Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Women can form a sisterhood across the span of ages, geography, racial backgrounds, cultures and religions.  There is a universality to their desires and dreams, basic principles they share that make them kindred souls.  Nowhere is that more evident than in the powerful documentary drama, a staged reading, of "Seven," penned by seven American women playwrights as witnesses to the stories of seven courageous women from around the world.

With the encouragement of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization devoted to raising the visibility of extraordinary females around the globe by enhancing their leadership potential, the writing skills of Paula Cizmar, Catharine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith and Susan Yankowitz were enlisted.Interviews began in 2006 and the tapestry of tales of "SEVEN" is the literary result.

On Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m., the Stray Kats Theatre Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director Kate Katcher, gave a powerful voice to seven incredible women in the Alexandria Room of Edmond Town hall in Newtown, Connecticut and their voices will ring resoundingly in the ears and hearts of all those fortunate enough to bear witness.  The only disappointment was that it was only one performance.

Those present learned about  Marina Pisklakova-Parker who created the first women's hotline for victims of domestic violence, Center ANNA in Russia;  Mu Sochua who conducted door-to-door visits to hundreds of villages in her native Cambodia to win one of two seats granted to females in her country's cabinet;  Mukhtar Mai who was gang-raped in Pakistan because her brother committed the crime of holding hands with a woman of a higher caste and turned her tragedy into triumph;  Inez McCormack who worked in northern Ireland to secure human rights and social justice for women and minorities; Annabella DeLeon who pulled herself and her family out of poverty in Guatemala to become a congresswoman striving for women and the poor; Farida Azizi who stood up against the Taliban in her native Afghanistan working for peace and has had to seek asylum in the United States because of death threats; Hafsat Abiola who, after her parents were murdered, continued their activist work to build bridges of skills and democracy in her native Nigeria as well as between African and Chinese women.

Marina Pisklakova-Parker's story was brought to life by Jenny Polozov, originally from the Ukraine, she has worked in fashion design, music, finance and philanthropy.  Mu Sochua's tale was told by Dionelyn L. DeBorja, a wife, mother, and daughter who has studied zoology and received a law degree.  The difficult story of   Mukhtar Mai was captured by Bindu Subramanian, who is a writer, traveler and marketing expert.

Giving voice to Inez McCormack was Caroline Winterson, an Irish actress who has emigrated from the Emerald Isle and performed in theater and films.  For Annabella DeLeon, Artistic Director Kate Katcher gave her words meaning and momentum, thanks to her extensive theatrical expertise.  To tell Farida Azizi's life, Sarah Baroody, an opthalmologist from Danbury who resides in Newtown, was selected.  To relate the memorable moments of Hafsat Abiola,
Lisa Scails used her experience as a civil rights leader and advocate for youth and the disenfranchised.

Each of these incredibly moving stories was indelibly recorded.  Their acts of courage and determination to prove their personal worth are a testimony to the differences they made, one woman at a time, standing up to challenge the injustices of the world.

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