Out of Our Fathers' House (2012)
This play is based on Eve Merriam’s book Growing Up Female in America and is drawn from the diaries, journals, and letters of six American women who sought independence during the 19th century. The play is also accompanied by music. The women depicted include Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, the first ordained woman preacher, who was also a doctor and a leader in the women’s suffrage movement; Maria Mitchell, the first woman recognized as a professional astronomer; Elizabeth Southgate, a young girl of privilege who attended finishing school and wrote about finding a husband, marrying, and becoming sick. She was the author of A Girl's Life Eighty Years Ago: Selections from the Letters of Eliza Southgate Bowne (1887); Elizabeth Gertrude Stern was a journalist, essayist, and novelist who was an early feminist who questioned her father’s traditionalist Judaism; Founder of the women’s suffrage movement, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an active political organizer for women’s rights; "Mother" Mary Jones, a prominent labor organizer, was a powerful voice for the underprivileged.
Of the women highlighted in the play, the most recognizable names are Elizabeth Cady Stanton who founded the Women's Suffrage Movement and labor activist, Mother Jones. Maria Mitchell was the first American woman to become a professional astronomer, and her claim to fame was the discovery of a comet. The others did not achieve fame necessarily but were notable for having flouted tradition and family opposition, to forge careers for themselves. Gertrude Stern, the Jewish woman, became a published writer. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw was a frontier minister who was known for her grit. Eliza, the schoolgirl, died too early—at the age of 25— to realize her dreams.
Directed by Darrell Ann Stone
Technical Director: Jeff Stone
Stage Manager: Lori Garraghty
Arranged for stage by Paula Wagner, Jack Hofsiss, and Eve Merriam