Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem, Winter Miller and Mandy Siegfried on the set of "The Penetration Play" in the Mint Theater space last night

It was supposed to be an evening of theatre. It was, but it ended with much more.

Winter Miller's "The Penetration Play," was the second play produced by the new collective, 13P (Thirteen Playwrights). Last night there was the promise of a "conversation" following the play, which was something like a feminist/queer drawing-room comedy. It was a promise very much fulfilled when Gloria Steinem, who had been sitting behind me for an hour and a half, walked onto the set and sat down with the producer, the young playwright and the three women actors. In a big change from the usual routine of these events, the audience was not solicited for input; as it turned out, the conversation was sufficiently animated without us.

I adore Steinem (incidently, at 70, she's still one of the most beautiful women alive). Last night she totally dominated a stage which had been created and made real by five other people sitting with her (in one sense of course without her pioneering feminism its scenario might have been unimaginable today).

In just the few minutes reserved for discussion the author of "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions" captivated her audience with half a dozen observations seemingly as original as they were sensible.

Everything she said was related to Miller's play, and my favorite thought, regardless of how hoary its history might be, seemed to leave her lips as the inspiration of the moment. She was speaking about the decisions women (I would include men as well) make about the conflicting claims of independence and family. She lamented that so many women still err in giving birth to children before giving birth to themselves. The results can be disastrous for everybody.

[ref. the scale of the photo image, hey, it's a small theatre; I was in the front row with my feet touching a stage raised only six inches above the floor]

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Published on December 7, 2004 6:50 PM.

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