In our take on Jane Austin’s Emma money and socioeconomic power take center stage. Being that we like to have conversations around here AND being that money can get so darn ishy to talk about, we’re going to get the ball rollin’. Right. Now. I asked Company Members Tanner Curl, Hannah Holman,and Mason Mahoney along with Sound Designer and Composer Ted Moore a few questions about money and here’s what they think. – Heidi
1. Why do you think money and socioeconomic power are still such difficult topics to discuss?
Ted: “I think there are strong stereotypes about values assigned to different economic classes. It’s often assumed that wealthy people regard earning and keeping money as a priority in their life, which can make them seem shallow, so sometimes wealth is downplayed. Also, people who pursue passions in lieu of money (ahem, artists) tend to be thought of as being rewarded in “invaluable ways,” and therefore don’t need as much financial compensation.”
Tanner: “Yeesh. This is a loaded question. My character, George, has a line in the play about how "money makes people weird." Very true, for almost everyone. I think that money leads to freedom. And people want more freedom. From hunger, from stress, from you-name-it. And then there's this recognition that life and money in our society are inherently unequal and, in many instances, unfair. I also think biology plays into this mix, but I'm not smart enough to write about it articulately.”
2. What is the value of discussing these topics?
Mason: “I think conversations on these subjects can bring up hidden desires in people that they didn't necessarily know were there. It can also reveal hidden prejudices, however difficult they may be to face. These are certainly not easy things to talk about, but they offer us the potential to change, and I think that is important.”
Hannah: “Unfortunately, these power inequalities exist. It does us no good to pretend they don't, and silence only adds to the "shaming" effect. Maybe I'm a crazy optimist, but I really believe if we can learn to really listen, connect, and let go of our assumptions, we'll all be a little closer to happiness. I know it's easier said than done, but starting a conversation is a great first step.”
3. What do you feel is the most interesting moment in EMMA that clearly shows a socioeconomic divide?
Tanner: “There's a point early on, when Harriet gets Emma a Bellini and says she had them make it "extra full." Harriet does this to make an impression on Emma, even though Emma could care less. I think a notable difference between wealthy people and not wealthy people is how they eat and drink. Wealthy people eat small portions and don't worry about getting bang-for-their-buck. They have more bucks, so they know there will always be bang.”
4. Do you anticipate any level of audience discomfort because of the socioeconomic content in the play? Why?
Ted: “I hope this play causes some discomfort. I hope it makes people think about their own relationship to money, compared with others, and how or where help can be given.
Hannah: “The topic of money probably makes us all a little squirmy in our seats -- it's not something we're used to talking about over coffee and cookies. I anticipate varying levels of discomfort, but I think that's important. Imagine how boring our conversations would be if we only talked about things that made us feel comfortable.”
Now a fun one:
5. If you were fabulously wealthy, what would be your favorite vice?
Ted: “If I were fabulously wealthy, I know that I would own a much, much larger collection of socks. I’d have a pair of wool socks for every possible temperature and humidity during the cold months, as well as a fancy number of argyles.”
Tanner: “Massages. I would have a standing weekly massage appointment, and it would be awesome. Or maybe a cleaning service. That would be awesome, too. And maybe eating out more. And good scotch. So many vices...”
Mason: “Travel would probably be my favorite. Fashion would probably be my most frequent. Now I'm going to go buy a lottery ticket.”
Hannah: “Plane tickets. All the plane tickets to all the places.”
Join us for Emma Woodhouse is Not a Bitch
February 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30pm
The Cedar Riverside People's Center Theatre
425 20th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55454
$12-20 sliding scale tickets, no-one turned away for lack of funds
For press info: Heidi Jedlicka, Production Manager; firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-875-2591
For ticket info: email@example.com
For Facebook Event: Click here
The production features actors Charles Campbell, Seth Conover, Tanner Curl*, Russ Dugger*, Emily Dussault, Eric Elefson, Kathryn Fumie, Parker Genné, Hannah K. Holman*, Heidi Jedlicka*, Taous Khazem, Christina Lein*, Mason Mahoney*, Sheila Regan, Carl Atiya Swanson*. The production team includes Zachary Campbell, Lisa Conley, Ted Moore, Claire Nadeau, Nora Sachs, Jessica Spivey, and Courtney Watson.
*Savage Umbrella Company Member
Thank you, Minnesota!
This activity is the recipient of a generous grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and is funded, in part, by appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State's general fund, and its arts and cultural heritage fund that was created by a vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.