Tonight my second play in two years, The Adventures of SadGirl: Superheroine goes up at the West End Theatre in Quincy, CA. I thank the theatre from the bottom and top of my heart for allowing me to put on this show. It’s an independent venture but not at the same time as there’s no way I could have put it on without the help and support of them and others.
But here’s the thing: new plays and new theater are important and need support (whether they be mine or anyone else’s). There are many who are fine with their revivals of Rodgers & Hammerstein productions and nice safe things like that. And while the spectacle of such is always dazzling and a marvel to behold, it’s not new. It’s also a little too comfortable.
As someone who writes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and plays I feel I can jump into this when I say as a writer, there’s no experience quite like writing a play, visualizing what it will look like on a stage and then seeing real live people breathe life into the people that lived in your head for half a year.
I wrote this show and I dedicate this show to two entities. First, my daughter. Because she’s coming of that age when people will start to judge her on her body, her skin tone, the amount of money her parents have or don’t have, and in my mind that means she’ll need tools to combat it all or a real thick skin and a large hand to push people out of the way.
Second, I dedicate this to all my former female students. The ones who come up after class and told me of their lives. How they were the first ones to go to school. How their mothers helped give them eating disorders. How the guys they said no to trashed their names through the mud or stalked them or tried to beat them. How their fathers and stepfathers belittled them to tears. Some had far worse stories than that. How adults never quite listen to what children are really saying. How their bullies get a free pass, especially if there’s a ball in their hands.
Sadly, not much of SadGirl is made up–rather it is remembered–imprinted on the skin of me and all my sisters growing up in America. It is about how we take our escape and show others the way.
I’m humbled by my cast and crew, especially the brave men in the show. I love the democratizing process of theater–the charm and wit and loveliness of each person bringing something to characters that I hadn’t seen yet. In some sense, we all write the play.
I am deeply grateful that a few brave souls will come out tonight for a night of comedy where we laugh at ourselves and our culture and hopefully we walk away thinking of new ways to not just endure and escape but to not need to in the first place.