Phoenix Rising is a chance to delve into the female psyche. It’s not the pretty mask of the feminine but delves into the internal war that is waged after the damage of emotional, physical and sexual abuse has been done. Laura Gosheff, writer and director, created a sincere and visceral show that exposes the struggles of choosing love in the face of fear, self doubt, and shame.
Based on true stories, five high school girls find themselves in detention with Grace, played by Kristin Vaughn, a goddess/healer type, who invokes in them the ability to channel old world Goddesses from a time before Abrahamic religion, overcome their individual traumas and find the inner strength to truly be themselves. Phoenix Rising uses movement, poetry and song to shed light on the abuse of women and the healing power of sharing your story.
The director and author, Laura Gosheff, spent the last eight years writing this play in order to reclaim her own voice after surviving rape and sexual assault. Her goal was to help circumvent the cultural default of being shaming and blaming the victim and ending the secrecy and silence. During that time she interviewed hundreds of women (and men) who are survivors of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. This play is a loving attempt at giving those voices a safe space to express them selves.
But before you think it is all tears, there is plenty of humor as the girls spark back snappy comebacks at each other and tempers flare. A show like this one can be tedious without emotional bravery and full commitment but luckily the actors did not falter. From the brash and slutty Lola (Whitney Biancur), the at-her-wits-end rebel Angela, (Julia Peterson), the charming and stuttering Edwina, (Nichollette Shorts), the fiery but airheaded artist Carmen, (Miranda Roldan) to the ethereal dance moves of Jolie (Rachel Haas) each character was fully and strongly realized.
If you walk into this play ready to partake in the intent of the piece then you will walk away stronger for it. This is a great show for anyone who may have been faced with abuse- emotional, physical or sexual, or for those people love them and wish to understand the journey. It might even be a good play to take to campuses around the country. Through watching Phoenix Rising one realizes that our culture has finally shifted enough to allow these stories to be shared out loud without being shamed, ridiculed, or extinguished. Also $5 of your ticket will go towards TEST400K a program that is working to eliminate the 400,000 untested rape kits across the country. A worthy cause indeed.