‘Women’s Work’ makes debut as part of Center’s New Works program


University High School colleagues Alicia LaMagdeleine and Callie Burk-Hartz have wanted to collaborate on a project for a long time.

LaMagdeleine, a Carmel resident, is University’s head of school. Indianapolis resident Burk-Hartz is the director of theater and film at the Carmel school. They found the perfect opportunity and their play was accepted as part of the Center for the Performing Arts’ New Works program. Their short play, “Women’s Work,” will be one of three programs presented at 8 p.m. June 4 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. Burk-Hartz said the play from their Betty Rage Productions company is 20 minutes long but will be extended to a 55-minute version this summer for the Indy Fringe Festival.

“Callie and I have talked on and off for a while about the stories of remarkable women in our lives, including both our grandmas, and when the chance came to pitch an idea for the project, we were eager to return to this idea,” LaMagdeleine said. “Because we are both women who work, and specifically working moms with young daughters, centering on that part of the female experience really resonated with us.”

Burk-Hartz said LaMagdeleine are in the gender minority in their fields.

“So, these stories of the standard jobs for women and how they have grown or not grown compels us,” Burk-Hartz said. “The standard jobs being nurse, teacher and secretary. Alicia is also a poet and she beautifully crafted these dynamic creatures.”

LaMagdeleine started drafting the monologues when they decided on the roles.

“I tried to focus on making these women be more than a stereotype,” LaMagdeleine said. “The three characters I wrote are amalgamations of stories I have heard from women at all stages of their careers. They are meant to represent a generation just before us, women who started their careers in the 1970s, who passed down their experiences to women working now, who will in turn pass their experience down to their daughters.”

The New Works arts commission project is in its pilot year at the Center. It is s designed to promote and sustain the area’s working artists and artistic communities in an inclusive way by supporting the creation of new works across all performing arts disciplines. Each winning proposal received a $2,500 cash award and technical support in bringing the performance for the stage.

The two other performances will be “Fly High” by the Monika Herzig Trio and Zackary Herzig and “A Place in Time’ by Nicholas A. Owens and Lalah Ayan Hazelwood, with the Kenyettá Dance Company. The event will include a talkback discussion

For more, visit thecenterpresents.org.