To mark the 100th anniversary of some women in the United Kingdom gaining the right to vote, the National Theatre London showcased “Magda, Jo, Isabella,” a play co-written by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, associate professor of English, Aoise Stratford, visiting assistant professor of performing and media arts and Ithaca College professor Saviana Stanescu. The performance, held on Nov. 16, was part of the National Theatre’s “Courage Everywhere” project, which features world-class directors producing plays on the themes of suffrage, courage and the fight for political equality in the UK and around the world.
“Four incredibly talented actors brought the pieces to life,” said Van Clief-Stefanon. “It was a privilege to witness their work and to hear each them talk about their process for delving into the characters in a talkback after the show moderated by Ayesha Casely-Hayford.”
“Magda, Jo, Isabella” is comprised of three monologues tackling race, belonging, and class in the Suffrage movement. It was performed by Eliza Butterworth, Martina Laird, Yasmin Mwanza and Amaka Okafor, and directed by Dawn Walton (Founder/Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company).
The project premiered in Ithaca in May, 2017 at Four Plays 100 Years, a collaboration of Ithaca’s professional theatre community to commemorate the centennial of Women’s Sufferage. It was commissioned by The Cherry Arts. "I am so grateful to Sam Buggeln and Nick Salvato for the important work they’re doing and the opportunities The Cherry provides," said van Clief-Stefanon. (Buggein is the Cherry's artistic director and Salvato is president of the board; he is also Cornell professor and chair of the Department of Performing and Media Arts.)