By Sarah Mulvey
The room was quiet as Bridgewater State University student actors stood behind small sheet music stands and began their recitation of We Women on Tuesday afternoon in the Rondileau Campus Center.
The intimate performance was minimalistic, with actors wearing plain-clothes costumes as they did a staged reading of We Women, a play written by Mexican author and dramatist Hugo Salcedo.
Salcedo was inspired to create We Women to explore the turmoil he feels whenever he sees or hears about violence against women in the news. He wanted to denounce these injustices in the modern world, as well as take a stand on the misconceptions about women throughout history.
“Women were not given a choice within their own lives, they were seen as objects – and it continues today,” Salcedo said.
Salcedo and translator Dr. Iani Moreno were on hand to witness the very first english language performance of the project. Moreno is an associate professor of spanish and portuguese at Suffolk University in Boston. Both creator and translator worked closely with Bridgewater State students to create an accurate translation of the emotionally charged stories.
“My favorite aspect of this performance was the collaboration amongst the group, from playwright down to individual cast members, we all played a part in creating this,” said Dr. Colleen Rua, BSU’s assistant professor of theater and faculty advisor for the event.
Each member of the cast had individual scene rehearsals with Salcedo and Moreno, allowing them to share their ideas and their emotions while performing their scenes.
“The first rehearsal we had together as a group was Monday night,” said senior Jack Cappadona. “We hadn’t heard the entire script until then.”
Given the intensity of the material, it was not an easy process for some of the student performers.
“It’s an emotional story,” said sophomore Elizabeth Janssen, who appeared for a brief moment in a scene in which her character is sold by her father for money to pay for the rest of the family’s passage across the Mexican border. “I had to get a lot of emotion out in two little words.”
The play has powerful messages for members of any sexual orientation, gender identity or cultural background.
“While we might not be personally connected to the cultures or groups we’re portraying, as women, as people, we can all connect to the themes within the show,” Rua said.
Mixing moments of humor, anger and deep sadness, We Women explores the ways women interact with men, with each other and with the society in which they live. It does not hold back from topics like sex, domestic violence, and societal oppression.
In the final scene, Grandma Amou, portrayed by Candace Dornan sings softly as she sews and said, “Cuts, adjusts, mends – Readjust, cuts, mends.”
It is an eloquent way of summing up the process of living life as portrayed in We Women, where women are cut down, forced to readjust and mend their broken hearts.
Sarah Mulvey is a Comment staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.