I’ve been telling people all summer about this show I’m in, opening Thursday, called "Talking With …"
Yes, that’s the title. I thought the earlier I got the word out about this one, the better; most people haven’t heard of it, and it’s the summer, i.e. less people are in town. After mentioning the name of the show, the response is typically, “What’s it about?”
"Well, it’s a show about 11 women and their unique stories."
Half the time, they immediately shut down. I'm not joking. Mostly men do this — surprise. I actually had one guy say to me, “Yeah, I think I’ll be skipping that one.” The women are always really receptive. Again — surprise.
Obviously, this isn’t shocking. It's not weird that a man doesn’t want to see a female-heavy production of anything. Isn’t there some stereotype where men hate chick flicks and women hate action movies ... ?
Here’s the deal: I think this is ridiculous. I understand that a guy might not want to go see something like "The Vagina Monologues," because the subject matter just doesn’t interest them, but I’d still argue that they should see that play, at least once in their life. They could learn something, and that can only benefit everyone.
The same goes for this play, and after the recent campaigns about raising awareness of women’s issues, I’d say most people should be pretty open to the idea. Twitter's #yesallwomen movement had women all over the world writing about their experiences with misogyny and violence. The Women Against Feminism photos have been circulating Facebook, leading some to question how many women today know why feminism began in the first place and what it really means. With the recent, highly publicized rape cases in the U.S. and India and the shooting in Santa Barbara, this production is the epitome of relevant.
Do you ever hear a woman say, “I’m not going to see "Twelve Angry Men," because that’s a guy show?” No. Because it’s still relevant art that we can all learn something from. Also, anything those characters say could be said by a woman (maybe not in that time period, but that’s beside the point.)
This show is the same way — anything these women say could be said by a man (except the woman who's giving birth, duh). Many of their feelings are no different. I’m not saying they’re exactly the same either, but we’re all different here. The audience can learn something from the emotions and issues each of the 11 women face in "Talking With…" All of them come from different backgrounds and are different ages with different life experience.
I can’t think of a better way to try to understand the world than through the eyes of others. Here’s your chance to do that.
The Players Theatre of Sarasota
Aug. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m.