"No Small Parts" to Debut at First City Film Festival


The short film "No Small Parts" that I co-wrote with Tara Varney will debut at the First City Film Festival in Leavenworth on March 21-24. 

The short is about an actor auditioning for a bit part in a movie. It's directed by Patrick Poe and Lolo Loren and stars Bobby Miller Jr., Nicole Hall, and Autumn Tribitt. It was produced by Ashley Mayer and the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City.

"On Account of Sex" Video

 

 

Video of "On Account of Sex" recorded live at the Kansas City Fringe Festival in July, 2023.

Hollywood 2023 Vacation Video

 

 

A video of my recent trip to California going from Sacramento to Hollywood.

"On Account of Sex" Available for Production


The cast requires four women. The running time is approximately 75 minutes, but can be trimmed to 60 minutes. Suitable for all ages, and ideal for middle/high school audiences. Performance royalties are negotiable.

Download the script

Meet the women who persisted for over seventy years to add four words to the Constitution: “On Account of Sex.” Seven leaders of the women’s suffrage movement relate their struggles, failures, and triumphs, beginning with the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and ending with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, when women won the right to vote. This unconventional exploration of women’s history is filled with humor, inspiration, and songs of the 19th and early 20th century.

The 19th Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” It took seventy years of constant and challenging activism to give women the right to vote throughout the United States.

The play follows seven leading figures in the suffrage movement: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Carrie Chapman Catt, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Alice Stone Blackwell, and Alice Paul. These women traversed the country and led national campaigns to win voting rights in the states, and the play highlights their efforts to win legal battles, challenge naysayers, and pass the torch to the next generation. When they ultimately confront the president of the United States, they are faced with abuse, imprisonment, and forced feedings until they are finally triumphant in passing an amendment.

Throughout the play there are period songs that bring the era to life, many of them popular tunes of the day with lyrics tailored to the suffrage cause, and many of them quite humorous. These include “The March of the Women,” “Let Us All Speak Our Minds,” “Daughters of Freedom,” “Keep Women in Her Sphere,” and “Song of the Harassed Man Voter.”

“On Account of Sex.” was originally intended to be produced in 2020 for the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, but the live Fringe Festival was canceled due to the pandemic. An online reading of the play was recorded for the August 18, 2020 anniversary of the amendment, and we’re excited to finally be able to produce the full production live on stage as intended.

"On Account of Sex." Review by Chris McCoy for KC Fringe

 

“On Account of Sex” is perhaps one of the most well-researched and cleverly written Fringe shows I have ever seen. Taking its title from the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote, the performance is a feminist history lesson delivered as postmodern vaudeville. Four performers accompanied by keyboard and tuba relay the trials and tribulations of the early Suffragettes in the long and arduous passage of this amendment through innovative staging, crafty character creation, and an elan for political entertainment.

The show is performed in the style of Agitprop (agitation propaganda), a form of political theatre popularized in the 1960s by groups such as San Francisco Mime Troupe, Free Southern Theatre, and El Teatro Campesino. The style uses allegorical characters to deliver political messages with little spectacle through silly, melodramatic acting. While you don't need to know that history to enjoy the production, it helps in understanding this approach to the subject.

The four actresses are from different decades of their life, which powerfully reminds us of the historic progress that women fought for on behalf of future generations.  The only set is a clothesline, and all the props are items traditionally associated with women’s work in the home (sewing, cooking, cleaning, etc.).  Costumes are t-shirts with the image and name of each character, which proves doubly useful as the actresses play different roles throughout.  Characters include Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cody Stanton, Frederick Douglas, among many others.

The score is composed of "Suffrage Songs of the Era."  While the performance style is intended to be broad, there could have been a bit more cohesion in the acting and directing to really allow the ingenious writing to be clearly understood. Overall, I found the show revelatory and smiling ear to ear until the well-deserved standing ovation.  This show is suitable for middle school audiences and up and especially of interest to history buffs.  You will heartily laugh (and learn) throughout.

 Chris McCoy

 https://kcfringe.org/2023-reviews/on-account-of-sex/