Houston Show LOCK BY LOCK Will Bring Awareness To Violence Against Women Through Performance
Houston talent won't be the only thing that will be present at the world premiere staging of Lock by Lock by Houston writer Katherine Mulvaney next weekend. Houston Area Women's Center, a nonprofit organization in Houston that caters to victims of domestic abuse, will also be present at the opening of this one-woman show on Thursday, February 20th, 2020.
"It seemed like an obvious thing to me to invite the Houston Area Women's Center to be present at the show," said Teresa Stranahan: Lock by Lock director and founder of The Wandering Moose, "Delilah finds herself in an impossible situation. She is trapped and hurt and scared, and she has been trapped and hurt and scared for most of her life living in a war zone. These are feelings that millions of women deal with on a daily basis."
In the United States, 1 in 4 women experiences some sort of domestic violence according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In 2014, Texas domestic violence hotlines received 185,373 calls. This is of course excluding all of the cases of domestic abuse and violence that occur and go unreported. Houston Area Women's Shelter is one of only five domestic violence and abuse shelters and programs in the city of Houston, one of four to provide a hotline, and only one of two to provide emergency shelter. All services are free, and their hotlines are available 24/7.
The biblical story of Samson and Delilah is from the book of Judges, a section of the bible that is written in what seems to be an almost rushed quality, and the story left plenty to the imagination-- enough to inspire a novella that deals with contemporary issues such as toxic and destructive relationships.
"Even as a kid, it bothered me how people seemed to respond to the Samson & Delilah story as if she were the aggressor. As if the primary danger in their relationship was the one that she posed to Samson.
"You could easily flip the story: traditional Biblical villainess becoming tragic heroine and legendary godly hero becoming the harsh abuser playing mind games with his new wife, but that is the story we often tell about abusive relationships already," said Katherine Mulvaney, writer of Lock by Lock, "Toxic relationships are more subtle than that -- often full of real love and tenderness at key moments. Full of gestures that make you wish things were different, that make it hard to hold in your head the knowledge that you must get out of this house."
Lock by Lock ends on a hopeful note, and in the end, both Samson and Delilah evolve a great deal, but this kind of change is usually the exception, not the rule.
"The relationship in Lock by Lock is too impossibly specific and strange to map onto an actual experience of domestic violence, of course, but the remarkable resilience of Delilah, even as she is pulled in every direction, felt important to get right as I worked on this piece," Mulvaney says, "The first time he truly shows love for her is by not stopping her from cutting his hair, giving away his fearsome strength, and truly changing himself. A step almost no abusers are truly willing to take."
According to the Bureau of Justice, 33% of intimate partner violence victims experienced repeat violent crime than victims of violence by other types of offenders from 2005 to 2014. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one study in the UK found that 42% of domestic violence incidents within one year were repeat offenses. These numbers are of course only considering reported cases of domestic abuse. It is important to remember that these statistics are only calculated with available data, and there are millions of abuse victims that never report their abusers. "I know a good handful of friends who were in abusive and sometimes violent relationships that didn't report it," Stranahan says. This is one of the many reasons why she was so eager to get the Houston Area Women's Center at the event.
"This organization has always been one of those places I wanted more people to know about, and it's really wonderful that I get to help them spread awareness through this show," Stranahan says. She hopes that it doesn't end with HAWC. "I've also reached out to A 2nd Cup Coffee in the heights, and we are in the process of discovering what their involvement will be in this project." A 2nd Cup Coffee is a nonprofit coffee shop in Houston whose mission is to raise awareness and provide education about Human Sex Trafficking as well as supporting efforts in giving survivors a second chance. "There's something I like about mixing social work with art. It comforts me to know that there is more at play than just a good story," says Stranahan.
Lock by Lock has a limited three-day run from February 20th to February 22nd at 300 Main St. On the third floor above Boomtown Coffee in downtown Houston. Performances start at 8 pm, and the house opens at 7:15 for the pre-show reception. Tickets are available starting at $25.00 on Eventbrite under events for The Wandering Moose. A link is also available on the Broadway World regional listing.