The play I’ve been working on for the last six weeks staged last night. It was joyful to see the actresses performing as though there was nothing more natural than to act; and satisfying to see the audience responsive to the lighter moments, achingly silent during the painful ones.
They listened to the voices of:
- Anabella De Leon, a human rights activist and congresswoman from Guatemala;
- Mukhtar Mai, who was brutally gang raped in her village and survived to find the strength to bring her rapists to justice and to open schools and educate women in Pakistan;
- Hafsat Abiola, an advocate for human rights, leadership for women and democracy in Nigeria;
- Inez McCormack, leader in the fight for social justice and fair labor practices in Ireland;
- Maria Pisklakova-Parker, a crisis counselor and tireless voice for domestic abuse victims in Russia;
- Farida Aziz, working to emancipate women in Afghanistan and to bring peace to her country;
- Mu Sochua, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on an international agreement to stop sex trafficking in Southeast Asia. She is now a leading member of parliament for the opposition party in Cambodia.
The cast was as diverse as the roles they portrayed: Meena from India, Alya from Pakistan, Serke from Ethiopia, Ulrika from Sweden, Lou from England, and Deana and Alicia from the United States.
SEVEN would never have made it to stage without Patricia, the director-extraordinaire. When I met her on the sidelines of our sons’ baseball game and discovered she was involved in theatre, I knew I had found someone who could bring SEVEN from script to stage.
For the actors, it was a journey within themselves as well as a journey through the lives of the characters they portrayed. Patricia was brilliant at helping the women identify with the tensions and resolutions that forge the path of a life. She knew the dynamics of staging and lighting and pacing; how not to panic and how to trust that all would come together. She was an inspiring guide on this journey.
The proceeds from the play go to Courage Homes India, a non-profit group in Delhi that is opening a transition home for children rescued from sex slavery. The number of victims here is staggering. Every day in India, 200 girls are sold into prostitution. The co-director of Courage Homes and a human rights lawyer with Justice Ventures International spoke with the audience after the show. They reminded us that each successfully rescued girl no longer faces being raped repeatedly every day.
We had 200 people in audience. One person who works for a foundation told me that after seeing SEVEN he was rethinking the proportion of resources and money that his organization allocates to sex trafficking in India.
The voices of Seven are not easily denied…
I don’t have official pictures from the performance yet, but here’s a shot of the cast, relieved and happy and celebrating:
And me talking on stage at the end of the play:
The morning after the play, we hosted a Holi party. Holi is an exuberant celebration of all that is good. It is customary to throw colorful powder on friends and strangers – have friendly water-gun wars – drink, eat and share in community. Traditional revelers consume bhang, a marijuana-like drug that is brewed into yogurt drinks. We decided to forgo this tradition!
Here’s a peek of the fun:
Post-play and post-Holi, I found myself feeling hung-over from the excitement of the week. But all is quiet now, and I can focus on culling submissions for the middle school literary journal.
A few photos for the grandparents….
Eddie showing off his reading skills:
Lala sharing her school work at a parent conference:
And Georgie at his music performance… my dreamy child.