It’s all about timing! That’s what they say in theater, in comedy, dance, music, and other arenas of the performing arts! Rhythm and time. When you dance on the right beat, a beautiful choreography is made. When you sing on the right pitch, an intrinsic ballad creates one of the most magical nights to remember. Make a joke on the right time and the audience is hysterical, holding their stomachs, while rolling around on the floor. The right time is a Universal haven for the realm of creativity.
One of the things regarding time, is that we are forced to release our control from it. Time has a way of teaching humanity, who is really, in charge. Time forces the dismantling of the ego. Time forces one to surrender in order to experience a surrendering release. In fact, there is an eloquent performance of time. It has its own sequence of dances, songs, and humor. Once we have come to surrender the ego, we come to comprehend the abundance and richness of time! Time also performs through the world of literature. It’s why words, sentence fragmentation, and punctuation are so very important. Their mixture with the right words creates a magical taste; leaving our minds breathless; reminding us as to why we can get lost through the power of words. Why certain novels are passed on from generations to generations.
There is another thing, which relies on timing. And, that is none other than, justice! Justice is a re-balance in what has been taken. It is a shift from what has been lost. In fact, there is a level of restoration; a rebirth has developed. Things get back in order. Whatever was delayed must come back around. There is no other way around it. Where there is action, there is time. Where there is space, there is time. One’s time of justice always comes around. Now, whether it is a positive or negative depends on what we have produced in the Universe. Nevertheless, it does return back to us. Time has a way of righting the wrongs, for a pastime!
As we journey our way onto the Broadway stage, there is one play, which has come into harmony with the very essence of time and healing. Not only has it been measured with healing, but it has been justified with time! And for this Broadway musical, one girl suited a rhythm, in the perfect step!
So, now we have come to the realm of Broadway! Oh, what a time we shall have. The performing arts not only address the abundant spacing of time, but they also have the power of addressing its healing nurture, as well. Certain musicals are written during a time when the world needs a rebirth. Others are designed for a spiritual reckoning. As it relates to the role of woman, we are poised to address her particular dance in time. What is it about woman and her use of Universal artistry, for the feminine majesty of her rebirth? How does it serve to redeem her very essence and majesty? No matter how fresh the wound may be-how old it may be-there is still the desire to heal, and be healed. There is still that yearning to understand what it feels to find one’s voice, assert one’s vocal power into the Heavens. Such is even cleansing when doing so. Furthermore, there is a reckoning at play-literally!
For one particular musical, there are certain, healing vibes, which navigate into the Soul! Furthermore, certain factors play a role in removing the level of trauma, which has been experienced. Music is a gift to the very Soul! It is touching, spiritually nutritious, and releases toxins. Even more, the very essence of music can be a rebirth of the self; the restoration of one’s womanhood! Entering into the world of former actress, screenwriter, current real estate agent, and co-writer of the musical play, The Right Girl, we have one woman who has created an aura of personal re-birth. The vocal timing was, right! The creative timing was, right! Yet, for this specific period, she would be centered in her own Being. Justice had come! And, the spotlight had come for her own, TIMING! Such a fierce dame, is none other than former actress and screenwriter. . .
The words of Louisette Geiss have come into fruition. It is not only for the inner stage, but the main one, as well. Entering into her world we move into her creative mind, concerning why The Right Girl became, the Right Time!
Lauren K. Clark: Other than the professional career of the protagonist in the musical, The Right Girl, how does the character of Eleanor Stark mirror your own womanhood? Her tastes? Her dislikes? Her sensitivities? Her desires?
Louisette Geiss: Eleanor Stark is definitely the protagonist, but I would more liken her to the every man or woman, in this case. To be a silence breaker is not the norm. What is more the norm is to keep your head down, work and often not question things you deep down know you should be questioning. This is Eleanor. For me she is representative of what I hope many people will see in themselves and seek to change after watching our show. In many instances, those who surround a predator often say they had no idea what was going on. This may be true in some cases but as we all know ignoring or not confronting what we know is the truth is often each person‘s own personal challenge. It takes Eleanor a long time to see herself and become a better person but she eventually does and this is what I hope most people will take away from the show. No one is perfect, but as Oprah says, when we know better we should do better. We can’t change the past but we sure as hell can change the future and maybe watching this particular character for many will spark some thing in them that will make them do things differently the next time they are confronted with the knowledge of predatory behavior.
