By Emerald Collins |Staff Writer|
Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the “Star Spangled Banner” at the sight of the American flag still standing, but if it were not for the woman who spent a considerable amount of time sowing that flag, Scott’s inspiration would have never manifested.
CSUSB’s Women Resource Center (WRC) has brought the play “We Did It For You: Women’s Journey Through History” written by Thea Iberal, to our campus. The production educates the audience on women’s rights and suffrage throughout U.S. History.
“The musical is a call to action through a tour of the past, a powerful vehicle for creating a sense of empowerment in girls and women. Organizations and schools use the uplifting and educational experience to create a call to action for voter registration, anti-discrimination and gender equality issues,” stated the production’s website, in giving a description of the play.
The 45 minute production explains the involvement of women in history and issues discussed in history class.
Cast members spent their time behind the stage, changing into their next character while the narrator remained on stage. The characters spent three to five minute segments re-enacting the difference their character made in history.
The mission of this production is to take the audience on a journey throughout the ages and shed light on the impact that women have made. This included covering topics about women suffrage and how women overcame those struggles.
Characters gave the audience a chance to reflect on historical events that women were involved in but often overlooked. This journey went beyond voting rights but to youthful years of our country.
Topics such as slavery are also included in the play, showing tribute to phenomenal women such as Harriet Tubman. The message is delivered clearly that all the women who came before this time “Did it for you,” granting women the right to have the liberties they have today.
“Women were seen as a piece of property, for example in marriage, a woman is handed over from the hands of her father to the hands of her husband,” said Harriet Bennish during her performance, playing Lilly Ledbetter.
The performance was not only captivating but informative for both women and men. Characters strutted across the stage showcasing their vocal talents and keeping the play interesting without any dull moments.
The crowd giggled as the ladies started to sing Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” in the middle of singing the “Star Spangled Manner.” The play also had comical moments, when the “hippie grandma” was so eager to come out at the sound of revolution.
In concluding the production, it was certain that the audience left with more knowledge than when they walked in, learning to appreciate the efforts that women have made.
The WRC has strived to educate students by hosting woman empowering events throughout the quarter. “We Did It For You” is being performed throughout Southern California, hosting workshops and giving performance rights to those who are eager to educate others on the topic.
The WRC hosted the event in the Santos Manuel Student Union Theatre on March 6. If you would like to learn more about the production you can visit Wediditforyou.org.