This play lived in a digital drawer for a number of years while I focused on a different play that was getting a lot of attention. At director Megan Behm's request, I sent it to her to read and she pointed out that four years after it was originally drafted, the play's themes of coping with and surviving sexual assault were far more pointed in the heart of the #MeToo movement. Not long after, one of the producers for Ally went to see a production of one of my other plays. When her response was very supportive, I asked if she wanted to read another piece, sending THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN to her. Within 24 hours, she emailed back saying that she was only at the end of Act 1, but that we needed to look at Ally getting involved with the play. Nothing buoys a playwright more than the support of their fellow artists and knowing that this was a company that valued a female perspective and female story made it even more invigorating.
With more development and a Kennedy Center (with Ally Theatre Company) reading under our belt, Brett Kavanaugh was nominated for the Supreme Court and Christine Blasey Ford came forward with her story. I was hit with a sense of urgency. We were watching a woman's nightmare being played out before us: A smart, accomplished woman begin torn down for speaking out, holding her dignity and composure, while the accused man ranted and cried like a spoiled teenager. We needed this play in the world. In an uncharacteristic move, I wrote back to the Ally team, saying that I felt it was this play's time. Maybe it was for a production. Maybe it was for just a reading, or something educational. But the young women of the world need to be able to see themselves reflected.
I was thrilled to find they agreed and had a home in their season for this production. My hope is that audiences will walk away from this play, having experienced the story of a survivor, but also questioning the inner workings of female relationships. Women provide a support and understanding for each other that is one of a kind, but so often, we are pitted against each other. It starts from babyhood, as our individualism is stripped away and we're labeled cute and we're held up for being pretty. We compete for attention, jobs, men. And it doesn't have to be that way. I want audiences to use THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN as a jumping off point to begin conversations about all these things, so we can learn, move on, and do better for each other and ourselves.
Playwright Hope Villanueva hails from Central California, is a current resident of Washington, DC, with her first full production, THE VEILS, produced as part of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival 2018. THE VEILS has previously received a number of staged reading presentations at conferences and festivals to include a reading at the Kennedy Center, an audio podcast recording, The Black and Latino Playwrights’ Conference 2016, at Texas State University, at the Discovery New Play Festival at Ball State University in and The Kitchen Dog New Play Festival in 2017. She directed and wrote/co-devised THE LITTLE CRANE AND THE LONG JOURNEY at the 2015 Capital Fringe Festival. She had the good fortune to spend several years living and working on the islands of Hawaii, inspiring PACIFIC, which was performed in a staged reading at the Next Act! New Play Summit in Schenectady, NY in 2013. Ms. Villanueva is a graduate of the Drama Department at University of California at Santa Barbara, completing the playwriting emphasis. Her final project for the degree was a musical called ROOFTOPS, which was selected for staging by the department and was fully produced the following year at Center Stage Theatre in Santa Barbara. While at UCSB, she had the additional tutelage of Paula Vogel, who shared a week with the playwrights as a guest artist. During her time in Hawaii, she had a short piece entitled TIDAL (formerly RENOVATIONS) included in Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s collaborative piece, WHERE DO THINGS GO? in 2011 and is being published by YouthPlays in 2018. At the end of that year, she began work on PACIFIC and was able to return to Honolulu Theatre for Youth in the summer of 2012 for a reading of PACIFIC. By day, Ms. Villanueva works in another realm of theatre as an AEA stage manager in DC, New York City and on tour. She continues to write, in hopes of helping people to look at the ordinary world from a new perspective and to experience emotion.