"It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
"Every woman in this room has been taught that the desires and dreams of her husband, her son, or her boss are much more important than her own."
One of these quotes was from an acceptance speech at the Oscars this past Sunday, the other from a scene in The Heidi Chronicles set in 1970. No, these quotes are not saying the same thing, but they're reflecting the same sentiment. Equality for pay, rights, and dreams is something we're still fighting for and makes you wonder if in another 45 years we'll still be saying the same things. And I obviously don't just mean women's rights.
I attended the very first preview of The Heidi Chronicles this past Monday night. For those of you who don't know, that means this was the first public performance, but not the official opening, which means they have a few weeks to change/perfect things in the show before getting reviewed by big publications. I love going to previews because tickets are usually cheaper and there's a sense of excitement in the audience and with the cast because they all have such big hopes for the show's future.
The play is about Heidi (amazing amazing Elisabeth Moss) and a sort of coming-of-age story with her gay best friend Peter (hysterical Bryce Pinkham) and her bad idea friend/love interest Scoop (douchey but good Jason Biggs). I don't know if I've ever been to such an intelligently-written play before. The dialogue was witty, hilarious, and incredibly fast-paced. With all the crap on Netflix (yeah I said it), Buzzfeed, and Facebook, it's like my brain was finally nourished with something refreshing and stimulating. For a play that didn't have a lot of action or drama, I was completely enthralled and connected the entire time. Apparently a play can still be long (2.5 hours) AND entertaining (looking at you Constellations and The River).
The play moved from the 1960's up to the 1990's and referred a lot to the Baby Boomer's generation and what they were facing at the time. So I was expecting a lot of things to feel dated or like I was watching my mom grow up. What was disturbing was how it felt exactly like today. That everything Heidi was trying to figure out, conversations about growing up and "our generation" were things that I deal with now. Heidi wanted to follow her passion and career in art history, but maybe still have family, but not compromise her dreams, and she continued to let Scoop manipulate and affect her even though she hated herself for it, and she was alone and unhappy a lot of time. It certainly did back then, but why does it still feel like a woman only really succeeds if she gets married and has kids? It seems a woman who chooses her career over a relationship is expected to end up sad and alone. It's a lot of pressure to deal with.
What struck me is how it felt like none of the women in the play ever "won." Heidi's best girl friend became a workaholic detached from reality, Scoop's bland wife was consistently cheated on, and Heidi really only found happiness at the end when she *spoiler alert* adopted a daughter and told Scoop she found happiness from the hope that her daughter would never feel worthless and would live in a world with more equality for women.
Did you get that? Her happiness came only from hope for a better future. Sounds like any inspirational speech I've ever heard. But what happens when we keep having the same hopes? And fighting the same fights? I guess I don't know, but I just hope that I'll see a change in my lifetime.
Who should see this show:
- Any woman of any age
- If you like really witty and fun dialogue
- If you love Mad Men
How to get tickets:
- If you're under 26 or a teacher, get a TDF.org membership and you can get $39 tickets now!
- $40 Mezz seats on Telecharge
- Prices may go up when it officially opens March 19