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, a 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. There was 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 that 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 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 leader.
The proceeds from the play go to Courage Homes, India, a group in Delhi that is opening a transition home for children rescued from sex slavery. The number of victims here is staggering. In India every day, 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 does not have to face being raped repeatedly every day.
We had 200 people in audience. One person who works in outreach 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 drink more. Traditional revelers consume bhang, a marijuana-like drug that is brewed into yogurt drinks. We decided to forgo tradition since the boss was in town…
Here’s a peek of the fun:
Post-play and post-party and post a few other stresses from the week, I found myself feeling hung-over and tipsy at the same time. Now all that looms is the literary journal for the middle school: I have to cull submissions this week.
But Life is Good.
A few photos for the grandparents….
Eddie showing off his reading skills:
Lala sharing her school work at a parent conference: (Can you tell that it was St. Patrick’s Day?)
And Georgie at his music performance… my dreamy child.