Every play we’ve done has been by a woman. That’s not the hard-and-fast rule, but it just so happens that the stories we’ve been most excited about happen to have been by women. . . . [And] I do seek them out to a certain extent.
Is that something you feel a responsibility to do? How do you feel about the representation of female playwrights at theaters around Washington?
One of the things that is most important to us as a company, and as professionals in the theater, is to walk the walk. . . . As each season announcement has come out, there’s been this incredible, “Tsk, tsk, all the playwrights are male, almost all the directors are male, and if there are female directors, they’re the artistic directors of that theater.” So we all judge and condemn that. Yet my issue is, instead of tsk-tsking, we [at Pinky Swear] actually make sure that we do something about it, which is to pick plays and weigh them heavily in favor of women. . . . The other thing that’s a little bit maddening is, you do your best to do this choice — this selection of female playwrights, to have female directors — and . . . you go to see other plays by women, and the attendance is very light. You don’t necessarily see these people holding their fist to the sky championing the fact that there should be more female representation. If you don’t show up, it’s not going to happen!
Tell me about “The Unclear Family.” Is there a central thread that runs through all three plays?
These three shows are about: Who makes a family? Who are you beyond just being a mother? And I think that has relevance to a lot of women today, and it can be translated into: Who are you beyond what you do? And how is our identity changed by who we’re with?
Seems like something people in D.C. think about a lot, given that this is the city where the first thing someone asks you at a bar is, “What do you do?”
It’s a very D.C. thing: you’re defined by what you do before you say another word. In Ally Currin’s show, you have three professional women who meet up at the playground where their kids happen to be playing. And you see three degrees: one who is very, very career focused; one who is struggling as a new mother with her identity as a mother versus her identity as it used to be at her career; and the third has made peace with that and found a better balance with things.