YUCK! I hate that my inclination was to start this with, behind every strong man there is a strong woman. It was my brain being tongue in cheek but, Heteronormative,
Patriarchal and Trite? I can do better. We can all do better. One of the ringing questions I hear about our title THESE ARE THE MEN is, “Isn't your version based on Jocasta's perspective?” They are not wrong. It is.
Which is exactly why we took this work on. Critically, to think about it, that is what we are doing. Claiming a perspective. A command. And I could talk about the fresh perspective, the complicated characters, the loaded plot points that most know about or the slightly gruesome and awesome experience the audience can entertain while they watch this crazy play we made called THESE ARE THE MEN. That's not my job or goal here. I’m here to celebrate the women writers, costume designers, directors, actors, dramaturg & stage manager bringing this work from page to stage.
My job here is to wax about the glory in working with a female centric cast and production team. As a first year member of this company, I am stunned by the multifaceted nature of the company's women. We have wonderful actors Heidi Jedlicka Halvarson, Alana Horton, Hannah K. Holman, and Siddeeqah Shabazz embodying their roles willfully and well. Their part in this process could not go without acknowledgement. We also have a robust lady dominant production team!
I am simply crazy about how emblematic this knock-out group is of women in the Twin Cities theater community at large. Its women are smart, powerful, connected, and multi-talented. The connection I see is in how well they wear and juggle their many professional artistic and managerial roles, on and off stage. Jessica Spivey, our agile and detail-oriented stage manager, has kept us in line and our ship quite tight over the last few months tracking our changes, props, and actor schedules. Our creative team is comprised of a slew of Kansans, Dramaturg Megan Clark was a part of script development and a readily helpful assistant to Director Blake Bolan who facilitated the process for this full production AND has seen this work through 3 different workshop development periods.
Jocasta, whose perspective we subsume in this work, is depicted by Laura Leffler-McCabe, who also co-wrote and co-designed props and costumes for the show alongside fellow creative Heidi Jedlicka Halvarson (s/o to Mason and Jerry, too).
What I saw and experienced as part of this cast was another fine example of women working in traditional roles in non-traditional ways with each other. A manner that displayed confidence, competence and collaboration for the purpose of creation. The beauty and craft in supporting each other's vision with respect and fluidity is always a marvel in groups of women. When we get together we carry each other professionally and spiritually with an effortlessness that no matter your age or stage of artistic development you get involved in a process with a lot of women and you are bound to learn something, be tested, be provided for and supported and be PUSHED into your next scene. Sometimes within the same small sentence. “You have seen what is possible.”
THESE ARE THE MEN plays at The Southern Theater
March 26 & 27, April 4, 5, 7, 8, 15 & 18