A Woman's Work
Please pardon me while I get a bit ‘Women are from Mars,’ just for a moment. It is Women’s History Month, after all. Who is more awkward, more vulnerable? Girls, or Boys? Personally, I think we are equal in this department, and that it’s just part of being alive, but I do believe that guys are better at pretending to be neither. Us ladies, on the other hand, I think we tend to wear our hearts moreso on our sleeves. Thankfully, we like to talk to each other. Incessantly. We form friendships, and we tell each other everything, the horrible, embarrassing details of our lives. Why do we do this? I think it has something to do with that beautiful moment in which the listener says, after you have puked truth all over them: yes. I know exactly what you mean. That happened to me too and I know exactly what you’re saying. And there is understanding, and then there is hugging, and maybe some wine. And some conversation about what the other is wearing. Et Cetera.
I think that this moment of understanding is what brings those who make and love plays TO the theater, and keeps us there. When I was a freshman in high school and was painfully shy and VERY weird (weird AND shy? What a combination. I also wore only brown clothes) – I’m sure a need for a communion of sorts had something to do with signing up for Drama Class. I was of course soon hooked. I loved, and have ALWAYS loved, how theater forces you to be honest, to bring all of your shit to the surface, and to deal with it. In an odd way, it makes you feel better, and Loved. Why, my first year of Grad School, under the careful guidance of fantastic professors, my co-playwrights and I were forced to dig through the gross depths of our souls to find our hidden secrets, longings. And to put them in plays. For all to see. At first this was terrifying. But: the beautiful thing was, we got to know each other so well through this honesty, and lasting friendships were formed. Friendships between ladies are totally empowering. And friendships being the root of all successful professional relationships in the theater (did I mention I also love this?)
I have been blessed to meet so many smart, brave, weird, funny, honest gals working Off-Off Broadway. I’ve been reduced to laughy-sad tears time and time again by their tales of woe. There is nothing greater than getting to make a play with someone, while also knowing that you understand each other; know each other. That you can work together, and then also geek out about some hard to find clog boots, or be confused about a strange cleanse, or listen to each other when either just needs to talk it out, vent, explain, cry. I started doing Bekah’s Homemade Monologues about a year ago, which has been especially great (hello, shameless plug! www.bekahbrunstetter.com, click on the pie, Get yours today!) For these monologues, I have the actor fill out a questionnaire – and the monologue is crafted from their answers. I continue to be amazed by the grit and intelligence in the responses, especially the women, the large things they are wrestling with. I won’t call any ladies out, you know who you are. Hi, I like you. (Man-friends, I like you too. But this isn’t Men’s history month, is it? No, it is not.)