By Seth Fera-Schanes
They Call Me Arethusa came to New York City for a three day run in late January. The production had debuted in Charleston, South Carolina at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in 2014 and later had an engagement at the FringeArts Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The production in New York marks the one year anniversary of the project started by co-producers Colie McClellan and Mark Kennedy. Mark is also the designer and director and Colie is the writer and solo-performer of the play. I was invited to attend opening night at The Tank in Manhattan’s theater district.
They Call Me Arethusa is a play that focuses on the stories of 7 different women who have experienced intimate partner violence. McClellan summons Arethusa, a figure in Greek mythology, to embody these women and tell their stories. This is a difficult subject and Colie adeptly brings these women’s experiences to life. Colie and Mark also make great use of the stage with a limited set of props that both symbolize the women and work to transition between vignettes.
The production company, Arethusa Speaks, has a mission to focus on survivors of intimate partner violence. Mark and Colie actively work with community groups and hold question and answer sessions after the performance to help raise awareness and create social change in the communities where they perform.
If you are interested in learning more about this production or which city they will be in next, you can connect with them through their website, Arethusa Speaks.