Elisabeth Withers-Mendes’ event The Soul of a Woman took place last week at the Performing Arts Center pertaining on Valencia’s East Campus. The stage filled with a group of women of different upbringings, origins, careers, and ages. The women weren’t only students and performers, they were daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends, aunts, and mothers. Most importantly, they were their own persons on stage and it showed. They were women saturated with grace and humanity, love and passion, loss and gain, hurt and healing.
The company dazzled and charmed as they poured their stories and souls into their watching crowd. The stories covered religion, politics, sex, love, indifference, sexuality, bodies, education, career, marriage, divorce, and the women they used to be in previous seasons. One had an extraordinary family. Another had a difficult divorce. The cast’s mission was to inspire through music and comedy and dialogue at their house party, which the audience was attending to as beloved, familiar guests.
Emily Piriz’ rendition of the musical number “She Used to be Mine” was tear-inducing and positively entrancing. The cast’s performance of “Boogie Woogie Bugle” transports the audience back in time to the Roaring Twenties when the working woman rebelled for equality in the workplace. The theme song, titled “Beautiful”, was uplifting and fun. Aretha Franklin was gorgeously celebrated, and the country received a wonderful homage with the wonderful harmonies that played along the national anthem.
I believe it is best to describe this show as: witty, hilarious, glimmering, and B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L; Withers-Mendes and the rest of the cast did a superb work with delivering their messages. An inspiring performance worth watching.
Image courtesy of Nataniel Terron