Women in Performance
Melissa has found herself on yet another business trip, alone in a hotel. Holed up in room 305, she is left to wonder about the worth of her life, her self, and her body, as those around her struggle to build the lives they long for. Can she do the same? Honey is a new work about women and how much they’re willing to give to get what they need.
Inspired by narratives of desire and intimate moments between strangers, Honey is a new work about women and how much they’re willing to give to get what they need. Tickets are now on sale for the show, which will run June 14-16 and June 21-23.
Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Fresh Paint, an aggregate of Oklahoma City performing artists, to produce the world premiere of Honey. Katherine Wilkinson, queer director and creative producer based in New York City, will direct.
Commissioned by Oklahoma Contemporary, Honey is the second production in the Women in Performance series, which began in March with The Other Mozart. One Woman Sex and the City will take the stage this October.
“We have assembled a dream team of powerful and dynamic women from New York and Oklahoma to help create this immersive theatrical experience dealing with our relationship with our bodies and how we use our bodies to get what we want, need and desire in a capitalistic society,” said Fresh Paint Artistic Director Chelcy Harrell. “The creation of Honey perfectly aligns with Fresh Paint’s mission of cultivating and developing new works and working collaboratively with artists from a variety of different backgrounds.”
Inspired by interviews conducted in 2017 and 2018 with Oklahoma sex workers and patrons, Honey is a devised theater piece about female labor and the ways in which our bodies and work are valued in America. Honey features an all-female-identifying ensemble.
“The differences between an actor, domestic worker, server and sex worker are slim,” Wilkinson said. “They all utilize their bodies, charm and interpersonal skills to earn capital. The way we differentiate value of work has to do with a complex matrix of classism, sexism and racism. Honey is a discussion about the ways in which we look at labor and why we give more weight to certain professions and shame others.”
From experimentation, improvisation and research, Honey’s collaborators brought the show to life in a unique and nontraditional way. Each artist in the room had a direct hand in the formation of each moment, motif and scene onstage.Honey is a devised work, a play made from scratch. Starting with narratives, ideas and core questions (and not a set script) the creative team built the play in a room at a farmhouse just outside Oklahoma City. From experimentation, improvisation and research, Honey’s collaborators brought the show to life in a unique and nontraditional way. Each artist in the room had a direct hand in the formation of each moment, motif and scene onstage.
“We believed that the best way to build this work is collaboratively, and our devising process has involved an all-female team conducting interviews, physical explorations and live improvisations,” Wilkinson said. “We have been immensely inspired by the bravery and courage of the many folks who shared their story with us, and our performance will hopefully illuminate the ways we can all be more compassionate and understanding towards one another regardless of our professional choices.”
Jeremiah Matthew Davis said Honey was a logical fit for Oklahoma Contemporary’s Women in Performance series.
“Through three distinct works, the Women in Performance series explores various facets of contemporary society and the diverse roles women play within it,” Davis said. “In both its unique creative process and subject matter, Honey is a groundbreaking experimental project that engages with issues of labor and gender. Oklahoma Contemporary is proud to create the space for Oklahoma artists to collaborate with artists from New York and contribute their perspectives to the national conversation.”
Wilkinson said those perspectives are key to Honey.
“Honey brings to light voices that have traditionally been marginalized,” Wilkinson said. “The narratives of sex workers are often vilified and stereotyped. Our production creates space for a different conversation around sex work and challenges our preconceived notions of what sex workers do in their day-to-day lives. Honey examines the motivations, choices and parallels that sex work has with other professions and lifestyles. ”
Produced by Fresh Paint Performance Lab and Oklahoma Contemporary
Executive producer: Chelcy Harrell
Core Collaborators and Writers: Morgaine Gooding Silverwood, Emma McFarland, Chelcy Harrell, Katherine Wilkinson
Director: Katherine Wilkinson
Original Music: Ben Harrell
Scenic Design: Nicole Emmons-Willis and Meghan Buchanan
Props and Costume Design: Lia Oldham
Lighting Design: Candace Tyson
Performed by: Kaylene Snarsky, Korri Warner, Holli Would, Claire Fountain, Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood, Julia Watts
About the Women in Performance series
Oklahoma Contemporary launched Women in Performance, three major performances created and performed by women, in 2018. With three unique shows, the series highlights the incredible creative contributions made by women in the performing arts.