Another "New Dawn" for the Alcyone Festival | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

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Another "New Dawn" for the Alcyone Festival

Halcyon Theatre's annual celebration of female playwrights enters its sixth year.


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Halcyon Theatre's Alcyone Festival continues in its sixth year to look at the work of female playwrights; this time around the theme is "A New Dawn, A New Day." With five productions staged in rotating repertory during Alcyone's monthlong run, the troupe aims to emphasize what its managing director, Jenn Adams, calls the "perception of women, what they write, and how they write." A rundown follows; see for a full schedule.

First, the three full-length performances: The oldest play of the bunch, The Emperor of the Moon, was written in the 1600s by Aphra Behn, thought to be the first Englishwoman to make a living at writing. It follows a doctor who, infatuated with the moon and the people he imagines to be on it, rejects his daughter and niece's respective relationships with their earth-born lovers. Heart Shaped Nebula thrusts two characters into what playwright Marisela Treviño Orta calls "a love story on many levels," set in a Las Vegas-area motel room on the anniversary of a terrible accident. Kristiana Colón's One Week in Spring follows a community nonprofit founder's efforts to handle the aftermath of a scandal.

Next, two one-acts, which will be staged together. Nambi E. Kelley's "choreo-play" The First Woman explores an African-American mother and daughter's search for peace. And Callie Kimball's May 39th is set on the morning after a first date—nearly 1,000 years in the future.

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