Friday, February 10, 2006
Uncommon Women and Others - Wendy Wasserstein (January/06)
It is with great saddness that I start this post with a note that Wendy Wasserstein passed away from cancer a couple weeks ago. :(
This is a play, for those that are unfamiliar with the title, I have been reading a few plays here and there to broaden my horizons. This play came out in 1977 originally. The author, Wasserstein, wrote this play while a student at the Yale School of Drama. It is a portrait of the aspirations of 8 undergraduate woman at Mount Holyoke College in the early 1970s. The girls have come together in 1978 to look back on their college years together. Not all the girls are present, some of them are off having advenutures, but the majority of the central characters are there. Six to be exact. Most of the action in the play takes place in the past. It takes place during a period in time where women were battling for their rights in the US. The point of this play seems to be women thinking that they are "uncommon" and planing how their future is going to be. It was a time when women were forced to repress their creativity, their identity all to fit in. In 1978, the women have grown into successful but troubled adults, still living out the desire for freedom and self-determination that was instilled in them and thwarted by their "uncommon" education.
The play may not seem shocking to people today, but when it was performed it was quite unheard of. One of the teachers of the girls school is a lesbian, and she goes on about being a proper girl while she is breaking the rules of properness, in a manner of speaking. This play was actually the first of a trilogy on the feminist movement, I plan to read the later plays in the future.
In the play, there is Kate who is studying to be a lawyer. In the future meeting she is the only girl that has a job that was not "common" to women. Rita refuses to live in the present, she sees things only in means of the future. The other girls are generally just women who are educated but intimiated by what that means, even after they are in their future. The point of this play, to me, was that it is hard to be an "uncommon" woman because men are intimitated by a woman that is more successful than them. Kate, out of the girls at the restaurant, seems to be the only one that remained "uncommon".
Even though a play is meant to be acted, it was a good read.