Dallas — Like more than half of America, Jason Leyva thought Hillary Clinton would be president in 2017, and wanted to celebrate that via a season—the sixth for his L.I.P. Service—with a focus on strong female characters and woman-centric content.
“I really thought this big glass ceiling would break,” he says. “But that didn’t happen, and now I think it’s more important than ever that female voices be heard.”
Still, of the seven plays on the season—three in the mainstage series at various venues and four in a secondary season at the Margo Jones Theatre—only two are written by women: the regional premiere of Ellen Fairey’s Graceland, about a woman who loses her father and hits on an older man; and a new production of Dallas writer Janielle Kastner’s Hamlet-referencing Ophelia Underwater, which was first produced by The Tribe at Margo Jones in 2016 and deals with slut-shaming through social media.
Two other plays are directed by women, and of course feature strong women characters: Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, directed by Stefany Cambra of Proper Hijinx Productions; and Shakespeare’s Macbeth, directed by Alexandra Bonifield.
“I’ve been told that we have a tendency to lean toward questionably misogynistic material,” says Leyva, probably referring to plays like Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe and David Mamet’s Oleanna. “That wasn’t our intent…but [that accusation] has hit me hard.”
Other shows on the season are Neil LaBute’s Bash: Latter-Day Plays, Van Quattro’s one-man play Tommy Cain and Harold Pinter’s One for the Road. The latter two, which are short, are paired together in the Margo Jones.
Tommy Cain was workshopped by L.I.P. Service throughout 2016 for the theater’s subscribers; and one of the plays from Bash was performed for subscribers. Leyva says they will have a similar series in 2017, and that subscribers have grown each year since the small-budget theater has been in existence. There were 20 subscribers in 2016 and he’s hoping to increase to 40 or 50 in 2017.
With acclaimed productions like The Whale in 2015 and The Elephant Man and Trainspotting in 2016, the group should be one its way there.
Leyva also says the group will film its first move script this year, written by Leyva and Quattro.
Here’s a breakdown of the season:
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrence McNally
Directed by Stefany Cambra
Jan. 27-Feb 12
At Amy’s Studio of Performing Arts in Northwest Dallas
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Adapted by R. Andrew Aguilar and Cody Lucas
Directed by Alexandra Bonifield
At the Firehouse Theatre, Farmer’s Branch
Graceland by Ellen Fairey
Directed by Van Quattro
Fall dates and location to be announced
MARGO JONES SEASON:
Bash: Latter-Day Plays by Neil LaBute
Directed by Jason Leyva and R. Andrew Aguilar
Jan. 16 and May 1
One for the Road by Harold Pinter
Tommy Cain by Van Quattro
March 6 and July 3
Ophelia Underwater by Janielle Kastner
Featuring Grace Leyva (Jason’s daughter)
Nov. 4 and 5
Season tickets are $50 and you can get more info at http://www.jasonleyva.com/post.html.