As big a fan of the superhero genre as I am, there’s a common trope in it that’s always gotten on my nerves. How often do you see a female character get angry about something, only to have that anger swept aside because the usually male hero’s efforts to save the world make it impossible for her to stay mad?
It’s something that’s bothered me a long time, as it’s an indication of a larger cultural pressure for women never to get angry about anything— to only have pleasant feelings that are comfortable for those around them, to focus on making others feel better. But our plays are meant to stand in direction contradiction to that, because the character of Mrs. Hawking is ALL ABOUT anger.
Our hero is a character driven by anger first and foremost, at the circumstances of the world, at the way society has tried to trap her in a box. It is never treated as unreasonable or indecent; in fact, it’s acknowledged that it’s a source of her strength. On top of that, when her anger causes Mrs. Hawking to inappropriately lash out against Mary, Mary’s anger gets respected as well. Mary is given the opportunity to express her upset at injustice or disrespect, and presents as reasonable demanding better treatment.
It’s a major way we’re aiming to make Mrs. Hawking different from other entries in the superhero genre. Not only do we tell stories about powerful and courageous female heroes, they are allowed the full range of human emotion to keep them interesting and real.
Vivat Regina and Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts will be performed January 13th-15th at the Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel as part of Arisia 2017.