This post is part of a series for our Her Side of the Story encounter, May 13-14 2016 located at the National Theatre School of Canada. We invited theatre artists from across Canada to reflect on how their work in theatre is influenced by their perspective as women. Are they conscious of promoting a “feminine perspective” or is it something that is intuitive? Imago Theatre would like to thank all of the artists who responded to our questions for their thoughtful, insightful responses. We will be sharing these responses on our blog for the first two weeks of May. We will also be creating a publication of selected quotes, which will be available for free at the Her Side of the Story readings, long-table discussion, and cabaret.
What is a “feminine perspective?” on the stage? With a welcome seismic social shift away from the traditional gender binary, this question is problematic. Whatever is perceived as “feminine” is generally socially constructed; pink for girls, blue for boys, heels, skirts and makeup for women, flats, trousers and no makeup for men; men as leaders, women as followers. Men as seducers, women as the seduced. Or merely token, humourous reversals of these expectations. Therefore, because the plays are usually chosen by men, the play with a “feminine perspective” is usually a fictional, aiming to please and to titillate, version of what is is to be female. Certainly most of the theatrical canon is made up of male playwrights, and most of the artistic directors in this country are male, and a majority of the contemporary plays produced are by men. Of course we need to hear from women! We need to hear from angry, truth telling, fearless female poets of the stage, we need to hear from communities of women who are not heard or seen, we need to understand the experience of being a woman in a misogynist society, whether that woman is part of the dominant culture or part of an oppressed community. We need to encourage and support young female playwrights, help them to be unafraid of viscious critical responses to their truth-telling. We need to persuade them that even though they will not make a living from writing plays, that to penetrate the collective mind of their audience is not only worthy, it is an act of revolution. We change the world by aiming at the emotional core of human beings. Oh yes. We need. The world needs. History needs to see our words, our songs, our strong bodies and our blood on the stage.