Collaboration brings ‘7 Deadly Women’ to enthusiastic receptions

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img_2834jpgAmanda Davis

The collaborative effort between Erika Baker and Emma Carter, combined with insights from their cast helped develop a new play, “7 Deadly Women” that comically shines light on stereotypes and expectations women face from conception through adulthood.

The comic play is produced at The Buffalo Room by proprietor an producer, Vi Tran. “7 Deadly Women” presents a series of skits performed by seven local actresses, most with many shows behind them. The skits and language are colorful and very adult-oriented, so leave the kids at home for this one, and be prepared to laugh-a lot.

The seven women who perform this production are: Alisa Lynn, Melissa Fennewal/d, Bonnie Griffin, Sefanie Stevens, Ellyn Calvert, Mackenzie Goodwin-Tran, Carolyn Kern. Other creative members of “7 Deadly Women” are Lacey Pacheck, sound design; Sarah Thorman, stage manager; Props/understudy assistant stage manager.Leah Wilczewski.

“7 Deadly Women” also contained original music, “Self Defense Song” by Teri Quinn, and “Dollhouse” by Melanie Martinez. The “Self Defense Song” particularly set a somber tone as the lyrics brought to the forefront ways a woman can plan and learn to protect herself.

The show is fun for men and women, but more women than men attended the Thrusday night production on Nov. 10. The Buffalo Room’s tables were configured in a way to create a large ringside area for much of the staging to fall within. Most tables were occupied and, for a Thursday night, the audience was full and supportive of the show.

Erika and I are aiming to start a discussion,” Emma Carter said. “We hope men and women will feel both heard and challenged. We want them to feel validated, to know they’re not alone, but also perhaps to view these issues from a different perspective. We hope our audience members continue this conversation with their friends and loved ones.”

“7 Deadly Women” does just that.  It challenges the audience to think and re-think situations from their past.  It encourages them to discuss how they felt and what caused them to  respond in a particular way. Was this innocent flirting or was it an arrogant comment to belittle them?  Is a wolf-whistle a compliment or an aggressive advance?  Men and women may see these differently.  The conversation needs to begin.  That’s part of the message.  When is enough, enough; and when is enough, too much and over the line?

While the skits show off the stereotypical comments to and about women, men are also seen in the show as they try to explain and are also subjected to outside influences that molded their behavior. The show looks at the expectations from both sides of gender bias. Amazingly, both sexes are forced to exist in the boundaries set by outside influences.

Men, for example, are encourage to “buck up,” not cry, ignore feelings, be tough, be strong, be supportive–but not too supportive, be the stronger sex, etc. Women have even more expectations on themselves. They must be smart, but not too smart; caring; comforting; deaf to sexual comments heard; smile; be congenial; be sexy–but not too sexy; be aware; be demure; give in to male ego; and more.

The show, though comedy, makes many serious issues come to light. By the end, the show has moved from fun and games to a deeper and more serious mood. Give lots of credit to the authors who looked at and found ways to approach topics that are generally unveiled in an honest way.

The cast and author worked well together to create this 90-minute one-act. The show moves fast, but the staging is a bit awkward as scenes are changed. The ladies change characters and costumes beside the stage area. They all show great character development and humor. One especially outstanding piece of the show comes from a self-choreographed dance by Stefanie Stevens. Stevens took an idea from an author and brought back a dance that displays her dance background.

All of the women in the cast work as an ensemble and craft a show that is both fun and meaningful. The show is sharp, funny, and nicely timed, relavant, and important for others to see.

Do not miss this show. It runs this weekend at The Buffalo Room. Be sure to make plans to see it. Tickets may be purchased at the door. But seating is limited. Plan ahead. Most importantly, support the work of the actresses and authors who developed this striking piece. All associated with this piece will continue to perform and develop in the Kansas City Metro.

 

Tags:  Theater, Performing Arts, Arts & Entertainment, The Buffalo Room, Westport Flea Market, “7 Deadly Women”, Kansas City, Kansas City Theater

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