Andrea Dworkin’s Story Staged

Herizons - - Nellie Grams -

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)

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