Fourteen bold, dynamic, and daring women take the stage in this collection of women's lives and stories. Individually and collectively, these writers and performers speak the unspoken and perform the heretofore unperformed.
The first section includes scripts and essays about performances of the lives of Gertrude Stein, Georgia O'Keeffe, Mary Church Terrell, Charlotte Cushman, Anaïs Nin, Calamity Jane, and Mary Martin. The essays consider intriguing interpretive issues that arise when a woman performer represents another woman's life. In the second section, seven performers—Tami Spry, Jacqueline Taylor, Linda Park-Fuller, Joni Jones, Terri Galloway, Linda M. Montano, and Laila Farah—tell their own stories. Ranging from narrrative lectures (sometimes aided by slides and props) to theatrical performances, their works wrest comic and dramatic meaning from a world too often chaotic and painful. Their performances engage issues of sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, loss of parent, disability, life and death, and war and peace. The volume as a whole highlights issues of representation, identity, and staging in autobiographical performance. It examines the links among theory and criticism of women's autobiography, feminist performance theory, and performance practice.