Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Boom Arts presented She is King, May-June 2015

Boom Arts' presentation of She is King was a major cultural event and community project rolled into one. Here is our story!

She is King kicked off with  Ball Kids workshops! Our local youth participants learned about Billie Jean King, feminism, how to work a real camera, and choreography for the show. For lunch: delicious sandwiches from Subway, our sponsor for the Ball Kids program!
Here are our Ball Kids! Team A and Team B together.
While our crew loaded in the set for the show into CoHo Theatre, historian Jan and her team installed original historical timelines (on 100 Years of Gender Equity in Oregon and on Billie Jean King) in our lobby, and volunteers Devan and Susan were putting up our special exhibition of archival NIKE posters.
When the Ball Kids got into the theatre, they participated in tech rehearsals with all the visiting artists.

Then it was showtime! The audience arrived, young and old, welcomed with a tantalizing menu of raffle prizes thanks to sponsors NIKE, Barre3, Title Nine, Big 5 Sporting Goods, the Rose City Rollers, the Fighting Fillies, & more! 

600 Portlanders saw She is King. Wow!

And Mary, Kim, & Sophie-- a Ball Kid whose ticket was purchased for her by a kind stranger at the last performance-- won the raffle, which benefited Boom Arts and Girls Inc. of the Pacific NW.

She is King was a hit! Here's what the critics wrote:

"a delightfully streamlined, deceptively simple look into the career of Billie Jean King...with none of the window dressing bloat of a biopic, or a more traditional play.
As King, the play's creator, Laryssa Husiak, mirrors her subject's words near-perfectly, and brings a warm, open energy to the role. The other actors—Gelb as James Day and King's ex-husband, Larry (yes, that one); and Louisa Bradshaw as her female TV interviewers—are uniformly stellar, and the cast is joined by five local girls between the ages of 10 and 16...
...I thought it would be good; I wasn't expecting it to be so funny....But it's important to point out that the laughs this show got were all at the deserved expense of sexist jerks. It's funny, yes, but there's an unmistakable undertone of bleak catharsis; this isn't broad comedy.
One of Boom Arts' distinctions is its regular inclusion of post-show talk-backs...but Boom Arts' spin on the format is refreshingly well curated...
If you've ever subscribed to a Title IX catalog... you should probably get out to see She is King before its short run ends this weekend. And if you have girl-children, you owe it to them to take them with you when you do."
-- Megan Burbank, Portland Mercury
"hilarious, maddening and heartbreaking at times...  a must-see, not only because the docuplay itself is brilliant and engages the audience from beginning to end, but because it highlights one of the world’s greatest living heroes." 

-- Shaley Howard, PQ Monthly

And here's what our audience wrote (excerpts from survey responses):

"Thank you for bringing thoughtful strong diverse visions of women to our community."
"This was a powerful and informative piece!"
"[The show found] the heart in recent history."
"LOVE women creating theatre! The TVs & the teens were great!"
"Compelling, well produced, interesting/pertinent talkback. Brava to all." 
"It was wonderful to see events in a social justice lens that happened prior to my birth and when I was a young girl."
"I had no idea who BJK was before this."
"Billie Jean King is history and strength."

Each performance was followed by a talkback with She is King artists (Laryssa Husiak in these photos) and special community guests, facilitated by Boom Arts' Ruth Wikler-Luker (also pictured).
Not pictured: June 5 NIKE panel; speakers listed below.

Full names/titles of all guests are posted at the bottom of this page.

Audio from these talkbacks will be posted soon HERE.

(L) Teri Mariani & Joni Huntley; (R) Danice Brown
Ball Kid Veronica McKay, Girls Inc.'s Elizabeth Nye, Rock N Roll Camp for Girls' Beth Wooten
Ann Schatz
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

Sarah Mirk of Bitch Media, Lindsey Schnell of Sports Illustrated
Diana Cutaia, Fern Wilgus
Sandy Polishuk, Judith Arcana
Janice Dilg, Ann Mussey

On Sunday June 7, Dot Hearn and Kathryn Hughes live-interpreted She is King for our deaf & hard of hearing audience:

Between performance weekends, our visiting artists gave three offsite workshops-- at David Douglas HS (through Campfire Columbia) in East Multnomah County, at Portland After School Tennis & Education in St. John's, and at Outside In downtown.
L to R: actor Joshua William Gelb, creator/performer Laryssa Husiak, director Katherine Brook, actor Lousia Bradshaw

Thanks for a great run, Portland!

Photo credit: William Jenks.

