FOREST PARK – The pain, struggle and triumphs of sexual assault survivors was the theme of this weekend’s production at the Missouri History Museum, “#MeToo: Her Voice Must Be Heard!”
Produced by Until You’ve Walked in her Shoes Inc., the show, which ran on Friday and Saturday was performed in 2017 at Fontbonne University and then later at the St. Louis Fringe Festival before landing this past weekend at the History Museum’s Lee Auditorium.
Sixteen performers took turns presenting various poems and songs focused on themes of both healing and guilt associated with surviving sexual assault. A few of the performers, like Sieglinda Fox-Fletcher, recited the poetry of Maya Angelou, and other components included a dance to Ledisi’s “All the Way” and a skit that highlighted the harassment women face in the workplace. Interviews with abuse survivors were interspersed between performances and guided the direction of the show.
The performance ended with a rendition of Nina Simone’s “Four Women,” followed by an invitation for survivors in the audience to join the actors in shouting “Me too!” in an act of solidarity. After the Saturday afternoon performance, patrons were invited to stay for a brief talkback with the cast and a panel of experts on sexual abuse, progressive education and theater.
Such a production stems from growing movements across the world to expose sexual harassment and assault in a mounting number of places, including in Hollywood and the military, as Michelle Dillard, the director of the performance, acknowledged in her welcome speech. With this show, she hoped to focus the conversation on St. Louis women.
Addressing the audience in her pre-show speech, she emphasized the sensitivity of all the pieces featured in the show and talked about how with this show, she hoped to “give a voice to the local woman.”