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.


1971 – Bremer Freiheit, Frau Geesche Gottfried – Ein bürgerliches Trauerspiel ("Bremen Freedom: Ms. Geesche Gottfried - A bourgeois tragedy"); Plawright: Rainer Werner Fassbinder; Dec. 1971; premiered at the Schauspielhaus Bremen. (filmed version, 1972).

Case: Gesche Gottfried (Germany)

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

Case: Aileen 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: Aileen Wuornos (USA)

2004 La Quintrala; chamber opera; Composer: Lars Graugoard; Sep. 2, 2004, Copenhagen. 

2011 The Stone; musical drama; Composer: Tom Bolger & Jason Paul Ryan; Dir.: Jason Paul Ryan; Oct. 5-8, 2011; Aug. 14-16, 2012; Kilkenny Arts Festival

Case: Alice Kyteler (Ireland)

2012 Lady Bluebeard; Stephanie Holman; Twin Falls Center For the Arts, Id.; Oct. 25-27, 2012.

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 Gift: Der Fall Gesche Gottfried Ein historisches Drama; Puppet play; Playwright: Claudia Spoerri; Mench, Puppe! Das Bremer Figurentheater; 2015; Sep. 24, 2016; Oct. 7 - Dec. 17, 2020.

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 – The Execution of Mrs. Cotton; By Sara Fellini; Dir. Samuel Adams; Produced by spit&vigor; Jul. 14-31, 2016; IRT Theater, New York, N. Y.

Case: Mary Ann Cotton (England)

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

Case: Elizabeth Bathory (Hungary)

2016 – Self Defense, or Death of Some Salesmen; Carson Kreitzer; Studio 115; Oct. 21-30, 2016.

Case: Aileen Wuornos (USA)

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.

2018 Leonarda Cianciulli, La Prima Serial Killer Italiani; Mar. 18, 2018; Staglione Teatrale.

Case: Leonarda Cianciulli (Italy)

2019 – Aceto; Playwright: Coco Galotta; musical play; Palermo; Jul. 10, 2019.

Case: Giovanna Bonanno (Sicily)

2019 – Bloody Bathory; Millie Rose; Barrens Theatre Co., Chicago; Epworth United Methodist Church, Oct. 25-27, 2019.

Case: Elizabeth Bathory (Hungary/Slovakia)

2019 – Bath/Ory;Victoria Dudley; Ambrose Fringe Festival, Jun. 6-16, 2019.

Case: Elizabeth Bathory (Hungary/Slovakia)

2021 – Luiza de Jesus - A Assassina da Roda; Playwright: Rute de Carvalho Serra - Director: Maria Henrique; Theatro da Tindade Inatel, Lisboa, Portugal;  April 29 - May 30, 2021

Case: Luiza de Jesus (Portugal)








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!