                Boom Arts' presentation of She is King was generously sponsored by Don & Mary Blair and Harold Goldstein & Carol Streeter.  Major project support came from the Oregon Community Foundation, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Work for Art, the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, and the Oregon Cultural Trust. Talkback programming was made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH's grant program. Fiscal Sponsor: CoHo Productions. In-kind Sponsors: Subway, Barre3, NIKE, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Title Nine, Portland Thorns, Fighting Fillies, Rose City Rollers. Community Partner: Girls Inc. of the Pacific NW. Boom Arts’ 2014-2015 Season was presented with major support from Ronni Lacroute and Harold Goldstein & Carol Streeter and leadership support from Boom Arts Founding Circle members Don & Mary Blair, Linda & Scott Andrews, Theo & Nancy Downes-Le Guin, Dania Caron, Lisa Donoughe, Fred & Cheryl Grossman, The Mancini Family, Lynn McDonald & Michael Edwards, Stanley & Susanne Penkin, Howard Shapiro, Matt & Gail Starr, Daniel Wikler & Sarah Marchand, & Anonymous; and champion support from Naomi Dagen Bloom and Ronald Bloom; Sandy Polishuk; Jennifer Schuberth & John Urang; Michael Cowan; Anonymous, & gifts in memory of Sandy Zickefoose. 

Special thanks to our visiting artists & Boom Arts team members for She is King
Laryssa Husiak, Katherine Brook, Josh Smith, Joshua William Gelb, Louisa Bradshaw, Molly Gardner, Soo Pak, Sam Pirnak, Jennifer Scanlon, Janice Dilg, William Jenks, Alice Whitaker, Devan Wardrop-Saxton & Susan Kevorkian, as well as all our volunteer ushers!

Special thanks to these individuals for going the extra mile for She is King in so many ways:
Boom Arts Board Members Cheryl Grossman, Harold Goldstein, Stanley Penkin, Lisa Donoughe, Mark Williams, & Tanya Selvaratnam; Mary & Don Blair, Lori Emerick, Rick Shannon; Tip Nunn & Billie Jean King; All Ball Kids' families!; Philip Cuomo, Jesse Drake, Teri Mariani, Ann Schatz, Diana Cutaia, Ron Boley, Matt Starr, Lauren Nichols, Hannah Treuhaft, David Kressler, Pat Young, Karin Marlborough, Elizabeth Nye, Leslie Nelson, Hannah Treuhaft, Paul Susi, Kelsey Tyler, Layton & Gene Borkan, Susan Feldman & Marc Labadie, Abel Weinrib & Carmen Egido, Danice Brown, Stephanie Haas, Sarah Delaney, Izzy Borris, Amanda Monahan, Portland Center Stage, Tim McGarry, Nikolas Hoback, Kaye Blankenship, James Mapes, Casi Pacilio, Ryan Collins, Ben Courtney, Elaine Lucius & Neil Baker, Terry Griffiths, Sandy Polishuk, Sacha Reich, Portland Playhouse, Artists Repertory Theatre, Creative Music Guild, Hand2Mouth Theatre, PICA, & Morgan, Julian, & Nadine Luker.

Special Guests for Post-Performance Discussions (many pictured above):  

May 28: Women Sports Trailblazers 

Teri Mariani (Former Softball Coach and Administrator, Portland State University) & Joni Huntley (Olympic Bronze Medalist)

May 29: Tennis in Portland 

Danice Brown (Executive Director, Portland After School Tennis & Education)

May 30: Women, Sports, & the Media I 

Ann Schatz (Broadcaster, Portland Thorns & PAC 12 Network)

May 31 (Matinee): Empowering Girls in Portland 

Elizabeth Nye (Girls Inc. of the Pacific NW) & Beth Wooten (Rock N' Roll Camp for Girls)

May 31 (Evening): Generations of Women Leaders in Oregon

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

This performance was dedicated to the memory of Gretchen Kafoury

June 4: Women, Sports, & the Media II 

Sarah Mirk (Bitch Media) & Lindsay Schnell (Staff Writer, Sports Illustrated)

June 5: NIKE Employee Network Night

Maggie Gauger (VP/GM, Nike Global Tennis),

Monique Matheson (VP/Chief Talent & Diversity Officer, NIKE), &
Amy Montagne (VP/GM, NIKE Women/Women’s Training)

June 6: Title IX: How far have we come? 

Diana Cutaia (National Women’s Sports Advocate, Title IX Educator and Former Speaker for the Women’s Sports Foundation) &

Fern Wilgus (Competitive Sports Player Pre-Title IX)

June 7 (Matinee): History of Gender Equity Struggles in Portland I

Janice Dilg, (Historian, HistoryBuilt) & Ann Mussey (Retired Assistant Professor, Portland State University)

June 7 (Evening): History of Gender Equity Struggles in Portland II

Sandy Polishuk (Feminist Activist and Social Justice Oral Historian) & 

Judith Arcana (Writer/Scholar/Activist)

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