TheatreLAB opens ‘The Cellar Series’ tonight with staged reading of Eve Ensler’s ‘the Good Body’
Tonight, TheatreLAB launches The Cellar Series: When the Other Becomes the Self with The Good Body, a three-night-only staged reading directed by Lucinda McDermott and starring Amy Berlin, Deirdre Jones, and Maggie McGurn.
The Good Body is the personal journey of Eve Ensler – author of the wildly popular Vagina Monologues - as the first of four such explorations of the journey from isolation and “otherness” to empathy.
In the reading, which opens tonight, Ensler explores the rest of the female form and the intense pressure on women to find the illusive “perfect” body.
McDermott went on her own journey of learning to “love and embrace this piece.” Originally thinking it “self-indulgent,” she has come to see the bravery in this heartfelt story that “peels back the layers” of our cultural obsession with perfection to share a “raw, honest, and authentic story so close to our hearts.”
Like its more well known counterpart, McDermott called The Good Body “funny, poignant, and meaningful with performances by diverse and brave actresses.”
McDermott hopes it will “inspire others – even with baby steps – to go on the journey of self-acceptance.”
And Katrinah Carol Lewis, Associate Artistic Director for TheatreLAB and the director of The Cellar Series, believes that The Good Body is the perfect foundation for the four one-woman explorations of how we create peace in this world.
“When we see ourselves in other people, we begin to understand that we belong to each other,” writes Katrinah Carol Lewis on TheatreLAB’s website. “We are one organism.”
I sat down with Lewis to talk about her vision for the series.
She shared with me her deep concern for the state of world, particularly in the current political climate, and the need to recognize “how absurd it is that we create an ‘Other’.” Lewis is passionate about the need for empathy and believes that “theatre as a medium helps us be more empathic.”
The Cellar Series explores the “illusion of separation and separateness that impels us to create enemies of others,” she said, with such topics as religion and war, police brutality against Black bodies, and the way in which we “predicate violence against The Other… it’s insane to me.”
My Name is Rachel Corrie (directed by Heather Falks and starring Kaelie James) tells the story of a 23-year old activist American “crushed to death by an Israeli Army Bulldozer in Gaza.” Corrie runs from March 3-11.
Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (directed by Addie Barnhart and starring Katrinah Carol Lewis) takes a retrospective look at the Los Angeles riots. Twilight runs from March 24-April 1 with a special added performance on May 4, 2017 – the 25th anniversary of the Rodney King Riots.
The Cellar Series will conclude with Grounded (directed by Maggie Roop and starring Bianca Bryan) the story of a female fighter pilot whose “career in the sky” is ended with an unexpected pregnancy as she is reassigned to operate military drones. Grounded runs from May 25-June 3.
Tickets are available at TheatreLABrva.org. General admission is $20, RAPT/Senior/Group tickets are $15 and Student tickets are $10.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit Dress for Success, an organization helping to empower, uplift and support women.
Julie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is working on her first novel - Two Tickets to Freedom - a semi-autobiographical queer coming-of-age tale. A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
The Firehouse Theatre hosts a benefit reading of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, for two nights only, March 27 & 28.March 24, 2011
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