Saturday, September 23
Walnut Street Theatre: Studio 5Map
Half Key Theatre Company
Set in 1920’s Ireland, Airswimming is based on the true story of two women imprisoned in a mental hospital for daring to challenge society’s definition of womanhood. Forgotten by the world, Dora and Persephone come together for one hour each day to clean and find connection. Through sheer force of will, friendship, and a penchant for Doris Day, they redefine their world and resist confinement for over 50 years.
Airswimming by Charlotte Jones explores female identity & friendship at a time in Irish history when mental health and women’s issues converged. Jones takes the imagined circumstances of two real imprisoned women and asks: How do we express and accept ourselves when our freedoms have been taken away? How can finding connection with another person help us better understand ourselves? What does Doris Day have to do with any of this? Airswimming speaks to the desire in all of us to be free from societal constraints, to dance and be weird and wacky with our best friends, and to find meaning in the most unexpected of places.
$20 / 90 minutes
Half Key Theatre company provides a space in which unheard voices are given witness. With a focus on the narratives of women throughout history, the company strives to do justice to stories that have been forgotten. Above all the company values that which makes theater powerful–raw human connection, in moments of both pain and delight. Elizabeth Stevens, Michaela Shuchman, and Michelle Johnson first shared Airswimming with Swarthmore College in February 2016. The Daily Gazette wrote “Shuchman and Johnson have far and away done this beautiful work of theater justice. It’s as if the two of them were made for these two captivatingly different performances.” They are thrilled to share this heartwarming story with Philadelphia audiences.
Director: Elizabeth Stevens
Performers: Michaela Shuchman & Michelle Johnson
Sound Design: Elizabeth Atkinson
Costume Design: Laila Swanson
Lighting Design: Evelyn Swift Shuker
Stage Manager: Desta Pulley
Dramaturg: Rosie McInnes