Every year, La Follette puts on a spring musical and a fall play. In the last couple of years, La Follette has performed The Diary of Anne Frank, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Seussical. This year, LHS is putting on a play that has only been performed once before. It is called Girls in the Boat, and was written for a specific theatre group in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, called Milwaukee’s First Stage Theatre.
It’s no secret that women have been facing social injustices for a long time, especially when it comes to male-dominated activities like sports. Girls in the Boat brings to light all of the hardships that the US women’s rowing team has faced through the ages. One of the biggest and most important movements in female sports history was Title IX, introduced in 1972. Title IX basically states that no one can be denied benefits or subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. A big part of the show includes one of the characters trying to start a larger variety of female sports teams at her school, which became a reality once Title IX was implemented.
In 1976, the female rowing team at Yale University had had enough, enough of being treated unfairly compared to the boys, and not having all that they should have according to the law. They marched into the office of Joni Barnett, the director of women’s athletics with the words “Title IX” or sometimes just “IX” on their bare backs and sternums. This is another major scene in La Follette’s play, Girls in the Boat. Led by a fellow rower, the girls all have to fight just to get what the men have.
La Follette has never done a play quite like this one before, and they are very excited to bring their own thoughts and ideas to it as well. “I’m so excited about the idea of doing a show about athletes, especially one that empowers women in that department, because that’s just so rare,” Director Joshua Brown said.
So how does this show relate to us now? Women have been facing these issues for a long time, and while they may not be prevalent around us now, it’s still important to understand the history of how we got to this point in the first place. Who knows, maybe if these women weren’t feminists and activists, our society would be in a much different place and mindset regarding women in everyday activities. Something this play highlights really well is that women are so unique and have such different backgrounds. There isn’t a cookie-cutter mold that any character can fit into, just like in real life. Each person brings different ideas to the table on how to abolish the sexist rules that were previously in place, and we watch these girls battle for justice.
If there’s one thing to learn from this year’s play, Girls in the Boat, it’s that by standing together for something that you believe in, you can make a difference. “I hope people go away with a better understanding of Title IX and the challenges female athletes faced, and that people will leave thinking about where we are now in society,” Brown concluded.
Be sure to come support your fellow LHS classmates and watch this riveting, groundbreaking play on November 7th, 8th, and 9th! The show starts at 7:30 and tickets are six dollars.
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