Imagine how hard it must be to be an actress playing the role of Gloria Steinem in a basically one-woman play about the living legend’s life? And then imagine having the subject of the play show up in the audience with her besties, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Diane Von Furstenberg!
Last week, Gloria, Hilary, Diane and Jill Iscol, a friend and activist, sat in the audience as actress Patricia Kalember wove her spell-binding performance of the life and times of Steinem to a sold-out crowd. She received two standing ovations and reported on Twitter “I just pretended to be Gloria Steinem in front of Gloria, Hilary Clinton and Dion Von Furstenberg. I’ll never recover #gloriatheplay #feministicons.”
Romance Daily News was fortunate enough to see the play earlier and can tell you that the 90-minute telling of Steinem’s life from her impoverished lonely childhood to her life as a journalist and the road to women’s rights activist and eventually self-empowerment is a powerful theatrical experience. For me, the story of Steinem’s own abortion in 1960’s London was quite compelling, as well as the story of her brief but freeing late-life “surprise” marriage to the late David Bale (Christian Bale’s dad). All the threads of a life you-think-you know were expertly woven together for a wonderful performance.
When the play is over, there’s a 20-minute “circle” that is certainly designed to remind you (if you were there) of the consciousness raising gatherings of the early women’s movement, where members of the audience are encouraged to speak their truth. That night, Diane von Furstenberg got up and said, “You say you don’t have daughters, but we are all your daughters and sisters, granddaughters, and soon-to-be great-granddaughters.”
The play is set to close on March 31st, but perhaps with the attention Hilary et al just brought it, they’ll extend it long enough for some of you to catch it when you come to New York City for the annual Romance Writers of America conference in July. If not, maybe the soon-to-open Hilary and Clinton will still be running then?