Today I wrote this paragraph:
Hero is the story of how, historically, women’s voices have not been heard; not been listened to. The voices of men with more power have drowned them out. But it seems that we are finally seeing a change – finally in 2017 there was a shift. The world didn’t shift after the Cosby allegations but it did cause a fissure, which turned into a massive crack with the Weinstein allegations and #MeToo campaign. WHY? Well, there are probably quite a few reasons but I think 1 of them is definitely because women came together in numbers, BIG NUMBERS. Only then were they heard. So, would it be true to say that it took 80 women to equal the voice of 1 man… perhaps. Before 2017 there was little difference between the present and the past – little progress/ momentum. 2017 marked a change… maybe we’re getting closer to 1 woman equals the voice of 1 man? We’re certainly not there yet though.
This is what Hero is about. And what a bloody great thing to write a musical about! Hearing and not being heard. Voices and silence. The power created when our voices come together.
We just have to remember that that’s what we’re writing about!!! ***REMEMBER THIS SHIREEN!!*** That’s what we’ve always and always been writing about! It’s just that lately we’ve been a bit caught up in other stuff – stuff that really isn’t important. So I’m hoping that writing this paragraph can mark a change for us too (or spark a memory of the past), and help us focus in and block out the static.
What else have I been doing? Well I’ve been reading some August Wilson because they’re set in the right time and place:
And Monday next week I’m going to see Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Royal Court.
I haven’t read the play so I don’t know THAT much about it but I do know that it was written in the early 80s and is about power, sex, sexual assault and gender. This is the right thing for me to be watching right now.
I’m also going to go see Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 at the Gate.
But I’m not sure how relevant this will be to Hero. Initally I thought – OH YES, VERY RELEVANT – but now I’m a bit like, maybe not so relevant…. though probably a great piece of theatre that I’m gonna be happy I went to see.
Hero is a show with only Black characters in it but I’m not sure that it’s about race at all really. And I’m cool with that. I think our default is to write characters who are of the same race as we are. But why? I think it’s mainly because we don’t release that it’s a choice. When writing a musical/play everything is a choice. What’s the structure going to be like? What genre are you writing in? What age are the characters? What class? What gender? What sexuality? And what race. And it’s fine (and GREAT) to have only women in a show and have it be about gender but it’s also fine (and GREAT) for that same all female cast to be in a show with nothing to do with gender. And it’s fine (and GREAT) to have only queer people in a show and have the show be completely about sexuality or not about sexuality at all. Why not? There is no reason why not. I reckon make the choices you feel are right for the narrative and don’t be afraid to step outside of who you are. We’re artists – creators – remember.