Break out your pink pussy hats! Wonder if Gloria Steinam and Florynce Kennedy started this way?
The production of Portraits of Grrrls felt like I walked into a high school guidance counselor’s activity. This should not diminish the discussions, content, importance, and impact this activity has, I’m just not sure this is the venue for this message heavy performance.
Grrrls is the end product of five teenagers who met only ten days ago and explored their feelings and thoughts through various prompts created and facilitated by Brooke Viegut and Jenna Scott, a college duo who are part of the Grrrls with Heart program. The Grrrls program encourages teenage girls express their inner voices through autobiographical exploratory art. The word Grrrls is intentionally spelled the way it is in an effort to take back its supposed derogatory cultural connotations and project a positive compelling reference of a strong independent woman. Apparently, I missed the memo that ‘grrrl’ had become a taboo word.
The introduction by the facilitators should have been 90% shorter by relocating all the background, purpose and details in the playbill to let the performance take center stage. In fact, it was quite disturbing when one facilitator paid a compliment to the other’s list of talents, only to watch her look down and shake her head no in silent reply. Isn’t this part of what this play is about – find your voice and be a strong women?
Portraits of Grrrls
closes July 23, 2017
Details and tickets
The cast (Erin Villaronga, Josie Regan Shaw, Persephone Devaris, Signe St. Sure-Caye, and Laurel Gilbert) were all brave, confident, sincere and thoughtful in their reflective pieces. Themes ranged from inner thoughts, feelings, moods, optimism, nature, friendship, inclusion, and grace. Some of the dance movements were a bit too literal interpretive dance theatre. Two vignettes delivered back to back – “weight” and “inner warrior” – were especially powerful. Grrrls need to know their strength and choose what metaphorical weight they choose to carry around with them every day.
I wondered if my own biases colored my perception of the performance. As a former teenage female jock on a high school male swim team and now raising three teen boys, what do I know about teenage girls? Am I missing something? But then, at some time in the future, my boys will bring home young women to add to our household. I hope they have the confidence and reservoir of talent and deep thought that this group of girls conveyed.
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