The festival is part of the Fornés Institute‘s national initiative, “Celebrando Fornés / Celebrating Fornés,” part of their “Decade of Fornés (2021-2030)” events designed to increase the visibility of Fornés’s work. For more information, see the Fornes Institute at www.fornesinstitute.com.
The festival will kick off on Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. with a keynote address by MCLA Theatre Program Associate Professor Laura Standley and Theatre and Arts Management Georgia Dedolph 24′, in Murdock Hall Room 218.
According to a press release:
To some, Maria Irene Fornés is seen as one of the most influential playwrights of the last 50 years, but to the general public, her work is largely unknown. This partnership hopes to change that through a series of productions, screenings, and talks in which MCLA faculty, guest artists, scholars, and students will share the impact of their encounters with Fornés’s body of work.
Fornés is considered by many to be the mother of contemporary Latinx theatre, a leading LGBTQIA+ forerunner, and a genius. Her more than 50 plays won an unprecedented nine Obie Awards. Her play “What of the Night?” (1990) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Her work is groundbreaking, diverse, and centers on women characters. She was experimental, feminist, complex, award-winning, and for many, life-changing.
Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. begins the opening performance of two of Fornés’s early short plays, “Tango Palace” (1963) and “Dr. Kheal” (1968), directed by Georgia Dedolph 24′, and produced by MCLA Theatre’s Theatre Lab, featuring the work of MCLA Theatre’s acting, production, and design students in Venable Theater.
The Fornés Festival will also include a screening of Michelle Memran’s “lyrical and lovingly made” documentary portrait of Fornés, “The Rest I Make Up,” on Feb. 9 and an MCLA Theatre Main Stage production of Fornés’s rarely staged deconstruction of Ibsen’s realist masterpiece “Hedda Gabler,” called “The Summer in Gossensass” (1997), directed by Laura Standley, which will run from March 29 to April 7, 2024.
The festival culminates on April 6, 2024, with a lecture hosted by guest artist and scholar, Anne García-Romero, Ph.D. – author of “The Fornés Frame: Contemporary Latina Playwrights and the Legacy of Maria Irene Fornés” (2016). García-Romero will join MCLA Theatre faculty and students for a panel discussion following that evening’s performance of “The Summer in Gossensass” in Venable Theater.
A full listing of Fornés Festival activities can be found mcla.edu/fornesfestival.