By John Plue
On Wednesday, February 27, Ginger Grace performed The First Ladies Coalition, a one-woman play. Grace had set her stage in the library and it was open to the public. Ginger plays Colleen McCracken, an Irish seamstress who is also an ex-convict.
McCracken’s past is revealed over the course of an interview for “the most extraordinary job she has ever dreamed of” according to Grace. While ‘speaking’ with the woman interviewing her, McCracken reveals that she was in prison. Immediately she is shut down and told that she might not be right for the job because it involves children.
After, the audience learns why McCracken went to prison. She had killed her husband after 10 abusive years with him and after she had lost her child because of him.
Grace said that McCracken “reveals what she did to survive…a revelation that may well result in her being ostracized and thus, being considered more of an outsider in a world where she is now free of prison walls.”
Grace uses McCracken to challenge stereotypes. She shows not only the interviewer but the audience as well not to jump to conclusions about people. Grace said, “it’s when people of widely varying backgrounds can break this stereotype and join together to create a better world…the possibilities are endless.”
The First Ladies of the play, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, and Mary Todd Lincoln, are used as a source of inspiration for McCracken. They helped her while she was in prison and also since she has been out. McCracken was able to not be ashamed of who she was and what she did because of the First Ladies.
The play showcased a lot of strong, independent women and the First Ladies Grace chose stood with their husbands, stood with the people, or stood up for themselves.
McCracken being the center of the play is the one to focus on, she uses the First Ladies’ power to empower herself. Grace carefully chose quotes for each of the First Ladies. “The quotes simultaneously relate to those experiences in their life that were often at historical moments in the history of our country, and also have an intense relation to the play itself,” Grace explains.
The play throws a lot at the audience. Grace uses domestic violence, stereotyping, historical quotes, and death to get the audience’s attention and to get the meaning of the play across.
Grace’s next performance is April 30th, for the Daughters of the American Revolution, and will take place at the Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT.