The Accidental Feminist

By Sal Cesare
Playwright/Director, VIRGINS DIE HORNY

I have been living with Katie for almost twenty-five years now. Katie is the protagonist, in the forthcoming production of Cropped Sal directing 14-JUN-14VIRGINS DIE HORNY. She is the other woman that my wife has to contend with as Katie goes where I go. James, Jimmy, and Jamie, Katie’s husbands past and present follow me as well … but more about them on another day. This is about Katie and me. I was living in New York when we met, patrolling the after-hours bar scene with notable conviction. It was the late 80s, excess was required.

But, I digress. This is about Katie, not about me. Ironically, that was the circumstance when we first met as well. I thought I was calling the shots, writing the words, telling the story. I thought it was about me. Katie had a different view. I began thinking that this play was about the boys, the husbands. Again, I was misinformed.

It began when I started to notice that the words pouring onto the page started to change … they started to change at the source … in my head. I’ve often been told thaRom-Helen rehearsal 14-JUN-14t I have a knack for writing dialogue for women. Fair enough. But this usually came about with me thinking the words that I felt were correct in my mind’s male voice and then reading them back off the page in the (female) character’s voice to check for the genuineness and rhythm of the dialogue within the context of the dramatic action.

This began to change about half way through the first act. That’s when Katie took over. I started hearing a female voice in my head. Literally. A female voice no longer needing that ‘male to female’ translation. From that point on, I was relegated to simply writing the words as dictated, as she instructed … in my head.

Strange. Then interesting. Then a whole different kind of strange.

It was feeling more and more like I was only marginally involved with the creation of the words and actions for Katie and later for the play. Five years passed between the completion of the first act and writing the second. To my surprise, Katie returned … in my head … the minute I cracked open that brand new legal pad to begin writing again half a decade later. She really took charge half way through the second act steering the play in a TOTALLY unexpected direction. The play’s conclusion is mind-bending. I wish I had thought of it.

Apparently, Katie knows best.

I learned … Katie taught me … that she was a woman who hated being defined by the men she marries. In time, Katie exposed the fallacy of the guys’ belief that they were meant to care and protect her. She rejected the notion that they understood what was best for her. And implored me to ‘smarten-the-fuck-up’.

Katie explained that in the end this play is about love, loneliness, fear and courage. “And most of all, she would say shaking her finger sternly, “it’s about holding onto secrets.”

I would always nod affirmatively and try not to get in the way.

“Thanks, girlfriend. I need to go to the bathroom. Wanna come along? Don’t forget your purse.”