Thursday, June 17, 2010
We had a technical rehearsal tonight, which went swimmingly. The actresses (Emily Louise Perkins- dark- and Michelle O'Conner- blonde) are ready, the director (Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum) gave good notes, and I took photos.
The easiest way to get tickets is to show up, or call Ovation (212.352.3101). Theatermania is really confusing.
I've had a note to myself sitting on the coffee table in my living room for the past two weeks, to blog about what inspired this play. Jacob actually asked me the question a few weeks ago, and I gave him an incorrect answer. I said it was too much St. Paul in church for too many years (a Bible scribe not known for his great love of women).
But there are two other elements. One is a feast day now called the Feast of the Presentation (aka Candlemass, aka the Feast of the Circumcision) February 2nd) and something I read in a local paper. I sang in the quartet at my church on the Feast of the Presentation last February. The Hebrew Bible reading for that day is an endless section of Leviticus about the proper mikvah practices for the young mother, be it of a boy or girl. I also remember asking my mother about the Christian equivalent of that, the Churching of Women (yet again reminding me how much Christians stole from the Jews). It's a set of prayers said over a mother after a birth, before she's allowed back into church. But it's not "gee, we're really glad you didn't die in childbirth" prayers. It's more "you're unclean, and need to be purified." When I was born, the priests couldn't have cared less. But they were quite interested in making her submit to this when my brothers were born. And she rightly said, "No. There's nothing dirty about having a baby."
What really set me off was this: when I first moved to Brooklyn, I was looking for activities for us to do on weekends. And in one local paper or another, I came across an article for a Williamsburg walking tour (I've spent very little time there, though Tom used to work in Greenpoint). But when I got to the end of article, it said that because so many Hasids live in the neighborhood, this is how women should dress for the walk: no exposed arms, or legs. And it just made me crazy. It's New York City, in the 21 century, and I need to cover my elbows and knees? WTF?
I have been called a feminist playwright (which is totally bizarre to me). I only think about parity. And don't like having to defend it.
But I remember, when I worked at St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, one of my work/study students (I, too, was a work/study student in college) said to me, "My pastor said we may not show our arms above the wrist, and our skirts must be mid-calf." What I wanted to say (and did not) was: never, ever let a man tell you what you must do.