Echo Theatre continues its tradition of spotlighting women playwrights with the world premiere of a cowgirl tale

Women and Horses and a Shot Straight from the Bottle

Where: Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther

When: Sept. 13 through Oct. 7

Time: Thursdays through Saturdays, 8 p.m., and Sundays, 5 p.m.

Cost: Thursdays, donation; Fridays, $15; Saturdays, $20; Sundays, $10

For reservations: 214-904-0500 or echoreservations@att.net

Echo Theatre is a rare company: It produces only women playwrights. In a given year, 15 to 25 percent of plays produced may be written by women, but those figures include reproduced plays. Pam Myers-Morgan, one of Echo Theatre’s original founders, is proud of its purpose and accomplishments.

“It’s not that we think women write plays better,” Myers-Morgan says. “It’s just that we think their voices ought to be heard. We’ve produced over 80 women since we’ve been in existence since 1998.”

This month, Echo presents the World Premiere of Women and Horses and a Shot Straight from the Bottle, by Mary F. Casey, at the Bath House Cultural Center. This marks the seventh year Echo has worked in conjunction with the Bath House. The opening of Casey’s play Sept. 13 concludes a series of four weekends celebrating the cultural center’s 25th anniversary.

Myers-Morgan says Echo became involved with the Bath House after the company rent the Bath House theater to produce a controversial play.

“That was the beginning of what’s been a really terrific partnership,” Myers-Morgan says. “I think Echo has been a part of, along with a couple of other companies, the resurgence of the Bath House as a performance space.”

She found the script for the latest play on top of a stack in her office. It came from a friend who works at Theatre Forum, another company in Dallas. The title immediately enticed Myers-Morgan. Most scripts are predictable, she says, but she had no idea where this one would lead.

“It’s a play about risk, danger and about love and about loving someone enough to let them take risks,” Myers-Morgan says.

The play begins with an old cowboy saying, “You know, there’s just something about a cowgirl.” Myers-Morgan didn’t understand what that meant at first, or what a true rodeo experience was about, which is the setting of the play. She was able to get behind the scenes at the Mesquite Rodeo and admits she “caught the fever a little bit.”

Myers-Morgan hopes the audience feels the power of the rodeo on stage. She wants a feeling of danger to resonate with the audience; not just the danger of the rodeo, but of live theater itself. Anything from a forgotten line to a costume malfunction could throw the performance into a tailspin.

“We’re moving into times where the news has become entertainment, so a little theater company competing for attention is very hard,” Myers-Morgan says. “We’ve got one shot in front of you.”

This play isn’t just about a cowgirl and a rodeo. It delves into the idea of how much is a person willing to risk for what she wants.

“It’s about what is the balance between being safe and being fully alive,” Myers-Morgan says.


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