I make theatre. I am married. I have children. I am a woman. Those parts of who I am have become entwined in a sort of knot that’s hard to untangle. Sometimes they don’t seem like good bedfellows. Hell, let’s be honest, sometimes those parts of myself are at each other’s throats clawing for dominance and for my attention. The question of whether or not this lifestyle is wise is always there.
But then, there is also the anger.
Movies with glamorized rape scenes. The anger. Stories on the radio about children abused. The anger. Afraid to sleep alone in my bed when my husband is out of town. THE ANGER. Checking my daughter’s window to make sure it’s locked three times in one night. THE A-N-G-E-R. Here it comes. Where do I put it?
Eight years ago, I founded a theatre company with three other women who made me feel brave. That’s part of why we call ourselves MOXIE. I didn’t found a theatre because I was angry. I founded a theatre because I was TIRED of being angry and ready to be the hero in my own story. I didn’t want revenge. I wanted to remake the world so it would be a place where my daughter, who came fast upon the heels of our company, would see herself as powerful and where my son, who came later, would see that the strength of women didn’t have to come at the expense of his own strength.
In the stories I share with my partners at MOXIE, playwrights are creating new worlds in which women are pirates, women are transforming into horses, firing rifles on the frontier, loving their men fiercely, kissing other women with passion, and generally defying any and all stereotypes associated with women, most especially the one about being victims.
I don’t deny that women and girls are victimized but being a victim and being victimized are not the same thing. They aren’t. My being victimized as a child doesn’t make me a victim; if it did, how could I be standing here today so clearly a hero in my own story?
I make theatre to RISE. I make theatre to be a better mother. I make theatre to be a better lover. I make theatre to make new. On February 14th, my daughter Penelope, who will turn five that very day, and I will have our tutus on and we’ll be ready to rise to help stop violence against women.
Let’s do this.
Jennifer Eve Thorn is the co-founder, associate artistic director and marketing director of MOXIE Theatre where she has been directing and acting for the past eight years. She is currently starring in Intrepid Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet as Ophelia. Jennifer was awarded the Global Leadership Award by the YPO International for directing A Lesson for Life in both San Diego and Florida which is a workshop to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. Jennifer’s adaptation of Loung Ung’s debut novel, First They Killed My Father, which raised funds for land mine victim’s in Cambodia, was performed in San Diego in 2003 and has since been translated into several languages. MOXIE’s current production, The Bluest Eye, previews February 2.
Jennifer and her family will be dancing on February 14, 2013.