Watch the movie Boys on the Side.
Seems like an odd way to start, but here it is...that movie was one of the first I saw in my young(er) life that truly made me understand the bond between women. The quote is: “I don't know what it is but there's something that goes on between women.
You men know that because it's the same for you. I'm not saying one sex is better then the other. I'm just saying, like speaks to like. Love or whatever doesn't always keep. So you found out what does, if you're lucky.”
I experienced a lot with this festival—far more than I realized I would going into it. In all honesty, I first got involved because I'm a playwright who is new to the area and I wanted the chance to have my work seen. I figured, what better time? My play itself was about this bond between women, and the cast was 80% female to boot. I got into this for purely selfish reasons. What I fleft with is something altogether different. What I saw happen over those months was people (not just women) give themselves over and over to a dream that someone else had. The support in some cases was just staggering. We all had this goal of wanting things to happen. To prove that we could make something, BE something more than people saw us as. We weren't just 'pretty girls in pretty dresses doing pretty plays', (although I'd be lying if I said I didn't love those as well.) We were funny, flawed, mysterious, strong, weak, passionate and yes...beautiful. We saw ourselves in the plays that we viewed, that we wrote, that we directed. Our voices were everywhere. And it's a sad thing to think that that is something noteworthy. Why SHOULDN'T our voices be everywhere?
The reason (at least in my opinion from my limited but fabulous time on this earth), is that sometimes this world is still just not prepared for things to be different. For a quick example: the new “Ghostbusters”. The vitriol and hatred that surrounded even the IDEA of that movie was insane. And I'm guessing most of those people never even bothered to see it. (side note: See it. It's freaking awesome and Kate McKinnon is my spirit animal). The simple reason is; this is still very much a 'man's world', in more ways than most people may want to admit or even realize. For instance, the first meeting of WTF that I attended brought forth the information that women's representation in theatre is only 24%. I had no IDEA it was that low. And why is that? How can that be when we all have so much to say?
That's where WTF came in. This festival helped that—it helped me. We're all looking for a place to tell our stories, to live our passions. Here, with these women in these shows, we were celebrated for being who we were; instead of being placed in the background. And even when we played characters that were pushed to the back of history (such as the wonderful women in Decision Height), the performances brought them to light. It gave them their time, their place. And for my own play, it gave me the chance to bring these characters who have been with me for years to life in a whole new way. Not to mention two of my actors had never appeared on stage before. I love the fact that I was able to do that—to give that to them. And in all honesty, they were perfect. My cast as a whole was just magical. They made me realize just how much more I still have inside me, and how many more stories I have to tell. And thanks to festivals like this, and to people who will keep fighting to make them happen, I know that other women with similar stories to tell will always have a place to be heard.
Can there be a greater bond between women than that?
("Tonight I Raise My Glass To You" - Bruisers, Maribeth McCarthy)