Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Trifles

The play put on by Mr. Wann and Bonnie Jean was both historical and intriguing. I don't see plays very often, but Trifles was easy to follow and pretty interesting. 

One aspect of the play that stood out to me was the stereotypical male and female roles. From the perspective of a student in Women's Studies, the roles were clearly defined. The women expressed empathetic concerns towards the suspect while the men made critical assumptions. The women played traditional female roles: women who care for and are sensitive towards the circumstances and personal business of other women. The two female actresses spent time discussing the woman's fruit preserves and felt sympathy for her that the jars had frozen over, knowing the hard work and time involved in preserving fruit. They also noticed the detail and patchwork of the suspect's quilt. As the men came down from assessing the upper floor of the house the women were considering the suspect's future plans for the quilt, a conversation that seemed trivial and frivolous to the men. 

Upon the discovery of a small dead bird in the suspect's sewing kit, the women pondered why the woman was keeping the dead bird. In this moment it was clear that the actresses treated the woman as a possible friend for whom they cared deeply, and not the suspect in a murder case. When the men came down the stairs one woman hid the bird quickly in her jacket as to keep the men from criticizing them. For me, what separated the men and women most in this play was how each gender regarded the suspect. The men looked at her case in a very physical, superficial way. They looked for hard clues and evidence to support the case, not thinking twice about the woman or her motives. The women took a softer approach, attempting to familiarize themselves with the suspect and understand how the situation came to be.

Given the time period in which the play was set, it is expected that females were more concerned with activities in the kitchen and home. The production made me think about how the same scenario might be staged today. Would the women play the same roles as actresses would have in 1916?

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