The Audacity: Women Speak
Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Production (small theatre), 2019
Boston Center for the Arts | Calderwood Pavilion
539 Tremont Street, Boston
March 28 – April 6, 2019
This piece marked a milestone for Sleeping Weazel in that it represents the voices of more than 30 women I asked to write down their real-life stories and who bravely agreed to have them included in The Audacity: Women Speak, a voice raising performance event.
My part in this has been to put these women’s stories in conversation with each other and to shape content for translation to the stage. I also worked with contributors on revisions that included giving parts of their stories to various actors in order to convey the shared cultural/personal experience of all women with gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and/or assault. In this piece, theatre holds up a mirror to society without inventing a single story as metaphor for our lives. Rather, we put real women’s lives on stage in the bodies of seven performers and nearly twenty more women who intervene on screen.
Much of this work was painful to watch, and I thought often of the phrase “art is truth and beauty” while putting this overwhelming puzzle together. Director Tara Brooke Watkins worked with our phenomenal cast to bring their inherent beauty to the stage, while video designer Elliott Mazzola brought the contradiction that exists between the humanity of everyday women depicted on screen with hate speech, commercialized sexism and misogyny, and lies presented in the media. What I came to realize through all our efforts in bringing these stories to you is this: truth itself is beauty. Truth holds up every time against lies.
List of Contributors:
Anonymous(es), Taylor Ann, Cheyenne Bates, Allison Virginia Bell, Melia Bensussen, Amy Botvin, Teresa Cruz, Johanna Elsemore, Eunice Ferguson, Claudia R. Fieo, Brenda Foley, Megan Schy Gleeson, Magdalena Gómez, Shana Gozansky, Elana Greenfield, Holly Hughes, Lyralen Kaye, Lisa LaFontaine, Elizabeth Lit, Jenna Mason, Mattie McMaster, Robbie McCauley, Charlotte Meehan, Adara Meyers, Jess Foster Norton, Dawn Meredith Simmons, Kate Snodgrass, M. Gabriela Torres, Janel Twogood, Joyce Van Dyke, Ciera Sadé Wade, Amanda Wagner, Veronica Anastasio Wiseman, Dani Snyder-Young
“Sleeping Weazel’s The Audacity: Women Speak allows audiences to bear witness to horrific experiences of sexual harassment and assault in a safe place — the theater — providing a deeply moving sense of community and catharsis.
-Terry Byrne, “Stages” Columnist, The Boston Globe