The Invisible Girl
Coming Summer 2022
Produced by and starring Sarah Keyes
Mid-America Theatre Conference, March 2022
To request a copy of Sarah's essay "An Actress Prepares: How Typecasting for Women in Theatre Perpetuates Cycles of Trauma", please email her directly.
A common theme quickly emerges after studying the experiences and resumes of various actresses (including Brit Marling, Melisa Pereyra, Karen Olivo, and first person testimony) throughout their multi-decade careers. As a result of theatrical typecasting, the vast majority of the characters they embody have been abused, raped, or murdered at the hands of their male counterparts. More troubling still is the realization that this typecasting of the “abused woman” in their profession, has been mirrored in their private personal lives. Does enacting these violent stories repeatedly on stage dull the performers’ ability to detect danger in their real lives, increasing their risk of being victims of physical and sexual abuse? This article seeks to answer that question by utilizing trauma research, including Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, and applying those findings to acting theory. The central argument is that the actress’ bodies internalize the scripted narratives. As a result of repeated and prolonged exposure to scripted violence, their subconsciouses cannot tell the difference between staged and real abuses, ultimately dulling the visceral warning signals when they are placed in actual dangerous situations. The violent narratives enacted on stage have real consequences for the women who tell them. This article is a compelling argument for why we, as a theatre community, must break this cycle of trauma and urges the reader to envision a new path forward for the next generation of young actresses.
Alexander Technique Teacher Training
Sarah is currently studying at the Riverside Initiative for the Alexander Technique. Please click the link below to be notified when private lessons become available!