All of us benefit from the struggles of three generations of American women for whom getting the right to vote was nearly a full-time job.
Erica Fae in “Take What Is Yours” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo © Augustinus Tjahaya
In “Take What Is Yours,” at 59E59 Theaters through May 27th, Erica Fae along with Jill A. Samuels, who also directs, tells the story of Alice Paul (Erica Fae,) a particularly dedicated Suffragette.
Alice Paul, educated with multiple degrees from prestigious colleges in the US and England, was relegated to a psychiatric ward for her determination. She was arrested for leading marches at the White House; in prison, she led a hunger strike. “Take What Is Yours,” based on the writings of Alice Paul and members of The National Women’s Party, is a fictionalized account of Alice Paul’s time spent at Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia.
To say that her jailers were neither kind nor sympathetic understates the cruelty she suffered. Alice Paul rallied against the inhumane conditions under which she and the women with whom she was arrested were held. She offended the authorities, particularly the prison physician Dr. Gander (Adrian Jevicki)by requesting status as “political prisoners.”
Wayne Maugans and Erica Fae in “Take What Is Yours” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo © Augustinus Tjahaya
The claustrophobic staging (Jill A. Samuels, concept, design consultant by Deb O) adds to the oppressive realism of the production. Theater B at 59E59 is a small space, made so much smaller by the wall behind which Fae and Wayne Maugans (as The Man,) Jevicki (who plays a Guard as well as Dr. Gander,) David Riley (as a Guard) and Courtney Stallings (Nurse) appear. Panels of the wall move aside to reveal the action; the half-sized bed in Alice Paul’s tiny room spins as she is interviewed repeatedly by The Man and Dr. Gander.
Wayne Maugans air of aggressive hostility, even distaste, makes The Man a truly unpleasant visitor. Erica Fae is superb in the lead.
To find out more about “Take What Is Yours,” please visit www.59e59.org.