Menstruation, evolution, and survival of the fittest—the question is: feminist research lab or Theatre Workshop’s first production of the semester?

The answer is both. “The How and the Why” opens this weekend, with two performances on Friday (7 p.m. and 9 p.m.) and one on Saturday (7 p.m.).

Isobel McBride (’15) and Holly Pretsky (’16) star in the contemporary play about two female evolutionary biologists and their struggle with their field, their research, and each other. Kyra Wolf (’17), who co-directed the show with Pretsky, does not want to reveal too much, but did provide the Catalyst with a sneak peek of the production.

“It talks about what it means to be a woman in a man’s field,” said Wolf. “And what effect that has on the way these woman view themselves and the way they interact with the world around them.”

The cohort of three women have brought every aspect of the story to life on stage by themselves, from the direction to publicity to stage design. The work on- and off-stage has been collaborative and feminist in nature.

“To any feminists who are looking to create feminist art—just do it,” said McBride. “I think there’s generally a hunger among the feminist community for more feminist work.”

The entire play was produced and finished within three weeks. Auditions were held first week of Block 5.

“In terms of this process, it’s been really interesting to have all the different levels of [the] process layered on top of each other,” said McBride. “We’re working on the set, we’re working on lines, and we’re working on character development all at the same time.”

Pretsky commented on the importance of producing feminist theatre, especially when there may be a lack of such work in theatre communities.

“It’s unique in that so many movies and so many plays don’t have very many women in them,” said Pretsky. “It’s a play with only women who are smart and talk about things other than just men. It’s not super radical to even say it’s a feminist play.”

Wolf also spoke on why the show is relevant to anyone on campus, regardless of gender or identification with feminism.

“Yes [the main character] is a woman, yes she’s a strong woman, yes she’s a feminist,” said Wolf. “But that doesn’t make her not a person that you can empathize with.”

“The How and the Why,” written by Sarah Treem, is presented with permission from Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Performances will be in Taylor Theatre, located next to Bemis Hall. Tickets are now available at the Worner Desk.

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