After the fascinating first episode last week of Clubbed Thumb’s “The Woman’s Party,” there was no way I was going to miss the second of this three-part play about the little-remembered National Women’s Party, whose members agitated, protested, went to jail to achieve women’s suffrage with the 19th amendment, and now decades later, in 1947, are determined to push for a second women-centered Constitutional amendment, the Equal Rights Amendment.
“There are certain windows of time when change is possible,” says Alma Lutz, one of the real-life historical figures portrayed by Marceline Hugot. “We have to act before this one closes.”
“Don’t be so dramatic” says Mary Owens (Marga Gomez)
“Don’t be so phlegmatic.”
If this week’s episode is not as stylish as the first — this time, the design innovation is a little doll house with paper cut-out reproductions of the characters – we are brought closer to the characters and the reasons for the conflicts between the two factions fighting for control of the party. Some of the one-on-one arguments are personal, with the combatants questioning each other’s motives, and accusing each other of misogyny. But some of it is ideological, such as a debate over what should be included in the fight for women’s equality – is birth control , is an anti-war stance. Some of it has some resonance in 2021.
“The answer is not to move further and further to the left,” says Clara Snell Wolfe (portrayed by Laura Esterman.)
“But that’s where ideals are,” replies Caroline Lexow Babcock (Connie Winston)
At the end, we glimpse the woman they have all been fighting over, Alice Paul, the leader of the National Woman’s Party for half a century, who lived until the age of 92 (portrayed by Rebecca Schull, the 92-year-old actress.)
The third and final episode launches on May 6. All three will be available, for free but requiring you register, until August.