It's My Party: The Women and Comedy Project

1812 Productions

2011
$138,000

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Pictured, from left to right: Melanie Cotton, Drucie McDaniel, Bi Jean Ngo, Cheryl Williams, Cathy Simpson, and Charlotte Ford. Photo by Mark Garvin.

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Pictured, from left to right: Bi Jean Ngo, Cheryl Williams, Drucie McDaniel, Cathy Simpson, Melanie Cotton, and Charlotte Ford. Photo by Mark Garvin.

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Pictured, from left to right: Susan Riley Stevens, Drucie McDaniel, Charlotte Ford, Cathy Simpson, Bi Jean Ngo, Melanie Cotton, and Cheryl Williams. Photo by Mark Garvin.

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Pictured: Charlotte Ford. Photo by Mark Garvin.

1812 Productions, led by Artistic Director Jennifer Childs, created It's My Party: The Women and Comedy Project, a production that combined storytelling, music, and clowning to investigate the female comic voice. This two-year project, researched and developed in 2011–12 and produced in May 2013, explored how women use comedy at various stages of their lives, and how a woman's comic voice is unique and changes over time, as she does. Childs worked closely with physical comedian and clowning expert Emmanuelle Delpech to explore and choreograph the work and conducted week-long sessions with groups of women organized by age. These "generational labs" explored female comedic stereotypes—the airhead, the neurotic, the diva, the harpy, the batty old lady—and informed Childs' script, as did her interviews of over 50 women who shared not only their comedic take on the world but some of their anger and tragedies. "The structure of It's My Party is unconventional," wrote Childs in a blog dedicated to the project: "three acts, three parties, some through-line but more [like] three movements of a piece of music than three acts of a traditional drama." In reflecting on the project, Childs observed that "true audacity is not lifting your skirt or saying a dirty word or telling a sexy story or being too loud or too inappropriate. True audacity is asking for what you want or doing what gives you pleasure without apology and with no fear of judgment."