About a year and a half ago, after nearly finishing my Christmas shopping, I collapsed on the couch to watch Miss Representation, about the representation of women in the media, and it changed everything. I emailed their foundation and declared, “If I could return every one of the Christmas gifts I’ve purchased and instead give a copy of this film, I would.” The DVD wasn’t available, so I decided that instead of giving it to the few people on my Christmas list, I would give it to my whole community!
I teamed up with my long-time collaborator Vanessa Shealy and our new friend Nichole Donje and fast forward to last Monday, May 6th, when we presented A Celebration of Women in Theatre: Miss Representation Screening.
The evening began in the parlor of the historic Players club, with live music by Nick Russo and the premiere of the stunning exhibit, Casting Call by photographer Yvette D’Elia. It’s a tongue in cheek exploration of the roles that women play on and off the stage, and the project mobilized over two dozen talented actors, styled by the awesome Brittany Iverson. The shoot started our community talking weeks before May 6th, some of them having this conversation about the representation of women for the first time in their lives. So, when those women stepped into the Players and stood next to their pictures on Monday night, it was electric!
Moving into the ballroom, a “spontaneous” performance of She by Caridad Svich (and directed by me!) began, as performers stood up from within the audience and called out to each other. I was thrilled watching the audience craning their necks, trying to see who would speak next. And their excitement built as the actors took their rousing cries, Caridad’s sharp and beautiful words, to the stage, rallying everyone to take action.
As the opening credits of the film ran, rocking out to Metric’s “Gold Guns Girls,” I was overwhelmed already. People laughed, gasped, exclaimed and cried during this movie—loudly. And then they talked—and they haven’t stopped. Our goal was to start a conversation and that’s exactly what we did!