Someone Must Wash the Dishes: An Anti-Suffrage Satire
Saturday, March 28 at 3:30 pm followed by a Victorian tea
Ventfort Hall, Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, 104 Walker Street, Lenox MA
Performed by professional actress Michèle LaRue and directed by Warren Kliewer, “Someone Must Wash the Dishes” has toured coast-to-coast, garnering reviews ranging from, “Better than the best stand-ups!” to, “I would have learned a lot more in school if she had been our teacher!” Her performance will be followed by a Victorian tea. This performance is made possible thanks to the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum’s “100 Events for 100 Years” initiative commemorating the 2020 Women’s Suffrage Centennial.
American women won the right to vote in 1920—and it only took 72 long years! As we near the centennial of Woman Suffrage and face the challenges that still remain, it’s enlightening—and fun—to look back at women’s arguments AGAINST voting.
“Someone Must Wash the Dishes: An Anti-Suffrage Satire” does just that: “Woman suffrage is the reform against nature,” declares its unlikely, but irresistibly likable, heroine. “Ladies, get what you want. Pound pillows. Make a scene. Make home a hell on earth—but do it in a womanly way! That is so much more dignified and refined than walking up to a ballot box and dropping in a piece of paper!”
“Someone Must Wash the Dishes” was written in 1912, by Marie Jenney Howe, a prominent pro-Suffragist and Unitarian minister. Howe satirizes arguments seen as accurate in their day, though absurd in ours. This fictional “Anti” sincerely believes being a “womanly woman” will keep the Home intact and save the Nation from anarchy. “She is charming, obsessed, oblivious—stylish in her wardrobe, but muddled in debate. What her husband tells her goes in one ear and out her mouth,” laughs her portrayer: professional actress Michèle LaRue.
Labeled “wicked” when it debuted in Manhattan and “side-splitting” in Cape May, NJ, “Someone Must Wash the Dishes” was directed by the late Warren Kliewer. A Minnesota native, Kliewer was founding producing artistic director of The East Lynne Company, which revives American plays and literature written before 1920. “Dishes” has convulsed audiences from Connecticut to Texas to Washington State.
Michèle tours nationally with her repertoire of 30 Tales Well Told—vibrant stories from America’s Gilded Age. Her 400 sponsors range from libraries and historical societies, to Leagues of Women Voters and international conferences. A member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Michèle is also a writer and editor. For more about her productions, and how to bring them to your group, visit http://www.michelelarue.com.
Author Marie Jenney Howe (1870 – 1934) left her native Syracuse, NY, to become a prominent Midwestern Unitarian minister. In 1910, she moved to New York City, where she was a catalyst in many Progressive social reforms—notably Suffrage—and an influential writer.
Tickets for the event are $28 for advance reservations and $32 day of the event. Reservations are highly recommended as attendance is limited. For reservations call us at 413-637-3206.