The 10th annual DIVAfest at the Exit Theatre, April 29 through May 28, features the West Coast premiere of A Most Notorious Woman, written by and starring Christina Augello in the one-woman role. Jayne Wenger directs the play.
DIVAfest draws on the participation of women directors, actors and writers, including San Francisco poet laureate Diane de Prima, who will read at DIVAfest’s opening day, May 7 at 3 p.m. She will include a lot of unpublished material. Lucky Girl, by Frances Driscoll and Tom Juarez and based on Driscoll’s The Rape Poems, follows at 5 p.m. A Most Notorious Woman – the story of the 16th century Irish pirate queen, Grania O’Malley – follows at 7 p.m.
Augello has now performed three solo historical shows. She played Baroness Elsa aka “The Mama of Dada,” and Boxcar Bertha who rode the rails with the disenfranchised fellows during the 1920s. Augello will take her pirate show on tour next year.
Not surprisingly, DIVAfest is punctuated by stories about strong, splashy, and larger-than-life ladies. At 9 p.m., the Dark Porch Theatre presents its production of Eleanor by Margery Fairchild. It would be an understatement to describe Eleanor of Aquitaine, the French queen to Henry II, as merely strong. Also known as the “Lioness in Winter,” she survived – and prevailed – during one of the most turbulent times in English history. Then again, when were they not turbulent?
Singer-songwriters Melissa Lyn and Carrie Baum Love perform at the Exit on May 14 and May 21.
Divafest: Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy Street (between Mason & Taylor), April 30–May 28, tickets $10–$25 and schedule information at (415) 673-3847, www.theexit.org