The character I am most aligned with is Marie. She very closely follows my journey from getting out of the movie business and getting into real estate. She is also a mom of four kids and truly questions how coming forward will affect she and her family. Being a silence breaker is extremely challenging for all, not just the one breaking the silence but also for the family. If you are a good mom, you weigh this severity on yourself, on your kids and ultimately on doing the right thing and making the world a better place. Marie does come forward but she absolutely recognizes the cost it will have on her and her family.
Without dissecting tastes to dislikes and sensitivities, I feel like I can speak to both Eleanor and Marie‘s desire. Both women have a strong desire to be a successful and respected professional. Both women do whatever it takes in order to move their career forward by working hard, being bold and not taking anyone’s quid pro quo offer.
I think this is something that was probably the most devastating for me to learn when I started in the movie business. I naïvely thought that if I studied a lot and truly worked hard at my craft, that I could eventually break the barrier to the sexual advances because my professionalism and talent would trump the sexualization of me and my career. It took me about 15 years to realize that I could not win and no matter how good I would ever be as an actress or how much I fit a part, at the end I would have to do something sexual in order to get the job. I think both Eleanor and Marie realize this at different points in their lives and for Eleanor-although she is not asked to do something sexual-she is often in a place that is uncomfortable, but she navigates it by again putting her head down, working hard, and moving on. Her ignoring what’s in front of her is ultimately her cross to bear.
For Marie, she realizes that saying no to the producer’s sexual requests will never give her the career she desires. So she leaves and ultimately fulfills her bigger dream, which is to have a healthy, happy family. It takes her years to realize this though. Marie does feel vindicated, eventually, as being a hero to her kids is ultimately her biggest reward. Saving them from what she went through is really her driving force.
Lauren K. Clark: Take us on that initial journey when you decided to join the creative team for this project. Did writing the characters trigger any emotional memories or breakdowns for you?
Louisette Geiss: Well, to be clear I did not decide to join this team, I asked everyone minus one to join ME on this journey. I had this idea of doing a show about a year into dealing with the Weinstein case. Hearing the treacherous and deeply moving stories of many of the survivors was getting to me and I felt like I needed, and wanted, to give survivors a silver lining to this horrible experience. I met Howard Kagan through the bankruptcy of the Weinstein company, as I flew to Delaware to become the chairwoman of the unsecured creditors committee. That is a whole other journey in and of itself, but let’s just say I appreciated Howard trying to buy The Weinstein Company and give survivors a first look deal so to speak.
When I had the idea to do a show, I felt in my gut it was best to go to him first and I did. Miraculously, he loved the idea, wanted to elevate it to a musical which was something I was very familiar with and he brought on Susan Stroman. From there I had a kismet moment where a realtor I work with mentioned Diane Warren and I knew in my gut again, she was the person who should be on this journey with us. Again, one of those gifts from the universe fell in my lap when I happened to be at a women’s conference and Diane Warren was playing her song for a packed house. I ran up to her after her performance, quickly pitched her my idea and she gave me her cell phone number. Only a few months after that did we all meet… Howard, Susan, Diane and myself at Diane’s studio in Los Angeles. That is where the team was born. The rest is Herstory.:)
Lauren K. Clark: Sometimes it is through the fictional world, where we can live out happier, livelier, and more nourishing realities. If Eleanor Stark was a particular SuperShero, what (and who) would she be?
Louisette Geiss: Eleanor is a little Catwoman meets Wonder Woman. I say this because again, Eleanor doesn’t start from a perfect place, but more evolves & comes to grips with her power and how she can best use it for good. She ultimately joins her other Sheroes, who use their badass wit and intelligence to topple a media king.
Lauren K. Clark: When a particular group of women go through a shared, and traumatic, experience, there is a unique Sisterhood, that is established. You have mentioned that the musical has created a place for the other 20+ women to find healing. Yet, how has their presence assisted in your own, personal healing?
