Thursday, February 8, 2018

Real Life Female Serial Killers in Contemporary Theater

Some these plays (Maison des Reves, Ambition), the perspective is standard oppressor/oppressed class struggle feminism, employing orthodox “social construction” dogma to invent rationalizations for behavior. Thus farm owner Belle Gunness falls under the gender theory claim that women were not property owners until recent times [Youtube synopsis of Ambition] and that motives are necessarily retaliatory.

Other writers take an open and exploratory avoid dogma, such as Angelmakers: Songs for Female Serial Killers, which was inspired by the superb 2017 Peter Vronsky book on Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters.


1999 – Wuornos; opera; Composer: Carla Lucero; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Ca., Jul. 1999; Florida, Oct. 2012.

Case: Alieen Wuornos (USA)

2002 – Self Defense: Deaths of Some Salesmen; Playwright: Carson Kreitzer; Studio 115, NYC; Mar 25-Jun. 15, 2002; New Georges and Reverie Productions; 7 acts, 95 min.

Case: Alieen Wuornos (USA)

2013 – Maison des Reves, Playwright-performer: Talie Melnyk; solo stage performance; Feb. 2013; Dir: Gretchen Cryer; Frigid Festival, Red Room, New York, NY.

“Maison des Reves is based on the true story of Alexe Popova who in 1909 Samara, Russia confessed to killing over 300 men, all known for abusing their wives and children.  Through 7 characters and a narrator, I tell the story of this female serial killer who was the champion of women in her community.”
[Byrne Harrison, FRIGID New York Interview - Talie Melnyk of "Maison des Reves", Feb. 24, 2013]
2013 – Pipás Pista; Playwright: Pozgai Zsolt; National Theater of Szeged, Hungary; 2013 (revived annually); Dir: Frigyes Kovács, Csaba Csaba Varga.

Case: Victoria Rieger (Hungary)

2014 – Blood Countess; Playwright: Keleen Conway Blanchard; Annex Theatre, Seattle, Wa., Oct. 24-Nov. 22, 2014.

2015 – The Execution of Mrs. Cotton; Playwright: Sara Fellini; Standard ToyKraft, Brooklyn, Nov. 8, 2015; IRT, New York, NY, Jul. 17?-31, 2016.

Case: Mary Ann Cotton (England)

2016 – Ambition: The Female American Serial Killer Musical; Playwright: Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin; soundtrack CD, 11 songs, rel: Nov. 5, 2016; Workshop: Dixon Place, New York, NY, Jan. 22, 2016; Fringe, Ars Nova ANT Fest, NY, Jun. 13, 2016; Fringe Planet Connections Theater Festival 2016.

“Ambition is an in-development musical about female American serial killers Nannie Doss, Jane Toppan & Belle Gunness, who claimed that their societal value (their inability to own property, miscarriages caused by vindictive strangers, or their non-resemblance to the heroines in romance novels) somehow led them to a path of violence. This song cycle focuses on how structures of oppression aimed at stabilizing the status quo can erupt into disorder born out of repression—and don’t forget, there’s singing!” [Kaela Garvin, YouTube, Jan. 21, 2016]

2016 – Skin Deep, Playwright: Attila Theatre; Pentahotel, Reading, England, Reading Fringe Festival, Jul. 22, 2016.

Case: Elizabeth Bathory (Hungary)

2017 – Angelmakers: Songs for Female Serial Killers; Songs by Molly Rice; cabaret genre, Real/Time Interventions, Aftershock Theater, Lawrenceville/Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct. 25-Nov. 11, 2017; singer/actor Milia Ayache; Dir: Rusty Thelin; Inspired by Female Serial Killers book, by Peter Vronsky.


1 comment:

  1. I wish we had known about your interest in this subject matter earlier, we just presented Molly Rice's ANGELMAKERS in NYC last week! We will be back in the Big Apple, please stay tuned!