LA Theatre Works is bringing its distinctive radio style, live theater to the DMV with a production of SEVEN. A documentary theater play, SEVEN is based on the lives of seven extraordinary women from around the world: women who faced life-threatening obstacles to bring about affirmative changes in the lives of women, families, and children in their home countries.
SEVEN is not fiction. It is truth-telling. The documentary play was created with the support of the DC-based, non-profit Vital Voices Global Partnership. The play will be performed at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University on Friday evening, October 18.
SEVEN tells the true stories of women who took on those in power to bring better lives and well-being for women, families, and children in a variety of counties. Protecting women from domestic violence in Russia, rescuing girls from human trafficking in Cambodia, giving voice to the poor in Guatemala, empowering rural women in Afghanistan, fighting for women’s education and rights in Nigeria and Pakistan, and promoting peace and equality in Northern Ireland.
“SEVEN provides an incredibly rich platform upon which audiences can explore important social issues and injustices faced by the women who inspired the play,” said Adrienne Bryant Godwin, Center for the Arts Programming Manager. “It is particularly important now in the #MeToo era, to show examples of women overcoming hardships, taking back control of their lives, and ultimately making real contributions in their communities.”
“We were so inspired by this play that we developed the Seven Women of Mason project, which highlighted the incredible stories of seven members of our own community,” added Bryant Godwin. “Our hope was to localize the themes explored in the play, by showing audience members that these issues – sexual assault, domestic violence, poverty – they don’t just happen in “other” communities. They’re happening here in the greater DC area and affect women we all know.”
The daring and tenacious women depicted in SEVEN represent the best of humanity, dealing with the worst,” says Alyse Nelson, President, CEO, and co-founder of the DC-based Vital Voices. Vital Voices supported the creation of SEVEN. Nelson worked with the show’s creator, Carol K. Mack, to connect seven award-winning playwrights with the women leaders whose stories shaped the play.
Vital Voices was founded in 1997 after the Conference of Women: Action for Equality, Development, and Peace held by the United Nations. Vital Voices seeks out women leaders across the globe and provides them with mentorship, training, and a network to support their visionary ideas and realize their bold goals. “Women,” says Nelson, “bring forth a new model of leadership—one that is collaborative and inclusive and one that is driven by a strong sense of purpose.”
Along with Mack, the seven award-winning playwrights include Anna Deavere Smith, Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Ruth Margraff, and Susan Yankowitz. They conducted personal interviews with the seven women to dramatize their struggles and triumphs over resistance, death threats, and violence.
“Across all things that divide, there are things that unite—bravely giving voice to violence against women is what unites these poignant stories,” says Nelson. The stories of SEVEN are based upon the lives of these women:
Russia: Marina Pisklakova-Parker
Cambodia: Mu Sochua
Guatemala: Anabella De Leon
Afghanistan: Farida Azizi
Nigeria: Hafsat Abiola.
Pakistan: Mukhtar Mai
Northern Ireland: Inez McCormack.
Since its 2008 premiere, SEVEN has been translated into 27 languages and performed worldwide in over 30 countries. Beginning in October 2019, the renowned LA Theatre Works is bringing SEVEN to more than two dozen venues across the United States. The LA Theatre Works tour is to conclude in April of 2020.
For the performance of SEVEN at the Center for the Arts in Fairfax, Virginia, there will be very special additions before and after the play. Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson will be a pre-performance speaker, beginning 45 minutes before the performance on Friday, October 18 at 8 p.m. There will be a post-performance Cocktails and Conversations in the lobby with members of the cast, moderated by GMU Associate Professor of Theater Kristin Johnsen-Neshati.
Note: Some SEVEN content may not be suitable for young audience members. Parents are encouraged to explore the content to determine appropriateness for their children.