Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fighting For Femininity - The Strawberry One-Act Festival Tackles Real Crisis Siituations

By Olivia Mozée

The Relay For Life used to be a huge event in my town. When I was in elementary school, my friends and I went to the school track for the event. We’d play carnival games to win stuffed animals, pretend to be astronauts in the bounce house, and eat a lot of candy. One year, the event featured a karaoke machine, and my friend and I got up the courage to sing Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” I’m sure our rendition was just as good as– if not better than– the original song. 

            As we paid dollar after dollar of our parents’s money, it never really clicked that the money
we spent was actually being used for a viable cause: Cancer research. Back then, though, we thought the Relay was all about the stuffed puppies and the sugar rush. Being older and wiser, I now realize that the Relay For Life is for people like Susan, a character in Joseph Lizardi’s play SAME TIME, SAME BENCH. Susan’s battle with breast cancer left her no choice but to get a double mastectomy, a fact that she is mildly ashamed about. 

            Perhaps Susan could look to Angelina Jolie for inspiration. After discovering she had a high risk for breast cancer, Jolie took a leap and opted for a double mastectomy. This, of course, was incalculably courageous considering Jolie’s place in the spotlight.      

Though Susan’s procedure may have been a much more quiet and less talked-about decision, the fact remains that a perceived loss of femininity must have affected her psyche, and perhaps damaged her sense of self. When Jolie first talked about her surgery in her New York Times op-ed article, she claimed that she had “made a strong choice that in no way diminishes [her] femininity.” However, backlash was drawn from the less-than-sympathetic public was vicious and vile. “How can you call yourself a woman?” cried an internet commenter on her article. “You have given up your feminine beauty!” I’m going to be honest here: Reading these sorts of comments make me lose faith in the human race, and I am currently considering moving to a colony on Mars. I’m fairly certain that aliens will be more open-minded than these people. 

            Femininity and womanhood do not hinge on body parts or even biology. What we refer to as “feminine” depends on our self-expression as well as how we personally perceive femininity; womanhood fits into this description as well. To tell someone how to categorize their own body and personality is a logical fallacy in and of itself; how do you justify trying to define someone who is only defined by their own terms? Answer: You just don’t.

            Have you ever gotten a double mastectomy or known anyone who has had to get one? How do you feel about people who see the procedure as a loss of femininity? Comment below!

            SAME TIME, SAME BENCH, part of Series F of the Strawberry One-Act Festival, will be performed on August 9th (Sunday) at 3 PM and August 11th (Tuesday) at 9 PM at the Tato Laviera Theatre, 240 East 123rd Street, NYC, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Tickets can be purchased on www.therianttheatre.com.

Series F:  August 9th (Sun) at 3pm & August 11th (Tues) at 9pm
Art is fragile:  A gallery-goer and a might-be artist have a těte-ă-těte.

FUTURE FAGS OF AMERICA Written & Directed By Jack Wernick
Right-wing housewife squares off against LGBT activist in this homotopian satire.

Desire and trust could make the difference when living on the edge of hope and despair.

Charlie must venture through the game that is life in order to save his dearly beloved, Valarie.  He must face dragons, monsters and enemies; will he make it?  Who knows?  You’re guaranteed a thrilling show.