workshop at the Factory Theater, Chicago IL
August 26th, 27th & 28th, 2022
a note from the director
When Alica approached me about directing this workshop of her play, I was excited by the challenge of facilitating a new play development process (my favorite thing in the world) which mandated the ceding of space to experiences that are starkly different from my own. As a director, this is always our job. In this case the play is about the lives and relationships of Sophie, Julie, Kate, Anna and Lainey. It also evokes an exciting and provocative relationship to its audience— how might we engage these folks with consent and invite them into a lively conversation which is unequivocally about the experiences of young women & femmes?
For these reasons, I felt it crucial to draw a boundary at the outset of our rehearsal process: that I do not intend to remain this play’s director beyond this workshop collaboration. A workshop is different than a full production; it requires a brave space, with room for bold choices, generative conflict and free-flowing dialogue. A full production requires all of these things as well, but it asks an authenticity of power structures that are as much the heartbeat of the piece (and the institution) as what is viewed onstage. In a full production, I feel there are others who can manifest the right structures and relationships from their own positionality more authentically than I. And yet Alica and I trust one another, and I trust her to know the collaboration that best suits her play’s development at this moment.
Through that conversation, we affirmed our capacity to co-facilitate this workshop in a way that invited our collaborators to step inside and iterate their character arcs with trust. We grounded in the pedagogies of Patricia Hill Collins, Joey Soloway, and others contributed by the five soulful actors bringing this story to life. We built our own little nightclub for two weeks. I am proud of our experience, contradictions and all, and it felt liberating to say: “Let’s just be in the here and now, and see what we can find in the uniqueness of this convening of artists to move Alica’s vision forward.” I hope you’ll lean in and wrestle with these characters, relationships, and the ways in which we resist the change we see in others - even and especially our close friends. WOO!
a word from the playwright
This play began fully as a joke. I was talking with a grad school classmate about my time working as a bartender in a nightclub, and jokingly quipped about how the most annoying patrons were always the "woo girls" who only bought shots, never tipped well, and whooped and yelled all night until close. He suggested I write a play about those girls for an assignment in one of our classes and because I had no other percolating ideas at the time, I did.
Then, many months and a full draft of WG! later, I stumbled across an episode of How I Met your Mother titled "Woooo!" The episode was all about "woo girls," and was peppered with joke after unfunny joke to which women were the only punchline. God forbid women enjoy themselves in public!, I yelled at my TV. And then I had a sobering realization: clearly I myself had internalized this distaste for women experiencing joy! Why else had I felt such distain for those women myself?; why had I made that joke, and even written this play? I realized that my disdain for the "woo girls" of my past was actually fueled by resentment and internalized misogyny. Yucky. So I went back to my old draft and started from scratch, newly inspired to write something that interrogated the ways in which I was upholding patriarchal and misogynistic stereotypes in my own life and writing. What you are seeing tonight is a brand new version of Woo Girls!, a play which seeks to illuminate the ubiquity of patriarchy and misogyny in modern media and culture, the performative nature of nightlife, and the experience of being a femme person moving through the world while having a proverbial audience at all times (though perhaps not quite so literal an audience as we have tonight).
I do feel it is important to acknowledge that the language surrounding gender in this piece is pretty binary. Patriarchy is, for me, so wrapped up in cishet-normative power structures that it feels like a foundational step to criticize those power structures with the same binary language that they were built upon. However I want to make space for people of all pronouns, genders and sexual identities to find facets of themselves and their experiences in these characters. No matter your identity, I hope you enjoy Girls' Night Out with Lainey, Kate, Anna, Sophie and Julie, and that when the show is over you leave here curious about the ways in which you may be unconsciously buying into patriarchal systems of oppression—and perhaps seek ways to instead buy out. <3
CAST & CREATIVE
is a Chicago-based actor and musician. Previous credits include The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz with Marriott Theatre, Jersey Boys with Lyceum Theater, Hundred Days with Kokandy Productions, and various TYA productions with Chicago Children's Theater, Northbrook Theater, and Lifeline Theater. You can find Grace's original music, as well as her band, The Fisher Cats, on all streaming platforms. Proud graduate of Northwestern's theater and music programs. Repped by Shirley Hamilton. Big thanks to Eli and Alica for bringing me into this femme-forward space! Always for Tessa.
