Article By: Kylie Miller
The Women’s Voices Theater Festival of 2018 has been running strong since the beginning of January. It highlights over twenty new plays written by women that are being produced in the D.C. regional area. Count Down by Dominique Cieri is a part of the festival and is happening right here in Baltimore at the Strand Theater. With a mission to celebrate women’s voices and perspectives, the Strand Theater is committed to producing works exclusively written by women, making it the perfect theater to partake in this important festival.
Directed by Bari Hochwald, Count Down is about seven girls who have been neglected and abused all their lives. They now reside at a facility known as Hillside, where they take a class with playwright and teaching artist, Carmela. The play follows these girls as Carmela attempts to take them through a 40-day workshop filled with writing, mask-making, dancing, and other various parts of creating a piece of performance art. It is not an easy task and much is learned about the hardship and heartache within each of these girls.
Dominique Cieri wrote Count Down after teaching in a similar facility to Hillside with girls who inspired the characters of the play. In her note for the production’s program, Cieri explains, “The girls, carrying massive physical and psychological wounds, constantly sabotaged the workshops.” This is clearly reflected in the play, often working as a driving force for the story.
Goucher students and alumni are present in this production, both on stage and behind the scenes. First-year student Kylie Miller plays the character of Amber in the play, while senior Hannah Viau designed the costumes for the show. Haley Horton, a recent graduate from Goucher’s theatre program also worked on Count Down as the Scenic Painter.
Count Down has already run for two weekends and reviewers have been praising the production. DC Metro Theater Arts wrote: “With excellent ensemble performances, inspired direction and lighting design, and seven girls you will want to hug, cheer for and simply give the gift of acknowledgment and acceptance, Count Down is an important part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.” Other reviewers include Baltimore Independent Theater Review and The Washington Post.
There are still five more chances to come see Count Down at the Strand Theater! The show re-opens for its final weekend of performances on Thursday, March 1st through Sunday, March 4th. For more information on showtimes and tickets, please visit https://www.strand-theater.org.
*Photos by Shealyn Jae, courtesy of Bari Hochwald.