Be Silent No More with PERSEPHONE XOA IRIS at Fertile Ground Festival

Be Silent No More with PERSEPHONE XOA IRIS at Fertile Ground Festival

Portland Storyteller Gretchen Peterson unleashes a one-woman show of three original stories about women who love women, opening January 18at Taborspace.

Drawing on mythology, lesbian history, and comic book ethos, the trilogy of Persephone's Promise, Xoa (Zoh' uh), and Iris Eldinger: Superhero uncovers the fraught, funny, and fierce passions of women who love women. Over the span of eight performances (January 18, 19, 20 and 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 at 7:00 pm.Tickets: $15 at Box Office Tickets or at the door), Gretchen will perform at three different Taborspace venues at the historic Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church, 5441 SE Belmont.

"Every audience will hear the same show, but each space has its own vibe," Gretchen said. "The Dining Room is in the basement with a stage. Copeland Commons is a cozy coffee house with a fireplace, and the Sanctuary has a vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows and a stunning pipe organ. As a performer, I'm excited to tell my stories in such different settings."

Growing up, Gretchen struggled with her attraction to women. "There were no positive stories to help me. The few cryptic references to lesbians in movies or books were 100% negative. Yentl was the first movie I ever saw where two women kissed! Even though Barbra Streisand was disguised as a boy when Amy Irving kissed her, it was a revelation. Yentl explored a sweet, loving connection between two women without censure or shame."

With her first Fertile Ground show, Persephone Xoa Iris, Gretchen offers an imaginative and intricate trio of stories. "The stories of women who love women are almost completely absent from traditional Western literature. The Greek poet Sappho rhapsodized about her love for women, and the Roman poet Ovid wrote of the love between Iphis and Ianthe, but that's about it until the 20th Century. The women existed, but no one ever told their stories. With my show, I explore how the lives of these women have transformed from the lament of, 'I have no voice', to the joy of, 'I will be silent no more!'"

Photo Credit: Anna Caitlin Photography

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