Honoring the Legacy of María Irene Fornés
Fefu and Her Friends, presented by Reed College’s theatre department and directed by Assistant Theatre Professor Kate Bredeson, opens in the Studio Theater at 7:30 p.m this Friday, November 2. A seminal work of theatre written by María Irene Fornés in 1977, Fefu and Her Friends tells the story of eight women in 1935 as they rehearse for a presentation. Known for its all-female cast and alternative staging techniques, it is a story told in three acts, with Act II taking place in various locations outside the theater.
Director Kate Bredeson thinks the play carries an important and salient message. “I’m really interested in plays that depict the horrifying effects of patriarchy,” Bredeson said. “I was interested in this play because … even though it was written in 1977 and the play takes place in 1935 and even though the characters are all women — this play, which is written by a queer Cuban playwright, can speak to contemporary conversations and experiences about women, non-binary people, and trans people feeling the effects of a constraining and constricting society. I think this play is, at its core, about patriarchy and its effect on these characters.”
Bredeson also hopes this production will expose audiences to the brilliance of Fornés. “I really want people to know about María Irene Fornés. I think she is underestimated in American theatre and I think she is absolutely ferocious, and so I hope people get to fall in love with her a little bit.”
Fornés, who passed away just this week on Tuesday, October 30, has long been an important member of the American theatre community and a prolific playwriting teacher. However, her work is less well known to the public compared with that of many of her contemporaries. In celebration of Fornés’ life and legacy, Reed’s theatre department will host a screening of Michelle Memran’s documentary on Fornés’ The Rest I Make Up on November 11 at 5:00 p.m. With an excellent script, superb cast, and tireless support from the crew, Fefu and her Friends is sure to be an enjoyable ride. As character Emma Blake proclaims, “Life is theatre. Theatre is life. If we’re showing what life can be, we must do theatre.”
Fefu and Her Friends, written by María Irene Fornés and directed by Kate Bredeson, plays November 2, 3, 9, 10, and 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theater. Featuring Sophronia Barone, Sophie Bolomet, Naam Friedman, Alice Irvin, Eva Licht, Serafina Ridgley, Mayou Roffe, and Lara Simonetti.