Throughout the semester, Mindy Shore and Alexis DawTyne have been working to write, produce and perfom in Call Me Woman, a show that touches on what it means to be a woman in the fine arts and, ultimately, the world.
1. What is your name, year in school and major?
Mindy Shore, Senior, Acting
Alexis DawTyne, Senior, Acting
2. In addition to Call Me Woman, what other plays and musicals have you been involved with on campus?
Mindy: In my freshmen and sophomore years I was involved with Illini Student Musicals, a completely student-run organization that puts on 2-3 musicals a year. More recently, I’ve been in shows at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts. Some of my favorites include Polaroid Stories, Into The Woods and The Other Shore. This semester I’m in The Grapes of Wrath, which runs this weekend!
Alexis: I started off performing with Illini Student Musicals and the Illini Union Board. I’ve also done work with Parkland College and the university’s show choir. I basically live at Krannert! My favorite productions include 1984, Polaroid Stories, The Drowsy Chaperone and In The Blood, which runs March 31-April 10. Come check it out!
3. What is Call Me Woman about?
Call Me Woman explores what it means to be a woman in the theatre; the heartbreak, the hard work, the honor. We explore topics such as fears, body image, types of roles currently available to women, our role models and the type of theatre world we want to see. It’s funny, heavy, empowering and enlightening, all wrapped into an incredible one-hour production.
4. What inspired you to create this show?
We wanted to create a strong voice with our fellow female artists so they know they’re not alone and their stories are valid.
With graduation inching closer and closer, we felt like we wanted to do something to start a conversation on this campus, but also in the theatre community at large. The topics addressed in this show can be put into the context of any other job field. It’s relevant. It’s happening now. Don’t believe us? Read your Facebook feed.
5. What has been the biggest struggle of writing, directing and performing in a play?
When we first came up with the idea for the show we asked all of the girls to send in written submissions on what it means to be a woman in the theatre. The responses were overwhelming. The hardest part has been narrowing down what messages needed to be heard now, while making sure everyone’s voice is recognized. Also, it’s really hard to coordinate 25 girls with different class schedules who are also working on 11 other campus productions.
6. What message(s) do you hope your audience will take away from this show?
To quote from our show, “We have the power to be the next generation. Art is meant to hold the mirror up to nature and reflect life. If theatre is a depiction of our world, we need to try harder at depicting that.”
We want our audiences to walk away knowing there is work to be done, but feeling confident that together we can do it. #CallMeWoman
7. Is there other information you would like our readers to know?
The Armory Free Theatre is a space for student-written projects like ours, but never has there been a production of this size, fierceness and this strong of a message. We don’t want to sound bias, but this might be the best show yet. Check it out for yourself!
Photos Courtesy of Mindy Shore