By Cameron Gurgainus
For Women’s History Month, the Flagler College Department of Visual and Performing Arts decided there was not better way to celebrate than to stage an all-female production of “The Women.” The Clare Boothe Luce show is about 1930s New York and focuses on what lead character Mary Haines does after finding out her husband is having an affair.
It is clear that the cast of 20 women are ready for the public to see what they have been preparing for. Walker Mullin, who plays the lead of Mary Haines, is grateful to be given this opportunity to be part of such a special production.
“I haven’t done any shows here where it’s all female. It’s so empowering how everybody handles their own roles and how each woman is powerful in their own way,” she said. “It’s not only the characters who are women, it’s also the people behind the scenes and directors.”
Mullin said having an all-female show is something that is not seen very often anymore.
“We’re so used to having shows centered around male characters and now it’s centered around this group of women,” she said. “I think there’s a little bit of every woman in the show that women can identify with, rather than trying to identify with a male lead character.”
“The Women” has many themes within it, and Mullin wants the audience to take more than just female pride.
“They should be appreciative to the time we live in now. It is also about friendship and loyalty,” she said. “Being appreciative of the friends in your life and how they build you up or hopefully not tear you down. If they do tear you down, how do you go about that?”
Mullin is very thankful to be given this role of Haines, and she credits that to Director Elaina Wahl-Temple.
“This is a beast of a show, and she goes about it so gracefully and so calmly,” she said. “She integrates so much depth into everything she does. She cares so much about the product that she will have in the end and has been so wonderful.”
Wahl-Temple is the resident artist and director of the show. At a young age, she fell in love with the original 1939 film.
“This has been one of my favorite scripts since as long as I can remember. They gave me the opportunity to do a main stage production,” she said. “We have so many amazingly strong women actresses right now. It was a no-brainer.”
Even though the show is set in a different time period, there are still important aspects that can be of use currently.
“True love is rare and special and to be cherished. If we think people don’t make mistakes, we’re fooling ourselves. It’s what we do after we make the mistake that matters,” she said.
It is brought up in the show by one of the characters how there is not much to do with a woman’s wages. This is supposed to be in the 30s, and Wahl-Temple has thoughts about this key principle that is relevant to the issues of females being disrespected.
“We talk about the same issues that we’re talking about now. How pathetic is that? Almost 100 years later and we’re still fighting for wage equality.”
Much time and effort have been put into this production, from backstage to the cast of women being open to anything thrown their way.
“The show is written for 35 speaking roles. We brought it down to 20, but that means that most of our ensemble is playing between three to four roles a piece,” Wahl-Temple said. “Our leads are only doing their roles, but a lot of the others are playing multiple different characters. It gives them a chance to show some of their skills and shine.”
“The Women” is running from March 4-7 at 7:30 p.m. and March 8 at 2 p.m. in the Lewis Auditorium. The general public is $15 to get in, while non-Flagler students are $5. Flagler College students, faculty and staff are free to watch.