Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre is set to celebrate and empower women this weekend with its debut: “Grrrlz.”
The 2013-2014 main stage season opener, “Grrrlz,” which opens Thursday, is an amalgamation of monologues and scenes featuring the formation of women. An appropriate choice for a show entirely formed by its director, Paula Barrett.
“We knew we had many strong actresses in the department this year and said, ‘OK, let’s showcase that,’” Barrett said.
“We couldn’t find, or didn’t like, any existing pieces of work.
“I started collecting monologues and books and Googling famous women and the things they read.”
The mashup of scenes and monologues featured in “Grrrlz” varies from traditional Mark Twain to comedic-one acts such as “Promedy.” In total, seven diverse actresses play 22 female characters. This diversity was important to Barrett when putting the show together.
“We give a lot of lip service to diversity, but this is a time when we can show it and act it,” Barrett said. “Women are kind of ruffle-y in every sense of the word.”
This fun, oftentimes eccentric, portrayal of women comes together as a cohesive work with the help of Dafna Baier, owner of Dafmark Dance Studio.
Baier choreographed a pantomime/dance that sheds light on the peculiarities of women from the funny face all women make when putting on mascara, to the painful tweezing, plucking, and shaving women do to be “pretty.”
For Barrett, the heels and dresses worn by women are just stuff.
“There’s a part of women that feels we need to put on make-up and dresses and ‘play sexy,’ even the heels we wear, it’s all just extra,” Barrett said.
Mary Stephens, a sophomore occupational therapy major, said her favorite part of being in the cast is the monologues.
“They show the different things women go through,” Stephens said. “’Grrrlz’ may not have a strict plot line, but its theme makes the show cohesive.”
This theme, the celebration of women, runs a different course than the traditional bra-burning, man-hating shows. “Grrrlz” is a quirky, fun, and comedic portrayal of women’s’ loves, lives, and libido.
“We’re celebrating women’s power, celebrating rights, celebrating creativity, celebrating sensuality and celebrating power,” Barrett said “I’m hoping women will see it as a statement of power.
“I hope it enables, celebrates, and honors women. But I also want men to see there’s more to women.”
The feisty monologues and scenes of the show are laced with quotes from famous women, about women. The added touch sends the message that women understand women, but Barrett said the show is not just for women.
“An understanding of women is not exclusive to women, clearly men sometimes understand us,” Barrett said.
“Grrrlz” will provide audiences with their own comedic understanding of women Thursday – Saturday and Thursday Oct. 10 through Saturday Oct. 12 at 8 p.m., as well as Sunday Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. For tickets and box office information, call 814-871-7494.