is a Nigerian-American, Chicago-based actor and playwright whose work has been developed with Northlight Theatre, Vertigo Productions, and Black Lives, Black Words. Theatre acting credits include Measure for Measure (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Hand to God (Paramount Theatre), and Pipeline (Theatreworks Colorado Springs). Television credits include Shining Girls (AppleTV+), 4400 (The CW), and How to L0ve (OTV). Felicia is a graduate of Northwestern University where she studied theatre, playwriting, and acting for the screen.
is a dancer and early childhood educator in Chicago. Although she has been focusing on studying different forms of dance, she is thrilled to be back collaborating with theater artists on this gorgeous piece exploring femme relationships.
is a playwright and performer hailing from a tiny town in the rural Southwest. She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Southern California, and recently earned her MFA in Writing for the Screen & Stage from Northwestern University. Alica is passionate about telling stories that center mental health, trauma, dysmorphia, misogyny, and the female experience. Her plays explore the intersections of wellness and identity through complex and relationship-driven narratives which are poignant and darkly funny.
Alica is currently based out of Chicago, where in her free time she is a hobbyist figure skater, rock climber, film photographer, and watcher of love-themed reality TV shows. She also recently adopted a chihuahua puppy named Wesley, and is enjoying being a first-time dog mom. Alica has never been to a Cubs game, and vows she never will.
Seth is originally from southwest Michigan but has called Chicago home since he graduated cum laude from Northwestern with a BA in Psychology with minors in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theatre, and Sustainability. Seth works full- time at the Rabbnic Assistant at Mishkan Chicago and is pursuing a joint masters in social work and public policy at the University of Chicago. As a Trans person, Seth seeks to create a world where the most marginalized in our society are free, because if the most oppressed among us are not free, none of us are. Seth is also a professional lighting designer, an ensemble member with Broken Nose Theatre, and a member of the 48th Ward Neighbors for Justice Independent Political Organization. In his very limited spare time, Seth can usually be found with his nose in a book about societal problems, rock climbing, or hanging out with his husband and two cats Pinto Bean and Toast.
is an actor based in Chicago! She recently graduated from Northwestern University with a double major in Theatre and Psychology and is represented by Gray Talent Group. Most recently, she was seen as Powell in Men on Boats, M in peerless, and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing. She is also excited to be performing in Bechdel Fest 9 at Broken Nose Theatre this August! She is passionate about thoughtfully diverse representation, mental health and illness education, and aside from theatre, dinosaurs.
is a Chicago-based actor, educator, and storyteller. She is thrilled to be making her post-pandemic return to theatre via a workshop of a dope new play; new work development is far and above her favorite type of process! Favorite credits include Grey House and Haven Place (A Red Orchid Theatre), A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch (The House Theatre), and Pinocchio (Chicago Children's Theatre).
is an artist & organizer based in Chicago. Directing: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Raven Theatre, Strawdog Theater Company, Chicago Immersive. Associate/assistant work: Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakes, Northlight Theatre, Guthrie Theater and Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. His current writing/directing project is THE ROAR on Rush; one part speakeasy/cocktail lounge, one part live music venue, and one part interactive performance set in the Prohibition era. Its doors open next week on the magnificent mile (IG: @theroar_chicago). Organizing: Sunrise Movement Chicago, Grassroots Collaborative, IL Green New Deal Network, Unsilence. Jewish Education: Mishkan Chicago, Emanuel Congregation, Moishe House, and private instruction. 2022 Avodah Justice Fellow; 2018 B.A. Northwestern University.
Michal is excited to stage manage Woo Girls! Her previous productions include, Santa Claus, Conquers the Martians at Three Brothers Theatre, The Sound of Music where he was the Production Assistant, and Into the Woods as Stage Manager, both of which were at the Calzaretta Theater. They would like to thank their family for their constant support.