One Woman’s Way Through Incest to Joy
The play, What She Knows, depicts a full range of what it is like to grow up in a sexually abusive family; what one woman experienced and then did to reclaim her life and make it worth living. Witness the main character figuratively (and once literally) dancing between her life’s joys and traumas, between time periods and experiences showing how she survived and ultimately came to thrive. The original score, composed and performed by master guitarist John Sheldon, provides live music that weaves a heightened impact into the play’s dramatic tempo and opens audiences to the full richness of its sadness’ and delights.
The play is presented as a 60 minute dramatic reading by the author, Donna Jenson. In a post performance dialogue the audience is invited to engage with Donna exploring the issues surrounding sexual abuse that What She Knows has raised for them. Where possible the playwright offers follow-up workshops for audience members interested in further reflecting on and articulating their own experience.
Director: Sheryl Stoodley, co-founder and Artistic Director of Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble
Dramaturg: Leonard Berkman, the Anne Hesseltine Hoyt Professor of Theatre at Smith College
“Jenson shapes the raw clay of a childhood violated by a broken father and firing it in the white hot oven of art. Her finished piece glows with the heat of injustice and is cooled in a mountain stream of tears. Finally, it is polished smooth by a chorus of love, self-care and healing. Master guitarist John Sheldon has composed an original score which he sensitively performs adding emotional texture to Jenson’s powerful performance.”
–Rob Okun, editor,
Voice Male Magazine
“Donna’s work connects the past to the present with an iron scaffolding of courage, the persistent song and dance of joy, accompanied by the kite-like body of a child tethered to the fear and confusion of incest. We feel the clench of the despairing spirit while through and through is the velvety cord of resilience. Her courage inspires me to be more courageous and her speaking not only inspires me but is almost a mandate that we all speak, no matter what holds us to our silence.”
–Jackie Humphreys, LICSW
WSK Clinical Consultant
and incest survivor.