The weekend of August 4-6, 2017, to jump-start the devising of our new show, every artist attending the devising weekend was asked to prepare and share a “55er” (also called a 55-word story) addressing the prompt “Who are you now?” Artists were encouraged, if they could, to allow gender to influence their story somehow.
As the name suggests, a 55er is a story of exactly 55 words in length (not including the title).  Visit this link for a way this has been used by medical professionals. English speakers had to use this as a rigid enabling constraint. ASL user could more flexible in their approach (55-seconds or 55-signs or whatever they each felt worked for them). This is sampling of some of the artists stories, shared with their permission.

Sandra Mae Frank
Tie me with chains?
I’ll break them.

Tie me to a tree?
I’ll merge from its roots and prove you wrong.

Dress me up like a helpless princess?
I’ll take it off and dress like a Wonder Woman instead.

Tell me to cover up more skins?
I’ll walk topless.

Bottom line?
Treat me as an equal so we can work together
rather than going through all of our oppression fights.

Casey Johnson-Pasqua
I am…
Deaf. Female. Artist.
Senior at Gallaudet University. Majoring in Theatre and English.
An actor who performed on stage, held a drill, and hung lights.
Currently working on producing and directing “MEDEA” for Spring 2018.
Feeling anxious of what the future have in holds for me but
Proud of my accomplishments and my identity.

Ouida Maedel

I am profoundly awake, in my bones.

This body is a finite resource.  I am resilient, until I am not.

Seduced but increasingly irritated by stasis, I yearn to break free of this monotonous yet ever shifting landscape.  Adulthood.  Mortality.  Capitalism.

Relentless work towards no ends that ever feel like “enough.”

Will I always hunger?

Tosin Olufolabi
She looks in the mirror and sees the person she was yesterday.
“Hm, I’m a very different person today.”
She changes a few times and rediscovers a shirt she forgot about. She looks in the mirror
again.
“Something is off… oh!”
She takes off her boobs and puts them away. Satisfied, she leaves.

Lorraine Ressegger-Slone
Hold my hand mama.
Every night.
Sing me a lullaby mama.
Little hand, soft snores.
Climb into bed, exhausted,
K’s cot beside me, inevitable 3am visit
Rattling doorknob, pattering footsteps
I love you mama.
Can I cuddle mama.
Cot please.
Lilly’s there.
Off Lilly
Hold my hand mama.

Michelle Schaefer
I am a survivor
I have scars
You may or may not see it
The scars might be on the surface of my body
or deep inside my heart
I have survived near death experiences, sexual assault, depression, abuse and heartbreaks
I have drowned myself with unhealthy food killing myself slowly for years
But, now I am free because I am a survivor, love myself and continue to laugh till I cry.

Carol Spring
“Snuggle?” Rebecca asks
and I am on the couch beside her
soft white fur between our fingers
dog content across our laps
my favorite time of day
Charles smiles and time stops
I exist, I am, I need not do
anything else but
listen, feel, breathe
knowledge dissolves
intelligence fades
all that matters
is this

Cody Whitfield
Five years old, Disney on Ice
“Mum, I can see her underwear!”
“No, hon, that’s her costume”
She was right, of course, but she also missed the point
Flash forward twenty years to a Feminist Theatre unit
bell hooks explains marriage and dowries as buying and selling women
And I could finally articulate my confusion

Annie Wiegand
Art love, lights love.
me enjoy lightpaint stage.
Always involved theatre
Since little girl,
samematter Iowa grow.
Look forward future, new opportunities.
life always changing,
things appearingdisappearing.
recently married my wife.
happy settle down.
live newyork.
my life turnpage new chapter.
wonder theatre continue support me?
me want continue success.
Glass ceiling breakopen.
Love continue.