Just today I had the pleasure of performing three of the monologues from the play I've been developing for the past year. I am here in beautiful Saratoga Springs as the guest of SUNY's Empire State College, my alma mater. (It feels SO funny saying that since I am actually graduating two weeks from now! But that's aNOTHER story.)
I was asked to present my Dames Like Her social art project as part of their Women's Studies Residency this week, which itself has been a fabulous experience for me. Brings me back to the 60's and the 70's when I used to volunteer down at ...
(I just have to interject and tell you that as I am writing this, the couple in the next room at the lovely B&B I am staying in are making love and, I gotta tell you, from the sounds she is making, I have a new-found respect for this guy. There is no slamming going on whatsoever but she is in ecstasy. I figure he must be one of those men "with a slow hand." I am jealous. NOTE TO SELF: Must find man with slow hand again. They are good to have around.)
... ANYWAY, back to N.O.W. where I used to volunteer and go to consciousness-raising groups and burn bras (oh PLEASE, do you know ANYBODY who literally burned their bra? Me neither.) Those were the days I thought were long gone but I have found them alive and well in Saratoga Springs except they're different - less fraught, more humor and more determination to have fun and live well.
Well, the monologues seem resonate with other women after all - they're based on a mix of women I know and are chosen to bring to life the ...
... the complexities of being a woman of a certain age. I hate that when you hear a woman is in her 50's or 60's or 70's or whatever, there is this sort of image of an old bitty who's sort of out of the loop. Sure, some of us may be a little bitty-ish but for the most part, we are a raucous, funny, sexy bunch of dames who are at a point in their life where, as the great blues singer Ernestine Anderson says, "You know what to do with your time."
My hopes for Dames Like Her: The Play is to become a really funny, eye-opening, conversation starter that gets audiences laughing, thinking and talking about how COOL it is to be a woman over 50. From the reaction of the audience today, we may have to be handing out Depends at the door, cause there was a lot of belly-laughing going on and we know what THAT means. Hah!
My plan is to continue developing it in front of audiences, so if you know of any educational organizations or women's groups who would like to support this project by inviting me to perform and discuss it with their staff, students or members,well, pop me an email at - firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to travel to your area for a small stipend and travel expenses.
Hmmm ... I can even incorporate a Dames Like Her personal story workshop in which participants cultivate a storytelling monologue from their own lives.
(PS. They've gone to sleep.)