Guest blog by Lillian Isabella, writer, actor.
Over the course of a year I traveled all over New York City interviewing 28 different women about female sexuality. I asked them questions like…
How would you describe an orgasm?
What makes a great lover?
How did your childhood shape your sexuality?
I recorded the interviews and transcribed them by hand. Then I turned the 450+ pages of interview transcripts into a sex-positive documentary play called How We Love/F*ck. My own personal journey and sexual awakening is the connective tissue between the monologues throughout the play.
I knew I wanted to put the show up at Cherry Lane Theatre, it’s absolutely steeped in theatre history. The actual building was built in 1836 as a Brewery. Then in 1924 a group of theatre artists, friends of Edna St Vincent Millay, commissioned a designer to transform the building into the Cherry Lane Playhouse.
Since then many playwrights have had their works performed there, F. Scott Fitzgerald in the ’20s; O’Neill, Odets, Gertrude Stein, and T.S. Eliot in the ’40s and ’50s; Beckett, Albee, Pinter, Ionesco and LeRoi Jones in the ’60s to Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, and David Mamet in the ’70s and ’80s. I mean, the list goes on! Angelina Fiordellisi revived the Cherry Lane Theatre in 1996, and the Cherry Lane Studio has been a birthing place for new plays since 1998.
You can feel the magic left from all those many creative births and celebrations of new work. And I just knew I wanted my play to be delivered there too. I reached out and they had space available from September 25 to October 6th and the wheels were set in motion!
How We Love/F*ck will have its World Premiere at Cherry Lane Theatre this Fall. We’ll have two preview performances on Sept 25 and 26 and then Opening Night is on Sept 27th!
Now it’s time for a little secret… J.J.Brown is my mom! In addition to asking me to write a guest post she’s been so supportive of my play in every way.
I remember walking her to the train after she came over to visit me, in December 2017, musing about a play I wanted to create about female sexuality. She looked over at me with a serious expression and said, do it. When you go home tonight, create a list of women you can reach out to for your interviews and start doing it.
She’s probably one of the biggest inspirations I have for wanting to create this show as well. You might remember her blog Sex and Science about her experience with unwanted sexual attention in the science world. I grew up hearing these stories and so when the Me Too movement started I was surprised that seemingly so many men and women had no idea this kind of sexual harassment was going on. That movement started an important conversation and it’s my goal with How We Love/F*ck to take the conversation one step further.
What does female sexuality look like when we’re having fun? When we’re looking at it from a multitude of female perspectives? When we’re being sex-positive.
I hope to see you there.