Girls, Girls! You’re Both Pretty! – Arianne On Women Warriors

 

arianne-jacques_3I cannot, for the life of me, remember the last time I chose to participate in an activity that was ‘ladies-only’. Frankly, the idea is terrifying.When Scott first mentioned this plan to me, I wanted to object. My mind went straight to flashbacks of middle school girls, and I envisioned a dogpile of screaming girls scratching and pulling each others’ hair out over who would get the cutest boots. I worried that someone might be mean to me if they thought I was prettier than them; the next second I worried that someone might be prettier than me! I thought all of these catty things, and then I had an epiphany:

Just think of all the amazing roles in this play, I told myself, all of the badass, cunning, multi-layered, fully-formed, interesting characters that Shakespeare usually reserves for men! I could play Cassius…this could be my one and only chance to play Cassius! 

 
Oh. Em. Gee!!!
 
So, for once, I kept my damn mouth shut.

I started this process with a gung-ho attitude for selfish reasons, it’s true. But as we have worked and sweated, bonded and giggled, laughed and cried, I have developed a completely different kind of enthusiasm for this show.

It has been really fun to watch (and feel) the transformation of this cast. It was obvious at the beginning that I was not the only one suffering from MGPTSD (mean girl post traumatic stress disorder), but everyone let their shields down and came in with open minds, and because of that we have had an amazing journey so far. We went from thinking that “tough”, “steely”, and “rugged” were only masculine terms that meant puffing chests and squaring jaws to finding those qualities as women. Finding our power, our danger, our camaraderie… as women.

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Turning this notoriously masculine play on its ear like this has been so much fun, and very rewarding. At times I completely forget that we’re an all female cast, other times it’s all I can think about.

Always, I am fascinated by the work being done by my colleagues. We got lucky. We got really, really lucky with this group.

I still think it could have gone horribly wrong, but I have learned over the years not to doubt Scott’s genius.

Not out loud, anyway.

Arianne Jacques
Cassius in Julius Caesar