It’s not uncommon for press releases for upcoming arts events to be sent to the offices of Smile Politely. Upcoming dance recitals, upcoming gallery exhibits, upcoming auditions for upcoming student theatre productions. And then there is this:
Fasten your seatbelts for That’s What She Said: Women Who Will Blow You Away, a bold show presented by Christie Clinic at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on July 19, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. The show sold out in one weekend last year and is set to do the same this year with another incredible lineup of women who are bravely taking the stage to share their personal, unheard stories.
Needless to say, this got our attention, and I reached out to Kerry Rossow, co-organizer of the event, to learn more about this one-night-only and sure-to-be-unique storytelling experience.
Like, for example, how did this project get started?
Says Rossow (pictured, jauntily, left), “The She Said project is all about ‘exchanging stories.’ We want the show to be a springboard for women to reach out to other women [because] there is great value in the telling and hearing of each other's stories.
"We started the project," she continues, "in our neighborhood mom office—AKA ‘the moffice.’ We found that several women in our neighborhood were either work-at-home moms or stay-at-home moms. What we all had in common was that we missed having ‘colleagues’ and that we wanted to find a way to collaborate on a project that would shine a light on women.”
According to the press release SP received, She Said was inspired by the phenomenally popular TED Talks series. That, and Saturday Night Live. This would tend to suggest that there will be an emphasis on both life experience and irreverence.
Says Rossow, “We wanted to create a ‘me, too’ platform for women to exchange stories. Krannert Center gave us that platform. We loved seeing those moments of women nodding and smiling and saying, ‘Me, too.’ Some of the stories made us belly laugh and some made us ugly cry but they were all nods to the power of friendship.”
And, according to Rossow, this platform for shared experience between women of all ages is not just a local thing.
Not even close.
Twelve women from Team She Said, ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s, recently returned from a trip to Haiti where they shared and compared stories with Haitian women.
Says Rossow, “We learned what we already knew: everyone has a story. We kept trying to find a word to describe our exchange with each other. A woman on the team shared the definition for Namaste, and we knew that the definition perfectly described what we were seeing.”
That definition is as follows:
“The God/Goddess within me acknowledges the God/Goddess within you.
The Divine in me recognizes and honors, the Divine in you.
The spirit within me bows to the spirit within you.
I greet that place where you and I are one.
I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace.”
The following speakers are slated to appear, each speaking for seven minutes: Jill Harland & Kerry Rossow, Leslie Marinelli, Amy Armstrong, Dr. Lilian Gonshaw Katz, Tyra Browning, Toshi Reagon, Jen Cochrane, Jen Schottland, and Rachel Bierman & Angie Marker, and musician Morley. And, as an added bonus, there will be a performance by The Second City Training Center Storytelling Program.
That’s What She Said, sponsored by Christie Clinic and Krannert Center will be performed Thursday, July 19, at 7:00 p.m. Last we at SP heard, there will still a few tickets available, but those are sure to go quickly. Tickets are available for $30 (only $10 for U of I students!), and it should be noted that the content is intended for grown-ups.