In the midst of The Summit ‘pipeline’ dialogue, the upcoming Women’s Voices Festival, The Kilroy’s “The List”, and #YesAllWomen, there is a need for clarity and direction.
In our DC theatre community, there exists a frustration with the arts industry to produce works created, told, and designed by women. Last season alone in DC, only 27% of professionally produced plays were written by women and only 33% of productions were directed by women. These statistics are striking, but is this issue larger than raising quotas? There is a thirst in this community for the female perspective, and Blind Pug Arts Collective is thrilled to bring a play not only written and directed by women to Fringe, but a play about a woman defying convention and redefining herself.
TAME., written by Jonelle Walker and directed by Medha Marsten, is first and foremost a feminist perspective. Set in St. Bernard’s parish, Louisiana in 1960, TAME. addresses oppression and conformity in the last century, but resonates with today’s social media politics and culture.
With the character of Cathryn, ‘the shrew,’ at its center, TAME. asks whether we are better off when we are tamed.
Walker began writing TAME. in the summer of 2013 when reproductive rights were particularly under fire and social media was exploding with feminist social justice conversations. “I saw some thinking in those conversations that disturbed me: ‘How can a true woman be pro-life?’ ‘Is Wendy Davis a bad female politician because her husband paid her way through law school?’” As the question ‘of what a woman is’ was being debated by both men and women, Walker began to imagine the “kind of women we expel based on their disappointing some insane gender-based standard.”
She created Cat. A female who chooses not to be sweet. Who chooses to be bold. And chooses to be different. Sure she has a hot temper and a quick tongue, but Cat acts out in ways you might find disturbing, unsavory, and contradictory. Cat, however, is by no means an avatar for the oppression of women. Rather, she is a deeply flawed human who regularly encounters the limitations of gender and identity and responds in human ways.
Through Cat, and the world constructed around her, Walker poses questions of feminine identity and conformity. Why are women afraid to be feared? Why are women afraid to be incongruous with the face they show the world, which is comprised of everything from their Pinterest page to how they advocate for themselves in the job search? With TAME.’s interest in women behaving badly outside of societal norms, this play is a part of the solution.
Join us as we invoke the past to prepare for the future. Adapting a dead white man’s play, Taming of the Shrew, to illuminate a conversation about what is happening, literally, right now.
TAME. is onstage at Gearbox, 1021 7th Street NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC, 20001
Performances are: July 10 at 9:00pm, July 12 at 12:45pm, July 13 at 2:00pm,
July 17 at 9:45pm, July 17 at 9:45pm and July 25 at 8:15pm
Details and tickets or call 866-811-4111.
— Guest written by Blind Pug Arts Collective