Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"IF YOU CAN STAND THE HEAT" returns to New Jersey

GuerrillaGirls On Tour performed "If You Can Stand the Heat: The History of Womenand Food" at Monmouth University on Monday, February 5, 2018. Here are reactions from Ada Lovelace, Anne Sexton and Audre Lorde.

Guerrilla Girls On Tour: Audre, Ada and Anne 
February 2018

Dear Diary,

It was almost like a dream to be honest. I found myself exhausted on our way up to the university so I slept in the car and missed the majority of the trip to the school. However, when I finally woke up and took the time to look around I felt like we were in “The Notebook”. The wind was strong, like it was welcoming us into it and the grass was incredibly green and there were geese roaming on the front lawn! This beautiful sight set the tone for the rest of the day for me. 

We were told we would be performing for students and I immediately got nervous. What if they were being forced to come see us? What if they are "too cool" to participate in the audience participation!?! WHAT IF THEY ARE ON THEIR PHONESTHE WHOLE TIME!!! I started to panic a bit and had to decide whether or not to share my worries with my fellow Guerrilla Girls On Tour. Just when I was about to share, Anne turned to me excited. She said she loved performing for younger people because she felt like it was more of a challenge. She liked to see the reluctance fall from their face as we made sure they were enjoying themselves. My Goddess, she might be a genius. She was absolutely right. I think Ada might have been having similar thoughts as I was because we both perked up after Anne shared her view on the matter. The three of us silently agreed to MAKE these children love us no matter what it took. 

Turns out it didn't take much! The audience was dispersed pretty far back in the theatre which I thought made it all the more fun! We really got to yell at them and for them to join us with full energy and excitement. We even managed to get two audience members to come up on stage to help knead bread with Julia Child - a young man named Michael was just so excited he came running right on stage even though one young woman had already volunteered! I can say with certainty that performing at Monmouth University (especially portraying the magnificent Edna Lewis) is in my top 5 favorite performances. The crew was incredibly gentle and kind; the audience was engaged; we were snacking on DELICIOUS food; and our view was to die for. I hope to be invited back soon, if only to catch another glimpse of their gorgeous geese greeting us in the morning. 

Until next time, 

Laura Keene, our fearless SM! 
Dearest Diary,

Today I went to Monmouth university. My first impressions were: Wow, this is the middle of nowhere. (Which was nice for this city gorilla to be able to get out and stretch her legs in some fresh air). Also, there were geese. Gaggles and gaggles of them! I wanted to get out of the van and play but Anne Sexton said that was probably not the best idea. Oh well, one day I shall live my dream of frolicking with the wild life!

We set up our show in a timely manner. Until our equipment restarted and we had to redo every last sound cue over again in record time. We hold the Guerrilla World Record in theatre tech time. GO US! Everyone there was so nice, and very helpful! Someone had the bright idea to use the cold outside as a place to store the cool whip. Genius. Pure Genius.

The students at Monmouth were very quiet and they liked to sit way in the back! I was worried that they aren’t getting enough to eat because their food diaries (forms they all filled out of what they ate and drank that day) were like “Chocolate, coffee, water.” That’s it! It hurt my heart. FEED YOURSELVES MONMOUTH!!!!!! I had TWO volunteers for my bread kneading demonstration! One of them just popped right up on stage! Delightful! MFK Fisher’s dough was extra sticky so Anne Sexton had clumps of dough falling off her hands all through the show. Of course, we had a good laugh about it later (over dinner, naturally).

T’was another fond GGOT adventure! Now on to THE NEXT!

Peaches and Cream,
Ada Lovelace

Rehearsing at Monmouth

Dearest Diary,

Hey, hey, whaddya say?  Monmouth University, you’re OK!  On Monday, the other GGOTs and myself took off to Long Branch, NJ.  We crossed the NJ state line on a mission to teach some young adults the history of women and food.  (And fling some bread dough along the way.) The staff on campus and in the Pollack theatre were such dolls - I thoroughly enjoyed getting the show teched and wondering what the delightful stage manager's initials "MJ" stood for.  (I later decided it must be Magic Journeyman).

There is an abundance of audience participation in our show, and when all the students wrote down everything they had eaten that day, it was quite shocking. You couldn't even form a haiku with such a limited list.  Coffee and water are NOT calories, people!  We must remember to nourish our bodies as well as our minds, dear ones.  

Speaking of quite shocking - a high point in the show for me was making bread with the saucy Julia Child. My dough was a utter sticky mess, and it was stuck between my fingers and under my fingernails as I flung it about with wild abandon. If you haven't tried throwing dough around, I highly recommend it as a stress relieving technique.

All in all, the Monmouth Hawks and Hawkettes were a splendid audience. Throughout history, women of every age and ethnic background have helped shape history through food - be it the civil rights movement, women's suffrage (my character MFK Fisher had a struggle to even dine alone in a nice restaurant as a woman in the 1930's, image that!) and chefs and food personalities such as Julia Child that had to cut into the fabric of the norm to make a name for themselves in the male-dominated chef biz.  I hope that we inspired the young women and men from Monmouth University to host a food drive or get cookin' with some activism of their own!  Anything is possible!

Thank you again, Monmouth.  See you soon.


Anne Sexton