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On Her Shoulders
Saturday, May 22, 2021, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM EDT
Category: Public Events

ON HER SHOULDERS Virtual Presentations
available on NPTC YouTube Channel (NewPerspectivesTC)
Premieres Saturday, May 22, 2:00pm EST (U.S.)
and available through Wednesday, May 26, 2021

La Nécessité du Divorce(The Necessity of Divorce)

 by Olympe de Gouges
Translated by Clarissa Palmer
directed by Lynn Marie Macy, dramaturgy by Melody Brooks
Olympe de Gouges was a contemporary of Susanna Rowson, ON HER SHOULDERS' last featured playwright. De Gouges was an equally ardent feminist and abolitionist who is today best remembered for writing the "Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen". She maintained a very public political voice from 1788 through her writing, first of pamphlets and then of plays. De Gouges was executed in 1793 during the Reign of Terror for treason against the Revolution, convicted in part by an unfinished play manuscript found among her papers.
"A woman has the right to mount the scaffold.
She must possess equally the right to mount the speaker's platform."
Written in 1790, The Necessity of Divorce is a comedy that presents the argument that it is only when divorce is freely available that men and women can enter into relationships of mutual love and respect. The play highlights both contemporary attitudes regarding divorce (the subject was debated in the National Assembly on August 5, 1790) and de Gouges's own feelings towards marriage and its indissolubility. Divorce was not legalized until 1792 and would be outlawed again in 1816. The attitudes expressed in the play were ahead of their time and, although it is one of her best plays, it found little favor and was never performed.
"Marriage is the Tomb of Trust and Love"
ON HER SHOULDERS was founded in May 2013 to present rehearsed, staged readings of plays by women from across the spectrum of time, with contemporary dramaturgs contextualizing them for modern audiences. To date, the program has presented 60 plays by 47 writers, from the years ca 955 to 1970. The Play in Context, the dramaturgical and scholarly presentation component for all of the readings, is sponsored in part by the League of Professional Theatre Women.