The New Northwest, a suffragist newspaper that was started and edited by Duniway, that regularly featured poetry (oftentimes on the front page), and that was published out of Portland from 1871-1887. (If you're a regular P&PC reader, you might remember our four-part "Remembering The New Northwest" series here, here, here, and here.)
Jon Cole, who was seeking material for the development of a devised script in conjunction with a scriptwriting class he was slated to teach. P&PC proposed starting with the New Northwest's poetry as a way of linking the show to statewide efforts to commemorate 2012 as the one hundredth anniversary of Oregon women's suffrage, but also as a way to experiment with how archival materials might be tied to the present day and made, well, less archival.
My name is Abigail—I go by AJD—
and I'm here to tell you all what it is I see.
I see the men on the floor but the ladies aren't here
'cause they all back at home in the "women’s sphere."
Come on people—it's Eighteen Seventy-One.
Is this really how we think the dance of democracy's done?
I wanna bust a move, but I can't break out.
What I need more than anything's an angel in the house!
The Perplexed Housekeeper" (written by Mrs. F.D. Gage and published in the New Northwest on June 2, 1871), the actor—overwhelmed by domestic burdens symbolized by an ever-growing duffel bag repeatedly thrust at her—"recited" the entirety of the poem via a series of moans, groans, mumbles, and other vocal expressions decipherable only because the poem's words were on screen in the background.
We hope you get a chance to see the play soon. Brightly Dawning Day: Celebrating the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in Oregon only runs until February 23, so get your tickets today!