I hope folks in the local part of the galaxy will fill the seats at Live Arts to see Our American Ann Sisters. It’s insightful, provocative, and a hoot. Three long-time collaborators—Doreen Bechtol, Sian Richards, and Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell (and a host of others behind the scenes)—and their guest Kay Ferguson put on a wonderfully engaging examination of the course of womanhood over the past 200 years. As their springboard for a dive with many twists and flips, the start from the lives of sisters Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Mary Tyler Peabody Mann, and Sophia Amelia Peabody Hawthorne (all from the 1800s) and mix those women’s reformist activities with contemporary events and sensibilities to show how far and how little society has progressed.
Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia Peabody. Who? They may not be the easiest names to recognize (it’s true, they’re not quite Marsha, Jan, and Cindy) but these three sisters were a unique and revolutionary force in the world of 19th-century American literature, education, and thought — and they are the basis for Our American Ann Sisters, an original work by the Performers Exchange Project. This world premiere performance is a vaudeville of the mind, a melodrama of social consciousness. As modern-day female artists, the trail-blazing ladies of the Performers Exchange Project have built on both their own experiences of 20th-century pop culture and their curiosity about the lives of the incredible 19th-century Peabody family… their “Ann Sisters.” This intersection serves as a springboard for their vaudevillian fantasia on being a woman, an artist, an intellectual, and an American.
The show is at Live Arts here in Hookville for a few more nights, the last being 19 December 2009. Call about tickets, as it seems to be sold out pretty much several days in advance.
Disclaimer: I do not make anything because of my encouraging attendance, nor do I think my daughter (who works backstage) makes anything because of my posting this note.