Do you remember the first time you were told you were not good enough to do something? I can’t put my finger on the exact moment in my life. Perhaps it was at school, or when I didn’t make a sports team, or the first job rejection of many I have had. But it did happen at some point, and it must have happened more frequently than I’ve consciously logged. Why? Because I’m a woman.
Now before you say how reductionist or impossible to prove that statement is, I can measure it’s reality in the effects I can now see in my life, most directly (ey) in my quest to become a director. Blink will be my first gig as solo director, having codirected and assistant directed on other productions previously. And although I have learned a lot working my way up and working with other people, it’s very clear in hindsight how little I backed myself to go for opportunities where other, specifically male, colleagues would, despite having the exact same level of training and experience.
Primarily, I am disappointed in myself. My whole life I have been blessed to have been surrounded by incredible female role models. From my many fabulous colleagues to the amazing ensemble of female professionals rising through the industry to my own family of wonderful matriarchs, I have not been deprived of examples of women living the empowered lives I aim to replicate. But despite all this, I have still found myself taking assistant roles to defer power to my male peers, or putting up with rehearsal rooms that force a sexist dynamic on the work. I have been complicit in allowing myself to naturally take on the logistical side of rehearsal rooms that feels akin to the unequal sharing of emotional labour we still see in many households. I’ve been made to feel like a PA at times by male colleagues, or have my suggestions questioned when a male counterpart’s are not, or worse have them ‘hepeated’ constantly.
This is not to say I have only worked with terrible men. Most often these things occur because it feels natural, things just slide into place. I needed to take the initiative to make a change. Which brings me on to Blink, a play about women making choices to change their lives. Sophie, in particular, acts constantly and takes charge of her destiny. That’s why I decided the time was now. Let life mirror art.
Amy Noriko Ward