THE AWAKENING tells a complicated story about a strong woman and her realization that there is a world outside of the one that society has built for her. During a time such as this, seeing a woman take total control of her relationships, her words, and her body has been empowering. When speaking with women around me, I am constantly hearing fear or anger creep into our conversation when the topic turns to one of current events or social climate. This time needs Edna Pontellier.
Through Edna’s relationship with Adele Ratignolle, the audience is shown what society expects of Edna. We’re given Adele: the perfect socialite and mother. But perfection is not possible, and that goal of perfection is one that Edna can never accomplish. Edna is discovering what she needs and what that means. She does not need the constant reminder that she should be more engaged with her children, more involved with women’s social events, more of who she is not.
Then there is Mademoiselle Reisz, a distant woman, but one who is willing to speak her mind. In this relationship, Edna is allowed to dislike things. She can say blatantly “I do not know if I like you”, without the fear that honesty will offend others and tarnish a seemingly necessary reputation. She does not hide her feelings for Robert when with Reisz and it is through Reisz’s music that she starts to understand this change happening inside her. She is not someone who can adhere to the world that Adele lives in; she needs to grow strong wings in order to soar above it.
As a young artist who stumbled into SPACE a month ago, I can say that this time has been one of growth for me. Being an intern, I have been able to work on this incredible performance and be inspired by it. Through Edna’s story of breaking free and her drive to be authentic, I have been challenged to be more authentic in my relationships. If I cannot feel complete freedom on a macro level, finding moments of honest, open conversation within my relationships and everyday interactions seems like a good place to start.
Helena Mueller joins Savage Umbrella as a production intern for THE AWAKENING as part of our 10th anniversary season. Come see Helena's fantastic work next month at The Southern Theater!
Presented as part of the Southern Theater’s ARTshare.
March 3 - 18, 2017
Written and directed by Laura Leffler-McCabe
Music by Candy Emberley
Created with Savage Umbrella and the ensembles
Edna Pontellier has zero effs left to give. Nothing is really wrong, at all, except for the inconvenient fact that she's slowly dying inside. Here we have one woman's struggle to become her most authentic self, amidst a society unwilling to see her for who she is. Music, waves, and sexual tension thick as the humid New Orleans air. Adapted freely from Kate Chopin's landmark feminist novel.
See you under the umbrella!