Seven is a documentary play about seven ordinary women who became extraordinary activists. Written by seven award-winning playwrights–Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith, and Susan Yankowitz–the play takes on justice and human rights issues, using the actual words of the women who are at the front lines of these struggles. The play has been translated into 20+ languages and has been performed all over the world.
It all began when playwright Carol K. Mack attended a Vital Voices Global Partnership meeting and heard an amazing story told by Farida Azizi, a woman who worked to protect women from marginalization under the Taliban in her native country, Afghanistan. Inspired by Farida’s words, Carol then invited six other playwrights to join her in telling the stories of other women who triumphed over enormous obstacles to protect human rights and bring about massive change in their home countries. Over the course of a year, the playwrights interviewed and re-interviewed (and re-interviewed some more!) the honored women, then started the enormous task of creating a play. Beginning by writing seven separate long monologues, the playwrights then took on the challenge of weaving the separate stories together into a cohesive theatre piece. With developmental readings in private living rooms and at New Dramatists, and then as invited participants at Voice and Vision Theatre’s EnVision Retreat at Bard, the writers painstakingly worked to weave the text and to structure the play dramatically.
The finished product is the play, Seven, which features the stories of: Hafsat Abiola (Nigeria), Farida Azizi (Afghanistan), Anabella de Leon (Guatemala), Inez McCormack (Northern Ireland), Mukhtar Mai (Pakistan), Mu Sochua (Cambodia), and Marina Pisklakova-Parker (Russia). These courageous women persisted, often without any support from their local governments and while enduring threats to their own safety–each proving that one person really can be powerful.
The play made its debut on Martin Luther King Day 2008 at the prestigious 92nd Street Y in New York City. And then, the phenomenon that is Seven began to take off–and is still going.
For information on how you can perform your own version of Seven, both in the United States and around the world, either as a reading or a full production, check out the website for Seven under the PERFORM section.
For the history of the play and the people involved, as well as licensing rights and how to obtain a copy, just go to the website for Seven for details. Or: Send me an email! Get active and join The March to MARCH campaign.
And here is just a sampling of casts, posters, and audiences from around the world…