Louisette Geiss: I honestly don’t know where I would be without the incredible women I have met through this sisterhood of silence breakers. Being alone and coming forward is honestly one of the most challenging and debilitating things a survivor can go through. Let’s face it. First you are traumatized, harassed, maybe even raped by a predator and then you decide to come forward. You can be re-traumatized repeatedly by people not believing you. The fact that I have so many women who have gone through the same, or similar, experiences as myself gives me a safe place to mourn, and heal. These women I have now come to know and call my friends, are incredibly smart, sophisticated and damn funny. I so appreciate them elevating me to a place of laughter-even though we are all sharing one of the most heinous umbilical cords to some very well known predators.
Lauren K. Clark: If you could paint this newfound blossoming of your womanhood, and place it inside of one of the most prestigious art galleries in New York City, what would a visitor see? How would such a painting reflect the journeys and stories of the other women, whom The Right Girl is based upon?
Louisette Geiss: I love this question and what first comes to mind is a very ethereal heart, painted repeatedly using colors that Monet would choose. Coming out of those reflections of my heart so to speak would be hundreds of women’s faces. At the center, would be my two young girls. I really do feel that my heart has opened up tremendously through this experience of coming forward, but I am keenly aware that so many women before me, and beside me, have done what I have done and much more. At the end of the day, we all do this to make the world a better place for our young children. This, I know for sure.
Lauren K. Clark: For this project, you are working with some very big names in the theater, music, and film worlds. Howard Kagan. Diane Warren. Susan Stroman. Tony Winning. How has this creative partnership given you the strength to provide your contribution to this musical? Furthermore, how has the presence of Diane Warren and Susan Stroman assisted you in healing your presence in the theater and film worlds?
Louisette Geiss: By far, being surrounded by such kindness from such great female directors, music producers and creators like Susan Stroman and Diane Warren, has given me the strength to believe I can do it again. I also feel like my friendship and working relationship with Howard Kagan has given me the chutzpah to keep pushing on.
You must remember that I wrote a fair amount and did a fair amount of acting roles back in the day, and I know what it takes to get to this level for my show. It is never lost on me and I am always incredibly grateful, but I draw from my pain and my damn can-do attitude. All of these pros know it’s hard to get to this level, but their excitement about this show, truly fills me up. It takes a hell of a lot of work and I have never been afraid of that. I hope to continue their greatness and follow in their footsteps. Making good art is giving back to the world in so many ways, and that is just part of who I am. It’s in my soul and I am grateful to be surrounded by some kickass creative angels.
Lauren K. Clark: There is something about women writers and the power of crafting feminine words to a paper. By entrapping sound onto a blank space, people are forced to acknowledge it is there. They are forced to listen. So, how have you used writing for your own healing outside of work? Do you keep a journal or diary?
Louisette Geiss: I love the way you crafted this question, for it shows the power of female writers and female journalists, as you noted. Let’s be real, I used to do a lot of journaling, but when you have a three-year-old and a five-year-old at home, working full-time, writing a musical and now with COVID you have to be their teacher. It’s the last thing I do. I am focused on other writing projects; though that I can’t really go into now. I think it’s always good to be aware and consider next projects as you complete current ones. My writing can only get better, so continuing on is imperative and as you say…cathartic.
Lauren K. Clark: How has “The Right Girl” established a new trend in restoring the victims of sexual violence?
Louisette Geiss: I honestly hope there’s going to be a new trend in restoring the survivors of sexual violence back into the workforce and in getting their stories heard. I personally don’t think there’s enough of a trend yet, but I am hoping that what we are doing on our musical will inspire other people to do the same. What I mean by that is, as a survivor I get asked repeatedly to do interviews both-in person and off camera-and it can take a lot of time and energy. Often survivors are only asked salacious questions that drive audience’s interest, but harm the mental head space of the survivor. Many of the survivors have spent a lot of money too, just getting their stories out there but on my show each contributor, who told her story to us will share in a percentage of the royalties on the show. I asked them to share their story, but we are giving back to them. This to me needs to be the norm. It is very hard for me to hear about some of my survivor compatriots being on documentaries that make millions of dollars, but the survivors who suffered and told their stories get nothing. I just don’t think that is right, and I think there should be a place for everyone to win in getting these works of art made. It is not the easier thing to do to pay contributors, BUT it is the right thing to do.
