March being the month that celebrates both women and theater, the Works by Women San Francisco team hosted our fifth Meetup event at Theatre Rhinoceros’s Bay Area premiere of Shirlene Holmes’ A Lady and A Woman (running March 7-24 at the Eureka Theatre).
The play is about hope, devotion and the gifts awarded to the bold and true of heart. African-American playwright Holmes’ critically-acclaimed love story recounts the courage of African-American women in the late 19th century using folklore and interlocking themes of spirituality and sexuality in the setting of a small southern town to tell the story of two women who find in each other the courage to begin a new life.
Holmes’s play is set in the 1890s and has been lauded for not just being ahead of its time, but also for its celebration of compassion, spirituality , friendship and love between two women. The lead actresses who portray the two titular women, Biddie (Dawn L Troupe) and Miss Flora (Velina Brown) are Bay Area favorites as well as members of Actors’ Equity Association.
In the book Amazon All-Stars: Thirteen Lesbian Plays, in the introduction to A Lady and A Woman, Willa J Taylor lauds Holmes for her courage and writes: “Focusing on the blossoming relationship between a butch and a femme, Holmes’ play melds the southern folklore of early Black theater with the exploration of sexual roles, desires and discovery that so often informs queer and lesbian theater. For a new generation of Black lesbians whose only media images are straight actors playing gay, this is a piece to be admired for its honesty. For an older generation accustomed to looking at ourselves in the images of others, it is a play to be cherished. For anyone interested in good drama, it is a play to be treasured and performed”.
Theatre Rhino’s 2012-13 season is celebrating “thirty-five years of theatre! Please join us for an exciting new season of provocative, entertaining LGBT plays.” For more on the season and the plays, visit Theatre Rhino.
Please enjoy this short video of the playwright talking about the play:
If you were part of the Meetup group, do share your feedback with us in the comments. If you’d like to share some suggestions on the meetup, we welcome that as well.
Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you at our April Meetup – Symmetry Theatre’s production of Julia Cho’s The Language Archives on Sunday, April 21 at 2pm in the Berkeley City Club.