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