“I think the character of Marie is more closely aligned to those of us who are survivors and silence breakers because we are a small percentage. Many people may feel more aligned with Eleanor‘s story.“Louisette Geiss
Lauren K. Clark: Let’s imagine you were back in your 20’s, and that you have returned back to that moment of finding your voice in Hollywood. If you had the wisdom and power that you have now, how would you create a magical space for young women trying to find success in film and television?
Louisette Geiss: This is a very challenging question because I think I really did try to always create spaces, where women and men felt comfortable, artistically, 20 years ago. I created several theater groups and I was part of many improv troops, but the problem is that even if I had the wisdom and strength -that I have now as a woman in her 40’s- I know that the woman I was in my 20’s would still be seen as a sexual object. I’m not sure that my being stronger would’ve changed anything. I think it would’ve helped me tremendously for my mental health because all the predatory behavior really ate away at me for many years and made me feel very less then. It took a lot of hard work on my part doing rigorous therapy, yoga and other enlightening/ self help classes to get to a place where I am, now. I am by no means perfect and I have to continually work on myself-especially with all the re-triggering of the cases with these predators-but maybe if the 20-year-old me had a 40-year-old me as a mentor, she would’ve felt a lot more secure and realized earlier, that it was not her fault, ever. I think the magic would have been to create a mentorship of strong women and men to protect those younger than them. The business of show business was so lascivious then, that it became soul crushing and I wish I could’ve simply hugged myself too, 20 years ago, and let her know that, someday in the future, she would rise again!
Lauren K. Clark: When you were creating the character of Eleanor Stark, how did you want to illuminate traces of your own story, without taking away from her unique persona?
“The purple is for the healing and the love from new, unexpected friendships made. The teal is for the ocean of calm that will hopefully wash over all of us once the world has excepted a new reality.“Louisette Geiss
Louisette Geiss: As I noted, the lead character definitely has traces of me from the perspective of her incredible and dedicated work ethic. I also feel like Eleanor was who I was when I first started and simply did not know how sexualized the movie industry was until I came face-to-face with it on the daily. Maybe it is my best attribute and my fault for having an incredible amount of hope, but I do think that this is also what gets Eleanor through the tough times, and ultimately she comes to a place of enlightenment. A very dear friend of mine who is also now a producer on this show told me as a female in a completely different industry, she felt like the Eleanor character. This friend of mine is really an incredible woman who now inspires so many other women, but as she even states herself, she found her self in the board rooms many times having to sign an NDA. My show starts 10 years ago and ends in the current day. Let’s face it, even in that short amount of time, a lot has changed.
I think the character of Marie is more closely aligned to those of us, who are survivors and silence breakers because we are a small percentage. Many people may feel more aligned with Eleanor‘s story. Most people say to me they could never come forward or do it so publicly. Many people fear the retaliation, and I don’t blame them. It really sucks. But again, as Eleanor changes her mindset in the show, I hope others will sing a different tune as they exit the theater…Or during COVID…after they watch our show on the TV hopefully some day.
Lauren K. Clark: If there are 3 colors that you would describe for The Right Girl, what would they be?
Louisette Geiss: I am going on my gut right now with this, but I see the colors red, black, purple and teal. The red is for the love and the blood shed to tell our stories and the toll it takes on our bodies. The black is for the incredible dark pain and the feeling as a survivor/silence breaker we are in a black abyss often. It’s often hard to see your way out. The purple is for the healing and the love from new, unexpected friendships made. The teal is for the ocean of calm that will hopefully wash over all of us once the world has excepted a new reality. A peace we all feel when sexual violence and rape culture are not a norm.
Lauren K. Clark: How would you describe the woman you were before, to the woman you are now? If you could say anything to that 20-something woman, fresh and new to the Hollywood scene, what would you say?
