Women Honoring Women
~Deana J. Tavares 8/29/18
Woohoo! I am so proud to announce that this year I joined the cast of the musical We Did It For You by Playwright Thea Iberall and coProducer Shirley Riga. When I attended this show in New Bedford MA earlier this year I found it to be well written, with an even balance between educational and entertaining. It fanned the flames already within my belly enough to audition for my first play and become a part of this movement. I’m truly honored to be playing the role of Fannie Lou Hamer as she was an extremely influential and powerful woman who helped to register thousands of African American voters in the 1960’s. When I sing, I sing for Fannie Lou and all of the women in my family whose voices were not given center stage, but tucked away behind the scenes. Through our lives and stories we are all interconnected, to the past, present and future. When we share our stories other worlds emerge, and we are given an inside look at the sadness, and beauty within. Then there is the realization that we are not so different from one another after all.
We Did It For You highlights the extraordinary lives of the women throughout history who have paved the way, for me to be sharing my perspective, and my words within this very moment. The mountains that the these women had to scale seemed insurmountable. However with a passionate determination they fearlessly led the way. Let’s not forget that lives were lost within the process. This is something that I am well aware of and do not take lightly. From the Puritans, to the Suffragettes, right through the Civil Rights Movement, to the present day women have had to fight to gain and maintain the rights that they have acquired. Many of their stories have been left out of the history books along with the ability of those stories to empower and shape the next generation. This is another reason why I take great pride in bringing to life the authors vision, by making my characters voice heard, and remembered. As Fannie Lou Hamer would sing “this little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine”. It is because of her and all of the women that came before me, that I can let my light shine.
All of the testimonials and successes of the characters within this musical have inspired me and given me a deeper appreciation for all of those dedicated powerful women who have paved the way. The women who had the courage to challenge the system, gave me the courage to stand up and speak. I have chosen to use that voice, in hopes that I too can create one ripple in the water that will continue to spread long after I am gone.
My fellow cast members and I are not only portraying women throughout history, but I believe that together we are making history. Collectively we are giving a voice to the women who made it possible for our voices to be heard. As we honor them, we are completing the circle.
When I stand up on that stage during every rehearsal and every performance I
glance upon the passionate faces of my cast mates, and I am most grateful to be in their presence. Each time I am inspired by the women who have come before me, and by the women that stand beside me. This opportunity has created a community of multigenerational actors learning, working, and growing together. It is a beautiful thing to witness women supporting one another, while honoring, and uplifting other women.
We have been empowered by those who did it for us, and have become the ones who will do it for the next generation. Due to the women who have raised their voices, we now have the ability to make our own choices. Come join us and let these testimonials inspire you, as they have inspired us.
For more information go to: wediditforyou.org