Tonight, we're screening UMOJA: NO MEN ALLOWED by Bosnian-Croatian-Aussie journalist and filmmaker Elizabeth Tadic, followed by a special staged reading of 9 PARTS OF DESIRE by Heather Raffo, featuring a multi-ethnic ensemble of four women (and one man).
I originally thought of the program as something to mark Women's History Month. But with the right-wing Republican attacks on women lately, this program has an added significance.
Tadic's film has a sense of humor and exuberance, for a topic that in other hands could be an angry feminist tearjerker. Rebecca Lolosoli, a Sembaru woman from Kenya, begins to speak up on behalf of other tribal women who had been raped by British soldiers stationed at a nearby military base. When she is beaten by her husband, she persuades other women to found an all-women village, which prospers with money made from selling intricate beadwork to tourists, incurring the jealousy of the men of the village, who decide to set up a competing village downstream.
Raffo's work also has a sense of humor but what I was struck with after hearing the text read aloud last night at rehearsal for the first time in over five years, is how utterly beautiful it is. I think it is one of the most ravishingly poetic pieces of contemporary writing that I've ever encountered - and it's political astuteness is astonishing. If you don't know the play, prepare to be blown away by the writing.
Hope to see you tonight at Take Two! It's a pretty great program if I do say so myself.
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