Thursday, October 6, 2011

Women's Work

In which our Diva heads back on stage and back in time

One of the best groups of theatre people anywhere, Babes With Blades, has a fabulous in-depth New Plays Development Program, and much to my delight they've invited me to be part of it again. I'm one of the cast for the public reading of Deeds Not Words: The Rise of The Jujitsu Suffragettes by Anne Bertram, which tells the complex story of members of the Women's Social and Political Union fighting for the vote. I had the opportunity to take part in a closed reading earlier in the development process, so it's extra cool to see how the play has evolved and be there for its first bow in front of an audience.

There's far more history here than can be told in a single play, of course, but it's a fascinating story that I think will engage audiences while they're in the theatre and hopefully afterward too.  It's not just about how a group of suffrage activists came together with Edith Garrud to learn to defend themselves with martial arts in a manner one might not immediately associate with middle-class British ladies in 1913. The fracturing of the movement, the personal cost as leaders began to move in different political directions, is at the heart of the drama. It's a story well worth the telling.

The public reading of Deeds Not Words will be held at The Second Stage (3408 N. Sheffield, Chicago) at 1 p.m. on October 22. Admission is free.

After that (well, in the midst of it, actually, since the rehearsal schedules are concurrent) I'll be doing my first musical (yay!!) in several years, as Marmee in Little Women with GreenRoom Productions. I picked up the book from the library on the way home from work, since I last read it when I was about 9. It's... large. I don't remember it being that large. Mind you, I was a pretty hardcore reader as a kid, so it doesn't really surprise me that I don't remember it being daunting or anything. I do remember it being an emotional rollercoaster, and the snippets I've heard so far of the show's score (it's a different adaptation from the one produced on Broadway a few years back) promise to serve that purpose very well indeed. I'm excited to revisit it as an adult, with an eye toward identifying with Marmee instead of Jo! (I always feel like I should pick one of the other girls, like identifying with Jo is a bit cliche, but, well.)

Little Women runs two weekends, December 10-18, at the Cosman Theater in Huntley, IL.  Tickets are $20 in advance ($15 for students and seniors), and will be available online at the GreenRoom website sometime shortly after their current production of Doubt closes.

If you can make it to either or both shows, I'd love to see you!


havoc the cat said...

I found a place where Deire can go out for dairy-free, corn syrup-free sorbet. I think that plus a play with you in it might be enough to lure her back here from the wilds of MI for a bit. Or we can try, anyway.

Unknown said...

That would be a delight if it could be managed!