Women Can’t Wait
New York’s prize winning slam poetry diva,
playwright, stage- and screen-actress Sarah Jones opens this year’s festival
with a very special event.
Women Can’t Wait is a unique fusion of performance and conference, theatre and spoken word, art and activism. Her show is as much a draw for New York City’s clubby downtown crowds, as it is for international representatives at meetings on women’s policy.
Sarah Jones first performed her solo on the global “stage” of the United Nations at the International Conference on Women’s Rights in June last year. If it were not for Gwyneth Paltrow’s brief introduction, the world’s delegates might have believed that this was a genuine conference-intervention (and NOT an actress performing). “Documentary Theatre” or “Fake-conference” might be appropriate terms to describe Women Can’t Wait, but unfortunately there is nothing fake about the harrowing statements Jones interprets with such stunning conviction. She voices the testimonies of eight women from different corners of the world (India, Japan, USA, Uruguay, Kenya, Israel, Jordan, France) all living under laws and conditions that violate their basic human rights. There is Praveen from India, who suffers years of marital rape. Bonita from the US, who killed her husband in self-defence, after he had nearly beaten her to death. Anna from Kenya, who would rather have a ‘sweet sixteen’ than be the victim of female genital mutilation. Jones’ accents are so impeccable, her body-language so precise, the personalities so accurately drawn, that she needs only one prop to make the transformation from one character’s story to the next: a scarf becomes a sash, a head wrap, a doll…While dealing with the gravest of subjects, the actress still throws in jokes, perfectly balancing on the thin line between humour and seriousness. Women Can’t Wait, commissioned by the international women’s rights organisation Equality Now, is a moving and urgent plea for justice. Jones’ magnificent appearance and interpretation was applauded and praised by the press (from the New York Times and the Village Voice up to Variety and Elle) as well as by audiences across the country.
After entering the first poetry slams in New York, Sarah Jones gained attention and a growing crowd of fans with her monologue Your Revolution, a sharp commentary on hip-hop’s rampant sexism, as well as a hip-hop celebration that allowed women to enjoy it without having to be a “bitch” or a “ho”. In 1997 she won the Nuyorican Poets Cafe’s Grand Slam Championship for the monologue. Surface Transit, which she premiered in 1998, is an incisively funny and poignant portrait of eight New Yorkers in a subway car. This piece - in which she impersonates characters as different as a white supremacist, a rapper in recovery, a Jewish grandma, and a homophobe white policeman - won her the Best One Person Show Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
Praised for her finely nuanced way of acting, her amazing ear for the spoken word, her sharp and abrupt rhythms, as well as for her complex portrayal of the multicultural condition of contemporary society, she has become a true star in the American booming spoken word scene and beyond. Performing and publishing widely she also appears in TV productions and recently appeared in Spike Lee’s new film Bamboozled. ”I’m mainly inspired by the way we’ve been ‘hoodwinked and bamboozled’ as Malcom X would say – as a society and, frankly, globally – by the images out there, the stereotypes, the ridiculous notions of who’s who,” says Jones, who grew up in a family of mixed parentage herself. Writing and performing her own texts, she mostly refers to experience: ”What is politically correct for some people is living life for me.... Diversity is not just some buzzword, it’s all of our lives.”
Sarah Jones presents Women Can’t Wait exclusively as a benefit performance, meaning there is free audience admittance, and she is donating a share of her performance fee directly to the non-governmental organisation Equality Now.
Women Can’t Wait by: Sarah Jones
introduced by Mandy Sullivan - Equality Now
in cooperation with Cankarjev dom
with the support of the The United States Embassy Ljubljana