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WHORTICULTURE is an unflinching look at the ways women/girls go through life.
Using narrative and spoken word, this all-female feminist production follows 3 girls coming of age in a toxic culture.
Produced by AJ Campbell, Quarantine Players.
Directed by Sophia Menconi.
Starring Tzena Nicole Egblomasse, Sarah Wiesehahn, and Teresa Hui. Written by Emma Goldman-Sherman.
From the director: Whorticulture is a play that confronts the dark truth of being raised a girl within rape culture. Throughout the process, I had the privilege of working with a team of three phenomenally smart and talented women on a play that is not only empowering but also challenging and complex. It is rare to find a play in the theatrical canon written just for women, let alone one that so deftly handles themes of sexual violence, abuse, and survival while still maintaining a strong sense of humor.
Emma Goldman-Sherman has distilled what being a young woman is like in the age of social media. She affirms the pain of growing up against a backdrop of the male gaze while also upholding the strength of young women to endure and to grow. The dizzying journey from childhood to womanhood is captured completely by Goldman-Sherman, who never shies away from the harsh and violent realities of life. What she captures at the heart of the play is the irreparable harm of sexualizing girls in childhood, a specter that hangs over the life of every woman. The rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017 shook the foundations of America’s media culture, and brought sexual harassment and violence to the forefront of the national conversation. It has become increasingly difficult to ignore allegations of abuse and harm, a reckoning that was a long time coming in Hollywood and beyond.
The #MeToo movement asks us to interrogate celebrity culture and those we look up, as well as investigate the ways sexualization and patriarchy have harmed our own lives. Women’s voices, and the voices of all those harmed by sexual violence, are now taking center stage, as we begin a collective effort to reframe the ways in which rape culture has been able to shape our narratives. Whorticulture, like Framing Britney Spears and Allen V. Farrow, explores power, our understandings of familial abuse, and how young people articulate trauma and pain. I am incredibly thankful to Emma Goldman-Sherman, AJ Campbell and the Quarantine Players for programming this work in 2021 and equally as grateful to the team at The Tank for giving it a second life. I’d also like to thank the team at Theatrical Intimacy Education, whose training in theatrical intimacy was invaluable to me during this process. This show was made by an all woman creative team and cast who were hard-working, generous, and remarkable. When we sat together and interrogated the ways in which the play spoke to us, not one of us could remember a time before we held hostage by the male gaze. Rape culture is pervasive and sinister, and it is the work of all of us to fight for a better future. To all survivors of sexual violence: you are seen, you are heard, and you are believed. Thank you. Sophia Menconi – Director