Andrea Dworkin’s Story Staged
Aftermath, a play about the late feminist author Andrea Dworkin, will be performed in Ottawa and Toronto this fall.
Aftermath is based on an unpublished essay by Dworkin.Edited for the stage by playwright Adam Thorburn, it was first performed last fall in Montreal.The play explores Dworkin’s experience of being drugged and raped in a Paris hotel in 1999, as well as her experience as a radical feminist in the 1980s.
Dworkin was one of the leading spokeswomen for the feminist anti-pornography movement during the late 1970s and 1980s. The New Yorker was best known for her writing on pornography and sexuality, particularly her book Pornography: Men Possessing Women. She is also the author of Right-Wing Women, Woman Hating and seven other books on feminist theory.
Dworkin’s life partner and literary executor, John Stoltenberg, found the essay upon which the play is based after Dworkin’s death in 2005.Dworkin had written a shorter essay about her rape for the New Statesman in 2000.
“I’d read just about everything Andrea wrote while we were together,” Stoltenberg told the Montreal Gazette, “and this was something very different.My first perception was that she had never written anything so raw, so sustained, so revealingly personal before.”
Aftermath premiered in Montreal in September and was co-directed by Rob Langford and Tracey Houston of Waterworks Company.“Our production was well-received and much appreciated in the Montreal community, so we’re very excited to bring it to other cities,” said Langford.Actor Helena Levitt, who played Dworkin in the premiere, will perform at the Ottawa and Toronto productions.
Feminist Current blogger Suzanne Zaccour wrote, “Aftermath is about refusing to shut up.This is Andrea Dworkin’s story, but it is also all of ours, all those untold feelings, fears and memories that are too dark to be brought to light.”
Aftermath disabuses the notion that there is such a thing as a “good rape story,” Zaccour says.The play examines how women’s voices and stories are judged, dismissed and disbelieved after they are raped.
Aftermath runs at Toronto’s Aki Studio (Native Earth Performing Arts) from September 22 to 24, and at Ottawa’s Avalon Studio from October 14 to 16.
Helena Levitt takes on the role of feminist activist Andrea Dworkin in Aftermath, which will be staged in Toronto and Ottawa this fall. (Photo: Gemma Stevens)