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The Firsts

Louisiana Women by Carolyn Woosley
Author’s Notes

Louisiana Women, researched and written by Carolyn Woosley, is a set of thirteen monologues of actual Louisiana women who lived between the years 1742 and 2007. Each monologue is a one-woman show of approximately thirty minutes, and each attempts to explore the events, issues or values of the day through the woman’s lives. Some are well-known. Others are not known but portray their particular era. In the midst of a performance the actress often becomes other characters, sometimes male and sometimes of another race.

Seven of the Louisiana Women monologues premiered at the Lake Charles Little Theatre in 1999 and 2001 respectively, under the direction of Adley Cormier. Carol Anne Gayle was co-producer and actress. They were: Marie Therese, Celine, Kate, Clementine, Caroline, Rosa and Clyde. An eighth, Nellie, premiered in partnership with the Imperial Calcasieu Museum and the City of Lake Charles in 2008 under the direction of Brenda Bachrack, Leslie Berman producer. In 2010 six of the monologues toured the state in two companies, The Originals which featured Marie Therese, Clementine and Nellie;and The Visionaries Company featuring Kate, Caroline and Clyde. These two productions were co-produced by Leslie Berman and AlterEgo Productions, Inc. in partnership with Mahogany Ensemble Theatre of Shreveport. Please see www.louisianawomenonstage.com for detailed information on that Season’s work. The tour culminated in Clyde and Clementine being performed at the Ogden Museum of the South during the Fringe Festival New Orleans 2010.

The Firsts ~ They Made a Difference is a Southwest Louisiana BiCentennial Commission-endorsed event. It is produced in partnership with the Imperial Calcasieu Museum 204 W. Sallier St. on June 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29. Producer is Itinerant Theatre, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation (E.I.N. #45-3578583).

One monologue Maggie which explores the life and career of Margaret Dixon, is a world premier. Maggie is performed by Joy Pace, Director of the Theatre Program at McNeese State University, directed by Carolyn Woosley and produced by Leslie Berman.

Summaries of the four women behind this current production, The Firsts ~ They Made a Difference, follow:

Clyde Dixon Connell (1901 – 1998) ~ Born into a plantation-owning family in the Shreveport area Clyde is a spirited, wry, civil rights activist informed by her faith and her involvement in the Presbyterian Women of Louisiana and resulting trips to New York City. As she faced deprivations brought on by the Great Depression, late in life Clyde became a nationally-regarded abstract expressionist artist. Her dynamic body of work, using surface and space, reflect her commitment to social activism and to the inner life. Set in her workroom in the late 1980s.

Caroline Coroneos Dormon (1888 – 1971). Impassioned educator and native of the Natchitoches area, embued with a wry sense of humor, Caroline was the first woman in forestry in the U.S.A. and founder of Kisatchie National Preserve. A published educator and water colorist, she was a tireless advocate of the old growth Louisiana forest, the Louisiana iris bogs, and the Chitimacha and Caddo American Indian cultures. Set in 1970 in her cabin at Briarwood.

Margaret Dixon (1908 – 1970) was the first managing editor of a major periodical (Baton Rouge Morning Advocate) in the USA. From 1938 until her death she covered every session of the Louisiana state legislature, with particular focus on Governor Earl Long and public access to political records. Dixon also led reform efforts at Angola Prison and treatment of mentally ill children and youth. Setting: Maggie’s office in the Morning Advocate, 1959.

Rosa Lucille Hart (1900-1964). Spirited first woman cheerleader in the U.S.A. as she urged on Tulane University teams during WWI, Rosa returned to hometown Lake Charles. There she cofounded and directed, in her inimitable way, the Lake Charles Little Theatre for 30 years. Set in Spring 1948 in her bedroom as she relishes the arrival of Life Magazine’s reporter for coverage of a local production that “flopped on Broadway, but it won’t flop here!”