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The Clothesline Muse

The National Black Theater Festival

National Performance Network, Portland

Carver Community Cultural Center, San Antonio

Wilson Arts Center, NC

Cary Arts Center, NC

Bloomsburg University of PA

Texas A&M

Temple University

Created by Nina Freelon, Maya Freelon, Kariamu Welsh

Projection/Media/Sound Designer: Joseph Amodei

Lighting Designer: Ross Kolman

Scenic Designer: Maya Freelon

Photos: Steven Paul Whitsitt

This is the story of American culture, class, and the American Dream - through women’s eyes. It is a forerunner of the labor movement in its landmark protest, a forerunner to the suffrage and women’s rights movements. It was a line to and from the families and a commentary on the state of the community. Often women shared lines so that there was a a cooperative spirit. Clothes that were left on the line long after they were dried signaled trouble and the community would check on the household. It taught young girls about responsibility; it taught young men respect for others’ work. At its heart, it is the stories of women - mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters - that span generations. The apparent mundane task of washing clothes and hanging clothes to dry on an outdoor line told the tales of families, of birth and death, marriage and desertion, childhood to adulthood.

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