WonderBroads: World Change One Joke At a Time
"You'll Laugh! You'll Cry! You'll meet girls!"
I went to see WonderBroads "The Babes and Broads Who Broke the Rules", written and composed by Melinda E Pittman (dig the electric guitar) and Directed by Carolyne Haycraft.
When Lilith comes on stage, the whole world gets a little breathless. I mean, she is a big and powerful and beautiful and bold woman who commands the whole force field within a ten mile radius. She's got the kind of aura that punches out into the biosphere while dropping anchors down deep into the immediate earth. This is the woman that I believe many of us secretly wish we could be--and we can!
I knew it would be good but this was crazy good. Prolific and never boring, bold and funny and even tear-jerking at times. This play and the beautiful and sassy women in it, managed to remind me that being silent is never my soul's true north--even if I have to get beat up or arrested on occasion as many brave women before me have done.
What is freedom? Is it being yourself? Is it to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and go after your vision? It could mean asking the right questions.
"We're living lives of quiet desperation." a line from the play which served as a call to action. Forty different stories of women's lives including a Ms America pageant with bell hooks winning first place ... Cameos of Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Mother Jones (the woman, not the magazine)--I hadn't known that Planned Parenthood founder was a woman named Margaret Sanger or that the woman who worked tirelessly with Cesar Chavez to unionize California's farm workers, got beat up many times (was in emergency over 17 times and had her spleen ruptured) was Dolores Huerta.
There were a couple of personal moments for me. The character Sarah McMockman played by Kate Sanderson (uh, is she single?) says to Lilith at one point that she could never be like her i.e. powerful, pushy and "bad" because she'd rather not be alone ... she said "I couldn't be like you even if I knew I wasn't really free."
Of course that prompted a wondrous outrage from Lilith who is NOT alone (just because she left Adam, come on!) then a very heart-felt choked-up song, sang to her Love demonstrating that even the ferocious, precocious, take-no-prisoners tough broad WonderBroad herself is deeply human. (Being a fierce activist doesn't mean you don't get to sleep spooned-up with your sweetie at the end of the day.)
I had just had dinner with a friend in New York who I know full well is a human rights activist from way back and an amazing white ally to African-heritage folks. But she was talking about something she referred to as "reverse discrimination" and I, in a tired world-weary state, didn't interrupt that and argue with her. My point of view is that there IS NO SUCH THING and it has to do with a power imbalance. If I was hopeful and living my decision to not keep quiet I would have at least shared my point of view with her. But I didn't. Even my new boyfriend asked me why I didn't speak up. Watching this play gave me a spark under my butt. My girlfriend--of African and Native heritage--also was very firm with me that I need to keep blogging. Of my fears that white folks will call me fanatical and that black folks will call me phony. "Sea" she said, "that was so last year!"
I think it's a topic we all have to ask ourselves. Are we settling for a world and a life we don't really want because we think that to act and to push for what we want will be too hard? Would we rather be "comfortable" than really believe in our vision?
It was repeated several times throughout the play that "Well-behaved women rarely make history." So yes, Eleanor Roosevelt helped get us the vote--Use It--but also, protesting and possibly getting your ass arrested are not-to-be dismissed as viable modes de operanti.
Getting arrested was a theme,(er, or was it that Tracy Chatroom, played by Roslyn Farrington, back row left, likes bondage games? :))
I think each of us as women get to be proud, take ourselves seriously, and back each other up. What an awesome, brilliant work from someone deeply grounded in women's history of liberation. And Melinda E Pittman doesn't make the common mistake of being the "white" this-is-MY-movement feminist while forgetting it is women of color who are and need to be central leaders to the movement. She had a marvelous way of being completely powerful while backing her sisters as powerhouses as well.
Cast: Melinda E Pittman, Sharon Martini, Sarah Kennedy Adams, Kate Sanderson and Roslyn Farrington. Live Electric Music by Dan Linn, Stacy Davis and Aaron Linn was very cool.
April 27, 28 Through May 12 Weekends at 8pm. Matinee on the 29th.
For more information call 503-288-5181 or on the web at www.broadarts.org.