April may indeed be the cruelest month, according to poet T.S. Eliot. But if you believe Shakespeare's soothsayer (and Julius Caesar really should have), mid-March is the time of year that really stinks. One of the few months boasting no real holidays to speak of (that is, unless you're Irish), the 31 days especially can be a drag for male chauvinist pigs. Why? Well, thanks to 22-year-old nonprofit organization the National Women's History Project lobbying Congress in 1987, March is officially National Women's History Month.
Of course observances of all kinds in honor of gals go on throughout the country. A particularly artsy one takes place here at Dreamers Theatre through March 17. A series of Tea Readings offers staged readings of plays about and directed by women. "The plays bring out social issues about women; they showcase women in a way that raises everybody's consciousness of who we are," says Yolandi Hughes, producing artistic director for Dreamers, a nonprofit space that creates its own pieces and encourages endeavors by other arts groups and theater companies as well. Among the works featured this week: Thomas Babe's Taken in Marriage, the tale of a chaotic wedding rehearsal in New England; Arthur Kopit's Chamber Music, a comedy about the female inmates of an insane asylum who imagine they're famous historical figures; and South Florida wordsmith Bonnie Benson's The Crones Among Us, the journey of a middle-aged woman through our lovely culture that values youth and beauty above all.
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After each reading a question-and-answer period with actors, directors, and playwrights will ensue. Then a very feminine-sounding repast of tea and cakes will be served. Also invited to be in the audience and raise their pinkies with everyone else: men! "It's the subject of women that we're focusing on," says Hughes, "but we like men. We want them to come to the readings too."