A Monologue

written and performed by Joanna Rush

directed by Seth Wilpan

Actor,  playwright, dancer, author, and interfaith minister Joanna Rush probes the complexities of Sex & Power in our culture through her dynamic 75-minute monologue. After enduring multiple sexual assaults including both date rape and gang rape, Rush sought a deeper understanding of the root causes of sexual violence. Despite her trauma, she’s experienced a successful and varied career in both theatre and film. As she performed various roles of seductress on stage and screen, she was exposed to additional misogyny as practiced internationally throughout history. 

Sex & Power covers territory from evolutionary biology to Greek mythology as well as hilarious anecdotes from Rush’s career. Joanna Rush takes a cold, hard, and honest look at rape culture, toxic masculinity, the origins of sexual inequality, and ultimately inspires productive ways for both men and women to effect change. This one-woman phenomenon provides insights that will help heal today’s sorry state of sexual affairs. Rush’s creative, nontraditional outlook offers hope and a roadmap for how to propel the #MeToo movement into a healthier sexual landscape for all.


APAP 2020
The Gibson Suite ♦ New York Hilton Midtown, 2nd Floor

  • Friday, January 10 ♦ 9:40 PM
  • Saturday, January 11 ♦ 7:20 PM
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Actress Joanna Rush to perform “Sex and Power” in Northampton

Listen to Joanna’s interview with Denise Vozella on WHMP radio

Impact

On July 8, 2018 I performed the piece at Laurel Park in Northampton, MA as part of their summer festival. The response was powerful. Here are some examples:

“Tonight, several of us had the amazing opportunity to attend Joanna Rush’s dress rehearsal for her One-Woman play, Sex & Power.

Her self-written play is challenging, thought-provoking, yet subtly funny. If you have ever wondered why our culture has only recently come to take sexual assault somewhat seriously or why so many men struggle with expressing authentic emotion, Joanna’s passionate work will make you think more deeply.

I urge you to attend and to bring your friends”. – Randy


“I am sitting here, hours after your performance today, just feeling changed from the experience.  Your real-ness, the wonderful content of your show, and the desire to change things for the future was consciousness changing.  I knew a lot of the content from your book and previous performance that Beth and I attended, so it was not brand new.  But this version was put together so well by you and Seth that it really brought history/herstory together in a new way.  Focusing on how men in the 20th century have been hardened by the image they are told to keep and your talking about how it came to be and bringing up the question, in your dialogue, on how that can be changed is so vital.  Addressing the violence produced by rape, and then, in your generosity and wisdom talking of forgiving is so important.  It may be the key to how things change.  Because as consequences are being made daily from anyone’s power-over attitudes and actions, we do then need the next step in how to dialogue with those deposed.  Just losing a job or being thrown off a network station will not necessarily change that person.  The perpetrators need to have those responses to unacceptable behavior, but then they need to do something with the shame or, at least the feeling, they are sitting with.  I love that you brought that kindness to your play.

I do think there is intention out there to keep holding men, and others, responsible for their actions.  We have to say that it is and make it happen.  We can also bring men into the discussion, as you have done today, by having them help to change this culture of war, violent video games, tough-shelled exterior, and now the culture of blame.”

Great work and MAZEL TOV to you both!” – Sheila


“We loved seeing you in “Sex and Power”. We keep thinking and talking about it. We had been having conversations about the power of “Forgiveness” and your work so complemented them.” – Susan O


“I was at your performance this afternoon.  I didn’t stay for the talk back but I just wanted to let you know that it enjoyed it.  I found it to be an interesting mix of performance and lecture (maybe the latter is the academic in me!) and an echo of the conversations I am (we are) having often these days.  I also thought about how good it would be for it to be seen in jails, homes for the homeless, battered women’s centers, etc.  It sounds as though you are doing that and doing the important work of keeping the conversations alive.  And, yes, that is in part because of your theatrical expertise.  Thank god/goddess for the arts! Bravo!!! – Susan W


“Your lecture / performance struck me as superb contemporary expression of the Chautauqua ideal, which really was a flower of the best of Methodist culture and it’s of vision of joining moral seriousness to the jocund spirit of the arts.
Your performance allowed us to understand your experience from the inside and thus to understand more deeply the questions and  lessons that sprang up along the way you were going — from a vortex of outrage to a clearing in the wilderness. Call it good will “towards men.” I have a hunch the Methodist ghosts around here would be nodding their approval of the godliness of the story and the vision of redemption. Thanks for the well-chosen words.” – Judson


“I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was more than that. An
amazing performance. A great example of writing and acting. I don’t
have the proper words, so I’ll let Wow say it all.” – Dennis

Joanna

Joanna Rush is an Actor, Dancer, Playwright, Choreographer and Author. Her solo play, KICK – It’s not how high. It’s how strong!, enjoyed a critically acclaimed run Off-Broadway in the fall of 2015 and was nominated by the OFF BROADWAY ALLIANCE for Best Solo Performance

You can read Joanna’s Blog here

Writing:

Plays

  • Sex & Power
  • KICK (solo play, originally titled “Asking For It”). This play was chosen to be performed for “International Women’s Day” event sponsored by the United Nations Counsel on the Empowerment of Women and the Hunger Project.
  • Home Sweet Homeland, was work-shopped at Stocker Arts Center, Ohio under the direction of Lynne Taylor-Corbett (director) and was selected for the Best New Play Series readings at Gloucester Stage.
  • Accidental Mummies debuted at Stocker Arts Center https://joannarush.com/bio/?preview=true

Screenplays

  • Irish Whiskey – Winner of “Best Screenplay” at the Temecula Valley Film Festival,(co-author)
  • America’s Queen, Quoting from a recent UTA reader’s report, “The screenplay hits the road with all cylinders. There is humor, tragedy, and some truly lovely passages.” (co-authored with Candace Coakley).

Books

  • “KICK – It’s not how high. It’s how strong!”

Acting

Broadway

  • Pousse Café
  • Shirley MacLaine at the Palace.
  • A Chorus Line (Shubert Theater, Los Angeles.)

Off-Broadway

  • KICK (formerly titled “Asking For It”) was nominated for an Off-Broadway Alliance – OBA Award for “Best Performance in a Solo Play” in 2016. IT has been performed at:
    • Lincoln Center, Rubenstein Atrium
    • developed at the NY Society for Ethical Culture,
    • The Kirk Theater on Theater Row
    • Stocker Arts Center in Ohio
    • Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwright’s Horizons
    • Becket Arts Center
    • The New York International Theater Festival
    • The Yard Arts Center, Martha’s Vineyard
    • Gloucester Stage
    • Newburyport Actors Studio
    • colleges in Ohio and Massachusetts including Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State and UMass, Lowell.
  • Daughters
  • Inside Out
  • Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral
  • Broadway Scandals of 1928,
  • Options

Regional

  • Beyond Therapy
  • Fifth of July
  • Freedomland
  • Little Mahagony
  • Great White Hope
  • Women Who Steal (WHAT)
  • concert versions of Two by Two, and Minnie’s Boys at Jewish Rep.

Film

  • The Luckiest Man in the World,
  • Sunburn
  • On the Cliffs (winner Best Short Comedy 2004, Ohio Independent Film Festival)
  • Saying Goodbye

TV

  • Shannon
  • Archie Bunker’s Place
  • A Killing Affair
  • Cagney & Lacey
  • and the pilot Straight No Chaser as the inappropriate mother of Bronson Pinchot.

The Plays

Kick: It's not how high, it's how strong

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