Monday, April 18, 2011

Voices Carry

On Sunday night, I went to "The Power of the Arts" a benefit for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, G-CAPP, an organization that was founded by Jane Fonda in 1995.  It's the only non-profit in Georgia focused on preventing teen pregnancy and, since its founding, teen pregnancy in Georgia has decreased 30%.  The highlight of the evening was watching a 1962 documentary film simply entitled Jane chronicling Ms. Fonda as she was debuting the Broadway play The Fun Couple.  Ms. Fonda introduced the film as documenting one of the worst moments of her life--the play was a critical and financial failure--when, as a 25 year-old woman, she says she had no voice.  It was provocative to watch the 53 minute film.  My first impression was that everyone smoked in the 1960s.  Everyone had a cigarette and they puffed away as if they would live forever.  The next impression was Ms. Fonda's relationship with the play's producer Andreas Voutsinas.  He's described quite demurely as "Jane's friend and a person she dates often."  But in terms of millennial sensibilities, it appears the two were May-December lovers.  Andreas dominates the relationship, at times sweet, but most of the time an insufferable jerk.  It's easy to see how Ms. Fonda felt she had no voice in that moment of her life.  She described the time as an outer-body experience.  She stated that she had  not been able to reclaim her own voice, her authentic self, until recently. 

In the Q&A session that followed, Ms. Fonda was emphatic how much we need to reach out and listen to young girls so that they do not lose their voices during adolescence.  Joining Ms. Fonda in the Q&A was actress Gabourey Sidibe who starred in the film Precious.  Ms. Sidibe was also refreshing and admirable in relating how empowered she felt to prove wrong those who have said that because of her size and complexion she could not have a Hollywood career.  Ms. Sidibe is such a warm and engaged person that it is no wonder she is having a great influence on young people who look up to her.  The panel was completed with two young theater actresses who related how acting and performance strengthen their lives and how they use their art to engage others.  For a benefit, it was very pleasing to have a program that focused on discussing real problems facing young people and our society at large, rather than just wining and dining.  The whole event was good for the spirit as well as the soul.

Although Jane appears on IMDB, it does not appear to be available for public viewing on dvd or otherwise.

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