Friday, October 4, 2013

Men and Women and LIZZIE.

All the talk about Miley Cyrus didn’t strike me as relevant to me in any way, but this morning, reading Amanda Palmer’s letter to Sinead O’Connor in response to O’Connor’s letter to Miley Cyrus, a bell rang in my head (I admit I’m a little slow, but I’m also really busy and preoccupied!). That’s a conversation that absolutely DOES pertain to me.

Among the many things LIZZIE is, it’s part of the conversation about women in rock, about sexuality on stage, about celebrity, and women celebrities in particular and how we treat them.

So, I have about 20 minutes before I have to leave for the Hobby Center. We move into the theater today! It’s our first "10 out of 12" day, and we’re all very excited. But I wanted to dash off a quick post to say that we are very curious to know what our audience, our fans, think of what we’ve done with the Lizzie Borden story. We’re not unaware that this is a show about women written by 3 men.

For us it as, among other things, an homage, a tribute to the women rockers (writers, singers, players) who have shaped us. The show grew out of our love for these women and what they do. I repeat this list over and over: Patti Smith, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Grace Slick, and on and on. Sinead O’Connor.

Yesterday at rehearsal, Tim and I noticed that there were 4 women on stage and a line of about a dozen men watching them: the writers, director, designers (except the costume designer, who is a woman), the band. Our stage manager is a woman, but otherwise when we rehearse it’s a bunch of men behind a table and a bunch of women being looked at and evaluated. It’s weird. And the show is in many ways ABOUT how men see women and how they deal with women's power.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this when I have more time to write, but I’m also curious. What do you think?


jdjb said...

How many of you men are gay ? I think that has something to do with it, too. There's a sensibility, a sensitivity to women's issues that gay men can bring to the table that most straight men cannot. The way that gay men objectify women is in a way about adoration, if not emulation. I think it goes back to your post about watching Heart and trying to "want" Ann and Nancy, and realizing you wanted to "be" Ann and Nancy.

Steven said...

Well, that's the other thing I ponder. For a piece with such deep roots in queer and feminist political theater, that sprang from Tim's and my desire to make overtly queer work -- which is still embedded in the writing: in the lesbian relationship at the center of the story and in the way you mention where these characters are to some extent the product of male homosexual yearning -- sometimes it seems like Tim and I are the only queers in the room any more. But that's stupid assumption. You never know. And even if it's true, I don't like catching myself taking the stance that straight actors can't play gay roles or vice versa etc., and the same for designers, musicians, etc. It's not only false but also insulting to artists who are very skilled at showing all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. That's what they do.