We were thrilled to be joined at this matinee performance by The Twentieth Century Club of Buffalo (TCC), as well as director Ludovica Villar-Hauser and playwright Laura Pedersen, a native Buffalonian herself! "The Twentieth Century Club of Buffalo is considered to be one of the oldest and most historic private women’s clubs in the United States.”
After the performance there was talkback on the topic The Changing Role of Women in Society. Though this was the focus of the talkback, the conversation also touched how the role of religion has changed in society.
The women of Century Club were thrilled to see themselves in Ms. Pedersen’s characters:
“You just presented my life to me!”
“I think I’m a cross between the mom and the daughter.
We are who we are and we are God-given.”
Audience members from all different types of backgrounds — Irish like the Kilgannons, Italian, Polish — talked about religion and how it affected their childhood and in many cases defined it. Ms. Pedersen even joked that in her school “If you broke a leg in gym, they told you to offer it up!” She went on to say that "It would be easy to sit up here and poke fun at everything the church does wrong. But what we were really trying to do is show how the parents were raised in a specific time and really wanted what was best for their kids… the world suddenly changed, the rug was kind of pulled out from under them, and it put them in a very difficult spot.”
As times change, so do the values of society. In many cases, these changes are beneficial. For example, one audience member pointed out that when she was growing up if a woman was pregnant “you couldn’t use the word pregnant. You had to say ‘She’s in that way.’” Women could be fired for being pregnant. Having a career and being a mother simultaneously was practically impossible. As a woman “You didn’t have choices back then,” stated Ms. Pedersen. During the conversation, a consensus was reached — the role of women in society has changed greatly, but we still have a long way to go!
Director Ludovica Villar-Hauser shared “Women get less than 20% of the paying jobs in theater. We have an entirely female design team which we are very proud about!” Ms. Villar-Hauser also encouraged the audience members to become acquainted with Works by Women (www.worksbywomen.org), an advocacy organization geared towards gender parity in theatre.
As the talkback came to a close, the 20th Century Club women asked when The Brightness of Heaven would be coming to Buffalo. Ms. Villar-Hauser and Ms. Pedersen shared emphatically that “we would love to go to Buffalo!” Perhaps that is in the future for The Brightness of Heaven!
The Brightness of Heaven by Laura Pedersen is playing at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre until December 14th, 2014. Don’t miss your chance to see the show and join the conversation!
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