Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-01-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PERFORMANCE '9 to 5' in the age of #MeToo: Firebrand runs problematic play
by Karen Topham
2018-04-04

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


This is the era of #MeToo, Time's Up and many other "woke" movements that are changing the zeitgeist of the country, especially where women are concerned. Sexual harassment is no longer tolerated; women are, more and more, speaking up for themselves.

Into this moment in time, Harmony France of Firebrand Theatre ( the company that gave us Lizzie this winter and brands itself as a truly feminist organization ) has chosen for her next project the musical version of 9 to 5, a movie that ( while certainly empowering ) is problematic in its antiquated portrayal of office sexual politics. I asked France what this play brought to the table at this time.

"For me," she said, "it's always been a kind of dated piece. But after the election and the #metoo and Time's Up movements, I find it isn't that dated at all. We haven't come as far as we thought we had."

France said that, as with many other movies and TV shows she enjoyed growing up, there are things in 9 to 5 that she just wasn't aware of at the time. "We're at an age when a lot of questioning is going on. But it's still a base story that everyone can relate to: we've all worked someplace where we've experienced discrimination, especially women and people of color."

Actress Sharriese Hamilton—who plays Doralee, the Dolly Parton character—agreed.

"I remember overhearing when I was bartending a man saying he was aghast because: you're telling me that a guy is going to lose his job because he whistled at a woman at work and there was just a bit of friendly flirting? And I was like, 'Yeah man.' There were some terrible things happening to women, but what [the women in the movie] are doing is a huge step. It WAS a movement for women. It's hard to look at because so much is still the same."

Hamilton said that the most difficult part for her is handling the women-on-women sexism in the show.

"We have to be careful not to victim blame and say that any way of being a woman or being feminine is wrong. What's wrong is pushing others to the outskirts where we don't feel like we have an ally. That's the sad part of Doralee: she's getting it from both sides. It's messed up but it's something that happens."

This is why France is working to downplay the harassment humor of the show.

"The script is what it is, and it's still going to be a comedy, but we're definitely not going to play that up especially with the number of women who face harassment in workplaces all over America. So much is because we have been conditioned to believe we need to compete with one another; it's still rooted in the patriarchy. One of the great things here is that they realize that they don't have to compete and become allies."

Anne Sheridan Smith, who plays Violet in Firebrand's production, also said that France is working to make sure that the experience is uplifting for women.

She said that the show will be "a little bit more layered, a little bit more complex than [audiences expect], and that's exciting. Some audiences will walk in expecting something fun, kitschy, and dated because they love the film and actors, but they might find themselves cringing more than they expected to. In a fun and light-hearted way we are coming at something much more serious than perceptions used to be. We're kind of fed up in society; there is less tolerance for that now."

Hamilton sees that element as well.

"It's a comedy so we're not going to stare at the audience and say 'SHAME, don't laugh at this.' It's the job of comedy sometimes to get people to say, as they are laughing, why are we laughing at this? You reflect on it afterward. We see how far we've come and how far we have to go."

She believes that France's vision is what will keep the play vibrant and funny while at the same time making it even more powerful. "I feel very safe in Harmony's hands. I don't know if I would do it if there was a man directing because he wouldn't get it."

France understands that her "special" cast is counting on her.

"The show already has really great themes of women getting over their differences and working together; we're going to push it along even further. It's going to be a slow burn; change will not come as quickly as we want it to. But with the #metoo movement women are speaking up. I don't think we could be doing a more relevant show at this time."

The production 9 to 5 will be presented by Firebrand Theatre Company at the Den April 7-May 20; visit FirebrandTheatre.org .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Digital lottery, rush tickets for 'Fiddler' 2019-02-02 - Broadway In Chicago announced that there will be a digital lottery and rush tickets for the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, ...


Gay News

New authors take on hard-hitting subjects at Playwrights Festival 2019-01-16 - With this year's crop of student one-acts, Pegasus Theatre Chicago is tackling homophobia, gentrification and other urban ordinariness that carries a political charge ...


Gay News

Fillet of Solo Storytelling Fest, Archy Jamjun, A Boy & A Diva Jan. 18, 25 2019-01-16 - Two-time The Moth GrandSLAM winner Archy Jamjun premieres his debut one man show, A Boy & A Diva, Jan. 18 and 25, as ...


Gay News

'Hedwig' tour in Chicago in 2019 2019-01-16 - John Cameron Mitchell—the Tony-winning, Golden Globe-nominated co-creator of Hedwig & the Angry Inch—will bring his rock spectacle to the United States for the ...


Gay News

Groundbreaking 'I AM... Fest' April 27-29 2019-01-16 - Black Lives, Black Words International Project will launch the I AM… Fest, in partnership with Goodman Theatre. This first-of-its-kind international festival will take ...


Gay News

Johnson/Nash book release party Jan. 31 2019-01-16 - A joint book release celebrating E. Patrick Johnson's Black. Queer. Southern. Women: An Oral History and Jennifer Nash's Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality ...


Gay News

OUT on Stage' Jan. 17 on Dekkoo 2019-01-16 - OUT on Stage: The Series will debut Thursday, Jan. 17, on LGBT subscription-based streaming network Dekkoo. Zach Noe Towers hosts the show, which ...


Gay News

18th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival line-up named 2019-01-16 - SketchFest Executive Producer Jill Valentine announced the official line-up for the 18th Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, taking place through Jan. 20 at ...


Gay News

'Nina Simone' through March 2 2019-01-16 - Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, continues its 2018-19 season with Nina Simone: ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE Kristina Valada-Viars: Out actress discusses lengthy career 2019-01-16 - Out actress Kristina Valada-Viars continues to expand her life in theater. A big part of this is thanks to the Steppenwolf and ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.