Tina Howe, distinguished playwright, to discuss women in the arts, November 7, 2015

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Playwright Tina Howe

ALBANY, NY (10/26/2015)(readMedia)-- Distinguished playwright Tina Howe will participate in "A Celebration of Women in the Arts" on Saturday, November 7, at 7:00 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany's uptown campus. Her talk will be preceded by a staged reading of her one-act comedy Water Music and a presentation by the Serendipity Singers. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UAlbany.

The author of more than a dozen full-length plays and numerous shorter works, Tina Howe has been a vital presence in the American theater for four decades. In many ways she is the archetypal off-Broadway dramatist: her Absurdist-inspired comedies sometimes baffle mainstream critics but are perennially popular with regional and university theater companies. Howe's most notable plays include Museum (1976), The Art of Dining (1979), Painting Churches (1983), Approaching Zanzibar (1989), and Pride's Crossing (1997). Painting Churches and Pride's Crossing were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in drama. Her long list of honors also comprises an OBIE for Distinguished Playwriting, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Tony nomination for Coastal Disturbances, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Pride's Crossing, and the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater.

The playwright has said that "The motivating factor in all my works is a hopeless infatuation with extravagance." She favors unexpected stage locales: a peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a department store dressing room, a Bronx nursing home. In the one-act Water Music, Shakespeare's Ophelia materializes in a health club whirlpool on Manhattan's Upper West Side. (Howe's talk on November 7 will be preceded by a staged reading of Water Music.)

Tina Howe's comedies celebrate artists as the "heroes of our time." Her protagonists are photographers, poets, painters, weavers, sculptors, musicians, chefs. Most of her artists are female, and many pay a price for being women. The playwright herself faced such gender discrimination: When Howe tried to find a stage for Birth and After Birth in the early 1970s, male producers insisted that no one wanted to see a monstrous toddler torment his hapless mother. Birth and After Birth did not receive a professional production until 2006, some three decades later.

Tina Howe has proved to be a playwright with a keen sensitivity to the terrors of existence, a love of both physical and verbal wit, and a willingness to take theatrical risks.

Sponsored by the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany. For additional information, contact the Department at 518-442-4220 or the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.