Friday September 26 – 7 PM
357 West 36th Street NYC, 3rd Floor
Performed by Elizabeth Hess, Talkback after the performance moderated by Karen Hilbe
A Performance in Pre-Production
What Are We Doing to Our Men?
An Exploration of Men’s Attitudes
and Gender-Based Violence
SPOILED: A theatrical exploration of masculine self-image and its connection to violence against women (VAW) in India and the USA.
Project in Development:
What’s up with men these days? In India and the US, the world’s largest democracies, recent acts of violence against women have catapulted onto the front pages of newspapers, exploded the blogosphere, brought middle-class women face to face with water cannons, and moved to the center stage of national legislatures.
In India, everyday harassment and discrimination continue, and the fear of rape is unabated. In the US, servicewomen in the military and women on college campuses are struggling with suitable responses to the gender-based violence pervasive in those environments. The popularity of video and on-line games with explicitly misogynistic themes shows no sign of waning and now real gun violence and mass murders explicitly targeting women are starting to appear.
How has this come about? These are our sons, our brothers, our fathers. How have they come to see women as the enemy? And how are we all involved in creating cultures where such harmful mindsets thrive?
Our project addresses VAW but, unlike many recent dramatizations, does not focus on the victims. We go beyond that to ask: what is happening to the men in these countries? What is this distorted projection of masculinity? How has it come about? Why has extreme violence against women become so embedded in the male psyche? Our dramatization is empathetic, honest, and thought provoking.
We feel it is important to explore the male experience behind this phenomenon; as women, we want to pause the ‘echo chamber’ of women’s discussions, to dramatize not just the women’s perspective, but to explore the male experience behind this violence.
A collaboration between Elizabeth Hess, playwright and actor (New York, NY), and Elizabeth Scott Osborne, lawyer and international development specialist (New Delhi, India & New York, NY).
Status and Timeline:
Project planning and research completed by August 2014, playwriting and rehearsals September – November 2014.
End Product: SPOILED?
A one-woman play – with a little outside support – exploring men who commit VAW in India and the US. The stories center first on men and women in modern India and then shift to vignettes from the US, exploring how each culture provokes its own unique manifestations of violence. This is an extremely timely issue that demands exploration on the stage.