Celebrating 15 years

Recent Posts
Recent Comments
Archives

Meet The NSFW Company: Jessica Greenberg

As we prepare to move from the rehearsal hall into the theatre (conveniently located one flight up from The Theatre Centre‘s Incubator) we thought it would be an ideal time to start introducing you to members of the NSFW (Not Safe For Work) team. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling many of the fine artists (both on and off stage) contributing to this fierce, funny and thought provoking production.

First up is Studio 180 Core Artistic Team member Jessica Greenberg. I think it’s fair to say that Jessica has been more than a little busy.

Jessica Greenberg

Jessica Greenberg

Studio 180: What have you been up to lately?

Jessica Greenberg: I’ve been getting ready for NSFW. As a member of Studio 180’s Core Artistic Team and our Head of Education and Outreach, in addition to acting in the production, I’ve also been orchestrating our Beyond the Stage and IN CLASS initiatives. So that’s been helping to raise funds to support our workshops with high school students attending the play; working with Mark and Kimwun to develop the workshop program that will enhance students’ experience at the theatre; coordinating with teachers and administrators to book workshops and tickets for students; researching and writing our comprehensive Study Guide for NSFW; compiling resources to supplement the play; bringing our wonderful new Education and Outreach Coordinator, Ramona Gilmour-Darling up to speed on all things Studio 180; collaborating with Ilene Sova and Jennifer McKinnley of Feminist Art Conference to put together an amazing photography exhibit – Repossessing Beauty – which will adorn the theatre lobby during the run of the show; and working with the phenomenal Sheila Sampath of Shameless Magazine to put together our panel discussion for November 18 following the 8PM performance. Oh, and I’ve been raising my two daughters. Amidst months of research about media representations of girls and women, misogyny and gender-based violence, I’ve sent my 4 1/2 year-old out into the world to begin her formal education in junior kindergarten. So that has been an emotional experience.

Jessica Greenberg (fourth from left) presides over a discussion with students in one of our IN CLASS workshops

Jessica Greenberg (fourth from left) presides over a discussion with students in one of our IN CLASS workshops

180: Tell us about your role in NSFW.

JG: I will be playing Charlotte. She is a smart, career-driven young journalist struggling in what seems to me, a pretty unforgiving industry. I’m looking forward to exploring her major conflict of the play which relates to a set of circumstances that resonate for a lot of women in the magazine industry and beyond. How do you stay true to yourself, your moral and political convictions, your very sense of identity, when your only career options seem to be steeped in patriarchy and other oppressive systems? Charlotte works at Doghouse – it’s a sort of mecca of sanctioned sleaze and misogyny. Like all great satire, we’re impacted by how gross and unacceptable this place is because it’s really not very different from the actual magazines that arrive in our mailboxes. I mean, my husband subscribes to Entertainment Weekly and the covers of that thing lately have been out of control. A fully clothed man paired with a completely naked woman. They’re starring in a film together and guess what – it’s not a porn. OH MY GOD, WHY IS SHE NAKED???  Anyway, I’m looking forward to figuring out how Charlotte navigates all this stuff. Why does she make these choices about where she works and who she sleeps with? What does she see as her options? Would she post one of those crazy Women Against Feminism photos on Tumblr? We’ll find out.

180: What would you say is the most challenging thing about your role in NSFW?

JG: The biggest challenge is probably going to be separating myself and my own core beliefs, convictions and ideologies from those of Charlotte. I’m going to have to pretend that I haven’t spent the past six months steeped in feminist theory.

180: Why do you think audiences should check out NSFW?

JG: Women’s rights are big in the media right now. Look at #yesallwomen. That weird Women Against Feminism Tumblr campaign I mentioned and responses to it. The leaked naked photos of female celebrities. Nail polish that stops rape. Harry Potter’s Emma Watson speaking at the UN. If Facebook and Twitter are any indication, people are really up for conversations about media representations of women, sexism, gender conformity, privacy and consent, sexual violence and rape culture. But here’s the thing. These are not new conversations. We know this stuff. We know that women’s bodies are objectified to sell stuff. We know that pretty much every female image we see in print or online has been digitally altered to be made “better.” We know that “better” means thinner and whiter and it is now completely expected and not at all shocking for women to surgically alter their faces and bodies to be considered base-line acceptable by our culture’s standards of beauty. And we’ve known this stuff and we’ve been talking about this stuff for a while now and still, I think it’s all getting worse. I really do. We can retweet how pissed off we are that some underwear model was photoshopped to look a little skinnier in an ad for shoes or whatever, but it’s not gonna cut it. It’s good that people are vocal on social media when it comes to issues of oppression and misogyny. But I think it’s important for us to come together as a community in real life and real time. To embody a shared physical space and connect to one another as human beings. To start questioning ourselves and our own culpability in perpetuating oppressive systems. We all participate in this culture and until we all start taking some ownership over the ways in which we participate, I think things are just going to keep getting worse.

(Editor’s Note: It’s worth pointing out that Jessica answered these questions in advance of both GamerGate coming to a head and the evolving Jian Ghomeshi drama. That two such potent online debates have erupted in the last couple of weeks speaks to just how prevalent Women’s rights issues are in the media and how much room for discussion there is above and beyond our production.)

What’s coming up for you?

All things Studio 180, including our IN CLASS workshops and our adaptation of David Rakoff’s Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish.

Jessica (far left) reads from our David Rakoff adaptation at a fundraising event earlier this year

Jessica (far left) reads from our David Rakoff adaptation at a fundraising event earlier this year

Thanks Jessica. We look forward to sharing more profiles with you in the coming weeks and hope that, in addition to the show, you’ll be able to make it out to the many Beyond The Stage activities Jessica has coordinated to facilitate discussion around the play’s explosive themes.

NSFW (Not Safe For Work) begins previews on November 7 and runs through November 30.

  • A co-founder of Studio 180, Mark is a Toronto-based actor, writer and producer. As a member of our Core Artistic Team, Mark coordinates the company’s new play development initiatives and is one of our Studio 180 IN CLASS workshop leaders. More posts by Mark McGrinder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *