|Gloria (Charity Jones) with Dorothy
Pitman-Hughes (Jamila Joiner)
(photo by Rick Spaulding)
Risa Brainin directs this all-female cast that feels like a group of sisters telling their stories, supporting each other. With the trademark hair and glasses, #TCTheater favorite Charity Jones embodies the icon and the woman that is Gloria Steinem. She's so disarming and personable as she speaks directly to the audience, also conveying Gloria's struggles and humanity in the challenges of her life. Charity is surrounded by a terrific ensemble of diverse women (Cathleen Fuller, Dana Lee Thompson, George Keller, Jamila Joiner, Katie Bradley, and Lolly Foy) who aid in the narration and play all of the characters in Gloria's story. They also sing a little, and the a capella "We Shall Overcome" was the most poignant moment in the show for me, as many women around me, who were there in the early days of the fight, joined in unprompted.
|ensemble members Katie Bradley, Dana Lee Thompson, and
George Keller (photo by Rick Spaulding)
Gloria: A Life feels like a special event at this moment in history. On opening night, my congressperson Betty McCollum introduced the play, and the special guests of the talking circle (different at each performance) were Minnesota feminists and representatives of ERA MN Rosemary Rocco and Betty Folliard. The audience was filled with women (and men) who lived this history, and young people learning about it for the first time. On the one hand it's a little depressing to recognize that we're living in one of the backlash times, but also hopeful because it feels like we're on the cusp of further progress. How can we not be with all these smart, talented, amazing women working together?!
Gloria: A Life continues through October 20 at the History Theatre in downtown St. Paul.