FEMINIST FRIDAY: Three Theater Productions Setting The Stage For A Feminist Revolution

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday, that time of the week when we usually share a handful of our favorite videos. Every now and then we’ll change things up a bit, as we are doing this time around where we want to share info about some new stage productions that contain feminist themes, and which help audiences understand how broad the movement really is.

The first is ‘Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again’ by playwright Alice Birch. In a profile about the production by MPRnews.com, reporter Marianne Combs shares how the notes from the playwright outline certain directions to those performing her work. The most important of these is “this play should not be well-behaved”. In each scene there must be a woman present, and if a female character is required to take off her clothes, so must a man.

The production recently had a run at the Frank Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, directed by Wendy Knox, who described the work as unashamedly feminist.

“It tackles the different ways in which women are confined or defined by language, by tradition, by hierarchies. And it just says, ‘We’ve got to break those’,” she said.

Pornography, body image, sex, and power are just some of the themes being grappled with on stage, and since the election of Donald Trump and heightened discussions about sexual assault (given the numerous allegations and cases against the President), it seems like an incredibly timely play.

“He literally represents every bad part of the patriarchy. And I feel like women themselves need to get together and say, ‘OK, this is about women, and about being a woman in this world and surviving in this world and still maintaining your identity and who you are.’ And I think this play really helps to shout that from the rooftops,” said actress Joy Dolo.

The cast and creative team are predominantly female, something that is unusual in the theater world. And an important part of the deconstruction of patriarchy is tackling the way women attack each other.

“I have not always felt lifted up by other women. And there’s a great monologue that I get to do … calling out women. ‘OK, but really, really we need to come together now, we really need to stop eating our own and support each other instead of being part of the systemic structure that keeps us down, that keeps us oppressed’,” said another actress Jane Froiland.

The play was originally published in 2016 and has been staged in a number of theaters around the country since. We highly recommend looking out for ‘Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again’ coming to a playhouse near you. In the meantime, check out a video trailer made by Company One Theatre in Boston, MA to get a glimpse of this badass feminist production:

The second play we came across tackles the intersection of faith and feminism. ‘The Who And The What’ is written by playwright Ayad Akhtar, first published in 2014. The story follows explores the conflict that erupts within a Muslim family in Atlanta when an independent-minded daughter who offends her more conservative father and sister.

Zarina has a bone to pick with the place of women in her Muslim faith, and she’s been writing a book about the Prophet Muhammad that aims to set the record straight. When her traditional father and sister discover the manuscript, it threatens to tear her family apart. This drama about love, art, and religion examines the chasm between our traditions and our contemporary lives, interspersed with humor.

As Misha Berson from the Seattle Times reports, “‘The Who & the What’ provides meaningful insight into the complex dynamics within an affectionate, partially assimilated Muslim-American family, with particular attention to the continuing drive for intellectual and sexual autonomy by young women in that sphere.”

This is also a production that speaks to our current political climate in the United States in light of Trump’s Muslim Ban and heightened conversations around the role of religion in society and law. ‘The Who And The What’ has been staged at a number of theaters around the country and we hope it continues to engage more audiences on an important topic that is part of the larger conversation around identity and feminism. You can watch the trailer of the Huntington Theatre Company’s production below:

The final play we’ve recently discovered is ‘The Fight’, by award-winning playwright and d irectorJonathan Leaf. It is currently running at Storm Theatre in New York and directed by Peter Dobbins. As described by Broadway World, This production looks at an internal conflict within the feminist movement.

“What is feminism? What should a woman’s life goals be? These fundamental questions drove America’s two most influential feminists of the 1960s and 1970s to fight established thinking — and each other. THE FIGHT spotlights the battles that convulsed modern feminism, both outside the movement and within it. Based on dozens of interviews and vast amounts of research, it is inspired by the actual events. Bringing to light previously untold and deeply personal stories along with buried scandals from these pivotal years of the Second Wave, the play addresses vital issues from that era and today,” the states.

There is a direct parallel to what is happening in today’s 4th wave feminism where discussions about the centering of white women’s voices, or white feminism in general, need to be dismantled in order for more intersectional voices to be a central part of the movement.

It’s important to understand the history of feminism in order to be able to move forward and benefit more people. Jonathan’s play comes at a time culturally and politically there is still so much backlash to the word and the movement (another reason why we started this regular column). We’re excited to see the impact ‘The Fight’ will have on audiences. It is running until November 18 at Storm Theatre. While there are no dates for other cities just yet, be sure to keep an eye on this production and buy tickets if it comes to a theater near you. You can also follow Jonathan Leaf on twitter as he posts updates about his work.




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  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: A Feature Documentary & A Web Series Celebrating Queer Women Of Color - GirlTalkHQ

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