About twenty years ago, I'd had enough.
Enough of being an out-of-work actress sitting around with other out-of-work actresses, kvetching about how, once we visibly hit 25, no one seemed to think we were important to the stories they wanted to tell.
Enough of seeing plays about Toronto, one of the most diverse and progressive cities in the world, foregrounding only actors who were straight and white and mostly male.
Enough of murdered and assaulted women, and of events like the Bernardo trial where every ugly stupid myth about women, sexuality, and power seemed to be at the service of a couple of predators (one male, one female).
Enough of young women's sexual power over men being the only kind that they were ever supposed to explore, admire, or even depict.
So I wrote a play where eight very different women played out many different aspects of power, in their relationships with each other and with (offstage, for a change) men. I wanted to write women I knew, and women I hadn't seen before. I wanted to let us be fully human... which includes being mad, bad, and dangerous to know. I wanted to acknowledge that sometimes we are powerless, but that victimhood is circumstantial, not essential. I wanted this story to be about women and also about/for everybody... the way men's stories were supposed to be about men but also for me.
Writing made me feel small, but at long last not powerless. The play I wrote was very far from perfect, but it was – in some ways – enough.
That's why I am always particularly moved when this piece is taken up by young women creators. From Sarah Szloboda of Vancouver's Terminal Theatre to Annie Valentina of Halifax's Walking Tall Theatre Collective, they have seen past its first-play flaws to its authentic heart: they have approached its thematic and narrative ambition as something to be celebrated, and found that this multi-layered story touched something of continuing relevance to their lives.
Tonight, Amanda Lin of Kingston's 5th Company Lane opens her production. I've had a chance to briefly meet this passionate young woman, and I can see how much love, hope, and creativity is being poured into this project by the whole artistic team. Amanda, to you and your company – as to everyone who breathes further life into my life's work in the theatre – I send all my best wishes, all my strength, and all my gratitude.