Louisette Geiss: I would tell the 20 something me, to run away from the Hollywood industry back many years ago. I would’ve been incredibly straightforward and blunt about what it took to become a star 20 years ago. I think that was part of my problem is I did not have anyone to tell me the truth about what I was about to walk into. You hear a lot of stories about women getting found in the drugstore, and then becoming a star, but the truth of the matter is we all know what it took now. How many horrific sexual abuse stories were really the truth behind the miracle of “being found?”
I do really love the entertainment industry and I do feel like the greatest part-although we have a long way to go-in righting many wrongs. We are, at least, acknowledging it and hopefully it is getting better. The fact that some of these predators are in jail, is the key. If my daughters come to me someday and say they want to be an actress or a singer, producer, writer etc., I want to be happy for them and not tell them, “hell no!” Being an artist is a great gift. So, I hope if that’s what they want someday they can realize it without any predators crashing their spirit. Allowing people to do their job without having to fulfill a sexual fantasy, or some creepy power dynamic, should be the norm. Can you believe we even have to have this conversation? It shocks me how basic this concept is yet we are all still discussing it!
“I communicate often with many other women, who are contributors to my show. It has definitely been an incredibly challenging road for many of us. I do think that the creation of this musical, though, does, at the very least, give each of our contributors a silver lining to a really horrific experience.“Louisette Geiss
Lauren K. Clark: Sometimes trauma creates these imaginary scars, cuts, and bruises in our chest. Any memory triggers an excruciating pain. How has this project provided a magical ointment for the healing of these wounds?
Louisette Geiss: It’s funny because it was actually very hard to write the show. Being reminded of everything from the way an office looked from one of the predators who attacked me to hearing about the 20+ women, who told their stories, is a lot. I am honestly happy I am done writing it. Now that it is done, I can see the incredible beauty, joy and hopefully enlightenment it can bring to many people, who may not understand what it’s like to be a silence breaker, and all the destruction one predator can cause. I really want the audience to have moments, that they feel like they would’ve done what Eleanor did, which is nothing initially, but then see the beauty in linking arms and making a gigantic change in the world by speaking her truth. All the characters in this show are at different levels of their careers, too, and everyone will probably have one one character they relate to more. The challenge is that no matter what level you are at, NOT stopping these serial predators takes a tremendous toll on all. The trickle down affect is huge…I am someone’s child, mom and wife. Think for a moment even about how what happened to me affected all of them. I just hope the audience realizes, that stopping these predators quickly is key to all of our survival.
Lauren K. Clark: Have you managed to speak with the other 20 women about their healing journey? If so, what are some of the highlights, which pleases you, and let’s you know that the creation of “The Right Girl” has come at the “Right Time?”
Louisette Geiss: I communicate often with many other women, who are contributors to my show. It has definitely been an incredibly challenging road for many of us. I do think that the creation of this musical, though, does, at the very least, give each of our contributors a silver lining to a really horrific experience. I truly hope the show is an incredible success, as again each of them will be compensated in a royalty pool; and nothing would make me happier than to give back to each of them. We need to hold up the incredible and fierce females who have broke their silence because it is so not easy, and if we do not give them the credit they deserve I worry other women will not come forward. We need to raise future Sheroes.
It has been stated that time heals all wounds. Nevertheless, let’s shapen time just a little more. Time is a transformer. Time is a magical elixir, revealing what has been hidden; illuminating it to the current light. Time forces a certain reality to be addressed, and acknowledged. Whatever ugly truths lay hidden in the depths of the jewels is revealed. Sprinkling its magical ointment the staleness of violent wounds are revealed. Only this time, we are brave enough to cleanse them-for good! Not all girls will come to grapple with the magic of time. For some, such pastimes are too much to bare. Feminine aesthetics is very aware of this! That’s why she has her chosen group. The writers, creators, songwriters, and those dames, who are masters of the word! Words and sounds mix together to create time’s elixir, called, music!
Justice always prevails-whether it be in this lifetime, or the next. Time is ongoing, even in our absence. However, there is something, which cannot be denied. Women have their place in the aesthetics of time! Such an element is never controlled. Only humans believe the falsehoods, within such an illusion. Nevertheless, always remember that for some girls, in uncertain times, TIME comes perfectly, and feels, just RIGHT!
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