Our fourth play this season is What Every Girl Should Know by Monica Byrne. Salt and Sage’s production will also be the fourth production of this show (ever) about the lives of four underprivileged girls who adopt Margaret Sanger as their patron saint. The time is ripe for re-examining the world prior to the widespread availability of contraception given the numerous battles across the country over reproductive rights. What Every Girl Should Know does just that. The play is set in 1914, the year Margaret Sanger, indicted for violating obscenity laws in relation to her advocacy for birth control, fled to Canada. The play is no docudrama. It is a play full of play.
The girls are dreamers and within the confines of their friendship they create an imaginative space where they can travel the world, have adventures, and assassinate their enemies. The world is big and they are brave. They have to be. There are dangers, not just out there, but in their pasts, and even the reformatory that has become their home. What Every Girl Should Know is in Monica’s words about “the world that is possible when young women have sovereignty over their bodies, and the reality they face when they don’t.” Amen.
I read What Every Girl Should Know for the first time, last summer, when the play had just closed at Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and Monica was in the middle of submitting the play to literary managers at theaters far and wide in search of the show’s second production. (Read about that process on Monica's blog.) And in just over a year, the play has found three more homes – New York City, Berkely, and Portland.
Under different circumstances, I might experience a bit of producer panic at all the company. The production here in Portland won’t be the second run of What Every Girl Should Know, that honor belongs to the New York production. It won’t be the west coast premier, Impact Theatre in Berkley beat us to it. (And yes, the fact that I even have those fears speaks to how crazy the state of new play production is in this country.) In this case, however, the company feels GREAT! The other productions are an affirmation that other artists see what is going on in the world and share my anger and fear that our country is becoming a more difficult and hostile place for women. What Every Girl Should Know is such a beautiful response to this moment that I want it done everywhere.
It seems that Monica and director, Jaki Bradley, feel the same way. They are both hard at work on the New York City Fringe Festival production of the play. Both have donated their time and are absorbing the cost of renting in NYC. They are raising funds for the show on Indiegogo and have stipulated that excess funds will be used to increase stipends for their cast and crew and FUND FUTURE PRODUCTIONS. Including ours.
The campaign has ten days to go and is about seventy-five percent of the way to its goal with almost a hundred backers. Get on this bus, you know you want to…