Before I started WET Productions with Victoria Pettibone, in 1999, nearly every play or film I auditioned for, and every commercial I produced, was written by a man. Equal opportunity clearly still did not exist in the entertainment industry, and it began with the source material - the script. Men were being given the opportunity to share their perspective, tell their stories, and define who women were in pop culture. Men were more commonly hired, and more commonly heard. We built WET to challenge this status quo, with a vision and mission to both produce new plays written by women, and to elevate the careers of women playwrights. An essential key to ensuring that these writers would be seen as equally valuable artists, lay in the development of each script leading up to production. Without a good, strong script, without the base line of good material, a production does not stand a chance. This is true across all mediums, but in the theater, the playwright is the ultimate voice. In 2007 we created a unique script development program to help each playwright fortify her script and promote her artistry, The INKubator.
Script development has always been an integral part of our production work beginning with our first play, written by Joyce Carol Oates. After a meeting with Ms. Oates, she generously sent us new material for her already published play, to support our production of her work. The INKubator series is a natural progression and expansion of our pre-production development work, allowing us to work with, support and develop multiple scripts by women writers each year.
When I am looking for material to develop or produce, I am always looking for something that will allow me to ask the questions through art, that I am asking and living in my daily life. I am also looking for a piece that will inspire passion and challenge any collective societal apathy or cynicism. Since 1999, I have been developing and producing premieres of material that do just that. These plays are written by women whom I believe are the next generation of Great American Playwrights: Sheila Callaghan, Julia Jordan, Lucy Thurber, Brooke Berman, Cusi Cram, Sarah Schulman, Francine Volpe, Anna Ziegler, Zakiyyah Alexander, Kate Robin, Melissa James Gibson - these women are all wildly different talents, with brilliant voices, and not surprisingly, their processes have all required very different support to make their work as powerful as they dream it to be. The INKubator is designed to do just that through a unique support system implemented to empower each artist’s talents.
Through unrehearsed readings, note sessions, and workshops WET provides resources and attention specifically designed to serve the needs of each playwright. In 2008 we created a partnership with Williamstown Theater Festival to provide Julia Jordan with a residency that would allow her to focus on her new play, in a creative but private environment. In 2009 we created a partnership with The National Theater Institute at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, where Cusi Cram enjoyed a brief residency re-working her play, Dusty and the Big Bad World. Each writer needs different actors, directors, dramaturgical notes, rehearsal space and writing space to identify her blind spots, celebrate her efforts, and challenge her development process.
A well-produced play - one that has received development support, been matched with a complementary artistic team, and effectively helmed through production, brings an audience member into the center of a playwright's soul, and invites an audience member the opportunity to explore a pressing question that all of the collaborating artists are also presently exploring. Through the INKubator - WET Plays division, we are laying the foundation for achieving this kind of connection between artist and audience by developing scripts, so they may be production ready. Ultimately, we are providing support for each artist to write her best play, and be produced throughout the country.
We hope you will join us in experiencing the work of some of the finest women writers in theater, by attending our public INKubator readings when they pop up.
Thank you for your continued support.
Sasha Eden, Artistic Director