This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
Women's History Month
Performances Set at UW-Eau Claire
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900

MAILED: Feb. 25, 1999

EAU CLAIRE — Two one-person performances will celebrate Women's History Month at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
"Off the Wall: The Life and Works of Charlotte Perkins Gilman" will be presented by actress-playwright Ann Timmons on Tuesday, March 2, at 7 p.m. Sojourner Truth will be recreated by Kathryn Woods in "A Woman Ain't I?" on Tuesday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. Both shows will be staged in Schofield Auditorium; admission is free and open to all.
"Off the Wall" is the story of one woman's struggle to change the world. Witty, articulate and seemingly self-assured, Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860—1935) was one of America's most creative revolutionaries and crusaded daringly for the rights of women and workers. A great niece of social reformers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher, she was an avowed Socialist who relentlessly questioned the values of the status quo through poetry, provocative social commentary, and dramatic as well as whimsical fiction.
In "Off the Wall," however, the audience catches an intimate glimpse of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's ongoing internal battle between her private demons and public work. Despite her ancestry in such a well-known family, she experienced near poverty after her mother was abandoned by her father and she was educated irregularly. She struggled throughout her life with a recurring depression that virtually incapacitated her. During her ill-fated first marriage, she suffered a mental breakdown that she fictionalized in her classic short story "The Yellow Wallpaper." The one-act drama takes place during an evening of private reflection, as Gilman retraces the path she has chosen and ultimately reaffirms her vision.
"A Woman Ain't I?" is a dramatic performance based on the life and words of Sojourner Truth (1797—1883), an escaped slave who became an abolitionist and women's rights activist. Kathryn Woods' one-person show joins her at the end of her life, as she recalls her early days as a slave and details her relationship with God.
Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree in Ulster County, N.Y., to slaves of a wealthy Dutch-American estate owner. She was herself sold into slavery in 1810, and fled her owners' household in 1827. Two years later she settled in New York, working as an evangelical and a domestic while she raised two of her children. In 1843, her close relationship with God led her to rename herself Sojourner Truth and set out as a preacher against slavery and for the rights of women. As the end of the Civil War drew near, she was appointed counselor for the Freedman's Relief Association. The last years of her life were spent petitioning the U.S. government to turn over western lands to ex-slaves.
Both performances are sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.

UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: Feb. 25, 1999