Nevertheless, She Persisted takes the pulse of the American landscape before and after the November 2016 election, offering a moving compendium of raw emotion, personal drama, and flickering hope. Director Lauren Hanna and her diverse all-female cast channel a curated assortment of crowdsourced stories that reveal the fraught everyday lives of American women in the aftermath of our latest political earthquake.
The show takes as its title the now infamous quote about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced by male Senate colleagues earlier this year. The four black-clad narrators set out to ask the question: “How do we find meaningful relationships and shape our communities, when every word is a political act?”
On a bare stage, four women from different walks of life read in sequence from a thick volume of personal stories. The audience hears from liberal activists struggling to stay motivated, Muslim women afraid for their safety and freedom, and Hillary supporters recounting excitement, despair, and inspiration to run for office. It’s akin to watching a collective group therapy session for the women and men of America.
Nevertheless, She Persisted
closes July 22, 2017
While the material is powerful, the raw, unfiltered, disconnected narratives can sometimes feel like reading an internet comments section out loud. There’s no consistent rhythm to the stories, although the four narrators do often come together for a more coherent and engaging group reading. The presenters’ delivery can also be halting at times, but it actually helps underscore the production’s very organic, true to life feeling. This dynamic is alive and well during a gut-wrenching story about police violence and American race relations.
The presenters come into their own as the show builds toward its climax and the stories turn toward gritty determination, solidarity, and the fight for the future. Nevertheless She Persisted isn’t particularly complex or polished – just four intrepid women onstage, channeling the inner thoughts of Americans caught up in troubling times.
However, I left the theater more motivated than ever to be positive force in my community and nation, and I heard other patrons say the same. I imagine that was the goal all along.